2023 Guide to Summer Fun in New Orleans

The 2023 Guide to Summer Fun in New Orleans With Kids

Summer Fun in NOLA
Photo Credit :: The Louisiana Children's Museum

There are so many things to do with kids in New Orleans this summer! Below are over 100 of our favorite ideas for every budget, interest and age for entertaining kids in New Orleans. A huge thanks to New Orleans Public Library and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport for advertising in this guide.

New Orleans Public Library

Summer Reading Program New Orleans

Are you up to the challenge? The New Orleans Public Library’s SUMMER FUN & READING CHALLENGE is the coolest way to spend summer days.

Libraries across the country host summer reading programs as a way to encourage reading as a lifelong habit, maintain reading skills that children and teens have achieved throughout the school year, and increase interest in libraries. And the best part is that it’s open to everyone, including adults. With events like Magical Poodles, Crescent Circus, Muses Shoe Decorating for Teens, Best Buy Teen Tech Center Traveling Tech “Petting Zoos,” Hip Hop Cardio with FitNOLA, Author Nights, and more, we have something for everyone. Plus, you have the chance to win prizes for meeting your summer reading goals, including a tote bag designed by local artist Nichol Brinkman.

Sign up today at summerfun.nolalibrary.org.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

New Orleans AirportNo matter where you are travelling this summer, be sure to take advantage of the many helpful amenities at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). Before you leave home, reserve your airport parking online in any of the four parking facilities at MSY. The Economy Garage offers a low-cost parking option and baggage check-in so you can skip the ticket counters and go straight to security. Valet parking provides a convenient, hassle-free experience if you are running late or prefer a curbside arrival.

Once you get to the airport, find everything you need by searching the interactive facility map including Mother’s Rooms, restrooms, shops and kid-friendly restaurants. Be sure to grab a bite to eat or get a last minute travel accessory from one of our award-winning concessions before you fly out.

Experience seamless travel through the Best Airport in North America according to Airports Council International World’s Airport Service Quality program (2021 and 2022).


Tips for Traveling to NOLA With Kids

Visiting New Orleans with Kids
Photo Credit :: Jillian Marie Photography

Whether you are traveling to New Orleans for vacation, or are moving to New Orleans, New Orleans Mom is the ultimate website for having fun with kids in the city.

Now let’s get started, and be sure to show us YOUR New Orleans summer adventures by using the hashtag:


Please note, we do recommend that you check each event/business website for the most up to date information.


The 2023 Guide to Summer Fun in New Orleans With Kids

New Orleans Family Fun
Summer Fun for little kids in New Orleans
Summer Fun in New Orleans for older children
MSY Love
New Orleans Eats
Outdoor Fun New Orleans
Worth the Drive from New Orleans
Learning fun New Orleans
Sports and Fitness New Orleans
Date Night New Orleans
Fun at Home in New Orleans

New Orleans Summer Fun for the Whole Family

  • Head to Lakeside Shopping Center, where there is something for everyone :: shopping, eating, and an awesome Kids’ Castle play area for the littlest members of your family. (The Kids’ Castle play area is open via reserved times and closes daily from 3-3:30 for deep cleaning. Please check their website to reserve play times and for more details.)
  • Spend a day at City Park :: visit Storyland, the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, wander through the Couturie Forest, or play a round of miniature golf at City Putt. Rent a paddleboat for a ride across Big Lake or rent a bike from the boathouse to trek across City Park’s natural wonders. Wheel Fun Rentals has bikes available to rent including surrey bikes, cruisers and bikes with trailers. They also have different boat options including canoes, kayaks, and even swan boats! And did you know you can enjoy an authentic Venetian gondola ride through City Park’s Big Lake? Check out NOLA Gondola for details! Don’t forget to wrap up your park visit with beignets at Cafe du Monde near the playground and Popp Bandstand. There is so much to explore at City Park for every member of your family. 
  • Ride the Street Car and hop off for some shopping and dining. Some of our favorite restaurants along the Streetcar line include Camellia Grill, Superior Seafood, and brunch at the Columns Hotel
  • Explore the French Quarter :: eat Beignets at the original Cafe Du Monde, shop at the French Market, take a tour of the Cabildo Museum while enjoying the a/c and take a family selfie in front of Jackson Square. One New Orleans Mom contributor has the perfect French Quarter family day ideas here!
  • Put on your bathing suit and check out one of the city’s hot spots for water fun. Cool Zoo will open for the summer on May 6 through September 4 (Labor Day). It will be open only on the weekends until May 29 and then for the rest of the week days until the season ends. 
  • Cool off in one of free public pools. Check your local recreation department website for locations and hours. 
  • Escape the heat by catching a movie at one of the local theaters. The Broad Theater and Prytania Theatres are two great options!
  • Explore City Park’s Botanical Garden & Sculpture Garden.
  • Visit Audubon Zoo, one of the top 10 zoos in the country! Visit their brand new Wings of the World exhibit, and enjoy a picnic on the grounds after.
  • Explore the newly renovated Audubon Aquarium when it reopens June 8!
  • Spend some time jamming on the bayou and watch all the fun in the water during Bayou Boogaloo in Mid-City during May 19-21. (Must have ticket to attend.)
  • Both adults and kids can burn some energy with classes at Crescent City Ninjas. If you’ve ever wanted to train in this ninja sport, this is your place! Check their website for more info about your first FREE class.
  • For some more kid friendly ideas in New Orleans, make sure to check this post out.

