New Orleans, Louisiana, is famous for its vibrant culture, rich history, and lively music scene. While the city itself is not directly on the coast, residents and visitors can still enjoy beautiful beach escapes within a short drive. Here are some of the best beaches near New Orleans, perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

1. Grand Isle

Grand Isle, located approximately 110 miles south of New Orleans, is a gem on the Gulf of Mexico, offering a pristine beach experience in Louisiana. As the state’s only inhabited barrier island, Grand Isle is renowned for its stunning sunsets, abundant wildlife, and excellent fishing opportunities, making it a perfect getaway for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Grand Isle State Park is a primary destination for beachgoers. The park features miles of sandy beaches ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. The tranquil waters and gentle waves create a safe and enjoyable environment for families with children. The beach is well-maintained, providing a clean and inviting atmosphere for visitors to relax and unwind.

Fishing is a major draw to Grand Isle, known as one of the best fishing spots in Louisiana. The park’s fishing pier is a popular spot for anglers seeking to catch speckled trout, redfish, and flounder. Additionally, the annual Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo, the oldest fishing tournament in the United States, attracts fishing enthusiasts from all over, adding to the island's vibrant community spirit.

Nature lovers will appreciate the island’s diverse bird population, especially during migration seasons when thousands of birds pass through. The island is part of the Mississippi Flyway, making it a prime location for birdwatching. Visitors can spot a variety of species, including pelicans, egrets, and herons, as well as migratory songbirds.

For those looking to extend their stay, Grand Isle offers various accommodations, including campgrounds, vacation rentals, and quaint beachside cottages. Camping at Grand Isle State Park is a popular option, with facilities that include tent and RV sites, restrooms, and showers. The park’s picnic areas and pavilions provide perfect spots for family gatherings and outdoor meals.

Grand Isle also boasts several local restaurants and seafood markets where visitors can enjoy fresh, locally caught seafood. Dishes like boiled shrimp, crab cakes, and oysters are staples, offering a taste of the island’s culinary heritage.

Whether you're seeking a day of relaxation on the beach, an adventurous fishing trip, or a serene nature retreat, Grand Isle offers a unique and memorable coastal experience just a short drive from New Orleans.

2. Biloxi Beach

Biloxi Beach, located in Mississippi, is approximately a 90-minute drive from New Orleans and is one of the Gulf Coast’s most popular beach destinations. Known for its soft white sand and calm, shallow waters, Biloxi Beach is perfect for families and beach lovers looking for a relaxing day by the sea. The beach stretches for miles along the scenic Highway 90, providing plenty of space for visitors to spread out and enjoy the sun.

One of the main attractions of Biloxi Beach is its variety of water activities. Visitors can rent jet skis, paddleboards, and kayaks to explore the Gulf’s warm waters. Parasailing is also a popular activity, offering breathtaking views of the coastline from above. The gentle waves and shallow waters make swimming and wading safe and enjoyable for people of all ages.

Biloxi Beach is also a great spot for fishing enthusiasts. The beach is dotted with piers, where anglers can cast their lines and try their luck at catching a variety of fish species. Charter boats are available for deep-sea fishing trips, providing an exciting adventure for those looking to venture further into the Gulf.

In addition to its natural beauty and recreational activities, Biloxi Beach is home to several casinos, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The casinos, including the famous Beau Rivage and Hard Rock, offer gaming, dining, and live entertainment, adding a lively atmosphere to the beach area. Visitors can enjoy a meal at one of the many beachfront restaurants, savoring fresh seafood and other local specialties while taking in the scenic views.

Biloxi’s rich history and cultural attractions are also worth exploring. The Biloxi Lighthouse, a historic landmark dating back to 1848, offers tours and panoramic views of the coastline from its top. The nearby Biloxi Visitors Center provides information on local history, attractions, and events, making it a great starting point for exploring the area.

For those looking to extend their stay, Biloxi offers a range of accommodations, from luxury resorts to cozy beachside motels. With its blend of natural beauty, recreational activities, and vibrant entertainment, Biloxi Beach is a perfect destination for a beach getaway near New Orleans.

