15 BEST Beaches in New Orleans [January 2020]

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New Orleans is a city that’s surrounded by water – so there are many different options for a day on the beach. Although New Orleans’s beaches may not offer the typical blue water and white sand experience, there are some beautiful places to enjoy a summer’s day along the water. 

Looking for the best New Orleans beach? Luckily, there are many options to choose from along the coast. Some of the best beaches can be found within a 3-hour radius of the city which is a huge bonus for those looking to explore more of the city. There is also the whole Gulf Coast that can be explored from the Big Easy! 

Here is our guide to finding the best beaches near New Orleans.

Best Places to Stay in New Orleans

The ultimate New Orleans beach holiday starts with great accommodation. Here are some of our top places to stay in the Big Easy.

Alder Hotel Uptown New Orleans

Best Budget Hotel in New Orleans

Alder Hotel Uptown New Orleans

Alder Hotel Uptown New Orleans is our pick for the best budget hotel in New Orleans

The Alder Hotel offers everything you would require for a comfortable stay, all available at a great price. The central uptown location is one of the main reasons to choose this hotel as your New Orleans base due to its ease of convenience.

The quality facilities and modern rooms make sure that your stay will be one to remember too.

Blake Hotel New Orleans

Best Mid-range Hotel in New Orleans

Blake Hotel New Orleans

Blake Hotel New Orleans is our pick for the best mid-range hotel in New Orleans

Located in the heart of New Orleans, Blake Hotel is an excellent choice for any visitor. Enjoy the restaurant, the elegantly furnished rooms, and the superior service on offer here.

The location is particularly good, being within easy walking distance of the French Quarter and other must-see spots.

Omni Royal Orleans Hotel

Best Luxury Hotel in New Orleans

Omni Royal Orleans Hotel

Omni Royal Orleans Hotel is our pick for the best luxury hotel in New Orleans

It doesn’t get more luxurious than the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel. If you are looking for the most opulent setting and convenient location, then this would be the place to go.

Guests can enjoy many fantastic amenities, thoughtfully finished rooms, and beautiful fittings throughout the hotel.

Ready to book? Here are our favorite areas to stay in New Orleans!

#1 – Pass Christian Beach

An Idyllic New Orleans Beach Escape

Pass Christian Beach

Pass Christian Beach (Photo credit – evolvevacationrental.com)

  • A boutique small town with a big stunning beach
  • 26 miles long

Pass Christian Beach is only an hour outside of New Orleans – offering the ideal destination for a seaside getaway! The small town of Pass Christian is one of the most charming places to visit in Mississippi. While visitors enjoy the little shops and cafes in the town, the main drawcard has got to be the beach. 

Pass Christian Beach offers long stretches of clean sand and natural dunes. In the true style of the area, the water here is pretty murky. However, it is still great for swimming on a hot summer’s day! 

#2 – Biloxi Beach

An Iconic Beach Resort Destination

Biloxi Beach

Biloxi Beach (Photo credit – tripstodiscover.com)

  • A busy destination with beach resorts and casinos
  • 3.2 miles long

Biloxi Beach is a popular destination for an exciting seaside holiday. This beach is close to Pass Christian, and so the landscape is fairly similar. The water isn’t very clear, and the sands are not your typical soft white stretches. However, this is a New Orleans beach with plenty of character. 

The beachfront is lined with big hotels and resorts. There are casinos and plenty of action that can be found here. The vibe in Biloxi is really lively too, making it a top destination for those seeking a fun weekend away from New Orleans. 

Editor’s Note: You might also like to look at our best hotel recommendations in New Orleans!

#3 – Coconut Beach

A Great Beach for Volleyball Lovers

Coconut Beach

Coconut Beach (Photo credit – coconutbeachla.com)

  • A man-made beach complex in Keller
  • 100,000 square feet

This is definitely not your typical beach. Due to the fact that it is actually a man-made sports complex, Coconut Beach offers visitors something a little different. However, this beach is one of the best places to go for soft sand and an exciting atmosphere. 

Coconut Beach features 22 volleyball courts, a bar, and a grill. You can enjoy the different volleyball leagues and tournaments that take place here, or just visit for the fun beach atmosphere. 

Coconut Beach is located in Kenner, making it one of the quickest and easiest beaches to reach from the city. 

#4 – Grand Isle

A Nature Lovers Paradise

Grand Isle

Grand Isle (Photo credit – rvusa.com)

  • The Grand Isle State Park offers stunning natural beauty close to the city
  • 8 miles long

Grand Isle is a barrier island on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. In fact, it is the only inhabited island here. This is possibly the closest beach to New Orleans in terms of the Gulf Coast coastline. For those after a complete natural escape, the Grand Isle State Park is one of the best places to go! 