New Orleans Summer Fun for the Littles:

  • Ready to learn to swim? Here’s our handy guide to swim lessons.
  • The Kids’ Castle at Lakeside Mall is the perfect place to beat the heat with your littles, and it’s free! (The Kids’ Castle play area is open via reserved times and closes daily from 3-3:30 for deep cleaning. Please check their website to reserve play times and for more details.)
  •  Looking for free enrichment to enjoy with your child? Head to any New Orleans public libraries to read some books and enjoy story time. Many libraries have a schedule of activities for children. Check your local branch for story time and hours of operation. 
  • Let your little one reach for bubbles and take a ride on a parachute at a Gym Rompers class where they can explore childhood through both independent play and group engagement. The May sessions run from May 2 – May 31, 2023.
  • Visit The Louisiana Children’s Museum and enjoy the variety of indoor and outdoor hands-on play and learning areas. Timed-entry tickets are required for both the public and members. They are open Wednesday – Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • For the really hot weeks, head to an indoor play place like NOLA Kidsground and Luv 2 Play. (Both require advanced reservations to play.)
  • Make a summer “bucket list” of different playgrounds in your area to play on! Try to get to a new one each week and let your kids “rate” their favorite elements of each playground.
  • Head to the Riverwalk Outlets for Story Time! Join Riverwalk Outlets every Tuesday in June for a Story Time adventure! Explore a world of enchantment with beloved characters, captivating story time, and interactive activities like song and dance or games with popular characters. Plus, enjoy hassle-free parking with validated parking for all attendees. Don’t miss this unforgettable day of fun and imagination beginning at 10:30am near the Children’s Play Area – Adjacent to Nordstrom Rack.

NOLA Summer Fun for the Bigs (School Age Kids and Beyond):

New Orleans Summer MSY Love:

  • Take a stroll along Julia Street to check out the art galleries.
  • Take a Swamp Tour and see if you can spot an alligator.
  • Shop the Crescent City Farmers Market, Gretna Farmers Market, or explore other local farmers markets and stock up on supplies to make your favorite New Orleans recipe. (All Crescent City Farmers Markets are offering different options for each market, please check here for more details.) 
  • Marvel at the creativity of our locals and purchase something for yourself or loved one at the Palmer Park Art Market. Stop by City Park on the second Saturday of every month and Marsalis Harmony Park (formally Palmer Park) on the last Saturday of every month to shop for local art. The market takes place from 10AM – 4PM.
  • Enjoy the Sculpture Garden at City Park. The garden is open and is following these guidelines.
  • The Music Box Village is made up of structures such as phone booths, houses, and Japanese pagodas that play music. It’s a hands-on experience during public hours, and hosts musical concerts as well.
  • Try your hand at glass blowing (or other creative endeavors!) at New Orleans Glassworks & Printmaking Studios.
  • Sample delicious tomato dishes during the Creole Tomato Festival in the French Market June 10-11.

