Did you know that the French Quarter is considered a National Park? National Parks are our country’s greatest treasure. They are also a great way to learn about our country, it’s history and the animals that call these parks home. One way we can support them and keep them for future generations is to visit the parks. Here is a list of National Parks near New Orleans. All the parks on this list are within a three to four hour drive of New Orleans. They would all make great day or weekend trips.
National Parks In Louisiana
The Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, Butte La Rose, LA
Home of America’s largest river swamp. There are also sugar cane and cotton fields, live oaks and cypress trees. Plus tons of wildlife such as alligators, raccoons, snakes, and over 200 species of birds.
The Cane River National Heritage Area, Natchitoches, LA
The intersection of French and Spanish culture with colonial forts, cemeteries, churches, plantations, and more
The Cane River Creole National Historic Park, Natchitoches, LA
Boasts two Creole cotton plantations, Oakland and Magnolia Plantations
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail, Louisiana to Texas
300 years of Louisiana and Texas frontiers from the Rio Grande to the Red River Valley
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, New Orleans to Thibodaux, LA
Six visitor sites in South Louisiana including the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux, the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, the Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, The Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery in Chalmette, the Barataria Preserve in Marrero, and the French Quarter Visitor Center in New Orleans
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, New Orleans, LA
Located in the heart of the French Quarter, the Old U.S. Mint houses the visitor center for the birthplace of jazz
Poverty Point National Monument, Epps, LA
A marvel of engineering formed by over five million hours of labor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most important archaeological sites in North America
National Parks In Mississippi
Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, MS
Memorializes the division of the North and South along the Mississippi River with over 1,400 monuments and memorials honoring Civil War veterans
Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, Natchez, MS
65 miles of trailways including the Rocky Springs Trail, MS; Tupelo Trail, MS; Ridgeland Trail, MS; and Leipers Fork Trail, TN
Natchez National Historical Park, Natchez, MS
Comprised of Fort Rosalie, the William Johnson House, and the Melrose Estate, all part of the creation of the Cotton Kingdom and Antebellum South
Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo, MS
Connected portions of the Mississippi River to salt licks in central Tennessee
Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site, Tupelo, MS
Historic battle site of a Civil War railroad supply dispute where the Confederacy won the battle but lost the war
Tupelo National Battlefield, Tupelo, MS
Commemorates the site where Union troops fought and won over the Confederate troops battling for access to the railroads
Mississippi Hills, Tupelo, MS
The birthplace of Elvis!
Gulf Islands National Seashore, Ocean Springs MS
The Mississippi of the National Seashore consist of the Davis Bayou area in Ocean Springs and the six barrier islands.
National Parks in Alabama and Florida
Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Birmingham, AL
Honors nonviolent protestors in the racial discrimination fight, established in January 2017
Freedom Riders National Monument, Anniston, AL
Includes a former Greyhound Bus Station, the Freedom Riders fought segregation during travel, also established in January 2017
Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, Daviston, AL
Honors the 800 Upper Creek soldiers who died during the War of 1812
Little River Canyon National Preserve, Fort Payne, AL
Exploration and recreation, amazing river and canyon systems, waterfalls and cliffs
Russell Cave National Monument, Bridgeport, AL
Nature paths and the Birds of Prey program, records of prehistoric Indians
Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, Hayneville, AL
Celebrates the 54-mile non-violent march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Tuskegee, AL
Training site of the Red Tails, the first African American pilots in the US military
Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, Tuskegee, AL
School founded by Booker T. Washington in 1881 for the education of African Americans
Gulf Islands National Seashore, Gulf Breeze, Perdido Key, and Pensacola, FL
The best of the beaches, coastal marshes, nature trails, and marine life. Also includes Ft. Pickens and Ft. Barrancas
While some National Parks are free to enter, other have a small admission fee. Visit NSP.gov to learn more about the National Parks near New Orleans. However, do you have a 4th grader in your family? If so 4th graders can get a special pass that allows them and their families into National Parks for FREE.
4th Graders Get FREE National Park Passes
Just sign up for your free pass at Every Kid In A Park and you’re good to go for the entire school year.
Things to know
The pass is only available to 4th grade students (or the homeschool equivalent). Each pass has a unique code so it can’t be shared with friends. You’ll need to print the pass and bring it with you when you visit. The parks do not accept electronic copies or screenshots. Passes are valid for an entire school year (August to August).
Who can use the pass?
The pass admits all children under 16 and up to three adults with the 4th grader. It also covers one passenger vehicle (for sites that charge vehicle entrance fees). The pass does NOT cover parking fees, excursions, rentals, or special tours.
Why only 4th graders?
Research shows that kids ages 9-11 are more open to learning about the world around them. Also the nature and history of our country. You only get one chance so make sure you see all you can see during that year.
Have you visited any of these locations? Which is your favorite? Which historical area is best for a family road trip? Post your suggestions in the comments!
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