The drive from Kenner, Louisiana, to Miami is a little over 12 hours… But, good news: You’ll be passing through some super cool places on the way! From New Orleans to Tallahassee, the destinations that line the road from Kenner to Miami are home to an array of amazing attractions that you don’t want to miss out on. Keep reading to see what we mean!
New Orleans might only be about 20 minutes east of Kenner, but the Big Easy isn’t the kind of place that you can just drive by without stopping! Whether you’ve been to the city more times than you can count or this is your first visit, New Orleans is a town that never gets old. Some of the city’s most popular attractions include Jackson Square, New Orleans City Park, the Audubon Nature Institute, the National WWII Museum, and New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park. Of course, if there’s one thing that’s New Orleans is known for, it’s the city’s annual Mardi Gras parade festival. But, if you can’t be in town for the actual event, don’t worry—you can still stop by Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World to find out all about it.
Open daily from 9 am to 5:30 pm, Mardi Gras World offers visitors a behind-the-scenes look at what goes in to making Mardi Gras the spectacular event that everyone knows and loves. Though it might seem like a museum, Mardi Gras World is actually a working studio that has been designing and creating parade floats and costumes since the mid-20th century when Blaine Kern—AKA “Mr. Mardi Gras”—first founded the studio in 1947. (Tours start around every half-hour and are roughly an hour long. Tickets are $22 for adults, $17 for seniors and students, and $14 for children ages 2 to 17.)
Located outside of Pearlington, Mississippi, the INFINITY Science Center is around an hour northeast of Kenner, and it’s a fun, enriching stop that you don’t want to skip as you’re driving to Miami. A STEM learning center that encourages hands-on education, the INFINITY Science Center has 35,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and galleries, including an engineering workshop, a 3D theater, outdoor activities, and much, much more. Open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm, the center is a family-friendly attraction that visitors of all ages are sure to love.
Because the John C. Stennis Space Center is just north of the INFINITY Science Center, INFINITY also serves as the visitor center for the NASA facility. For this reason, you’ll find all sorts of space-related artifacts, from spacesuits and moon rocks to engines and a rocket booster from the Apollo mission. (Before you leave the center, make sure you check out the Odyssey Gift Shop, where you can purchase science- and space-themed memorabilia and collectibles, as well as novelty gifts and educational toys!)
Mobile, Alabama, is close to two hours northeast of Kenner, and brimming with history, culture, and southern charm, it’s a delightful place to do some exploring as you continue to make your way toward Miami. A few of Mobile’s most-visited attractions are the Mobile Botanical Gardens, the Mobile Carnival Museum, the Condé-Charlotte Museum, and the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center. Another can’t-miss spot in the city is USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, a bayside park sporting an authentic World War II battleship.
Battleship Memorial Park is more than a beloved Mobile attraction—it’s also a veterans memorial that honors active and former members of the military, expressing gratitude for their service and acknowledging the sacrifices made on behalf of Americans everywhere. In addition to the USS Alabama, the park also features the oldest American submarine on public display (the USS Drum), a number of aircraft, tanks, and several memorials. A city park that’s truly unlike any other, Battleship Memorial Park is both visually stunning and emotionally poignant, and it’s definitely a place that you’ll want to see when passing through Mobile.
Around three hours northeast of Kenner, Pensacola serves as the perfect welcome to the Florida Panhandle. From beaches and history to museums and parks, Pensacola has a little bit of everything, making it one place where you definitely don’t have to worry about getting bored. Established by Spanish settlers in 1559, Pensacola is considered America’s first European settlement, and the city is even nicknamed “The City of Five Flags” because ownership of the land changed so frequently throughout its long history—resulting in the city boasting flags from Spain, France, Britain, the Confederacy, and America in the many years since its founding. Some of Pensacola’s biggest attractions include the Pensacola Museum of Art, the Pensacola Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, the National Naval Aviation Museum, and Historic Pensacola Village. But, if you’re looking to add a pop of color to your trip, be sure to check out the Graffiti Bridge, an unofficial city landmark that you can’t leave Pensacola without getting a photo of.
