When it became clear that we would spend the summer holiday in America this year, we began to think about where we could go, which is close to Dallas and whose sea is beautiful in the Standard of Turkey, for the sea holiday. There were a few alternatives we heard from around. Padre Island and Galveston, southern Texas, were among the candidates. If we could afford to go a little further, Orange beach was alabama and Destin florida were other alternatives. We decided to shoot two birdies with one stone and go to Destin via New Orleans. So we were going to spend time in New Orleans and a sea vacation on top of it.
New Orleans is eight hours from Dallas by car. Of course, with two kids, that’s the time. We chose a 2-hour break at an aquapark near Tyler, two hours from Dallas, to make the journey fun. Both the children were amused and tired, which meant they slept for the rest of the road – and we had fun and rested. We planned to stay somewhere on the road so we wouldn’t tire ourselves out too much and stop by the Plantations on our way to New Orleans about an hour the next day. So on the first night of our trip, we stayed in a small town in Alexandria, Lousiana. Those with the energy to go a little further can stay in Baton Rouge. The next day, baton rouge, where we stopped and stopped for food (sweet eaten with powdered sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on it that looked like our bite), is richer in both a larger city and eating and drinking. We enjoyed both the atmosphere and the beignets of Cafe Call in Baton Rouge.
Oak Alley Plantation, which we prefer to visit, is about an hour from Baton Rouge. There are other plantations in the area that can be visited along the Mississippi river. But oak alley is the oldest, big and famous one. The buildings in these Plantations, where slaves used to be employed, have now been converted into museums. We all know more or less about that period, but it’s quite impressive to see it up close and imagine that time there. The road, which is covered with sycamore trees on both sides of the main building in Plantation, is truly visible. They also walk through the main building with a guide. We visited in July, in a very humid and warm weather, and at noon. My advice is to visit earlier.
It took us an hour to get to New Orleans after plantation. After going to our Hotel Provincial in the French Quarter and settling in, we decided to take a short expedition. We started looking for a nice restaurant near our hotel as we were hungry and we couldn’t wait to taste cajun cuisine. We had our first meal at creole cookery restaurant in New Orleans. Our waiter took care of us a lot and told us about the food. As oysters we ate raw before and were not very different were cooked in the grill and served with various sauces, we met and ate almost every day for the rest of the holiday. Cajun Creole cuisine has affected not only Louisiana, but also other nearby states, which we have had the opportunity to eat from this kitchen in Destin. In essence, this seafood-heavy and abundantly spicy kitchen, I think it fits the taste of the mouth of us Turks. After dinner we walked in and around Jackson Square, and because our hotel was very close to the French market, we came and walked every day and tasted the shops and lots of pralins 🙂
Our first impressions of New Orleans were: yes the architecture of the houses, the streets, the plants dangling from the balconies were beautiful, the food was nice, there was life and music on the street, but unfortunately the city was very dirty, the streets smelled catastrophic with the summer heat, Although the municipal streets often washed, there were suspicious fluid puddles at the bottom of the wall. In this case, it’s a bit of a challenge to go out with two young kids, but we tried to enjoy it. We’ve seen almost everywhere to see in three days.
We usually started the day early and tried to spend the afternoon in air-conditioned interiors. The weather was quite humid and rainy at some times of the day. New Orleans is a city that can be visited on foot, but if you want to see other areas outside the French Quarter, use an alternative tramway and the other is your car. We drove to get to the far the place. It is not possible to walk for more than an hour in the warm and humid weather.
On our second day, we started our breakfast at Stanley’s. Then we visited the Mardi Gras museum. It’s a place that makes people think about what interesting professions there are in the world. At the museum, where the artists had small workshop spaces, these artists repaired the huge sculptures used at the Annual Mardi Gras festival in February. After the museum, we decided to go to the Garden District and walk between the streets. That’s the beautiful face of New Orleans, and that’s the area, if you ask me. The architecture of the houses, the colours, the gardens were fascinating. After about an hour’s walk, we ended our tour by visiting Lafayette Cemetery. The interestingness of this rather ancient tomb is that the tombs are not under the ground but on top. We went to the Greek House in that area again for lunch. The ambiance, the food was everything great, I would definitely recommend it.
