Dallas to New Orleans Road Trip

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From fried chicken to gumbo, JFK assassination tours to New Orleans’ music scene, there’s plenty to do and see on a Dallas to New Orleans road trip, not to mention stretching your legs with a stop halfway in historic Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Overall, this trip will take you about seven and a half hours total driving time.
Whether you’re setting off in search of Dallas’ finest ten-gallon hat, or heading out to find Ignatius J. Reilly’s house on Constantinople Street in The Big Easy—you’ll need car insurance before hitting the road.
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To learn more about what to do and see in Dallas and New Orleans, keep reading!
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Key trip details

Dallas, TX to New Orleans, LA trip map.
Dallas, TX to New Orleans, LA
One-way distance: 497 miles One way drive time: 8 hours Suggested trip length: 3-5 days
At just around eight hours, a trip to New Orleans is the perfect long weekend trip from Dallas. You could do the drive to NoLa in one day, or you could break it up with a stopover.


  • Dallas, TX—1 to 2 days
  • Natchitoches, LA—One half to 1 day
  • New Orleans, LA—2 days

Start—Dallas, Texas

Any trip to Dallas, Texas wouldn’t be complete without a visit to JFK-related sites, grabbing a Texas-sized lunch at Bubba’s "Cooks Country", and a stroll through Dallas’ Arboretum.

What to do in Dallas

A small fountain surrounded by rectangular hedges at the The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Explore The Sixth Floor Museum
Tour the site of one of the country’s most shattering (and, unfortunately, fascinating) events with a visit to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, dedicated to educating the public about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was shot while riding through Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963.
The museum is located on the sixth floor of the old Texas Book Depository Building, where assassin Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal shots that killed Kennedy.
Next, wander over to the infamous grassy knoll and pay a visit to the JFK Memorial Plaza, a monument built to commemorate the 35th President.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Head over to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens to walk off that giant mid-day meal with a sprightly stroll through the Arboretum, annually ranked amongst the country’s ten best botanical gardens.
Take in the beautiful vistas, shimmering infinity pools, and impressive sculptures throughout the park’s 66 acres. The Arboretum features events, activities, a children’s garden, and dining options—but you’re still full from Bubba’s, right?

Where to eat and drink in Dallas

  • Bubba’s Cooks Country($$): A morning of quiet, historical reflection creates quite an appetite—satiate that hunger at a classic Dallas fried chicken joint that’s been making mouths water since 1981. Once inside, steel yourself for juicy fried chicken, fluffy mashed potatoes, scrumptious green peas, and soft rolls, hot out of the kitchen. And in case you weren’t full, gobble down a piece of apricot fried pie for dessert.
  • The Mansion at Turtle Creek($$$$): Fresh off an afternoon of "being with nature," continue your sophisticated Dallas tour with dinner at The Mansion, serving classic American fare with an opulent, French twist, and created with fresh, local ingredients. The Mansion is known as one of Dallas’ finest restaurants. What? You’re on vacation!
  • The Grapevine Bar($$): After dinner, take a five-minute walk to The Grapevine Bar. Slum it with a cross-section of locals at this famous neighborhood dive bar. Kick back with a Tangarita, a Margarita made with Tang, the classic orange drink mix that astronaut John Glenn took to space in 1962.

Where to stay in Dallas

  • The Statler Hotel: You’ve had quite the Dallas day-and-night—kick off your boots and rest your weary bones at The Statler Hotel, a recently renovated, mid-century knockout that reopened in 2017 after being closed for two decades. Back in the day, famous guests from Elvis to Tina Turner stayed here. The Statler features two restaurants, a coffee shop, a speakeasy (yes), and a rooftop bar. Easy now. And enjoy your stay under the (Lone) stars. Cost per night: from $250
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Leg 1—Dallas, Texas to Natchitoches, Louisiana

Head east I-20 and then south for 3 hours and 49 minutes on I-49 from Dallas to Natchitoches, LA.
On the way to New Orleans, stretch your legs in historic Natchitoches (pronounced "Nack-i-tosh"), Louisiana’s oldest city.

