It’s summertime here in New Orleans, and it will be until the end of time (at least it feels that way!), which means we’re all ready for a little vacation (cue the Go-Go’s). Beating sun and sweltering temps mean it’s the perfect time to hit the water.
That’s right, we’re talking beach trips! Luckily, the Gulf of Mexico is just a hop, skip, and a jump from us here in the Big Easy, which makes planning your next beach day big easy (see what we did there?)! Whether you’re looking to spend a day on the sand, or a whole weekend away, #FrayLife has you covered with our guide to the best beach getaways.
Fontainebleau State Park
Distance from the Dome: 38 miles (~45min drive)
Just a quick trip across the lake can feel like you’re in a whole new world when you head over to Fontainebleau. The small sandy beach is a favorite amongst families, as the water is calm and shallow. This is a great spot for a day of sunbathing and wading, which you can pair with hiking the park’s nature trails or biking on the Tammany Trace.
#FrayLife Tip: Bring your whole #FrayLife team to Fontainebleau and stay a night or two in one of the 8-person deluxe cabins built on pilings right over the waters of Lake Ponchartrain!
Bay St. Louis Beach
Bay St. Louis, MS
Distance from the Dome: 52 miles, (~1hr drive)
One of the closest beaches to the city, Bay St. Louis is a quiet, clean beach with a locals-only vibe that makes it feel like a hidden gem. What it lacks in well-packed sand (if you’ve got a lot of gear expect to do some lugging) and crystal clear waters (murky, but safe to swim in), it more than makes up for in convenience (easy parking!), calm waters, and plenty of space to stretch out. Bay St. Louis is the perfect last-minute spot when you just have to get out of the concrete jungle.
Grand Isle Beach & Grand Isle State Park
Grand Isle, LA
Distance from the Dome: 110 miles (~2hr 15min drive)
Grand Isle, Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island, is known for fishing, birding, and miles of beaches, including 7 miles of free, public beaches, as well as the pristine beaches found in Grand Isle State Park. Pick a spot and lie out all day, or hit the water for swimming, kayaking, or paddle boarding. For avid fisher-people, there are tons of charter boats available, as well as a 400ft.-fishing pier in the State Park (just make sure you get a Louisiana fishing license!)
Dauphin Island West End Beach
Dauphin Island, AL
Distance from the Dome: 150 miles (~2h 30min drive)
The “sunset capital of Alabama,” Dauphin Island boasts gorgeous white sand beaches and parks with live oaks on the West end, as well as Fort Gaines, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab on the East end. Everything you could possibly need to rent is available on the island, making it easy to just hop in the car and hit the road.
Biloxi Beach, Gulfport Beach, & Ship Island
Biloxi & Gulfport, MS
Distance from the Dome: 90 miles (~1hr 45min drive)
While the Biloxi and Gulfport beaches are close enough for a day trip, there’s enough going on in the area that it’s worth making it a weekend, especially so you can take the hour-long ferry ride to Ship Island. Biloxi and Gulfport both offer long, white sand public beaches with all of your beach needs available for rent. There is also plenty to do off the sand with museums, eight casino resorts, golf courses, and restaurants. Catch the ferry over to Ship Island to explore Fort Massachusetts, and spend the day sunning and swimming on the pristine beach.
Pensacola Beach & Navarre Beach
Pensacola & Navarre, FL
Distance from the Dome: 210 miles (~3h 20min)
To be honest, when most of us think “beach,” the first place that comes to mind is Florida, and it’s for a very good reason! Both Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach (a little further out from P’cola) offer up exactly what you want from a true beach getaway: miles of beautiful beaches with crystal clear water, jet skis, paddleboards, kayaks, fishing trips, sailing, big, fancy resorts; it’s all there. Across the bridge from the beach, Pensacola proper offers a bustling downtown with a small-town feel full of restaurants, cute shops, and some great museums.
#FrayLife Tip: You’ve heard of pub crawls- why not take a few days for a beach crawl? You can hit up Gulf Shores, AL, Orange, Beach, AL, Pensacola, FL, Navarre, FL, Santa Rosa, FL, and Destin, FL all in the same trip! (Destin is the furthest, 250 miles and roughly 4 hours from the Dome).
What’s your favorite beach getaway spot? Share with us in the comments and tag #NOLAFray and #FrayLife on social!