A Jacksonville to New Orleans road trip is an ideal adventure for nature lovers, especially if they love the water. You may want to plan on ending your trip at the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, but before you get there, you can have a lot of fun playing in state parks in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Consider incorporating stops at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park to learn some folk tunes and at Dudley Farm Historic State Park to learn about historic farming techniques. Then, you can plan on visiting several state parks where playing in the water is the focus. As you roll along, you'll also be able to visit Gulf Islands National Seashore and many historical sites. You can also see many cities, like Mobile, Alabama and Tallahassee, Florida, with fun things to do along your route.
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is located on 4 acres within Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans. It also operates a separate information center in New Orleans at 911 North Peters Street. At the park, you can see many statues dedicated to great jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong and Sidney Belcher. Several self-guided walking tours are available that allow you to visit important sites in jazz history. This park also keeps an updated calendar of jazz concerts in the French Quarter and other parts of New Orleans.
Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park
You can learn a great deal about Stephen Foster and the music he wrote, including "Beautiful Dreamer" and "My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night," by stopping at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park near White Springs, Florida. Head to the museum to learn the story behind many of his songs, including "Old Folks at Home." Then, go to Craft Square to witness live displays of pioneer skills, including quilting, blacksmithing and making stained glass. Hike or bike along trails that run along the Suwanee River. The bells at this park play a Stephen Foster tune hourly, so enjoy their beautiful sound.
Dudley Farm Historic State Park
If you grew up in a farming family or hearing stories about life on the farm, you won't want to miss a stop at Dudley Farm Historic State Park, near Newberry, Florida. Head to the 18 restored farm buildings built between 1880 and 1930 to help with the chores on this real working Florida farm that's operated like many were over 100 years ago. You can help feed the chickens, pump water and partake in many other tasks. The costumed rangers will be glad to give you instructions if you need help. This park’s nature trail is the perfect place to stretch your legs or sit in the rocking chairs on the farmhouse’s front porch and people-watch.
Meaher State Park
Experience the Mobile-Tensaw Delta by stopping at Meaher State Park. Bring your fishing gear to fish off the pier in Mobile Bay. Back up to the boat ramp and unload your vessel to enjoy boating and fishing on the Blakely River. Stroll along the two boardwalks at this park near Spanish Fort, Alabama, to see the delta’s unique flora and fauna. You'll want to bring your camera along to catch images across the water, especially as the sun sets.
Buccaneer State Park
Buccaneer State Park is a great place to play in the water because this Waveland, Mississippi, location has a 4.5-acre water park overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Two waterslides, a wave pool and a lazy river are just a few of the attractions. The 1.8-mile nature trail is the perfect place to explore how a natural area recovers from a hurricane as this park took a direct hit during Hurricane Katrina. Challenge your friends to a round of disc golf on the par-3, 18-hole golf course. Your children will adore exploring the playground equipment near the park’s pavilions. Stock up on supplies at the camp store in the activity building, where you can also play in the swimming pool.
Fontainebleau State Park
Head to Lake Pontchartrain to explore Fontainebleau State Park, which was once the home to a sugar mill owned by Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville, who founded the nearby town of Mandeville, Louisiana. You can still see the remains of his home that was constructed around 1829 at this location. This park is surrounded on three sides by water, and the boardwalks allow you to explore its unique ecosystem. Find a quiet spot to go bird-watching as over 400 different species have been spotted in this park. Go in-line skating, hiking or biking along the old railroad tracks that run through the center of this park. The beach is a great spot to build sandcastles as you watch the sailboats navigate their way around the lake. Special events that often include guided walks occur almost every Saturday at this park.
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
For more than 65 years, people have been heading to Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park on Oskaloosa Island near Fort Walton Beach, Florida, to engage with marine animals. Watch one of the dolphin shows to learn more about the behaviors of these amazing animals. Laugh at the sea lions' antics as they do tricks, and learn more about how handlers use humane training techniques with them. Hike along the park’s Expedition Trail to see various turtles, birds, tortoises and alligators. Most enclosures have low fences, so you won't have to pick up short kids along the way, and the staff is happy to share their knowledge.
Battleship Memorial Park
It's hard to miss the huge battleships as you drive near the bay in Mobile, and you'll want to stop and visit them and the other attractions at Battleship Memorial Park. The largest ship is the USS Alabama that was christened on February 1, 1940, and safely carried a crew of 2,500 soldiers through World War II. Next to the USS Alabama is the USS Drum submarine, which is the oldest submarine on public display in the United States. You'll also want to tour the Aircraft Pavilion at this park, where you can see over 28 aircraft used from World War II to the Cold War era. Don't miss tanks and artillery belonging to all military branches and used during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War that are also on display.
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Six areas in Florida and six areas in Mississippi make up the Gulf Islands National Seashore. If you love to bike, consider riding the 15.5-mile-long Live Oaks Bicycle Route connecting the Davis Bayou Area to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Numerous hiking trails are available, and you may want to consider following the Florida National Scenic Trail in the Santa Rosa, Florida, area. There are also many spots, like Opal Beach, Langdon Beach and Johnson Beach, that are perfect for swimming. Stargazing, scuba diving, snorkeling and many other activities are also available.
Institute for Marine Mammal Studies
You'll want to visit the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi. Learn how they care for and rehabilitate sick and injured marine animals, including sea turtles. Interact with dolphins and swim with stingrays during your visit.
Tallahassee, Florida, campgrounds may be the perfect place to stay for a night while exploring Florida. Options include Tallahassee RV Park, which is just off Interstate 10, and Big Oak RV Park, located near Lake Jackson Mounds Archeological Park. Options for RV dump stations in Tallahassee include October Bend RV Park and Rocky’s Convenience Store and Campground.
Mobile is another city where you'll want to consider camping on your road trip from Jacksonville to New Orleans. Mobile campground options include Bella Terra of Gulf Shores with its infinity pool and Driftwood RV Park with its beautiful country setting. Find Mobile RV dump stations at Chickasabogue Park and Campground, I-65 RV Campground and other nearby locations.
Biloxi is a beautiful city that you may want to spend some time exploring. Biloxi campground choices include Gulf Beach RV Resort, which overlooks a white sandy beach, and Oaklawn RV Park, located close to the casinos. Fox’s RV Park & Complex and Cajun RV Park are a couple of great choices for Biloxi RV dump stations.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Jacksonville to New Orleans, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Jacksonville or New Orleans.