A family that plays together, stays together. And what better place and time to play than summertime in New Orleans? The days are longer, work hours are shorter, classes are out, and the sun is up, so make the most of this spectacular season with a vacation fit for fun.

From the best waterpark slides to ice-cold sno-balls, there are endless options to keep the entire family happy. We’ve even got KreweCar, a ride share service specifically for families that provides car seats for children. Whether you’re traveling with teens, tweens, or tots, here’s everything you need to plan the perfect summer family vacation to New Orleans.

Zack Smith

As a staple of the riverfront experience in New Orleans, the Audubon Aquarium is fun for all ages. Summer is the perfect time to visit the fish, sharks, alligators, penguins, and tropical birds of the Aquarium. Located in the same building, the Audubon Insectarium encourages you to use all five senses as you explore a museum devoted to some of the world's most fascinating and important insects. At Bug Appétit discover and taste edible insect cuisine, explore a beautiful garden overlooking the Mississippi River with hundreds of free flying butterflies, muse over 50 displays with live arthropods, and much more.

Image Courtesy of Audubon Nature Institute

One of the best things about summertime is all the fun ways to keep cool and beat the heat. A favorite hotspot to cool off is Audubon Zoo’s Cool Zoo, a seasonal waterpark experience that operates each May-August. This outdoor oasis comes complete with a 750-foot lazy river with two sand beaches, an alligator water slide, spider monkey soakers, water-spitting snakes, and more splash-worthy activities.

Paul Broussard

Ice cream is fun and shakes are satisfying, but in New Orleans, the sno-ball reigns supreme. Treat your family to an icy summer treat at one of New Orleans’ many sno-ball stands across the city. Bubble gum, sour apple, rainbow, and cream of chocolate are just a few kid-friendly favorite flavors. Browse a few of our other icy summer treats fit for families. Take our sno-ball quiz and find out what flavor you are!

Zack Smith

Sure, New Orleans is known for its late-night music venues, but that doesn’t mean that live music is off limits for families with kids under 21, or even under 18. The iconic Preservation Hall is perhaps one of the most popular options for music-loving families, since their shows are not only all ages, but they offer multiple shows nightly starting at bedtime friendly-hours like 5 and 6 p.m. Three Muses and Snug Harbor on Frenchmen Street are also both solid, family-friendly favorites. Looking for more ideas? See our guide for Where to See Live Music Under 21

Zack Smith

Between the Louisiana Children’s Museum, Storyland, and the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, New Orleans City Park is a stomping grounds for a family fun day. Make sure to fuel up with a bite from the casual kid’s cafe, Acorn, and top the meal off with sugary beignets from City Park’s own Cafe du Monde.

Photographer- Paul Broussard

Festing is fun, and it’s even better with family. While New Orleans is filled with a lineup of amazing summer fests and events, there are a few standout events that are fit for families. French Market Creole Tomato Festival and Satchmo Summerfest are just a few to check out during your summer family vacation.

Zack Smith

While a visit to the museum is always a good idea, it's especially opportune during August, which marks Museum Month. Museum hop with the whole family for one flat rate membership fee all month long. History buffs can take advantage of the World War II Museum, whereas art-lovers can make their way to the New Orleans Museum of Art or the Ogden.

Zack Smith

Nobody does dining like New Orleans - even the kiddos can experience the full flavors of our cuisine. Family-friendly dining is about more than offering a kid's menu. Barracuda, Dat Dog, Camellia Grill, The Blue Crab, and Port Orleans Brewing Co. are just a few places that go above and beyond to create a family-friendly atmosphere for their diners with children. Find even more kid-friendly dining picks here.

Rebecca Todd

Carnival season may have passed, but Mardi Gras-inspired fun and history are available year-round at Mardi Gras World. Get a taste of Fat Tuesday with a tour of Kern Studios - where Mardi Gras is made. See the floats and costumes that are used for Mardi Gras, and you can even sample King Cake, a seasonal delicacy of Carnival.

Rebecca Todd

A day of play paired with an afternoon of nibbles sounds like an ideal family outing. This summer, grab the gang for an unforgettable New Orleans-style picnic featuring po-boys, crawfish, sno-balls, and Zapp’s potato chips. Check out our favorite locations throughout the city perfect for picnicking.