You get a real sense of isolation while visiting. This is why it is such a popular destination for birdwatching, camping, and fishing. Grand Isle State Park has a couple of beaches found along its island shore. All of them are completely unspoiled and loaded with natural beauty. 

Are you made of money? If not, our helpful Downtown New Orleans hotel guide was made for you!

#5 – Holly Beach

A Hotspot on the Cajun Riviera

Holly Beach

Holly Beach (Photo credit – onlyinyourstate.com)

  • One of the best coastal escapes in Louisiana
  • 6 miles long

Holly Beach, also known as the Cajun Riviera, is not the closest beach to New Orleans. Being about 4 hours outside of Crescent City, getting here does take a bit of time. However, this doesn’t stop many New Orleans locals from enjoying the lovely shores of Holly Beach during holidays and getaways! 

This small beach community is a great place for those that want to slow down a bit and enjoy a quiet life. Although during summer, the town can get pretty busy with holidaymakers and beachgoers.

The beach is a beautiful place to lie on the sands under the hot sun. Swimming here is great fun, as is fishing. 

If you’ve already booked, make sure you know about all the great things to do in New Orleans!

#6 – Ship Island

A Beautiful Undeveloped Barrier Island

Ship Island

Ship Island (Photo credit – tripstodiscover.com)

  • Beautiful untouched Gulfport islands, home to a historic fort
  • 7 miles long

Ship Island actually consists of two different islands off the Gulfport coast in Mississippi. Ship Island is about 12 miles off the coast of Biloxi, and it can only be reached by ferry. Taking the trip is definitely worth it if you are looking for the best beaches near New Orleans. 

The sandy shores of Ship Island are clean, calm, and relaxing. As this is an undeveloped island, you can expect plenty of peace, quiet, and natural beauty all around you. 

Beyond the ideal beaches here, Ship Island is also home to a historic fort. This fort is well worth checking out while you are here. 

Excited to visit New Orleans? Get excited to take an amazing day trip too!

#7 – Gulfport

A Great Beach for Families

Gulfport

Gulfport (Photo credit – timeout.com)

  • A family-friendly beach next to Biloxi
  • 26 miles of sandy beaches

Gulfport is the second-largest city in Mississippi, and it boasts long stretches of white sandy beaches along its shore. The Gulfport beach connects to Biloxi, making it part of the same natural landscape. While the water and sand may be similar, the entire atmosphere here is completely different. 

While Biloxi is more about pools, resorts, and casinos, Gulfport is a little bit more laid back. There are plenty of family-friendly activities to do around Gulfport, including visiting the Model Railroad Museum and the Discovery Center for Children. 

#8 – Dauphin Island

A Beautiful Barrier Island

Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island (Photo credit – timeout.com)

  • A quiet vacation island with long stretches of beach
  • 14 miles long

Dauphin Island is a must-visit for anyone trying to find the best beach near New Orleans. This narrow barrier island just south of Mobile Bay can be reached by ferry or bridge. 

There are long stretches of sandy shores here which are very popular with vacationers. One of the great attractions of Dauphin Island is that it is one of the best swimming beaches near New Orleans. 

There is plenty to do on the island besides visiting the beach. You can enjoy some ocean adventures at the island marina, visit the aquarium, and even venture through a preserved archeological site!

Insider Guide! These are the absolute BEST times of the year to visit New Orleans!

#9 – Navarre Beach

A Classic Florida Beach

Navarre Beach

Navarre Beach (Photo credit – navarrebeach.com)

  • A picture-perfect beach home to the longest pier in the Gulf of Mexico
  • 12 miles of shoreline

Navarre Beach is not the closest destination to New Orleans. This beach, found along Florida’s coast, is about a 3.5-hour drive away from New Orleans. However, this doesn’t stop residents from flocking here in the summer months! 

Navarre Beach offers one of the most ideal coastal experiences you would want for a beach holiday. Pristine white sands, warm clear waters, and a general sense of peace and quiet. The town here is a popular destination for vacationers, and it is very family-friendly. 

This is one of the best places to enjoy on hot summer days. You can walk down the famous pier, catch a tan on the white sands, or swim in the surf. Keep your eyes out for dolphins that love to visit this coastline. 

#10 – Lake Pontchartrain Beach

A Beautiful Lake Beach

Lake Pontchartrain Beach

Lake Pontchartrain Beach (Photo credit – tripstodiscover.com)

  • An inviting beach along the shores of a big lake
  • The lake covers an area of 630 square miles

Does New Orleans have a beach? If you include beaches along the shores of a lake, then absolutely! Lake Pontchartrain is a massive saltwater lake in New Orleans. Its shores are sandy and clean, offering the perfect setting for a beach day. Being only 30 minutes away from the city center, this is the perfect place to visit when the sun comes out! 

