Whether you want to see attractions marked with the fleur-de-lis, magnificent fireworks, or whimsical frogs, the state of Louisiana has it all. The Pelican State offers plenty of exciting activities for the whole family. Spend a Rockin’ New Year’s Eve in New Orleans; join the Red Stick revelers in Baton Rouge; or take a selfie with a life-sized nutcracker soldier in Minden. When you stay at a vacation rental in Louisiana, you’ll be close to the action on New Year’s Eve. Pack your bag with a noisemaker and pair of comfortable shoes to dance the night away. Start your vacation rentals search with these top eight New Year’s Eve destinations in Louisiana.

1. New Orleans

Get a jump on Mardi Gras and head to New Orleans for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve getaway. In the morning, take the kids to the party at Audubon Zoo, complete with games, music, prizes, and a countdown to noon. Later, watch the bands and floats in the Allstate Sugar Bowl New Year’s Eve Parade through the French Quarter. Close out the night and the year with locals and visitors at Jackson Square, site of the Crescent City’s annual free New Year’s Eve event. Bring the family to enjoy live music performances before the Fleur-de-lis drop and Symphony in the Sky, an awesome fireworks display. You might even get autographs from the celebrity guests who show up for the Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Central Time Zone New Year’s Countdown.

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2. Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge is French for “Red Stick,” and the city’s Red Stick Revelry makes Louisiana’s capital city the place to be on New Year’s Eve. Take the kids to North Boulevard Town Square in the morning for Red Stick Rising. Help them take part in festivities that include music and hands-on fun while the LED-lighted, custom-designed Red Stick ascends to its resting place at the top of the Town Square Beacon. At night, go downtown for more excitement and live entertainment before the Red Stick drops at the stroke of midnight, triggering a huge fireworks display over the Mississippi River.

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3. Lafayette

On New Year’s Eve morning, treat your kids to a carnival experience in Lafayette at the Children’s Museum of Acadiana. The museum’s New Year’s Noon Carnival Countdown features a huge outdoor big top, arts and crafts, carnival games, food, and beverages. Kids ring in the New Year indoors in a snowstorm of confetti or celebrate with an outdoor balloon drop under the tent. Close out the night at Artmosphere, a restaurant and live music venue that hosts an annual dance where you can release paper lanterns to usher in the New Year.

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4. Shreveport

During your stay in Shreveport, spend New Year’s Eve visiting the Shreveport Aquarium, which opened Nov. 1, 2017. This facility invites you to explore exhibits for hundreds of sea life species, including rays, octopus, sharks, and jellyfish. Take the family to Gators and Friends Alligator Park and Exotic Zoo, and test your go-kart driving skills on the high-speed Gator Raceway track for a different kind of New Year’s thrill.

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5. Minden

About a 30-mile drive east from Shreveport, the historic city of Minden lights its downtown with thousands of twinkling lights each evening through Jan. 2. Delight your family with the city’s celebration of its old-fashioned German heritage and holiday whimsy in the displays of more than 100 life-size nutcrackers. Decorated historic homes open for tours add to your enjoyment.

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6. Natchitoches

Spend New Year’s Eve weekend in Natchitoches, where more than 300,000 Christmas lights illuminate the downtown area. You can take a leisurely drive to view more than 100 seasonal displays that grace the riverbank of Cane River Lake and celebrate the year’s end on Dec. 30 at the free display of fireworks over the water. Watching this spectacular sky show gives you plenty of time to relax and enjoy a quiet evening with the family in your Natchitoches vacation rental on New Year’s Eve.

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7. Calhoun

Forget the trip down Memory Lane this New Year’s Eve, and get everybody into the car for a drive down Calhoun’s Candy Cane Lane instead. Cruise through this stunning million-light display that extends for a mile on a wooded road for an unforgettable holiday show. Before anyone can say, “I’m hungry,” stop at the Iron Cactus for Tex-Mex meals or burgers and fries before heading back to your Calhoun, Louisiana vacation rental to sleep the night off.

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8. Rayne

Jump into the fun in Rayne, known as the “Frog Capital of the World,” as the city celebrates New Year’s Eve with its annual dynamic midnight fireworks display. Watch your family enjoy the down-home style of this fascinating town as you stroll or drive past the many murals that give Rayne its unique look. Take a trip to nearby Jennings, Louisiana, and visit the Gator Chateau, where everybody enjoys the opportunity to hold baby alligators. Admission is free, and it’s an unusual and exciting way to start the year.

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