New Orleans’ Hidden Gems: 16 Stunning Beaches to Explore

A beach holiday is always relaxing and calming. New Orleans beaches suit the description perfectly, and they are wonderful beaches to visit if you plan to visit the city. Walking on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves, and watching the sunset are some things on the beach that are therapeutic to the body, mind, and spirit.  Have fun and frolic on the sandy and sunny coast of New Orleans beaches, and make your day trip or vacation relaxing and rejuvenating.

15 Best Beaches Near New Orleans, LA

New Orleans

Located along the Mississippi River in the Southeastern region of Louisiana, the name New Orleans is originally from the French name La Nouvelle Orleans. The city, also known as the ‘Crescent City,’ is famous for its eclectic mix of art, architecture, museums, history, music, cuisine, beaches, and culture. This aspect of the city draws many visitors globally to explore and enjoy the sights and sounds of the place.

New Orleans is not only known for its popular beaches but is also the birthplace of jazz music. The French architecture, music festivals, multicultural events, and Mardi Gras make New Orleans distinct from other cities in the United States. A visit to this city is going to be exciting in many ways.

New Orleans Beaches

Beaches near New Orleans are as beautiful as the New Orleans beaches, and some can be reached easily.

1. Biloxi Beach

New Orleans beaches are first on your list of places to visit while you are in the city, then a visit to Biloxi Beach will not disappoint you. This beach is near New Orleans, also known as the ‘Riviera of the South’ because of the casinos. The beach here is well-maintained, and you can try water sports if you want water adventures.

Apart from the public beach here, large parts of the beach area come under the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a protected area. The location is idyllic for hiking and biking trails; all nature lovers will enjoy the wildlife, islands, and camping grounds.

Biloxi Beach is on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and is surrounded by many barrier islands. You can hire a boat, tour these nearby islands, and experience the greenery, animals, and the many wildlife sanctuaries here.

2. Bogue Chitto State Park

Streams, forests, a cave with many sandstone spires, and a natural gorge welcome you to the Bogue Chitto State Park. This is the ideal place for all nature lovers who love to indulge in outdoor activities, and the campgrounds and cabins here make it possible if you are on a day trip. Located on the North shore of Lake Pontchartrain, it is a secluded area where visitors enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings and experience country living at its best.

Horseback riding is one of the highlights here, and you can ride through the cypress-tupelo swamps. Mountain biking, kayaking, tubing, and canoeing are other activities that can be enjoyed here. You can do many activities here, and a weekend getaway at one of the deluxe cabins is recommended to enjoy all the activities to the fullest.

3. Coconut Beach

If you look at Coconut Beach, it cannot be technically called a beach; it is an artificial beach volleyball complex. The waterline is 650 yards North, and the sand gives it the beach feel. This 100,00 sq-ft sports complex has 22 volleyball courts and is America’s largest sands sports complex.

sand volleyball at coconut beach new orleans

The on-site bar, grill with a fairly good menu, and organized tournaments give the proper beach vibes even without having water. If you are a sports lover looking for New Orleans beaches, this is one of the popular beaches for locals and visitors. There is a lot of space here, and the hotels offer exciting vacation packages to stay and enjoy the beaches, amenities, and ambiance.

4. Cypremort Point State Park

This public recreation park on Vermilion Park features a 1.5-mile beach, a fishing pier, a boat launch, six cabins, and a campground. The stretch of the beach is good for fishing, swimming, sailing, crabbing, windsurfing, and water skiing. The place is not just about the beach; the 185-acre park is perfect for nature lovers.

5. Dauphin Island

You are in New Orleans and want to know about New Orleans beaches. Head towards Dauphin Island, a barrier island in the South of Mobile Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. A three-mile high-rise bridge takes you to Dauphin Island, and you can enjoy the picturesque beaches and beachfront parks seamlessly. Dauphin Island is pet friendly, and though the drive to Dauphin Island is scenic, it is easily reached by ferry. If you are visiting Orange Beach, hopping over to Dauphin Island by ferry is easy.

Since Dauphin Island is just over a two-hour drive from New Orleans, many visitors who go to New Orleans visit the beach, and it can be said to be one of the popular beaches near New Orleans. The Dauphin Island Sea Lab is known for its research and marine center, and the Alabama Aquarium here is educational and informative.

