Take A Trip To This Popular Southern US Tourist Spot For Your Next Camping Adventure

Other than maybe New York or Los Angeles, is there another U.S. city that evokes more picturesque clichés than New Orleans? Just a mere mention of its name conjures up images of sultry nights, dazzling costumes at Mardi Gras, atmospheric jazz bars, revelers on Bourbon Street, and people stuffing themselves silly with freshly boiled crawfish. These stereotypes have been popularized by countless movies and TV shows, so one type of activity definitely doesn't seem to fit the familiar profile when visiting the Big Easy: camping.

Camping and cities don't naturally go hand-in-hand. After all, isn't the whole idea of camping to get away from urban life for a while and recharge your batteries in the great outdoors? Yet the idea of pitching up in New Orleans shouldn't seem so weird. Temperatures in Louisiana are hot to warm all year round, only dipping to an average low of 45 degrees in January. Making a campsite your base is a great way to keep costs down when hotel prices soar during peak season. Not only that, New Orleans is relatively compact, and there are several campgrounds located within the city limits only a short drive from the downtown area. So load up the RV and check out what camping in and around NOLA looks like.

Campgrounds in and around New Orleans

There is a surprising selection of campgrounds in and around New Orleans, and RV tourists are particularly well catered to. One of the biggest is KOA, part of a nationwide franchise that provides plenty of room for RVs, cabins, and individual sites to pitch a tent. Situated in the River Ridge district not far from the banks of the Mississippi, the camp has all the usual amenities, including electric, water, gas, fire pits, a swimming pool, and a laundry room. It also has a small shop selling snacks, drinks, camping gear, and souvenirs. The site is well maintained and secure; the communal shower and toilet facilities need a code for entry, so not just anyone can wander in.

If you want to get a little closer to nature, try Bayou Segnette State Park (pictured above). Located across the river on the outskirts of town, the campsite is a little more rustic but still has plenty of facilities and provides access to a range of activities including fishing, boating, bird-watching, and exploring the bayous and nature trails. There is also plenty of wildlife including snakes, armadillos, crawfish (look out for the telltale chimneys), and alligators, making your stay feel like a proper Deep South adventure. With its subtropical climate, you also need to be prepared for a few things that can make a camping trip unpleasant: high temperatures, humidity (only a masochist would sleep in a tent in the height of summer), and lots of bugs.

Things to do and eat in New Orleans

Many New Orleans campsites are within easy reach of downtown and the French Quarter, but there are plenty of interesting sights and activities that are a little more off the beaten path. Fans of the spooky and the gothic will enjoy investigating St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 with its densely packed rows of crumbling crypts and mausoleums. Or you might delve into the mysterious secrets of voodoo at the Historic Voodoo Museum as well as Marie Laveau's house — a walking tour with the added benefit of a guide takes in both popular sites. Plenty of other tours reveal the fascinating and not-always-happy history of the city, such as a visit to the Whitney Plantation, dedicated to exploring the legacy of slavery in the United States. 

If you fancy taking in some of the city's history in fine style, you can do it from the water with a day cruise on a Mississippi steamboat. Some options come complete with jazz musicians and a traditional Creole lunch onboard. 

On the subject of eating, just about every guide recommends New Orleans' iconic dishes such as beignets, po'boys, and gumbo. The French Quarter and surrounding area are packed with places where you can sample these delights, but it is worth exploring further afield for some really authentic local cuisine. Walker's BBQ was a favorite spot for Anthony Bourdain and comes recommended for its Cochon de Lait Po'Boy, while Drago's is famous for its signature charbroiled oysters.