Family adventures don’t require airfare. Just a tank of gas and an open afternoon are all you need to experience new things with your family.
It is not unusual for all four of us (husband, daughter, son and I) to get into our car on a Sunday afternoon, get to the end of our street, sit and ask the age old question: right or left?
What started out as a way to just get out of the house and allow our kids to have a change in scenery (bonus points if they happened to take a nap) has become a way for us to find new adventures within driving distance from our house. We might end up in False River, Hammond, St. James or Amite. We never know and that is the part that we love so much. We just drive.
Did you know that most weekends you can watch RC airplanes and helicopters practice at Kelly Field in Avondale? The New Orleans Aviation Club meets there for practices. My kids love going. We bring snacks and sit out on the grass, watching all of the planes do stunts. It is the perfect place to hang out and meet new people. If you ask nicely, sometimes the RC owners let you fly their plane.
Oak Alley is a great place to let the kids run around while learning some Louisiana history. The grounds are beautiful and they have daily tours of the home, which is a nice reprieve from the Louisiana heat. There is a restaurant and bar on the grounds as well. Tip: the bar serves amazing lemonade juleps.
We stumbled on Wetland Watchers Park off of I-10 on accident late one afternoon. It is a great place for a picnic, walking through the wetlands and looking at the lake. There are pavilions and wooden walkways all throughout the park. It’s quiet and beautiful. Our kids had a great time. Afterwards, we had a delicious dinner at nearby Frenier Landing in Laplace. My kids still talk about how much fun they had that day.
While driving through Pierre Part randomly one Sunday afternoon, we found Adam’s Cypress Swamp Driftwood Museum while attempting to find a place to turn around. It is a really interesting place and Mr. Adam was really friendly. He has so many types of statues made from cypress on exhibit in his front yard. We walked around and admired all of the creativity that must have been needed to create the wonderful things that were on exhibit. The kids were really impressed and had to take a picture with each one.
One day, on a whim, we found ourselves driving to Grand Isle state park. The drive is beautiful. It’s not Destin, FL but the kids didn’t care. Towels, sunscreen, a couple of buckets and beach chairs were all that we brought. We spent all day, walking along the water, letting the kids play and listening to what a wonderful day they had the entire ride home.
We have eaten lunch on the Mississippi River levee while watching barges pass by. We have gone on impromptu field trips to Nottoway, San Francisco, Houmas House, and Destrehan Plantations. We have taken the Plaquemine Ferry more times than I can count, each time with the windows down and the kids screaming in excitement in the back seat. Port Hudson in early spring is a great place to picnic and walk around with the kids. We find ourselves there quite often. It was because of one of these afternoon drives that we discovered the annual Civil War reenactment that takes place here and now it has become one of our favorite things to see together.
As our kids grow older, there are more electronics in the house and less telling me how their day at school was. I love our Sunday drives. We get to visit, laugh and discover new places together. Our drives began as an activity to get my kids to take a nap and has now blossomed into something so much more than that.