National Parks Near New Orleans
National Parks near New Orleans. There’s so much more to the Bayou State than Mardi Gras.
In this article, we’ll familiarize you with the incredible national parks that are within a day’s drive of New Orleans.
To be clear, this list includes national park sites (as in sites managed by the National Park Service) as opposed to full-fledged national parks.
To learn more about the difference between the various National Park Service designations check out our article that explains everything!
Now let’s go ahead with 5 reasons why you’ll want to hop in your car and make a day’s drive from New Orleans to one of these truly amazing places.
Table Of Contents: National Parks Near New Orleans
Table of Contents: National Parks Near New Orleans
- Facts About New Orleans
- National Parks Near New Orleans
- 1. Cane River Creole National Historical Park
- 2. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve | National Parks Near New Orleans
- 3. New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
- 4. Poverty Point National Monument | National Parks Near New Orleans
- 5. Vicksburg National Military Park
- Map Of National Parks Near New Orleans
Facts About New Orleans
New Orleans is a city in the state of Louisiana, located on the Mississippi River. It is known for its unique blend of French, African, and American cultures, and is famous for its vibrant music and food scenes.
New Orleans is home to a number of iconic landmarks, including Jackson Square, the French Quarter, and the Garden District.
The city is also known for its annual Mardi Gras celebration, which is a world-famous event featuring parades, music, and costume parties.
The city is known for its diverse and delicious cuisine, which reflects its multicultural history. Some of the city’s famous dishes include gumbo, jambalaya, and beignets.
New Orleans is also home to a thriving music scene, with jazz, blues, and brass bands playing in clubs and on the streets throughout the city.
New Orleans is a major port city and is home to a number of industries, including tourism, healthcare, and shipping.
It is also home to several universities and colleges, including Tulane University and Loyola University New Orleans.
Despite the challenges it has faced, including hurricanes and flooding, New Orleans remains a vibrant and unique city with a rich history and culture.
National Parks Near New Orleans
1. Cane River Creole National Historical Park
Distance From New Orleans: Three hours and 53 minutes (250 miles) via I-10 W & I-49 N.
Cane River National Historical Park has a unique history. It goes back to the establishment of the Louisiana Creole Culture. It’s a culture which originated along the Cane River in 18th century Louisiana.
Creole culture goes back to the Colonial Era. French and Spanish peoples brought it with them from the Old World where they had been influenced by much earlier contacts with African peoples.
Cane River National Historical Park tells the story of King Cotton. Visitors will find two plantations named Oakland and Magnolia.
These amazing places depict the story story of cotton and the people whose lives revolved around it.
Plantations Were Like Small Cities
Oakland and Magnolia were like small cities before the Civil War. Oakland had about 150 enslaved workers, and Magnolia about 250. Slaves picked cotton. They also worked as blacksmiths and carpenters.
Visitors can see where these people lived and worked. They learn about their culture too. Locals are available to tell the stories which give listeners insights into the people and their culture.
2. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve | National Parks Near New Orleans
Distance From New Orleans: It’s in New Orleans!
Onto our next national park near New Orleans. One of history’s most colorful characters is Jean Laffite.
Originally from France, by 1810 Lafitte was operating as a pirate in Louisiana. Lafitte’s main commodity was African slaves.
The United States had outlawed international slave imports in 1808. It was an illegal commodity.
Lafitte became one of Andrew Jackson’s advisors during the War of 1812. Like Jackson, he fought against the British imperial threat.
Lafitte received a pardon for his earlier crimes from President James Madison. Afterward, he resumed his career as a pirate on Galveston’s Island in Spanish Texas.
Six sites are scattered across South Louisiana. It’s important to determine what things most interest you.
They include: Barataria Preserve, French Quarter Visitor Center, The Chalmette Battlefield, Prairie Acadian Cultural Center, Acadian Cultural Center and Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center.
I recommend beginning at the visitor center. You can purchase a field guide and insect repellent there. Both will come in handy.
3. New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
Distance From New Orleans: It’s in New Orleans!
Jazz originated in New Orleans in the second half of the 19th century. With the advent of Reconstruction, many former slaves found jobs as musicians.
In 1978, after years of research, Donald M. Marquis released In Search of Buddy Bolden: First Man of Jazz.
According to Marquis, the beginnings of jazz and the story of Charles “Buddy” Bolden (1877–1931) are inextricably intertwined. Buddy Bolden is considered to be the father of jazz.
His blaring trumpet could reputedly be heard miles away from the South Rampart Street clubs he and his band frequented.
Following in Bolden’s footsteps are other immortal jazz pioneers such as: Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory, Bunk Johnson, Freddie Keppard, King Oliver and Louis Armstrong, whose distinct solos and trademark gravelly voice brought jazz to the world.
The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park offers regular jazz performances, lectures, films, and visual displays. Visitors can learn about the jazz scene in and around New Orleans.
4. Poverty Point National Monument | National Parks Near New Orleans
Distance From New Orleans: Four hours and 5 minutes (258 miles) via I-55 N.
At Poverty Point there’s the remnants of ancient culture which contains some of North America’s largest prehistoric earthworks. 3,000 years ago, Poverty Point was part of an enormous trading network. It stretched for hundreds of miles across the continent.
It’s truly an engineering marvel! Visitors can explore the culture of a highly sophisticated people. There they will see one of North America’s most important archeological sites.
5. Vicksburg National Military Park
Distance From New Orleans: Three hours and 13 minutes (202 miles) via I-55 N.
The Battle of Vicksburg is recognized as one of the greatest military campaigns in history. It’s an important part of the history of both Mississippi and Louisiana.
According to John Henry McCracken, Professor of History Emeritus at Lafayette College, it was at Vicksburg that Ulysses S. Grant learned that only hard, long fighting and logistics will win the war.
At Vicksburg, there’s a vast array of cultural, historical and natural resources. Each visitor to the park receives an official park brochure and map detailing the driving routes, tour stops, and provides a brief history of the Vicksburg Campaign and Siege.
There’s a self-guided driving tour or you can make a reservation to take a guided park tour. There’s no shortage of things to see and experience. I would recommend beginning your tour at the visitor center.
Check Out: 10 BEST Civil War Sites In America
Map Of National Parks Near New Orleans
List Of National Parks Near New Orleans
- Cane River Creole National Historical Park
- Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve
- New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
- Poverty Point National Monument
- Vicksburg National Military Park
About The People Behind More Than Just Parks
You should probably know that we don’t just make this stuff up out of thin air. My sons have spent their entire adult lives exploring and filming America’s national parks and public lands.
As for me, I’m a retired lifelong educator and a proud dad of these two wonderful guys who are hopelessly obsessed with the national parks. I taught history for over a quarter of a century. Now I enjoy researching and writing articles for More Than Just Parks. I’m always on the hunt for topics where nature and history intersect so please feel free to share any ideas that you might have with me.
We’ve worked with the National Park Service, the Department of Interior, and the U.S. Forest Service for years creating films on important places and issues. Our work has been featured in leading publications all over the world and even some people outside of our immediate family call us experts on the national parks.
Meet The Parks Brothers
We’re Jim Pattiz and Will Pattiz, collectively known as the Pattiz Brothers (and sometimes the Parks Brothers) and we absolutely LOVE the national parks.
Our goal here at More Than Just Parks is to share the beauty of America’s national parks and public lands through stunning short films in an effort to get Americans and the world to see the true value in land conservation.
We hope you’ll follow our journey through the parks and help us to keep them the incredible places that they are. If you’re interested in joining the adventure then please sign up below!