3. Gulfport Beach

Gulfport Beach, situated along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, is about an 80-mile drive from New Orleans and offers a fantastic destination for beachgoers seeking a mix of relaxation and recreation. Known for its clean, spacious sands and family-friendly environment, Gulfport Beach is part of a larger park area that includes a water park, playgrounds, and picnic areas, making it an ideal spot for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

The beach itself features soft, white sand and gentle, shallow waters, making it perfect for swimming and wading. Families with children will appreciate the calm waves and the beach's safe, welcoming atmosphere. The beach is also equipped with amenities such as restrooms, showers, and picnic pavilions, ensuring a comfortable visit for all.

Gulfport Beach is renowned for its variety of water sports and activities. Visitors can rent paddleboards, kayaks, and jet skis to explore the Gulf's serene waters. The beach is also a great spot for windsurfing and sailing, with equipment rentals and lessons available for beginners and experienced enthusiasts alike. Fishing is another popular activity, with several fishing piers and charter boats offering opportunities for both casual and serious anglers.

Adjacent to the beach, Gulf Islands Waterpark provides additional fun for families and thrill-seekers. The water park features slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers, offering a refreshing break from the beach. Nearby Jones Park is another highlight, with its scenic walking trails, playgrounds, and picnic areas providing a perfect spot for outdoor activities and relaxation.

Gulfport’s vibrant community and cultural attractions add to its appeal. The nearby Mississippi Aquarium offers an educational and entertaining experience with its diverse marine exhibits and interactive displays. Visitors can also explore Gulfport’s charming downtown area, which features a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries. The local dining scene is vibrant, with many restaurants serving fresh Gulf seafood and regional specialties.

For those looking to extend their stay, Gulfport offers a range of accommodations, from beachfront hotels and resorts to cozy vacation rentals. With its beautiful beaches, diverse activities, and welcoming community, Gulfport Beach provides an enjoyable and memorable beach experience close to New Orleans.

4. Fontainebleau State Park

Fontainebleau State Park, located on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, is a beautiful and serene destination just an hour’s drive from New Orleans. While it’s not a traditional ocean beach, the park offers a unique lakeside beach experience perfect for those looking to relax and enjoy the outdoors in a scenic setting. Covering more than 2,800 acres, the park is a haven for nature lovers, history buffs, and outdoor enthusiasts.

The park's sandy shoreline along Lake Pontchartrain provides a tranquil spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. The calm waters of the lake are ideal for kayaking and paddleboarding, offering visitors the chance to explore the expansive lake at their own pace. The beach area is well-maintained, with picnic tables and pavilions available for use, making it a great spot for family gatherings and leisurely afternoons.

Fontainebleau State Park is also home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it a popular destination for nature walks and birdwatching. The park’s extensive network of hiking and biking trails winds through lush forests, marshlands, and along the lake shore, providing scenic views and opportunities to observe wildlife. The Tammany Trace, a 31-mile long paved trail, passes through the park, offering a fantastic route for cyclists and hikers alike.

In addition to its natural beauty, Fontainebleau State Park has a rich history. The park is named after the Fontainebleau Forest in France, reflecting the area’s French colonial heritage. The ruins of an old sugar mill, built in 1829 by Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville, provide a glimpse into the region’s industrial past and are an interesting site to explore within the park.

Camping is a popular activity at Fontainebleau State Park, with facilities that cater to both tent and RV campers. The park offers over 100 campsites with amenities such as electricity, water, and nearby restrooms and showers. For those looking for a more comfortable stay, the park also has several well-equipped cabins available for rent, offering a cozy retreat in the heart of nature.

The park frequently hosts educational programs and events, including guided nature walks, wildlife presentations, and stargazing nights, providing visitors with a deeper appreciation of the natural environment. The visitor center offers additional information on the park’s history, wildlife, and recreational opportunities.