We drove past the Bywater area after dinner. Again, this area with colorful houses was very calm and quiet. I recommend that those who want to take colorful photos stop by. Then we rested by the pool of our hotel until dinner. We chose Sylvain in the French Quarter for dinner. It can be sat outdoors in the backyard and the food is really tasty. After dinner, we went to the famous Bourbon Street and walked along the street. Our Bodrum bars are in the mood for street but more interesting 🙂 First of all, there were jazz and dancing people on the street performed by a separate group of young people. Our kids passed away with jazz, too:) It’s possible to see all kinds of people around. When drinking on the street is free, everyone walks, dances and enjoys their drinks. Some venues had more professional live jazz performances but we couldn’t get into these places with the kids. Now, by saying next, we just looked at the places with queues in front of them, 🙂
The next day we had breakfast at the Croissant d’Or Patisserie, which is very close to the hotel. It’s a tiny but historic place, and its cross-country is also quite tasty. After breakfast, we toured the Mississippi river with the steamboat (Steamboat Natchez), the last of its kind still working. This tour lasts about 2 hours and serves a buffet meal on board with live jazz. If the weather is convenient, it is very enjoyable to sit on the deck and watch the view. We stopped touring my ship on this deck of yours with the kids after dinner. After the cruise, we wandered around the French Quarter and went in and out of the tourist shops. We had dinner at Oceana Grill near Bourbon Street, but the upper floor is a nice place, even though it looks like a simple bar at the first entrance. The food is nice if you choose the right thing from the menu. Stay away from the fries:) We finished the day again after dinner touring Bourbon Street.
The next morning, on our last morning in New Orleans, we decided to eat beignet. We chose Cafe Beignet instead of the famous Cafe du Monde. A smaller but more cute café. Every time we walked past the Cafe du Monde, there was a long line in front of him and it seemed so pointless to us to wait for that line. Even though we didn’t wait for that line, we had to wait some lines at Cafe Beignet. But at least we sat in a nicer place. Beignet, of course, isn’t a very healthy breakfast, but it wouldn’t be like going to New Orleans and not eating, 🙂
It was time to say goodbye to New Orleans after breakfast and set off for Destin. We decided to go to Destin through Gulf shores and Orange beach, Alabama, to see the coastline. After about three hours of driving, we reached Gulf shores. We crossed through Mobile but another way could be to cross from Dauphin Island to Fort Morgan by ferry and move on from there. You have to book and line up for the ferry in advance. It was noon when we arrived at Gulf shores and we tried to cool off by sitting at Bob’s beach side cafe in Bahamas to get tired, eating something out of the cold. yes, it was hotter and it was getting hotter.
We decided to go into the sea at Orange Beach and cool off. A short beach break was good, but the sea wasn’t very bright. It was green and mossy. So we’re glad we didn’t prefer Orange Beach for a vacation. We arrived in Destin in the evening and settled in the house where we were staying for a week. The next morning after breakfast, like everyone else, we loaded everything necessary for the beach and made our way to the beach and met Destin’s excellent sand and clear water. We really didn’t expect such clear and cool water, such a thin and white sand. There are hotels and houses to stay in this area. They have hotel sun loungers and umbrellas on the beach, and those who stay at home can bring their own umbrellas and chairs and put them in. It’s unusual for us Turks to carry umbrellas, chairs and ice boxes everywhere but it’s very unusual for Americans. The ice cans are huge and filled with enough food, drinks and ice to last all day. Iced drink is very important, so much so that they even go into the sea with drinks in their hands 🙂 Of course, when they don’t swim, they’re stuck in the sea in a cocktail style.
