New Orleans is a bustling haven of delicious street fare, vibrant culture, and brassy jazz which can be enjoyed from the city streets year round. But nothing compares to the momentous round-the-clock party that takes place here every year at the end of February. While other cities might try to replicate the celebration of Mardi Gras, no destination does it better than The Big Easy! So if you’re looking to pack up the RV for a sensational extended weekend down south, be sure to check out this RVer’s guide to exploring New Orleans before you hit the road!
WHERE TO CAMP
Once you roll into town with your fifth wheel trailer or RV camper in tow, head straight for the French Quarter RV Resort to set up camp! While there are a few other campgrounds in New Orleans, it’s hard to beat the prime location of the French Quarter RV Resort! Here you can camp within blocks of the infamous Bourbon Street, and you’ll be right next door to the Jazz National Historical Park!
French Quarter RV Resort
Because you’ll be in such close proximity to all the Mardi Gras excitement, be prepared to sacrifice some peace and quiet. Traffic noise from the nearby interstate can also be bothersome, but what you lack in silence, this RV park makes up for in high-class amenities. Each RV site at the campground is paved and includes full hook-ups. There is also a pool, hot tub, fitness center, gazebo bar, laundry room, and indoor lounge on site. Some resort guests have voiced their complaints about the limited Wi-Fi coverage, but with so many exciting activities in the area, you won’t ever have a moment of free time to surf the web anyway!
WHERE TO VISIT
During your trip to New Orleans, don’t miss out on these amazing attractions and awesome establishments located within this stunning city!
The National WWII Museum—Inside this beautiful and enormous building you’ll find interesting exhibits, interactive and informative displays, actual artifacts and restored places from the war, and much more! Get your tickets ahead of time to explore this museum which offers comprehensive coverage of WWII.
Frenchmen Street—While Bourbon St. might be better known, Frenchmen St. is the real place to go for an authentic New Orleans experience. In this lively jazz district you’ll find a thriving music scene with an eclectic vibe and a contagious energy. Grab a drink from the bar, browse the art markets, and let the sounds serenade you!
Jackson Square—This picturesque and mellow park is the perfect place to spend a laid-back afternoon in the city. Here you can learn about the local culture, watch live music from street performers, and pick up some souvenirs from the shops which surround the square.
Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World—If you miss the actual Mardi Gras celebration, the second best thing is Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World. This warehouse workshop stores the floats and costumes of past, present, and future parades so you can get a taste of what Mardi Gras is really like, even when Carnival isn’t taking place.
Parkway Bakery & Tavern—After exploring the city, you’re likely to work up an appetite, which means it’s time to head to Parkway Bakery & Tavern! Their legendary Po’Boys are likely to be the best you’ve ever had. They also serve a variety of other foods that are both cheap and delicious.
Cemetery Tours—Because of the high water table in the city, they don’t bury their dead underground. Instead, they put them in above-ground mausoleums and elaborate tombs which make for an interesting tour experience. French Quarter RV Resort is located right across from the St. Louis Cemetery, so be sure to take a walk through during your stay!
MAKING THE MOST OF MARDI GRAS
Mardi Gras is the culmination of Carnival, a roughly two-week-long celebration which can be recognized for its lively parades, packed streets, and extravagant celebrations! Two of the biggest parades of the season are Bacchus and Endymion which, like all Mardi Gras parades, feature elaborate floats carrying masked krewe members who throw beads, trinkets, and other goodies to parade-goers. But there are a variety of parades for all types of party-goers, from the dog-themed Krewe Of Barkus to the ladies-only Krewe of Eve. To get the most throws, set up near the end of parade routes as this is where krewes will start to quickly unload what they have remaining and you’ll be showered with beads!
Myths Of Mardi Gras
While most conceptualize Mardi Gras as a raucous and raunchy event filled with drunken scandal and sleazy activity, the truth is that Mardi Gras is actually a family-friendly event that kids can have a blast at. We recommend families watch the parades from St. Charles Ave. near Napoleon Ave., as this is closer to the start of the parade route so you won’t have to keep the kids up too late in order to catch the action. Another great spot is the Garden District, which features beautiful oak trees that are perfect for picnicking under while watching the parades. One of the best parades for kids is the Metairie’s Caesar parade. Just be sure to bring along a large garbage bag to hold all the throws your little ones will catch! Be warned that post-parade crowds may gather in the French Quarter, so avoid Bourbon Street as some activity that may take place won't be suitable for the kids.
With this RVers guide to exploring New Orleans, you’ll be able to make the most of your trip whether you’re going for Mardi Gras or not! Have you ever visited New Orleans during carnival? Share your experiences and stories with us in the comments!