5 Alternative Mardi Gras Destinations…That Are $200 Cheaper Than New Orleans

By Tommy Burson,

New Orleans and Mardi Gras are synonymous with one another. It’s like New York City and New Years Eve or India and the Holi Festival. There are certain places where you do certain things. For The Big Easy, that’s Mardi Gras.

Unfortunately bank accounts don’t always line up with our wishes. Mardi Gras this year lands on February 28th and trivago’s exclusive hotel data shows average weekend prices hovering around $379/night. That’s not even counting transportation to New Orleans, which will inevitably bleed your wallet dry.

But fear not, travelers. Rather than moping the month away, we looked into five alternative Mardi Gras destinations that will save you $200/night or more.

Mobile, Alabama

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Mobile, Alabama is home to the country’s oldest Mardi Gras, beginning in 1703. (Yes, even older than New Orleans.) The Port City’s rich traditions take visitors on a tour of the “Old World,” one with the jeweled crowns and opulent gowns of Mobile’s Mardi Gras royalty. The festivities here begin in January and don’t stop until the beginning of March. Talk about a party.

Find Mardi Gras Stay in Mobile

Celebration Dates: January 28 – February 28

Mardi Gras Hotel Price: $143/night

Pensacola, Florida

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Photo courtesy of Flickr/Keoni Cabral

First held in 1874, Pensacola’s fête is among the oldest in the country. Unlike most carnival renditions, this version ignores the booze and beads that you’d see in New Orleans and instead focuses on a family-oriented environment. Don’t miss the famed Krewe of Wrecks parade–a parody of New Orleans’ Krewe of Rex–and plenty of Moon Pies. Actually, an insane amount of Moon Pies.

Find Mardi Gras Stay in Pensacola

Mardi Gras Hotel Price: $179/night

Lafayette, Louisiana

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Photo courtesy of Flickr/coffee shop soulja

Not known for the raucousness of New Orleans, nearby Lafayette hosts a chilled out version of the traditionally Catholic celebration. For a more authentically Cajun rendition, venture just forty-minutes outside of the city to Eunice. Here revelers partake in the Courir de Mardi Gras, a race modeled after peasant traditions in Medieval France in which some 2,000 participants beg their way across the city for ingredients to cook a Mardi Gras feast.

Find Mardi Gras Stay in Lafayette

Mardi Gras Hotel Price: $107

Galveston, Texas

Photo courtesy of Pixabay/skeeze

“More beach, less booze” — That’s the Mardi Gras motto in Galveston, which attracts some 300,000 partiers for its annual celebration. Encompassing 38 concerts, 24 parades, and 5 masked balls (like in Venice), the party in Galveston is a must see. Just don’t forget your bathing suit, because it all happens along the beachfront.

Find Mardi Gras Stay in Galveston

Mardi Gras Hotel Price: $172/night

Biloxi, Mississippi

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

What began as a small celebration on the Gulf Coast in 1908 has since turned into a 20 parade, 450,000 visitor extravaganza in Biloxi Mississippi. Beyond the party, Biloxi also houses an historic Mardi Gras Museum, which traces the 300 years of celebration on the Gulf Coast. On display are an assortment of old costumes, photographs, and eclectic memorabilia of carnivals along the Gulf.

Find Mardi Gras Stay in Biloxi

Mardi Gras Hotel Price: $164/night

 

 

Featured Image courtesy of Flickr.com/brad.coy