Tampa to New Orleans Road Trip Guide

Introduction

Music and surf-loving couples looking for a great romantic weekend road trip and adventure won't be disappointed by the drive from Tampa, Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana. Start out in Tampa and attend a world-class music festival, or take in the live music and entertainment districts in this jewel by the sea.

Tampa is known for its plentiful sunshine, blue skies, and vibrant waterfront. Dine, shop, take in museums, art galleries, and live music in this hip urban center, and enjoy the diverse attractions located here. Visitors to Tampa can choose from destinations such as Busch Gardens, ZooTampa, the Florida Aquarium, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry during their stay.

RVers can park their rigs at the Clearwater KOA just west of Tampa’s urban center, but with excellent access to all the exciting Tampa destinations and amenities. The KOA has a pool and cabana area to soak in the sun, as well as shower, restrooms, laundry facilities, RV hookups, and a pet park.

The 658 mile trip north and west to New Orleans takes you through three states, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana, and offers numerous attractions, wilderness areas, and urban centers such as Tallahassee and Pensacola, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama. Take Interstate 75 north from Tampa to Interstate 10, and then head west to New Orleans. Enroute you will pass beautiful national forests and state parks where camping, hiking, wildlife watching, boating, and fishing opportunities abound. Great wilderness areas on the way include Ocala National Forest, Blackwater River State Forest, Apalachicola National Forest, Meaher State Park, and Lake Talquin State Forest.

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Details

60'
Max RV length
60'
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 2-3 days
Recommend rig: any
audience: couple

Point of Interest

Frenchmen Street

Once you arrive at your destination in New Orleans your magical musical tour can continue! New Orleans is a vibrant music, nightlife, and entertainment city with plenty to see and hear. Head on down to the Frenchmen Street entertainment district, which is lined with music venues and restaurants. Soak in the diverse music and culture along this buzzing street.

You may have to contend with some crowds, as this is a popular area, but the people are just part of the ambience and excitement of the street. You will be lighted as you venture down the Frenchmen Street by blinking neon signs, and serenaded with some of the best live music you will find anywhere, with everything from jazz and blues, to rock and reggae. Most of the clubs along this strip are for patrons 21 and up, but some allow children until 10 PM, after which they become adult-only.

Enjoy dancing in the many establishments to the wee hours, and take in the fabulous local cuisine with unique dining venues in the area. Some restaurants also provide live entertainment along with your meal.


Pensacola Beach

As you pass through Pensacola, Florida, on the I-10, be sure to make a stop in this urban center and hit the fabulous Pensacola Beach. Take a romantic stroll along the boardwalk, or enjoy watersports, surfing, paddleboarding, parasailing, fishing, and diving in the emerald green waters. If you want a slower pace, just relax, swim, and sunbathe on the white sandy beaches, with views of the Gulf of Mexico. There are busy beaches with lifeguards and more secluded beaches for some solitude.

Pensacola beach is a barrier island and features not only glorious beaches for kicking back, but exciting activities for the adventurer, as well as fine dining, entertainment, and shopping districts. The weather is mild throughout the year and perfect for a brief beach excursion. Take this opportunity to go on a Dolphin Cruise and discover the marine animals that flourish in the region. Cruises depart from the Portofino Boardwalk and provide two hour guided tours to watch not only the playful dolphins residing in the area, but aquatic birds, and other marine wildlife.

RV campers will find camping at the Meaher State Park just 40 miles west of Pensacola, where 1300 acres of Mobile Bay Wetlands provide a relaxing wilderness environment. Here you can try your luck fishing on the 300-foot pier, or go hiking and wildlife watching. There is an excellent RV campground here with electric, water, and sewer hookups, and plenty of amenities. Reservations are recommended.


Gasparilla Music Festival

Start your trip in early March, to catch the Gasparilla Music Festival before you leave the Tampa area. This fabulous festival takes place annually in Downtown Tampa and showcases a variety of different music styles including pop, rock, indie, hip hop, and rap. Both local and national artists are featured, and the goal of the event is to expose attendees to a wide variety of music styles and support music education.

The main venues are at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Kiley Gardens Park, although there are a number of additional stages set up in the area. For information specific to this year's annual event, and to purchase tickets online, go to Tampa's Gasparilla Music Festival. In addition to the musical entertainment, there are numerous dining opportunities, and drinking establishments available.

Since the festival occurs in early March, the weather is usually not too hot. However don't forget the sunscreen and a hat when attending this outdoor event, as Tampa enjoys warm sunny weather throughout the year.


Summary

New Orleans is a cultural mecca, where art, music, and history abound. A trip from Tampa to New Orleans is filled with plenty of interesting sights and sounds. Once in New Orleans, you will have the opportunity to take in annual celebrations such as Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and other events occurring throughout the year.

The city always has an abundance of music and live entertainment to discover all of the time, and there are plenty of interesting activities. Architecture aficionados will enjoy strolling through the French Quarter or Garden District to view the beautiful historic homes, churches, and buildings.

Take a streetcar ride, discover New Orleans’ fascinating history at historical sites and museums, go golfing, shopping, dining, or take a riverboat cruise. RVers can stay at the New Orleans KOA and enjoy the wonderful amenities while exploring this unique city.

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