New Orleans Beaches
by Josh McCausland / unsplash

Return to the Colonial era by visiting the historic Fort Gaines at Dauphin Island. Fort Gaines is one of the sites in the famous Battle of Mobile Bay, and they have original cannons, a blacksmith shop, tunnels, museums, and a gift shop for visitors to see.

The Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuary is another attraction with its marshes, dunes, 155 acres of maritime forests, and swamps. Go on their Interpretive Trail Loop to explore these areas and be in tandem with nature and wilderness.

6. Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge

Located on the barrier island, 50 miles South of New Orleans, Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge, though small, is an enjoyable area for fishing and its beach. The beach is at the end of the road, and visitors must park their vehicles and walk over the dunes to reach the beach. The refuge does not allow camping, and no guided tours are available here.

Since it is close to Grand Isle, you can camp at one of the Grand Isle Campgrounds and visit the refuge.

7. Fontainebleau State Park

Located on the North shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Fontainebleau State Park is a delight for visitors looking for a day trip from New Orleans. The state park is known for its nature trails. You can explore the park by going on one of their nature trails or hiking trails, and on the lakeshore, there are some lovely white sandy beaches for sunbathers.

This place is a good choice for a family vacation or weekend getaway. It is one of the New Orleans beaches that can be added to your to-do list when you visit the state. The waterways here are inviting, and the beach is divided in half by an onsite bathroom; on one side is sand, and on the other, trees and rocks.

New Orleans Beaches
by Yehleen Gaffney / unsplash . Copyright 2020

There are deluxe cabins available if you want to stay overnight. Fontainebleau State Park is 50 minutes from New Orleans and can be accessed easily if you have a vehicle.

8. Grand Isle State Park

This barrier island is a two-hour drive from New Orleans to the South, and the beaches here are some of the popular beaches near New Orleans that you can visit for relaxation and tranquility. The Grand Isle, also known as the ‘Sportsman’s Paradise,’ is one of the islands between New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. Fishing and birdwatching are quite popular on this island. The Butterfly Dome is another attraction where you can be one with the butterflies.

Louisiana's Grand Isle - A Camp, Bike, Beach Film

There are different species of fish in the waters, and there are many seafood restaurants, hotels, and campsites here in case you are planning to stay overnight or spend the weekend. Suppose you are looking for a weekend getaway or a family fun gathering on one of the New Orleans beaches; in that case, you may head toward Grand Isle State Park and have fun on the beaches, walk on the 400-ft fishing pier, and go on one of the nature trails to enjoy the natural beauty of the place.

The island is famous for the Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival, which happens in April, and in July, they have the Tarpon Rodeo Fishing Tournament.

9. Holly Beach or the Cajun Riviera

Aptly named the Cajun Riviera, Holly Beach, with its undeveloped shoreline and tranquil settings is a dream location to visit. If you want to go on a day trip to a beach location in New Orleans and want to know more about New Orleans beaches, Holly Beach is one of the best beaches you can visit. Holly Beach is on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, a coastal community. The four-hour drive from New Orleans to see Holly Beach is worth it because it is an ideal tourist destination.

Stroll on the beach, lie down, enjoy the sun, swim with the colorful fish, and try the Cajun Cuisine. A trip here has all the trappings of a perfect beach holiday. Holly Beach should be on the list if you want to visit New Orleans beaches.

1o. Lake Pontchartrain Beach

Lake Pontchartrain Beach is on the South shore of Lake Pontchartrain in the New Orleans Lakefront region. This 15-acre beach site is part of Lakeview, Lake Vista, Lake Terrace, and Pontchartrain Park. Pontchartrain Beach was originally swampland, later made into an area for recreational activities. Swimming, fishing, and boating are allowed here. The beach here is unconventional; it is around the lake and not on the Gulf of Mexico.

New Orleans Beaches
by Thomas Konings / Unsplash. Copyright 2022

The water here is not deep, making it safe for the kids to swim. This white sand beach is near the city and the easiest beach you can visit if you want some relaxation. A few miles from here are the Lincoln Beach Amusement Park remnants and the historical Milneburg Lighthouse.

There are pet-friendly hotels here, and if you love fishing, get your fishing gear and script a memorable beach vacation.

