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How to Spend 3 Days in New Orleans

How to Spend 3 Days in New Orleans

New Orleans is a colorful collection of French, Spanish, Caribbean, African, and Native American influences that weave an eclectic tapestry of culture and history. In three days you can explore much of this diverse city—from its streets and cemeteries to nearby swamps and sugar plantations. Here’s how to maximize a 3-day trip to the Big Easy.

Day 1: Tour the City

Start today in the French Quarter, New Orleans’ historic center and oldest district. Walk the narrow streets lined with a fascinating collection of shotgun homes and stately mansions. You might tour the district’s restaurants, sampling the city’s world-famous cuisine, or try your hand at a cooking class. If cocktails are your thing, plan for a bar crawl tour to try some of the city’s original concoctions, like the Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz. Visit one of the famous Cities of the Dead—cemeteries with eerie above-ground tombs—or opt for a late-night ghost tour of the French Quarter or nearby Garden District to learn more about the city’s haunted past. Alternatively, book a hop-on hop-off bus tour to get an overview of all New Orleans has to offer, perhaps picking places to revisit on another day.

Day 2: Experience Cajun Country

New Orleans is surrounded by a watery fortress of swamps and wetlands, areas that are important environmental barriers against natural disasters like hurricanes. But they’re also home to a booming seafood industry and fascinating cultural touchstones. Explore the swamp on a guided boat tour, learning about Cajun culture, music, and bayou lifestyle while keeping an eye out for alligators, raccoons, snakes, turtles, and native birds. You might opt for an airboat ride to glide over the shallow water and alternate between high-speed adventure and peaceful meandering. Larger groups can book tours on bigger boats that still get you up close and personal with wildlife and scenery. Most day trips to Cajun Country get you back in the city by evening, in time for dinner.

Day 3: Visit the Plantations

A network of plantations near New Orleans and along the Mississippi River served as the economic driver of the South before the Civil War. Today, many homes are lovingly maintained and open for tours, including the stately Oak Alley and Laura Plantations, where you can learn about this important—and often dark—aspect of Southern history and culture. Consider adding a trip to Whitney Plantation’s Louisiana Museum of Slavery to learn about the lives of slaves who carried Southern agriculture on their backs. Or, at the nearby Creole-style St. Joseph Plantation, tour the working sugar plantation where the movie12 Years a Slave was filmed. Expect to return to New Orleans for dinner.

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10 Tours and Activities | All New Orleans Tours

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Experience Cajun Country: Swamp Boat Adventure and Plantations Full-Day Tour from New Orleans

Experience Cajun Country: Swamp Boat Adventure and Plantations Full-Day Tour from New Orleans

star-4.5
Go beyond the French Quarter and discover the unique Cajun and Creole cultures of New Orleans during this full-day swamp and plantation tour. Venture deep into the bayous, with a small group limited to 8, to see Cajun living and spot wildlife like alligators and pelicans. Then, admire the beautiful architecture and learn about the history of Houmas House and Laura plantations. Upgrade your ticket to include a high-speed airboat ride through the bayous.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$194.00
From
$194.00
Taking safety measures

New Orleans Airboat Ride

New Orleans Airboat Ride

star-4.5
Experience New Orleans’ wild bayou country on an exciting, family‐friendly airboat ride. This boat tour winds through the mossy cypress swamp close to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, named for the 19th‐century pirate and smuggler. While onboard, enjoy lively commentary from a native guide as you admire lush, forested shoreline and spot local wildlife.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$55.00
From
$55.00
Taking safety measures

New Orleans Ghost, Voodoo & Vampire Walking Tour

New Orleans Ghost, Voodoo & Vampire Walking Tour

star-4.5
Exploring New Orleans in the evening can seem like an intimidating quest on your own, but this ghost, voodoo, and vampire walking tour takes you to the city’s most eerie sites at night in the safety of a group with a knowledgeable guide. Stop by top attractions such as the LaLaurie Mansion and New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, all while listening to your guide’s detailed stories of the paranormal and beyond.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$21.25
From
$21.25
Taking safety measures

City Sightseeing New Orleans Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

City Sightseeing New Orleans Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

star-4
Discover historic New Orleans in an open‐top double‐decker bus on this hop‐on hop‐off sightseeing tour. With either your 1‐or 3-day ticket, design a personal itinerary with several stops, including the French Market, Jackson Square, and the Garden District, plus available walking tours, depending on the option you buy. Enjoy unobstructed views and fun onboard commentary as you soak up ‘The Big Easy’.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$39.00
From
$39.00
Taking safety measures

Swamp Boat Ride and Southern Plantation Tour from New Orleans

Swamp Boat Ride and Southern Plantation Tour from New Orleans

star-4.5
Experience the civilized and the wild on a plantation tour and educational swamp boat ride from New Orleans. On this half-day journey, visit Destrehan Plantation to experience the early 19th Century South including a Slave Revolt Museum. Next, head into the marshy swampland for a boat ride and some wildlife spotting. Enjoy guided commentary as you snap photos of alligators, raccoons, snakes and native birds.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$92.00
From
$92.00
Taking safety measures

New Orleans Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter

New Orleans Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter

star-5
Get more from the city by exploring New Orleans’ food culture with a guide. Stop by some the French Quarter’s most famous restaurants for some of the area’s most delicious food. Enjoy tastings that could include seafood gumbo, Creole brisket, and beignets. You also learn fun facts from your guide as you walk along the city streets.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$54.95
From
$54.95
Taking safety measures

Swamp and Bayou Sightseeing Tour with Boat Ride from New Orleans

Swamp and Bayou Sightseeing Tour with Boat Ride from New Orleans

star-4.5
Discover the mystique of the swamps and bayous on a sightseeing boat tour from New Orleans. Travel deep into the secluded bayous across the Mississippi River to witness Cajun life and spot native wildlife. Your guide will provide commentary on Cajun culture and the myth‐laden swamps while you snap photos of alligators, raccoons, snakes, turtles, and native birds.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$52.00
From
$52.00
Taking safety measures

New Orleans Garden District and Mansion Walking Tour

New Orleans Garden District and Mansion Walking Tour

star-4.5
Experience the best of New Orleans’ opulent Garden District. On this walking tour, marvel at the enormous antebellum mansions, learn about some of the district’s famous residents including Anne Rice and Sandra Bullock, and visit homes used in the films 'Interview with a Vampire' and 'Dracula 2000.' See the elaborate above-ground tombs at Lafayette Cemetery, one of the city’s most significant ‘Cities of the Dead’.
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  • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$29.00
From
$29.00
Taking safety measures

Small-Group Tour of Laura and St. Joseph Plantations from New Orleans

Small-Group Tour of Laura and St. Joseph Plantations from New Orleans

star-4.5
Experience the grandeur of New Orleans’ rich and conflicted past on a small‐group plantation tour. Take a journey through Laura Plantation and St. Joseph Plantation, spying other historic plantations as you travel the Great River Road. View stunning architecture and enduring sugar cane fields while learning about the plantations’ fascinating—and somber—histories from expert guides.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$128.00
From
$128.00
Taking safety measures

Small-Group Airboat Swamp Adventure and Plantation Tour from New Orleans

Small-Group Airboat Swamp Adventure and Plantation Tour from New Orleans

star-4.5
Take a wild ride through the bayous of Cajun Country on this airboat adventure from New Orleans. In a small group, wind through tree‐lined swampland and spot abundant local wildlife, including nutria, alligators, and giant catfish, and stop at Destrehan Plantation to get a taste of the elegant antebellum south.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$165.00
From
$165.00
Taking safety measures