Built in 1888, the bridge itself would probably have gone on to be pretty unremarkable if a local tradition hadn’t resulted in generations of Pensacola residents spray painting it with new artwork on a daily basis. Almost like an ongoing public art installation, the Graffiti Bridge is an ever-evolving testament to the city’s creativity, and no trip to Pensacola is complete until you stop by 17th Avenue to see what’s new on the bridge.
About six hours east of Kenner, Tallahassee is another Panhandle city that’s worth a stop as you continue your way toward Miami. The state capital of Florida and one of its biggest cities, Tallahassee has a wide variety of attractions to choose from, including the Museum of Florida History, Mission San Luis, the Florida Historic Capitol Museum, Cascades Park, and, of course, the Florida State Capitol. Another place that warrants a visit while you’re in Tallahassee is the Goodwood Museum & Gardens, a 19th-century estate comprised of antebellum buildings and magnificent gardens.
Though undoubtedly visually stunning, Goodwood is not as magical as it might seem—a property owned and operated by different sets of wealthy plantation farmers, the beauty that you’ll find at Goodwood is tainted with the horrors of slavery. Today, you can walk the grounds and learn more about life in Old Florida, where some lived in unbridled elegance and others struggled to survive. While the gardens are free, the house museum and tours of grounds cost admission, which ranges from $6 to $12.
Gainesville, Florida, is around five hours north of Miami, and it’s best known for serving as the main campus for the University of Florida. Some of the leading attractions in and around Gainesville include Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Morningside Nature Center, and the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention. But, if you’re interested in learning more about Florida, its environment, and how the state has evolved physically over the years, then you should check out the Florida Museum of Natural History, a University of Florida museum where you can find out everything that you want to know about Florida’s natural history.
Open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm (and on Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm), the Florida Museum of Natural History showcases everything from fossils and cultural artifacts to simulated ecosystems and live butterflies. Admission to the permanent exhibits is free, but there are some additional attractions that charge for admission—like the Butterfly Rainforest, which hundreds of free-flying butterflies. (The cost of admission for the Butterfly Rainforest is $14 for adults and $7 for children ages 3 to 17.)
The last place on our list is a city that needs no introduction—but we’re going to give it one anyway. Orlando is just under four hours north of Miami, and even if you’re not interested in theme parks, there’s still tons to do in the City Beautiful. A few of our favorite non-theme-park attractions include SEA LIFE Orlando, the Orlando Science Center, Henry P. Leu Gardens, and Madame Tussauds Orlando. Looking for a sweet way to wrap up your drive to Miami? If so, we’ve got the perfect place for you: the Chocolate Museum & Cafe, a chocolate lover’s paradise where visitors are invited to look, learn, and, most importantly, eat!
Open Monday through Friday from 11 am to 7 pm (and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 7 pm), the Chocolate Museum & Cafe is an unconventional but delicious attraction that’s sure to be the chocolate-covered cherry on top of an unforgettable drive. The museum will teach you about where chocolate comes from, how it’s made, and lots of little-known tidbits about the beloved dessert. Then, you’ll get to see 25 sculptures made of solid chocolate, plus genuine chocolate factory machinery. The tour of the museum culminates with the tasting room, where you’ll get to enjoy different kinds of chocolate from all over. Don’t forget to stop by the museum’s cafe for coffee and other treats, like gelato, milkshakes, pastries, and more!
One of South Florida’s foremost cultural and economic hubs, Miami is a diverse city with just about everything that you could want from a travel destination: gorgeous beaches, a vibrant arts scene, trendy restaurants, and nonstop nightlife. Some of the top places to go in the city include Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Bayside Marketplace, the Wynwood Walls, Zoo Miami, and Little Havana. All in all, Miami is a town that has something for everyone, whether it be a day at the beach or jumping from museum to museum. But, if you’re coming from Kenner, you don’t want to miss the mistake of rushing straight to Magic City—because, as you can see, there’s plenty to see and do on the way! So, fill up your gas tank and buckle in tight… You’re in for an adventure!