11. Orange Beach

A couple of hours of driving from New Orleans will take you to Orange Beach, where you will have to cross Florida, but even then, crowds from New Orleans visit the beach. The beachfront bar and the grill at the Orange Beach have been known as the ‘cultural landmark’ of the Gulf Coast, and if you are in New Orleans on vacation and looking for New Orleans beaches, this is a perfect spot.

12. Panama City Beach

If you want to know the names of the beaches near New Orleans, Panama City Beach is around a five-hour drive, not only the beach. The sights and sounds on the way are interesting and entertaining. You can plan a good road trip and get to some wonderful spots. If you are short of time and want to visit Panama City Beach, you can always take a flight.

Andrews State Park near Panama City beach is another attraction, and it has a mile of beach along the sandy shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico and Grand Lagoon. You can go camping, swimming, and fishing here, and get a good holiday experience. Are you looking for New Orleans beaches? You may add this one to your list of options since it is not that far from New Orleans.

13. Pensacola Beach

The long beach strips here give beachgoers many options for relaxation and enjoyment. Go on the Footprints in the Sand Eco Trail and get lost in the mysteries of sea turtles, white sand, and seashells. Stroll on the Pethe sunrise or sunset before returning or sunset before heading back home. Eat at one of their seafood restaurants, and let that be a fitting finale to your trip to Pensacola Beach.

New Orleans Beaches
by Alex / unsplash. Copyright 2017

You can experience everything Florida Coast can offer, and the place has beach bars, restaurants, shopping, and other attractions that will keep you entertained while you are there. This Pensacola Beach is on Santa Rosa Island, a barrier island in Florida State.

14. Navarre Beach

The natural and virgin beauty of Navarre Beach near New Orleans is alluring, and it is one of the popular beaches that can be added to your list of places to visit in New Orleans on your trip.

This beach is in Northwest Florida on Santa Rosa Island, away from the maddening crowds of theme parks and crowded beaches. The beach catapulted to fame after filming the movie Jaws, but unlike the movie, the beach is calm and serenely beautiful.

Hike, bike, relax and unwind here. Visit the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center, Navarre Beach Marine Science Station, Navarre Beach Fishing Pier, and other attractions while visiting the beach.

This Florida beach is around 3 1/2 hours away from New Orleans and can be called one of the best beaches near New Orleans. The white sand beaches and the tropical climate beckon many visitors to Navarre Beach all year round.

Navarre Beach is home to the longest pier in the Gulf of Mexico, and if you enjoy fishing, you can spend hours here. If you are lucky, you can spot dolphins and sea turtles.

15. Ship Island

A two-hour drive from New Orleans will take you to Ship Island, which has some of the finest beaches on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Protected by the US Park Service and part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Ship Island excursions are exhilarating to all those who love nautical adventures.

A cruise to Ship Island is affordable, and you can have fun at some of the Coast’s finest beaches. The Ship Island has no trees, and the Ship Island sunburn is quite famous.

It can be accessed only by boat, and there is a historic fort, stunning beaches, and an area for swimming. Restroom facilities with drinking water are available on the north and south sides of the island, and they have covered picnic pavilions.

New Orleans Beaches
by Frances Gunn / unsplash. Copyright 2016

Go on a Moonlight Cruise or a Dolphin Watching Cruise, and marvel at the natural beauty of the surroundings. Other cruises can be booked depending on what you are looking for. You can even take a ferry to Ship Island instead of driving down.

16. White Sands Lake Day Beach

Taking a flight from New Orleans to the White Sands Lake Day beach is the easiest way to reach your destination if you are looking for beaches near New Orleans and planning a beach vacation.

You can enjoy the white sandy shoreline of the beach, play volleyball, or sit under a shaded cabana. There are restrooms and changing rooms in case you want to get into the water for a swim.

White Sands Lake Day Beach trip

An aqua park has many water games, water slides, trampolines, and mats. Get your gear, find your spot on the beach, go for a barbecue grill, and have a relaxing day.

In The End

New Orleans beaches and nearby New Orleans have always been popular and attracted many visitors annually. If you are in New Orleans, you can choose the closest beach to the hotel you are staying in, as there are many options.

New Orleans is a hotspot for all beach lovers, and there are several beaches and seafood restaurants around the beaches if you want to spend a day at one of the beaches.

Now that you have a list of some of the happening New Orleans beaches, what are you waiting for? Pack your swimsuit, sunglasses, and sunscreen, and get ready to enjoy your beach vacation.

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