What to do in Natchitoches

A row of string lights hang down in the darkness at Natchitoches.
Melrose Plantation
Pay a visit to the sprawling Melrose Plantation, a National Historic Landmark dating back to 1832. Melrose was one of the country’s biggest plantations and was owned and built by African Americans who became pillars of the local Creole community. Melrose features the art collection of trailblazing folk artist Clementine Hunter, a self-taught painter born on the plantation who lived there until her death in 1988. Late in life, she was celebrated for her incredibly vivid, painted renderings of Southern life. Take a guided tour of the plantation, or do a self-guided walking tour throughout the property.
Walk Natchitoches
Sweat those meat pies off with a stroll through Natchitoches’ 33-block Historic District. It runs along the Cane River and is an architecture lover’s dream that features examples of French Creole style, amongst others.
Prudhomme-Roquier House
Check out the Prudhomme-Rouquier House, the only known structure originally built with boussiage, a mixture of Spanish moss, mud, and deer hair.
Christmas at the Park
If you’re in town around the holidays, check out Christmas At The Park, which features live music, food, historic home tours, carolers, and a quarter-million lights reflecting off the Cane River. Christmas, Southern-style.

Where to eat in Natchitoches

  • Lasyone’s Restaurant ($$): Grab lunch at Lasyone’s, a no-frills Southern eatery that’s been slinging meat pies, crawfish pies, dirty rice, and other Southern favorites since 1967. This family-owned joint has been written up in Southern Living and The New Yorker, amongst other foodie or foodie-friendly publications. So, if Lasyone’s meat pies are good enough for them, they’re certainly good enough for us… and for you!

Where to stay in Natchitoches

Sweet Cane Inn B & B: If you’re staying the night in Natchitoches, take a load off at the Sweet Cane Inn Bed and Breakfast, an elegant Victorian, century-old home featuring seven palatial rooms. The building was constructed in the late 1800s for a Congressman and features a stunning wall of stained-glass windows. Sweet Cane is within walking distance to Front Street, the beating heart of Natchitoches’ historic area. Cost per night: from $135

Leg 3—Natchitoches to New Orleans, Louisiana

Head south on US-71 S and then east I-10 from Natchitoches to New Orleans for 4 hours and 15 minutes.
Vibrant and gothic, loud and secretive, decadent and refined—only one city can be all of these things and it’s New Orleans.
There’s no one right place to start your adventure in this weird and wild city, but we’ll give you some ideas.

What to do in New Orleans

The French Quarter of New Orleans lined with colorful houses down a street.
The French Quarter of New Orleans
Stroll down Esplanade Avenue:
Once you’re stuffed full of gumbo, stroll down oak tree-lined Esplanade Avenue towards the French Quarter, and enjoy one of New Orleans’ most charming streets, full of Creole Mansions with beautiful gardens and elegant wrought-iron fences.
Upon reaching Esplanade’s terminus at the mighty Mississippi, you’ll be within hollering distance of the New Orleans Jazz Museum, housed in the old U.S. Mint building and regularly offering performances by jazz and contemporary artists.
Explore the French Quarter
Hang a right off Esplanade Ave. and head into The French Quarter along Decatur St., where you’ll be enveloped by a kaleidoscope of sounds, smells, sights, and tastes in one of America’s most vibrant neighborhoods. You can even grab a ride on a horse-drawn, Victorian carriage tour to get a feel for the area.
If you’ve still got some energy, try and snag a ticket to a live show at Tipitina’s, a New Orleans music mainstay since 1977 that’s hosted scores of notable musical acts, ranging from Dr. John and James Brown to Patti Smith and Wilco, and everybody in between. Tipitina’s is known for its quaint atmosphere, incredible acoustics, and affordable drink selection.

What to eat in New Orleans

  • Liuzza’s By The Track($$): You might have noticed a pattern on this road trip— drive-eat-walk-eat-do-sleep—which continues in New Orleans, where you’ll start by chowing down on some classic ‘Nawlins’ dishes at Liuzza’s By The Track. Feast on mouth-watering fare—try the Cajun Gumbo, filled with chicken, okra, and sausage—but don’t forget the piping hot barbecue po’boy sandwiches, sizzling catfish plates, and much more.
*Cafe Beignet: Swing by Cafe Beignet, which has a few spots in the Quarter, for a delicious beignet, a powdered sugar-covered pastry that is light, fluffy, and all kinds of delicious. You’ll thank us later.
Don’t forget to sample a delicious, boozy cocktail while you meander from one watering hole to the next on Bourbon Street.

Where to stay in New Orleans

  • Pontchartrain Hotel: Walk back towards the Quarter from Tipitina’s for a night’s stay at the Pontchartrain Hotel, a 1940’s throwback that perfectly captures the elegance of the period. There’s a bustling restaurant, The Jack Rose, where you’ll find authentic New Orleans dishes with European touches, as well as Hot Tin, the Pontchartrain's rooftop bar, popular with both tourists and locals alike. A perfect place for a nightcap under a crescent moon. Cost per night: from $220


Roadside assistance with Jerry

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