New Orleans day trip #1: Mississippi Gulf Coast

Visiting New Orleans for just over a week meant packing a lot into our itinerary. Short trips are definitely not my favorite way to travel, but you have to make the most of your circumstances. Given our options, we chose to take a few day trips while spending the rest of our time in New Orleans.

We decided to make our plans based on when we wanted to rent a car, which was towards the end of our trip. By that time I was definitely feeling antsy to get out and explore. Dave must have been feeling that way too…

Spontaneous trip to Mississippi

The first day that we had a car, we were only planning to drive ourselves just a little ways out of NOLA to our swamp tour in Slidell, LA. We had an awesome time with them, but had no plans after the tour was over. The sun was about to set, so of course the first thing on my mind was finding a pretty location to take sunset photos.

We weren’t ready to go back to our place, weren’t ready to eat dinner, and had nothing else planned, so I quietly considered my secret photography agenda as an option. I had to take advantage of our location if a scenic opportunity presented itself, right?!

While we were thinking about what to do next, I looked at the map for where we were in the Cajun Encounters parking lot and I was surprised to find that we were only 6 minutes away from the Mississippi border, a state I hadn’t yet been to! Dave was up for a little exploring into Mississippi too, so we headed that way.

Since we had no real destination in mind and didn’t want to be stuck on a highway, Dave was game for my sunset plan if we could make it to a pretty place in time for sunset photos. I looked up the closest park I could find, which happened to be on the coast. With about 30 minutes until sunset we headed towards Buccaneer State Park. Having gawked at the gorgeous setting en route to the park, we turned around and decided that a spot on the side of the road next to the water was more desirable than wasting time finding a perfect place inside the park itself.

New Orleans day trip

There were two fishermen on a long dock, but it was otherwise pretty empty aside from the occasional passing car. The subtle colors of the hazy sky were reflected in the calm water of the Gulf making the line between sky and water barely distinguishable. The sunset itself, not quite over the water, was fiery and intense! The same sunset produced such contrasting scenes of beauty that I raced around trying to photograph both while Dave went off to take it all in on a neighboring dock. I love when time and location work out perfectly despite no real plans. It makes a moment seem serendipitous, and very exciting for a photographer.

Day trip from New Orleans to MississippiNew Orleans day tripDay trip from New Orleans to Mississippi

After appreciating the sunset and the skinny smile of a crescent moon, we were finally hungry enough to find some food. The Urbanspoon app, one of Dave’s favorites, guided us to Bay St. Louis, an adorable little waterfront town that we wished we could have seen during the day. We had a delicious meal of fish tacos and loaded fries at the The Blind Tiger and went back to NOLA with happy bellies, full once again with local goodness. This time from Mississippi!

Day trip from New Orleans to Mississippi

With only a few hours to enjoy our spontaneous trip into Mississippi, we were only able to sample a tiny bit of what Mississippi has to offer. Had I realized how close it was to New Orleans, I surely would have planned a day trip longer than just a few hours. Not every place intrigues me enough to photograph, write about, or go back to, but this little section of Mississippi certainly did. Just another place to add to my ever growing list, I suppose!

Have you ever been to Mississippi? What are your favorite spots?


  • Stephanie - Beautiful photography! Do you use a DSLR?ReplyCancel

  • Katie - Wow! Your pictures are incredible! I love the fisherman on the dock, it that looks like it may go under at any moment! I rode my bike through Mississippi 10 years ago, but to be honest don’t remember much about it!ReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Thanks Katie! A bike ride through Mississippi sounds interesting. I’m sorry you don’t remember much.ReplyCancel

  • Sky - What beautiful photos! I love the blues and pinks!ReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Thank you Sky! The colors were both intense and subtle depending on where you looked. Very interesting sunset for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Aileen - Oh wow… your shots are breathtaking!!! I have never been to the U.S. so you bet I am going to check out the Mississippi!ReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Oh, thank you Aileen. I appreciate that! I hope you get a chance to see all of the beautiful places that are in the U.S.!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie Deduck - Hey Tracie!
    Your photos are stunning!
    I never been in USA, but your post make me thinking I definitely need to go there and explore this beautiful country!
    Happy Travels! :-)

    • traciehowe - Thank you Natalie! The U.S. has so many gorgeous destinations. I hope you can come see it soon! If you check out some of my other posts (search by category for ease) you might be even more inspired to come here. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Valerie - Oh my gosh, I absolutely love, love, LOVE the top two pictures!!
    We have been thinking about a trip to NOLA for awhile since it’s fairly cheap to fly to from Portland, OR. We would definitely include a quick trip to Mississippi as well :)ReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Thanks, Valerie! I am based in Seattle, and we chose NOLA partly because the flight was surprisingly cheap. You should definitely go to both NOLA and MS!ReplyCancel

  • Bailey K. - Wow. Gorgeous shots! The first two look like sunrises because of how calm the water looks and how hazy the sky is. So pretty.ReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Thank you Bailey! You’re so right about them being like a sunrise! I hadn’t thought of that. :)ReplyCancel

  • Mary - Wow, stunning photos!! I have yet to go to New Orleans but I hope to get there in the next year once I am back on the mainland. Did you do any plantation tours? I’ve always wanted to check those out.ReplyCancel

  • Francesca @onegrloneworld - Never been, but I absolutely loooove your photos! I don’t know if I’d go but I enjoyed reading about your experience. I’ll have to download Urbanspoon!ReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Thank you, Francesca! I didn’t think I would ever go either, but I’m glad I did. Urbanspoon is a fun tool to use when you just don’t know where to go to eat! :)ReplyCancel

  • Brenda Tolentino - WOW Tracie, your photos are amazing! Haven’t been to Mississippi yet, but when I go, I’ll definitely to stop at the Blind Tiger for some fish tacos, my favorite tacos.ReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Thank you Brenda! They were good fish tacos and the loaded fries were addicting!ReplyCancel

  • Joyce Williams - Bay St. Louis, voted one of the coolest small towns!,14/#candidate-detail11221ReplyCancel

    • traciehowe - Oh man! I had no idea, Joyce! If only I had known and planned the trip in advance!ReplyCancel

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