Even though this is a lake beach, it still offers visitors a brilliant summer experience! You can lie on the clean sand, swim in the calm waters, and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

#11 – Orange Beach

One of the Best Beach Vacation Spots

Orange Beach

Orange Beach (Photo credit – tripadvisor.com)

  •  The last beach before crossing over to Florida
  • 8 miles long

Also known as Flora-Bama due to it being the last stop before crossing state lines, Orange Beach is a haven for those seeking sand, sea, sun, and fun! This small beach city is always a good time, and it’s beautiful stretches make any visit here worthwhile. 

Orange Beach is known for its white sands and clear blue water. Beyond the fun that there is to be had on the beach, there is also an iconic landmark bar and grill found on this beachfront. 

Orange Beach is also known for its water sports. There is always a load of activity going on here, making it a suitable spot for those seeking fun and adventure. 

#12 – Pensacola Beach

A Peaceful Beach Town

Pensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach (Photo credit – timeout.com)

  • It’s emerald green water and natural beauty 
  • 8 miles long

Pensacola Beach, found within around 3 hours of New Orleans, is one of the greatest gems on the Gulf Coast. The sheer natural beauty of the beach in this coastal town can’t be compared to anywhere else. You get shimmering white sand, emerald green water, a lovely boardwalk, and a long stretching pier. Visiting Pensacola Beach is very popular amongst New Orleans locals. 

This is one of the best Gulf Coast beaches near New Orleans due to its peaceful atmosphere and absolute beauty. A visit here really gives you the true Florida beach experience, without the crowds that can be found at other popular destinations. 

#13 – Panama City Beach

A Fun Florida Beach Destination

panama city beach

panama city beach (Photo credit – wallpapercave.com)

  • Home to some of the most iconic stretches of beachfront in Florida
  • 27 miles long

Panama City is quite a distance outside of New Orleans. Although it is not the closest beach to the city, it is still one of the best places to go if you are after some fun in the sun! Panama City is home to some of the best beaches in the country, making the journey here well worth it! 

Think crystal clear water, spotless sand, luxurious resorts, and busy beachfront scenes. As there are 27 miles of shoreline, you can explore plenty of different places to spend the day on the beach. Whether you want to escape the crowds or join in on the excitement, you can find a place on the beach to do that. 

#14 – Gulf Shores

A Great Place to Visit Along the Alabama Coast

Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores (Photo credit – timeout.com)

  • A resort city with pearly white beaches, dolphins, and warm waters
  • 8 miles long

Gulf Shores is close to Orange Beach, and a similar Alabama coastal beauty can be enjoyed. Although the landscapes are fairly similar, there is still a pretty big difference in the overall atmosphere of the place. Gulf Shores is a resort city in Alabama. Focused around the beautiful beachfront, this is where most of the activity can be found. 

Gulf Shores is a great place for families to visit, as there are attractions for all ages to enjoy. Of course, the main drawcard here is the beachfront though. The water is warm and inviting, while the sand is well-maintained. There are a number of quality resorts found along the beachfront.

#15 – Bogue Chitto State Park

An Awesome Riverside Beach Destination

Bogue Chitto State Park

Bogue Chitto State Park (Photo credit – boguechittostatepark.com)

  • A serene state park around the Bogue Chitto River
  • 1786 acres

Just because a beach is not on the ocean, doesn’t mean it isn’t a top destination to enjoy on a hot summer’s day! The Bogue Chitto River, which runs through this state park, is well-loved for its wide sandy shores and inviting waters. This may not be quite the same as a beach on the Gulf of Mexico, but it is still a great option for beach lovers! 

Visit this destination to enjoy the natural beauty all around you. The river is excellent for swimming in, or enjoying a picnic on its banks. Hikers will also be very happy in this environment with its stunning views. You could also take a kayak trip down the river, or spend a weekend in a cabin. 

Conclusion

During the hot and sunny Louisiana summer, there aren’t many better places to be than the beach! Luckily, New Orleans is surrounded by plenty of great options. 

Are there beaches in New Orleans? While being surrounded by water, the city itself doesn’t boast many typical beaches of its own. However, venture a bit outside of the Big Easy, and you will find all kinds of world-class beach destinations! 

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About the Author Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson lives to travel! Born in Washington D.C., Emma is a hotel connoisseur and a staff writer at Hotel Jules. An army brat, Emma got the travel bug early and has never been able to stop. Now, she has proudly visited 70+ countries and plans to visit every country in the world! Passionate about her ukelele (obviously) and her family, Emma eventually wants to retire in Thailand and write a book about all of her travel experiences.