Your route from New Orleans to Waco is chock-full of interesting Southern historical sights and adventurous outdoor excursions. You'll learn about the history of jazz in one of the most culturally diverse cities in America at the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park. Visits to a few amazing state parks send you kayaking down scenic bayous and take you on mysterious swamp walks. You'll also pass through the exciting cities of Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Houston.
Enjoy the cultural and musical history of a couple of national parks before you leave for your New Orleans to Waco road trip.
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
A visit to the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park should definitely make it onto your Louisiana bucket list. Stop at the visitor center located across the French Market for information about live performances, jazz walking tours, and lectures. You can also check out interesting visual displays and films and enjoy a Q&A with the park's rangers, many of whom are jazz musicians themselves. Admission is free, so be sure that you spend some time learning about all things jazz while you're in the heart of its birthplace.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park
Named after the famous 19th-century French pirate, Jean Lafitte National Park comprises six separate sites around New Orleans. You can start in the city at the French Quarter Visitor Center for the history, culture, and traditions of the local area and the Mississippi River Delta. Then, you can head over to the Chalmette Battlefield and Cemetery for a tour of the grounds and a talk about the Battle of New Orleans. While you're here, make sure you hop aboard the Creole Queen Historic Paddlewheeler Cruise for a journey down the Mighty Mississippi. You should also check out the Barataria Preserve and the three Acadian Cultural Centers before you hit the road.
Check out a few state parks on your road trip from New Orleans to Waco. Some of the most lovely parks are not far from your route.
Fontainebleau State Park
Fontainebleau State Park is just a 50-minute drive north of New Orleans and is located on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. At this park, you can walk through the historic ruins of a 19th-century sugar plantation surrounded by 600-year-old oak trees, hike paths that take you through swamplands, and visit the Northlake Nature Center and have the kids enjoy themselves at its water playground. At the Nature Center, you'll also experience three different ecosystems, an archaeological site, and an abandoned golf course clubhouse. If you enjoy biking, there's a 30-mile bike trail that winds through the park and surrounding communities, and the lush bayous nearby are great for kayaking.
Palmetto Island State Park
Palmetto Island State Park is one hour south of Lafayette and offers plenty of immersive outdoor activities that lead you down bayous into hidden lagoons and on relaxing fishing excursions along the Vermilion River. This park is also an excellent place to spot local wildlife. You're likely to see wild hogs, deer, and even a few sunbathing gators. Camping is available here, so plan to stay for at least one night to enjoy the sights and sounds of the bayou and swamps for a real Southern experience.
Village Creek State Park
At Village Creek State Park, you'll have fun in the sun as you cast a line for catfish and bass on one of the only free-flowing creeks in Texas. Stay awhile, and explore the park's eight miles of trails that take you through bottomland swamps, forested areas, and floodplains. This park is also perfect for mountain biking, picnicking, and camping. Swimming is available; however, alligators are commonly found in the park, so be sure to follow the park's swimming safety tips if you want to take a dip.
Brazos Bend State Park
Brazos Bend State Park welcomes you to Texas with 37 miles of scenic hiking trails to explore and plenty of chances to see gators. You can also spend the day fishing, enjoying the nature center, and stargazing from the George Observatory during the evening. Don't forget to bring your binoculars to view an abundant species of birds and wildlife that include horned owls, bald eagles, deer, and, of course, armadillos.
Oak Alley Plantation
Experience over 200 years of Southern history at Oak Alley Plantation. At this stunning location, you can go on a variety of tours that walk you around the grounds and into the "Big House" where you can peruse dozens of historical exhibits. Outside, you'll want to snap a few unforgettable photos under the 300-year-old alley of oaks, which were featured in the popular 1994 film "Interview with the Vampire."
Stop at NASA on your way through Houston for an out-of-this-world adventure where you can land a space shuttle, watch NASA astronauts train for missions, and touch a real moon rock. Behind-the-scenes tours are also offered, and you can learn more about the "Red Planet" at the Mission to Mars exhibit. Not to be missed is a visit to Independence Plaza for an onboard tour inside a replica of the shuttle Independence.
George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Exploration of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is a must on your New Orleans to Waco RV road trip. At this interesting destination, you'll have access to over 70 million pages of presidential records as well as audiovisual and electronic recordings, videos, and photos from the Bush Administration. In the museum, you can check out state-of-the-art interactive exhibits and more than 43,000 artifacts that are mainly composed of gifts given to the former president and the first lady.
A stop in Baton Rouge should definitely be on your New Orleans to Waco road trip itinerary. Start off your journey at Magnolia Mound Plantation for some immersive 18th-century history. Then, pop over to the Spanish Town Historic District, the epicenter of the annual Mardi Gras Parade, for a shrimp po'boy or hand-tossed pizza at the Spanish Town Market. Some more places you'll want to experience are Mike the Tiger's Habitat, the LSU Museum of Art, Louisiana's Old State Capitol, and the Red Stick Farmer's Market on Thursdays and Saturdays. There are plenty of beautiful campgrounds around Baton Rouge to enjoy with dump stations located on-site for your convenience.
Lafayette is famous for its classic Cajun cuisine, eerie swamps, and historical museums. While you're here, jump onto one of Champagne's Cajun Swamp Tours for a breezy ride on scenic Lake Martin. Then, enjoy an authentic Southern foodie experience on Cajun Food Tours. You should also check out the Vermilionville Historic Village, a living history museum with live music and dancing, and be sure to also include Avery Island, The French Press, and the Hilliard Art Museum to your Lafayette bucket list. Campgrounds can be found in and around Lafayette, so you can take your time having fun in this city. Dump stations are also conveniently located around town, so you can hit the road with clean RV tanks.
Houston is a fantastic place to relax, unwind, and enjoy some of the most savory barbecue in Texas at Feges BBQ. You'll find fine European fare at a unique ski-style eatery, The Chalet at Rosie Cannonball, where you can nosh on s'mores while sipping an Alpine Martini. Kick it old-school at the Rooftop Cinema Club Drive-In at EaDo, and watch a few classic flicks as you munch on hot snacks from some of the best local food trucks. Before you go, check out the Downtown Aquarium, Discovery Green, Kemah Boardwalk, and the Art Car Museum. It's easy to explore more of Houston when you stay at a nearby campground. You can find a variety of clean dump stations around the city.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from New Orleans to Waco, 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 New Orleans or Waco.