Fontainebleau State Park is an ideal destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway from New Orleans, offering a perfect blend of outdoor activities, natural beauty, and historical intrigue. Whether you’re swimming in the lake, hiking through the forests, or simply relaxing by the water, Fontainebleau State Park provides a refreshing and enjoyable escape from the city.

5. Bay St. Louis

Bay St. Louis, located about 60 miles east of New Orleans along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, offers a charming and tranquil beach experience. Known for its small-town atmosphere, picturesque beaches, and vibrant arts community, Bay St. Louis is a perfect destination for those looking to unwind and explore a unique coastal town.

The beaches in Bay St. Louis are less crowded than some of the larger Gulf Coast destinations, providing a peaceful and relaxed environment. The soft, sandy shores and gentle waves make the beaches ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The calm waters are perfect for families with children, offering a safe and enjoyable spot for playing in the surf.

Fishing is a popular activity in Bay St. Louis, with ample opportunities to cast a line from the shore, the Bay St. Louis Municipal Pier, or a chartered fishing boat. The area is known for its rich marine life, and anglers can expect to catch species such as redfish, speckled trout, and flounder. The scenic bay also offers great opportunities for boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding, with rental options available for visitors.

Bay St. Louis is renowned for its vibrant arts scene and historic downtown area. The Old Town district is home to a variety of charming shops, galleries, and restaurants, many housed in beautifully restored historic buildings. The town’s artsy vibe is evident in the numerous public art installations and murals that decorate the streets, reflecting the creative spirit of the community.

Visitors can enjoy a meal at one of the many local restaurants, which serve fresh Gulf seafood and regional specialties. Dining options range from casual beachside cafes to fine dining establishments, offering something for every taste and budget. The local farmers market is also worth a visit, providing a selection of fresh produce, homemade goods, and artisan crafts.

Bay St. Louis hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, adding to its lively and welcoming atmosphere. The Bay BridgeFest, held annually in the fall, features live music, local art, and delicious food, celebrating the unique culture and community of the town. Other events include the monthly Second Saturday Art Walk, where galleries and shops stay open late, offering special exhibits and entertainment.

Accommodations in Bay St. Louis range from quaint bed-and-breakfasts to modern hotels, providing comfortable options for overnight stays. The town’s friendly and laid-back vibe makes it an inviting destination for a relaxing beach getaway.

Bay St. Louis offers a delightful mix of natural beauty, artistic charm, and southern hospitality, making it a must-visit destination for those exploring the Gulf Coast near New Orleans. Whether you’re relaxing on the beach, exploring the historic downtown, or enjoying the local cuisine, Bay St. Louis provides a memorable coastal experience.

6. Pass Christian Beach

Pass Christian, affectionately known as “The Pass,” is a serene coastal town located about 60 miles east of New Orleans. Known for its scenic beauty, quiet beaches, and historic charm, Pass Christian offers a peaceful and relaxing beach getaway away from the hustle and bustle of larger Gulf Coast destinations.

The beaches in Pass Christian are characterized by their long stretches of white sand and calm, clear waters. The gentle waves make it an ideal spot for swimming, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Beachcombers will enjoy strolling along the shore, searching for shells and enjoying the tranquil coastal environment. The beach’s spaciousness ensures that it never feels overcrowded, even during peak season, providing a perfect setting for sunbathing and relaxation.

Fishing is a popular activity in Pass Christian, with several fishing piers and charters available for those looking to catch local fish species. The Pass Christian Harbor is a hub of activity, where visitors can watch fishing boats come and go, and purchase fresh seafood directly from the boats. The harbor is also home to several seafood restaurants, offering delicious, freshly caught Gulf fish, shrimp, and oysters.

Pass Christian’s historic downtown area is charming and picturesque, with tree-lined streets, elegant old homes, and a selection of unique shops and boutiques. The town’s historic district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, reflecting its rich architectural heritage and southern charm. Visitors can explore the area on foot or by bike, taking in the beautiful antebellum homes and historic buildings.

The town’s vibrant arts scene is showcased in its local galleries and cultural events. Pass Christian hosts several art and music festivals throughout the year, including the popular Art in the Pass, which features local artists, craftspeople, and live music. These events highlight the town’s creative spirit and provide opportunities to engage with the local community.

