Category Archives: Outdoors

Take It Outside: New Orleans Outdoor Fun

Hello, Spring! While the actual first day is still a few weeks away, the weather in New Orleans keeps rising to the perfect temperatures… low 70s and humidity-free! Why not take advantage of clear skies and balmy temps and explore outdoor New Orleans? Take it outside with our perfect-weather picks.

Spend at Day at City Park

Smack-dab in the middle of New Orleans sits City Park, a public green space that is 50% larger than NYC’s Central Park. On any given day, there will be intramural sports teams practicing and playing, golfers (and mini-golfers) trying for that elusive hole-in-one, school children on field trips learning about the botanical gardens and century-old live oak trees, joggers running along the myriad of tracks and walkways and art aficionados viewing the latest traveling exhibit at NOMA: New Orleans Museum of Art.

It’s easy to spend an entire day here, especially when it’s a pretty one. Wear your sneakers and something comfy, so you can be prepared for any and every activity. After you work-up an appetite, grab lunch at CafĂ© NOMA. It’s central to the park, located inside the museum and by the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group – the perfect combination!

Mix n’ Mingle at the Lakefront

While New Orleans is known for the Mighty Mississippi that flows through it, there is also another body of water that creates its northern border: Lake Pontchartrain.

On a beautiful day, head to the lakefront for fishing, sailing, paddleboarding and more. No boat? No problem! There are boat captains ready to take you out on 600+ sq. miles of water. If venturing out onto the water is not your style, try one of the many waterfront restaurants lining the shores. Try and grab dinner around 6 o’clock and you’ll catch one gorgeous sunset over water.

While on-the-water activities are fun and waterfront restaurants are delicious, one of our favorite things to do will always been just sitting along the lakefront, watching the sailboats pass by.

Walk on the Wide Side at Audubon Zoo

Hop on Magazine Street and head all the way to its end for Uptown’s Audubon Park. You’re just 6 miles from downtown, but will feel worlds away.

The Audubon Zoo is one of New Orleans’ best attractions. Kids and adults both love the swamp exhibit, complete with a houseboat and bathtub, in which the Louisiana black bears love to lie on a warm day. Monkey Hill, one of the park’s oldest and most cherished spots, was created in the 1930s to show New Orleans children what a hill looked like. No, that’s not a joke. Audubon Zoo’s quirks have made it one of New Orleans’ prized attractions.

Not quite ready to head back to the bustle of downtown? The Fly (located next to the zoo) is a local favorite for picnicking, sunbathing and catching up on a great book. The green space sits on the banks of the Mississippi River, so it’s the perfect spot to watch barges traveling to and from port.

5 Tips Every First Time Frio River Cabin Guest Needs to Know

Thousands of visitors flock to the Frio River each year to enjoy the rugged and beautiful Texas hill country. For a lot of those vacationers, they choose to stay in a Frio River cabin to enhance their experience. A cabin on the river is a great option for those planning on taking advantage of the many water activities available. Cabins are convenient and certainly more comfortable than camping. If you are a first time cabin user, though, consider the following five tips to make the most of your trip:

1. Consider your location.

The Frio River runs through several counties, including Uvalde County, and makes its way through Leakey, Concan, Utopia and also Garner State Park. The state park is better for those who like crowds, while areas like Utopia and Concan are less crowded. More rural areas offer more rugged beauty and privacy while more popular areas can afford more activity. Consider Concan for a smaller town that offers access to tubes and kayak rentals but is still less crowded than other, larger areas.

2. Know which amenities are important to you.

There are cabins available for most needs. Consider whether you are looking for a more rugged experience or in the market for a more luxurious stay. There are cabins that come furnished while others require the user to bring linens, etc. Frio River cabins come in different states and are rented privately by families and also by larger companies. Privately owned cabins can offer unique and personal experiences while others owned by larger entities can save you time and money. Just evaluate your needs first to know which type of cabin you are searching.

3. Travel during the off-season to save money.

Summertime and the weeks of Spring Break are probably the busiest times of the year for the Frio River. When the sun is shining and the Texas heat is reigning, the Frio River offers visitors a chance to enjoy the outdoors while staying cool – a rarity for a Hill County summer. However, the Frio River is a great option during the cooler months, as well, for those enjoy hiking, kayaking and fishing. A bonus for the off-season months includes deals and specials. Take a look online to find these coupons and special offers or contact the visitors’ bureau.

4. Plan to plan ahead.

If you are looking to stay during the busy season, make sure you make your reservations early. Many places, like the local state park, fill quickly. As an added perk for reserving early, you may encounter specials. Sometimes discounts are available for rentals, including tubes, kayaks, coolers, etc. Take a look in the area, as well, for special festivals and local attractions.

5. Use the resources available!

Today’s technology enables vacationers to plan early and thoroughly. Don’t forget the local visitors’ bureaus as well as the Chamber of Commerce centers and tourist centers. Local residents who know the area well and can offer great tips and suggestions for finding a Frio River cabin often work in these offices.

5 Cool Facts to Know About Garner State Park

Would your ideal vacation spot be a perfect natural haven filled with hiking, canoeing, tubing, geocaching, and even dancing? For many the answer is yes, and each year many outdoor enthusiasts choose Garner State Park as their ideal summer destination. Chock full of numerous nature-based activities, loaded with Mother Nature’s wonders, and highlighting the beauty of The Frio River, this state park could be your prime location for summer outdoor adventures as well. Are you unfamiliar with this amazing state park in Uvalde County? Here are 5 cool facts to know about Garner State Park.

1. Location

This beautiful state park is located in Concan, Texas on the southwestern edge of what is known to be the Edwards Plateau in the Balcones Canyonlands. It was created during the Cretaceous age due to fault line activity. Deep cliffs and mesas define this picturesque canyon land and surround clear rivers and streams perfect for fishing, canoeing, and tubing. The location, although visited by many year after year, remains mostly unchanged by human activity. The natural changes that occur due to weathering, flooding, or plant growth are allowed to constantly redefine the landscape without human intervention.

2. Wildlife

Being that the naturalness of this park is preserved as much as possible, much wildlife live and thrive there. Visitors to the park will frequently spot this wild life around them. Squirrels, raccoons, and white-tailed deer are the most common, but more exotic animals exist there too. Look for Rio Grande turkeys and mourning doves amongst a whole selection of various birds. If you are a bird watcher then you are in for a treat. The golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo, both endangered species, nest in the park from spring until summer.

3. The Frio River

Rising from springs as the West Frio River, it promptly joins 2 other tributaries and flows southeast for 200 miles before draining into the Nueces River. The name Frio means cold in Spanish and this name perfectly describes the fresh cool waters that lure swimmers and campers up and down the length of its banks. This river is given a shout-out in the song, “All my Ex’s live in Texas,” by George Strait who grew up in Frio County.

4. Geocaching

Merge the joys of hiking and exploring with a scavenger hunt and you have geocaching. Hundreds of geocaches are hidden throughout the park and can be found using a GPS device or an app on a smart phone with GPS capabilities. The GPS device tells you how far away a geocache is and you must go off searching for it. They can be hidden in trees, under rocks, or even placed behind signs and landmarks. Often times a geocache will house a log book so you can write in your name and claim victory over that treasure forever.

5. Dancing

Back in the 1940’s during summer evenings, people would gather at the park’s concessions building and host a dance. This tradition has survived to this day and the park hosts dances each evening. They are very popular and require early arrival as they fill up quickly.

As you can see, this national park is a wonderful vacation destination filled with wildlife and natural beauty.