Looking for a beach destination to hit this summer? Well, it's time to get packing! Thanks to a few beach friendly towns and our neighboring state of Mississippi, we found eight beaches you can visit within a close driving distance of New Orleans. The beaches below are listed from closest to furthest, all within the state of Louisiana and Mississippi.
Fountainebleau State Park
Mandeville is home to our closest beach which is at Fountainebleau State Park. Sunbathers can relax along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain while watching the boats sail on by. If you want a break from the beach, you can hike one of the many trails or visit the Sugar Mill Ruins. Make it a weekend trip by camping overnight or renting a cabin. The cost to enter the park is $3. Seniors over 62 and kids ages 3 and under enter free. Photo courtesy: Fountainebleau Facebook
Bay St. Louis, Miss.
It only takes an hour and a trip across the state line to get to the next closest beach. Bay St. Louis, Miss. is a quaint town with miles of beaches, marinas and great restaurants on the water. The beach has a very gradual slope into the water, so it stays pretty shallow. That makes it a perfect spot for families with small children. Photo courtesy: Old Town Bay St. Louis
You don’t have to travel to the Caribbean to visit the islands. Just take a short drive to Gulfport, Miss., and hop aboard the Ship Island ferry. Within an hour, you’ll be chilling on an island in the Gulf. During the summer months, the ferry leaves every day at 9 a.m. and noon. You can relax on the beach, hike around the island or explore the historic Fort Massachusetts. If you have some extra time while in Gulfport, you may want to try kite surfing or take the kiddos to Gulf Island’s Waterpark. Photo courtesy: Ship Island Excursions
About 30 minutes up the coast from Gulfport is Biloxi, Miss. — a hotspot for beaches, casinos, restaurants and all types of sports. Rent yourself a chair and umbrella, and listen to the sounds of the Gulf. If you want a little more action, rent yourself a jet ski or an aqua cycle. Photo courtesy: Best Bets Biloxi
About 110 miles due South of New Orleans is another barrier island with a great beach. However, you don’t need a ferry to get there, you can just take a drive. Grand Isle has a 10 mile stretch of white sandy beaches perfect for relaxing and lounging in the sun. It’s also known for great game fishing with tuna, tarpon and redfish being the most popular. Photo courtesy: Town of Grand Isle
Cypremort Point Beach
The beginning of the Cajun Rivera lies a little more than two hours west of New Orleans near Avery Island. The beach is located within a state park, so there is a fee to enter. The cost is $3 for folks between the ages of 4 and 61. Guests can rent golf carts and cabins to stay overnight. If you have some extra time you should consider visiting the nearby Tabasco Factory. Photo courtesy: Louisiana State Parks
Thanks to the “lake” in Lake Charles folks living in that area have a beach in which to frolic. It’s a small beach located just off Interstate 10. If you want to spend the night, we’re sure the nearby Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel would happily accommodate you. Photo courtesy: Visit Lake Charles
The western edge of the Cajun Riviera sits 50 miles south of Lake Charles and only 40 miles from the Texas border. Holly Beach was destroyed by both Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike but has since been rebuilt. Shell collecting, fishing and crabbing are popular activities here. Photo courtesy: The Cajun Riviera