Dining in Pass Christian is a treat, with numerous restaurants offering a variety of culinary delights. Seafood is a staple, with many eateries serving up fresh, locally sourced dishes. From casual beachside cafes to upscale dining establishments, there’s something to suit every taste. Don’t miss out on trying the local favorites, such as gumbo, po’boys, and freshly shucked oysters.

Pass Christian’s relaxed and welcoming atmosphere makes it an ideal destination for a beach vacation. Whether you’re enjoying a day on the sandy shores, exploring the historic downtown, or indulging in the local cuisine, Pass Christian offers a unique and memorable coastal experience. The town’s combination of natural beauty, rich history, and friendly community make it a must-visit spot for those looking to escape to the Gulf Coast near New Orleans.

7. Ship Island

Ship Island, located off the coast of Gulfport, Mississippi, is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and offers a pristine beach experience just a two-hour drive and a short ferry ride from New Orleans. Known for its clear waters, white sandy beaches, and historical significance, Ship Island is a perfect destination for those seeking a serene and unspoiled natural environment.

One of the main attractions of Ship Island is its stunning beaches. The island’s shores are characterized by fine, powdery sand and crystal-clear waters, ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The calm waters are perfect for families with children, offering a safe and enjoyable environment for wading and playing in the surf. Beachgoers can relax under the sun, build sandcastles, or simply enjoy the scenic beauty of the Gulf of Mexico.

Ship Island is also home to Fort Massachusetts, a historic fort built in the mid-19th century to protect the coast during the Civil War. Visitors can explore the well-preserved fort, learn about its history through informative displays, and enjoy guided tours provided by the National Park Service. The fort offers a fascinating glimpse into the island’s past and its strategic importance during the war.

The island’s natural beauty and abundant wildlife make it a haven for nature enthusiasts. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, including pelicans, terns, and ospreys. The surrounding waters are home to dolphins, which can often be seen frolicking near the shore. The island’s diverse marine life also makes it a popular spot for snorkeling, with opportunities to observe colorful fish, crabs, and other sea creatures in their natural habitat.

Access to Ship Island is provided by ferry services that depart from Gulfport. The ferry ride itself is a scenic experience, offering beautiful views of the coastline and the chance to see dolphins and other marine life along the way. The ferry operates seasonally, so it’s advisable to check the schedule in advance and plan your trip accordingly.

While Ship Island is relatively undeveloped, it does offer some basic amenities to enhance your visit. Picnic tables and restrooms are available near the ferry landing, and there is a small concession stand selling snacks and drinks. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own food, water, and beach gear, as there are no other facilities on the island.

Ship Island is an ideal destination for a day trip, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, historical interest, and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re exploring the historic fort, enjoying a swim in the clear waters, or simply relaxing on the beach, Ship Island provides a memorable and peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of New Orleans.

8. Holly Beach

Holly Beach, often referred to as the “Cajun Riviera,” is located in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, approximately 200 miles west of New Orleans. This laid-back beach destination offers a unique and unspoiled coastal experience, perfect for those looking to escape the more crowded and commercialized beach resorts. Known for its wide sandy shores, excellent shelling opportunities, and relaxed atmosphere, Holly Beach is a favorite among locals and visitors seeking a peaceful retreat.

The beaches of Holly Beach are expansive and relatively undeveloped, providing a natural and tranquil setting for beachgoers. The soft, sandy shores stretch for miles, offering plenty of space for sunbathing, beachcombing, and playing in the surf. The area is particularly famous for its abundance of seashells, making it a haven for shell collectors. Visitors can spend hours strolling along the beach, searching for unique and beautiful shells to take home as souvenirs.

Fishing is a popular activity at Holly Beach, with many visitors casting their lines from the shore or from nearby fishing piers. The waters are teeming with fish, and anglers can expect to catch species such as redfish, speckled trout, and flounder. Crabbing is another favorite pastime, with the beach’s shallow waters providing an ideal environment for catching blue crabs.

