The cities and towns surrounding Baton Rouge, Louisiana offer tons of activities and attractions ideal for a weekend of family fun. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on a sandy beach or experience small-town life, there are abundant destinations that take less than five hours to reach by car. Book a stay at one of many Louisiana vacation rentals for your upcoming weekend getaway. Take a look at the most popular weekend spots from Baton Rouge to help you start planning.

1. Mobile, Alabama

Feel your stress begin to drain away after your three-hour drive to Mobile, Alabama. Mobile is a port city for the Gulf of Mexico and sits on Mobile Bay. Learn more about this city’s history and industry at the GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico, and enjoy the interactive exhibits. For kids, the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center is the ideal location, with more than 150 hands-on activities and an IMAX theater to catch an educational film. Take older family members to the Firehouse Wine Bar and Shop for an afternoon of sampling and learning how to pair wines and your favorite foods.

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2. Natchez, Mississippi

Drive right around two hours north to find yourself in the charming town of Natchez, Mississippi. Explore this town on the banks of the Mississippi River with a tour from Downtown Karla Brown. This outfit offers five different tours in varying lengths, including a wine tour and Civil War tour. You can even opt for a bike tour to cover more ground. Enjoy the beautiful weather with a walk around the Natchez National Historical Park – bring a picnic lunch from your vacation rental to dine al fresco – then follow the docent around the historic antebellum home located on the property.

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3. Lake Charles, Louisiana

Two hours brings you to the perfect spot to reconnect and explore the outdoors in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Bring bread to feed the ducks at Prien Lake Park. This park offers miles of walking trails that are gently sloped, perfect for families with young kids that tire easily. There’s also a playground and splash pad to cool off. Gasp in awe at the beautiful costume and masks at the Mardi Gras Museum. Learn more about life on the sea as you tour the USS Orleck Naval Museum that served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In the evening, take older family members to the Golden Nugget Casino for a game of chance at the tables or slot machines.

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4. Beaumont, Texas

After your three-hour car ride, explore life in the past in Beaumont, Texas. The Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum features a town to explore that recreates life in the early 1900s just as oil began to boom in this part of the state. Smell flowers from all over the world at the Beaumont Botanical Gardens. This garden includes a rainforest exhibit with exotic plants and flowers. STEM learning through play is the focus of the Beaumont Children’s Museum, and it offers more than 30 hands-on exhibits. Check out the cool artifacts of inventor Thomas Edison at the Edison Museum. This museum is small, so little children don’t get bored in the time it takes to see all the cool displays.

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5. Galveston, Texas

The little less than five-hour drive to Galveston, Texas, is worth it for a weekend of beach fun. Spend your first day soaking up the sun while the kids play in the water, then spend the afternoon walking along the Seawall Urban Park. It’s the longest continuous sidewalk, and the views are incredible. Take the kids to the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park to ride the coasters, kiddie rides, and Ferris wheel. The midway includes games of luck and skill and food vendors to grab a burger, nachos, and funnel cakes. Tour the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, and imagine what life on the sea was like for the men who sailed on it.

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6. Jackson, Mississippi

Visit the capital city of Mississippi, and reach it with a little less than three hours of driving. Start your visit by stopping by the Old Mississippi Capitol Building, and learn more about the state’s history and governmental bodies. Do a little stargazing and find out more about the cosmos at the Russell C. Davis Planetarium daily showings. Step back in time to the 1920s when you spend an afternoon at the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum. The museum includes a town designed to recreate life in the ’20s and exhibits explaining the importance of cotton to the state’s economy during this period.

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7. Pensacola, Florida

In less than four hours, your family can arrive at your vacation rental on the Florida panhandle in Pensacola, with white sand beaches and emerald-hued water. Visit the Perdido Key State Park for a day of playing on the beach and fishing in the surf. There are also walking paths to stretch your legs. Learn more about aviation and flying at the National Naval Aviation Museum. Walk past the 150 vintage aircraft, and try your hands at the flight simulator. Don’t forget to catch a flick at the IMAX theater.

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