New Orleans Summer MSY Eats:

New Orleans Summer Outdoor Adventures:

  • Get moving at a favorite local park :: team favorites include Audubon Park, Lafreniere Park, and City Park
  • Get up close and personal with the wildlife at the Audubon Zoo
  • Float down the Bogue Chitto River. At the Bogue Chitto Tubing Center, you can choose your means of transportation- tube, canoe, or kayak. 
  • Rent a kayak for some water adventure with Bayou Paddle Sports in Mid-City or Canoe and Trail Adventures on the Northshore. 
  • Go fishing. You can catch and release in City Park or rent a boat from one of the many local fishing charters.
  • Go berry picking all over Louisiana
  • The Barataria Preserve offers a taste of Louisiana’s wild wetlands. Take a self-guided tour on their boardwalks and dirt trails or enjoy the exhibits in their visitor center. (The Preserve is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30am – 4:30pm. The Visitor Center is open year-round and closed on federal holidays and Mardi Gras.)
  • Visit the Lafitte Nature Trail on the Westbank
  • Bring a picnic dinner and catch a gorgeous Louisiana sunset at The Fly on the Southshore or the Mandeville Lakefront on the Northshore.
  • Go camping at a park, or have a backyard camp-out at home.
  • Spend the day at Fontainebleau State Park and enjoy their trails, beach or explore the lake on kayaks or canoes. 
  • Explore 10 acres of cultivated gardens at The New Orleans Botanical Gardens
  • Go geocaching (an activity similar to a worldwide scavenger hunt using coordinates!) and see where the game takes you around New Orleans!

New Orleans Summer Worth the Drive:

Getting sick of New Orleans? The good news for you is several New Orleans moms have put together their best travel tips whether you like camping, cruising, the beach or the mountains

  • Take a day trip to Avery Island home of Tabasco! Visit the factory or restaurant. Take a guided bird tour or take a self guided tour through the Jungle Gardens. Are you a foodie? Then sign up for one of their cooking classes or guided culinary tours through Cajun country. 
  • Take a drive to Mississippi to visit the Infinity Science Center and tour the Stennis Space Center. 
  • Enjoy an animal encounter at Global Wildlife. This wildlife sanctuary located in Folsom, LA, includes zebras, giraffes, camels, and more! Feed these free-roaming animals located on over 900 acres of farmland from your own guided wagon ride. 
  • Looking for something to do in the Hammond area, then take a look at our handy guide.
  • Share a day at the lake making memories at White Sands Lake Day Beach. Enjoy an aqua park, boat rentals, volleyball and more. (2023 season begins 4/29/2023)
  • Located a short ferry ride from Mississippi’s coast, you can find some of the last undeveloped barrier islands in America at Ship Island. Now booking Dolphin Cruises
  • Spend a day at the Mississippi beaches. Choose from Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Long Beach or Gulfport; all are within a 90 minute drive and offer your family hours of free Summer fun. Each beach offers free public access complete with bathrooms, outdoor showers for rinsing off, and free parking. Pack a lunch or check out one of the restaurants in the area. 
  • Go for a hike at the mini Grand Canyon, Red Bluff, in Mississippi
  • Pack the family up and take the short trip out to Sugar Roots Farm to pet the animals, ride horses, and taste some of the deliciousness produced on the farm. (The farm is currently open.)
  • Want to swim with the dolphins? Pet Stingrays? Kiss a sea lion? Take a drive to Gulfport, Mississippi to make special memories at Ocean Adventures Marine Park.
  • Try out the local children’s museum in Gulfport with a day at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center
  • Knock Knock Children’s Museum in Baton Rouge was named “Louisiana Museum of the Year” in 2020
  • Visit Gulf Islands Waterpark for a day of water fun in the sun. (The park re-opens for the season on 5/13/23)
  • Swim over to Blue Bayou Waterpark located in Baton Rouge. (Park reopens 5/31/2023 for the summer season)
  • Plan a getaway to OWA Parks & Resort in Foley, Alabama
  • Splash and slide over to the indoor water park at the Kroc Center in Biloxi
  • Visit the Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum in Gulfport– great for any kids (or adults!) who love trains.
  • Spend a day shopping at Tanger Outlets in Gonzalez.
  • Plan a “Reading Retreat” for you and your friends! 

New Orleans Summer Learning Fun:

  • New Orleans is home to the #3 museum in the country according to Trip Advisor! Our WWII Museum is a must-see attraction that really can’t be missed if you live in this city. They offer children’s programming, a wonderful camp, movies in their Stage Door Canteen, and volunteer opportunities for children aged 13-17. 
  • Check out the Ogden Museum for art exhibits and events. Click here for their programs for kids! (Advance ticket reservations are required at this time.)
  • Take a look at the New Orleans Public Librarys summer events.
  • Instill a love of reading and literacy in your children while you sing songs and play games together in New Orleans READ program.
  • The Backstreet Cultural Museum celebrates  New Orleans’ masking and processional traditions.  It houses a large collection of Mardi Gras Indian costumes and even gives children a chance to learn to sew the costumes themselves. 
  • Learn all about marine life at the Aquarium and enter an underwater world full of penguins, stingrays, and seahorses. The newly renovated aquarium is scheduled to reopen June 8, 2023.
  • Visit the St. Tammany Children’s Museum and build your own rollercoaster. 
  • Visit the New Canal Lighthouse in Lakeview for lots of science-rich fun. The lighthouse is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10-4.

