Grand Isle State Park © Rebecca Milby
A great weekend getaway from New Orleans, Grand Isle is a popular holiday town located on an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Formerly a busy port of call for notorious pirates like Jean Lafitte, Grand Isle is now a peaceful haven for relaxation, fishing and birdwatching. Grand Isle State Park is home to one of the top winter beaches in the US, and there is a small town of about 1,500 people nearby with a few restaurants and self-catering accommodation. Grand Isle comes alive each year for the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo, a salt-water fishing rodeo that draws something like 15,000 people annually. Another popular event is the Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival, held each spring.