I am one of the least outdoorsy people I know. I don’t camp, don’t fish, don’t hike (you get the picture!), but living in New Orleans I have found that there are many fabulous things to do outside at all times of the year. Soaking up the sun, drinking a cold Abita and listening to live local music is a magical combination and I’m a huge fan of being anywhere you can create this experience. There are the obvious outdoor things in NOLA to do such as Jazz Fest and parades at Mardi Gras, but I am going to uncover lesser-known, but equally as awesome outdoor activities in New Orleans and bring them to you from time to time: Welcome to Outdoor Nola.
A couple weeks ago, I had a grand adventure going tubing on the Bogue Chitto River with some friends for the very first time. I know that it is crazy that as a native New Orleanian, I have never gone tubing before, especially when this activity involves some of my favorite things in life: sun, friends, relaxation & adult beverages. Tubing was one of the most fun Saturdays I have spent and it encompassed a whole day’s worth of fun without being expensive or requiring any large amount of effort. The ride to the Bogue Chitto River was only an hour and a half outside the city. With friends to split the gas and some good car tunes, the ride passes very quickly. We made a quick stop at the store to purchase some essential supplies before hand- snacks, ice for the cooler and extra sunscreen. The last of these items was especially important as there is almost NO SHADE to be found when tubing. Needless to say, we all came home in darker shades than we had previously been. If you’re looking for a tan but aren’t a Planet-Beach kind of person, I would recommend this quick and enjoyable alternative.
When we arrived at the river, we paid an affordable $15 for our tubes, and $5 for the cooler tube. It was a short drive up river, and we were off. We all plopped into our tubes and started drifting down the river. While we had thought we only signed up for the 2 hour tour, it somehow took us 5 hours to make it all the way to the end of the river!! If you do not wish to spend 5 hours floating down a river and did not pack a lunch, I would recommend asking your guide multiple times if you are on the 2 hour or 5 hour track. While we were all a little restless and ready to get out of the river at the end of the day, it was still a super fun day! There are banks at the sides of the river where tubers can stop and picnic in the sand, or beach their tubes to go swimming. It is very nice to be able to walk around/reapply sunscreen/cool off in the water every once in a while, so we stopped a couple of times.
The river was very clean for the most part, and we didn’t see any snakes or any other kind of wildlife. Most of the water is shallow, so you can get out of your tube and hang out in the water with ease. I was surprised how many different groups were on the river the day we went- there was a bachelorette party, a couple older folks, and some college students. Tubing is definitely one activity that seems to be appealing to all age groups! To top it all off, when you are finished tubing, and are dehydrated and hungry, I recommend stopping at Thai Taste, a delicious restaurant in Covington that you will pass on the drive out. If you are in a rush, you can just hit the drive-through. (Yes, I’m serious)! If you opt to dine in, you will meet some of the nicest restaurant owners around. It was a perfect top off to a very enjoyable day. While some tubing places have closed for the season, the weather is still warm enough to enjoy a float down the river. If you are looking for a fun weekend activity and want to catch up with friends and drink in the sun, consider tubing!