In Destin, the weather and the sea were a little changed. It was mostly sunny and warm, but some days it was raining. The sea was generally choppy. But we weren’t complaining about it. We enjoyed playing in the waves. Although we generally prefer to spend time on the beach near our house, we have also tried different beaches some days. For example, one day we went to Henderson Beach state park. Nice and virgin but not very different from our beach in terms of the sea. One day we thought we’d try the beach on Okaaloosa Island, but it was terribly mossy, and we were left thinking about the view we saw over the bridge we were going there, a turquoise area in the middle of the sea, and dozens of boats ironing around it. People were walking in the sea, 🙂
After a little research, we realized that there was a small Phantoon boat rented there from Harbor. We rented a boat for four hours and decided to enjoy a boat in the bay. If you have a car license and want some adventure, I recommend renting these small boats:) Both us and the children were very pleased with the boat journey. Not to mention the dolphin that accompanied us when we left the harbor. So we didn’t have to take the extra dolphin watching tour:)
Apart from beach activity, if you want to be in nature on an afternoon and ride your bike, you can park in Topsail Hill State preserve. Renting a bike is possible from within the park, but the rental renters close at 5:00, or you have to go and rent it immediately before it closes, or you should do this activity in the morning. It’s not possible to ride a bike in the heat during certain days. This park is quite large, renting the bike and the beach is within 15 minutes. If you don’t want to spend time on the beach, you can ride a bike to the lake in the park and enjoy the forest and the lake. It’s another alternative to watching the colorful sky on the beach during sunsetting hours. This park was also one of the most beautiful trailer parks we’ve ever seen in America. What more people want in the forest and close to the beach 🙂 I’m sure you have to book a year in advance to stay in a trailer. Caravan to holidaymakers are announced 🙂
Apart from these activities, there’s a lot of activity that can be done in Destin, huge aquaparks, sea world with dolphin shows, zoos, etc. We tried to spend as much time on the beaches and in the sea as possible. Probably only a year later with the sad awareness that we will put our foot back into the sea… We had two different entertainments in the evening, the first to sink the sun, and the second is to eat. I think we’ve seen the sun set in the most beautiful places that can happen. First of all, the balcony of our house 🙂 It was a pretty nice sight just as it looked west. Other sun-soaking points: Destin Marina (a tiny marina but full sun sink), Baytowne Marina (both a beautiful walking route, the sun-setting landscape is excellent, there are tree houses for children to climb along the way and the sun There are many restaurants in Baytowne village to eat after sunset) and as I mentioned earlier, another sun-soaking point is topsail hill state park beach.
For dinner, we usually prefer restaurants overlooking the beach on the Scenic Hwy 98. Back Porch was our favorite. It is a place that gives people happiness with its colorful umbrellas and its location overlooking the beach from the top and with its atmosphere as well as its food. Other places we eat and like: Crab Trap (which is set on the beach in front of it, but this wait can turn into a keyfe at sunset), Acme Oyster House, Bayou Bill’s Crab House and Stinky’s Fish Camp. Our favorite place for lunch was Aegean, a Greek restaurant where we felt at home with aegean dishes. We’ve got the children’s meatballs and claws here 🙂 We walked in Harborwalk village one evening, but you might not like the crowd too much. For children who aren’t too young, I think the outdoor amusement park was interesting. There were different activities, such as zipline, wall climbing. It’s a place where an evening can be spent, even if we don’t find it very satisfying in terms of eating and drinking. If you want to set up a dolphin tour, these tours are also set from there. Pelican Beach Resort is recommended for accommodation.
Destin is a place where you can spend a full time on a 1-week sea break. We’re very pleased with our vacation. Although it takes 13-14 hours to get back to Dallas, it’s worth folding by staying overnight once in a while or by stopping and supplying coffee.
Articles and Photos: Laurel