We have dozens of family travel tips on New Orleans Mom. Whether your family seeks a weekend trip within Louisiana, an adventure outdoors in the form of camping, or is looking for family-friendly hiking near New Orleans, look no further! And, if your family are looking for longer vacations within driving distance, check out this list of budget friendly road trips from New Orleans.
Worth the Drive From New Orleans :: White Sands Lake Day Beach
Like many families, we love discovering fun day trip adventures within driving distance of New Orleans. We are thrilled to say that White Sands Lake Day Beach does NOT disappoint and is a solid 10/10 for summer field trips with kids.
White Sands Lake Day Beach
White Sands Lake Day Beach, located on the Northshore of New Orleans, is just over an hour drive from Metairie and well worth the trip! It opens at 11:00am, so you don’t have to race out the door first thing in the morning which is nice for the usual summer pace. White Sands Lake is a simple concept; in essence it is a large lake with sandy shores that features several VERY fun inflatable water toys like slides and trampolines. While children younger than 4-5 may struggle with the inflatable water toys, they would still have plenty of fun on the beach building sandcastles or wading in the shallow shores of the lake. In fact, kids under 2 are FREE so in a way it is risk free for the toddler set.
While you can simply show up to White Sands on the day of your choosing, we strongly recommend booking a cabana in advance. At $50/day, the shade and reserved picnic table are well worth it. If you split it with another family, the cabana becomes even more affordable. If you do not wish to book a cabana, you can simply pay admission at the gate (they do accept credit card), though in that case we absolutely recommend you bring an umbrella as natural shade is hard to come by. Day passes are $18/adult and $12/kid (Under 3 years of age is free). Our group chose to book a cabana a few days in advance; this ensures you have a reserved spot with shade, though you will still purchase day passes at the admission gate when you arrive. The day passes provide all day access to the fun featured, though if you wish to rent a canoe or paddle board that is extra.
White Sands Lake Day Beach :: What To Bring
The wonderful thing about White Sands is that not only is it a short drive from New Orleans, you can also easily bring absolutely everything you need for the day. It’s also a really pretty drive through Folsom to arrive at the property. We strongly recommend a well-stocked ice chest with water, juice, Gatorade, sandwiches and all the snacks your kids may want. We packed lunch, lots of drinks and snacks, as well as some adult beverages. The biggest thing to note is that glass is NOT allowed. The parking lot is a very short walk to the beach, so you should be able to easily carry things to and from your car.
We also recommend that you bring any beach toys and sandcastle toys that your kids may want; there is space to throw a football or play paddle ball or really any other activity your kid would enjoy at the beach. Our kids really didn’t leave the lake except to eat, but think of it like a true day at the beach … with lots of inflatable water toys to enjoy. Kids under 12 MUST wear a life jacket (no exceptions). This made it easier to feel comfortable watching the kids, but this is an absolute rule that does not have room for leeway. The facility does have life jackets for rent.
Of course, we strongly recommend several towels, a dry change of clothes for the ride home and tons of sunscreen. Even with re-applying most of us were pretty sun-kissed after a day at White Sands.
White Sands Packing List ::
- Beach toys / footballs
- Lunch / snacks / drinks / water
- Adult beverages
- Beach chairs, if desired (not mandatory)
- Change of clothes for the ride home
- Cash for the Causeway, if applicable
White Sands Lake Day Beach :: Just go!
Overall, we strongly recommend White Sands Lake Day Beach for an easy, family-friendly day trip with kids from New Orleans. We imagine the weekends are more crowded, but at no time did we feel the crowds were unmanageable, unsafe or too rowdy. Our children truly had a ball swimming in the lake (which is shallow for a good 8-10 feet from shore, perfect for the toddler set). Between the trampolines, water slides, pyramid and more … the kids barely left the water.
If you don’t rent a cabana, you can bring beach chairs and your own umbrella, but we really liked having the covered shade and designated picnic table. Each cabana comes with a grill should you wish to bring food / charcoal to cook. We found it easier to throw sandwiches in the cooler, but the option is there if you want it.
Our group left Metairie around 9:45am, arrived right at 11:00am and our kids were genuinely happy playing and swimming until 5:00pm. For 2 families of four, the outing was roughly $85 per family with the reserved cabana. Because you can pack food from home, it is a very affordable outing not far from the New Orleans area. You cannot stay or sleep on premises, so it is a true day beach / day trip. We had a wonderful time and strongly encourage you to go.
White Sands is – without a doubt – worth the drive from New Orleans!
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