New Orleans Summer Sports and Fitness:

  • The New Orleans Boulder Lounge is New Orleans premier indoor climbing facility.  They offer kids only hours on Sunday morning and youth climbing teams for children aged 5-12. 
  • Sign your littles up for Soccer Shots at one of their many New Orleans locations. For children ages 2-8. 
  • Take a bike ride along the scenic Tammany Trace that spans from downtown Covington, through Abita Springs, Mandeville, Lacombe and ends in Slidell. 
  • Summer means slowing down and taking some time to breathe. Lolo’s Youth Yoga specializes in Children’s yoga. 
  • Go for a run along Crescent Park, a beautiful urban park along the riverfront. 
  • Test your golf skills and have fun at Loft18.
  • Both adults and kids can burn some energy with classes at Crescent City Ninjas. If you’ve ever wanted to train in this ninja sport, this is your place! Check their website for more info about your first FREE class.

New Orleans Summer Date Night (or Date Day): 

Summertime can be difficult to carve out one-on-one time with our partners, but it is important that we try! Set aside some time this summer to go on a date with your partner. We have you covered for nights where you just want to laugh, the Amazon order you need to make, and a list of 25 date night ideas

New Orleans Summer Fun at Home:

Do you find it too hot to leave your home? Or just need some ideas for when you are stuck inside on a rainy day? Whether you enjoy cooking, crafting or cleaning to pass the time, we have a ton of indoor ideas to last the entire summer.

  • Make homemade popsicles.
  • Plant a vegetable garden.
  • Have a water balloon or squirt gun fight.
  • Roast marshmallows for s’mores.
  • Have a lemonade stand.
  • Build a fort in your living room.
  • Let the kids cover themselves in shaving cream in the backyard then hose them off.
  • Send letters or pictures to friends and family.
  • Make root beer floats.
  • Play in the sprinkler.
  • Make tie dyed t-shirts.
  • Make homemade ice cream (use this easy ice cream in a bag if you don’t have an ice cream maker).
  • Do some youtube kids exercise videos. We particularly like Cosmic Kids Yoga and Moovlee.
  • Go for a neighborhood scavenger hunt.
  • Draw on the fence with chalk and then spray it clean with a garden hose.
  • Transform your water table into a rice table, beans table, or dirt table for trucks.
  • Try a new board game. Here are 13 suggestions.

Still Need More Ideas?

2023 New Orleans Summer Camps
The ultimate guide to New Orleans summer camps, programs and activities for all ages, schedules and budgets!

10 Places for Water Fun In & Around New Orleans 
Pools, water parks, splash pads and more!

10 Boredom Busters to Prime Right Now
Have these items delivered straight to your door to provide your kids with hours of entertainment!

Things to Do When it Rains
Stormy weather have you feeling gray? Are the kids crying and saying that they are bored? Plan your days activities with our guide to New Orleans on a rainy day!

Family Fun in Hammond
With its active downtown, many parks, events, and businesses, it’s easy to see why people are having fun in Tangi. This welcome guide to the Hammond area showcases over 60 things to do when you’re here.

25 FREE {or almost free} Date Night Ideas
Carving out time with your partner or spouse is so important but it can also be hard on the budget! Here are 25 FREE {or almost free} date night ideas in New Orleans.

Explore the Outdoors on the Northshore
The Northshore has a ton of outdoor activities to keep you and your family busy!

Play Tourist In Your Own City
Pack up the kids and go play tourist in your very own New Orleans! Here are our top tips and tricks for visiting New Orleans with kids. Have anything to add?

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Summer Pools to Visit New Orleans
Photo Credit :: Ochsner Fitness
Erica lives in Kenner with her husband Michael and her three sons, Benjamin, Joshua, and Elijah. After graduating from UL Lafayette with a degree in advertising and landing her dream job, she left her chosen field and now works part time as an administrative assistant for a Catholic retreat movement. She spends the rest of her time at home with her boys, finding lost toys and actively ignoring various messes. In 2019, she self-published her first book, The Sister. There's not a lot of free time between working, reading and writing, and chasing her kids, but in those moments she's usually sprawled on the sofa in casual denial about just how messy her house is.


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