Holly Beach is also known for its vibrant wildlife and birdwatching opportunities. The surrounding marshlands and coastal areas are home to a variety of bird species, including herons, egrets, and pelicans. Birdwatchers can enjoy spotting these birds in their natural habitat, particularly during migration seasons when the area sees an influx of migratory birds.

The laid-back atmosphere of Holly Beach extends to its accommodations, with options ranging from beachfront campsites to rustic cabins and vacation rentals. Many visitors choose to camp directly on the beach, taking advantage of the area’s open spaces and beautiful coastal views. Camping at Holly Beach offers a unique and immersive experience, allowing visitors to fall asleep to the sound of the waves and wake up to stunning sunrises over the Gulf.

Holly Beach is less developed than other coastal destinations, providing a more natural and secluded beach experience. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own supplies, including food, water, and beach gear, as there are limited amenities in the area. This simplicity adds to the charm of Holly Beach, allowing visitors to reconnect with nature and enjoy the unspoiled beauty of Louisiana’s coastline.

Holly Beach’s combination of natural beauty, abundant wildlife, and relaxed atmosphere makes it a perfect destination for a peaceful and rejuvenating beach getaway. Whether you’re shell collecting, fishing, or simply enjoying the serene surroundings, Holly Beach offers a unique and memorable escape from the city.

9. Cypremort Point State Park

Cypremort Point State Park, located about 140 miles west of New Orleans along Vermilion Bay, offers a unique beach experience in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country. The park features a man-made beach, picnic areas, fishing piers, and various water sports facilities, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to enjoy a day by the water.

The park’s sandy beach, although not a natural coastline, provides a lovely spot for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The beach area is well-maintained, with clean sand and calm, shallow waters that are perfect for families with young children. The warm waters of Vermilion Bay are ideal for wading and playing, providing a safe and enjoyable environment for visitors of all ages.

Cypremort Point State Park is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. The park offers facilities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and windsurfing, with rentals available for those looking to try their hand at these activities. The bay’s calm waters and gentle breezes create perfect conditions for windsurfing and sailing, making it a popular spot for both beginners and experienced water sports enthusiasts.

Fishing is another major attraction at Cypremort Point State Park. The park’s fishing piers and boat ramps provide easy access to the bay’s rich fishing grounds, where anglers can catch a variety of species, including redfish, flounder, and speckled trout. The park’s facilities also include fish cleaning stations, making it convenient for visitors to prepare their catch.

The park’s scenic picnic areas, equipped with tables and grills, offer a perfect setting for a leisurely outdoor meal. Visitors can enjoy a picnic under the shade of the park’s oak and cypress trees, taking in the beautiful views of Vermilion Bay. The park’s pavilions are available for group gatherings and special events, providing a great venue for family reunions, barbecues, and celebrations.

Camping is a popular activity at Cypremort Point State Park, with facilities that cater to both tent and RV campers. The park offers several campsites with amenities such as electricity, water, and nearby restrooms and showers. For those looking for a more comfortable stay, the park has several cabins available for rent. These cabins are well-equipped with modern conveniences and provide a cozy retreat after a day of outdoor activities.

Cypremort Point State Park frequently hosts educational programs and events, including nature walks, wildlife presentations, and stargazing nights. These programs provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the park’s natural environment and the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area.

Cypremort Point State Park offers a unique and enjoyable beach experience in Louisiana, combining the beauty of Vermilion Bay with a wide range of outdoor activities. Whether you’re swimming, fishing, kayaking, or simply relaxing by the water, the park provides a perfect escape for a day trip or a weekend getaway from New Orleans.

While New Orleans may not have its own beaches, these nearby coastal destinations offer a variety of options for sun, sand, and surf. Whether you’re looking for a lively beach town, a serene lakeside retreat, or a pristine island escape, there’s a beach near New Orleans that’s perfect for your next getaway.

Stay connected and inspired with more travel tips and guides from Le Remote Magazine.

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Posted 
Jun 19, 2024
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