Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >
Feb 26, 2010 05:21 AM

Trip to Grand Isle

We will be in New Orleans April 14-19. It's our 11th trip and we have never been out of the city limits. We have thoughts of renting a car on Saturday and taking a drive to Grand Isle to do some exploring. Is this a nice drive and are there good places to eat along the route? We expect nothing fancy!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hmmm, Grand Isle...its about 2 1/2 hours south of New Orleans, and you will be driving along Bayou Lafourche most of the way down. There is some new convoluted toll system on the Leesville bridge, so be sure to stop at one of the hole in the wall stores along the way to purchase your bridge toll. Yes that is correct, there is no toll booth, only in Louisiana I guess. It might be a one way fare, ask when you stop.

    Anyway, you are going down the seafood-energy corridor, so there will be a lot of industrial mixed w/ mom and pop restaurants along Hwy 1. I can't think of any along the way, most times I've been down there, I stayed at a friend's camp. At Caminada Pass, by the bridge that crosses over to Grand Isle there is a restaurant, but I don't know if its still open. If you get down there and decide to chill out for a day, there are cabins and hotels that you can usually rent for the night, with the exception of the Tarpon Rodeo in July when everyone is down there and lodging is scarce. There are bars and shops on the island, and a state park on the east end, but its not quite a true tourist destination.

    A closer option is to drive down to Lafitte instead - Restaurant des Familles is down there and pretty good

    1 Reply
    1. re: mimadeli

      re tolls - i think you can simply drive thru it and call the 1-800 number within 24-hours to pay your toll by credit card, right?

    2. Last time we went to Grand Isle we ate at the only dinner spot available. It was not good. Apparently, IMO, the best seafood in Grand Isle is at someone's house. Please, someone, prove me wrong.

      1. Definitely worth the drive. It's beautiful. The only place I recommend is the _________________, the name escapes me, but it's upstairs in the big gas station where you turn right off hwy 1 to go to Fourchon. You can't miss it. Pretty good food last time I was there, but the ownership has recently changed so who knows. I would definitely go check out Fourchon, too. It's amazing. FWIW, as far as I know you don't have to take the toll road. You can use the traditional route.

        8 Replies
        1. re: N.O.Food

          The toll road is the only road--there is NO alternative route. The toll can be paid at a service center in Golden Meadow, or at designated gas stations along the's pretty well marked. And the restaurant's name is Toupsie's.

          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            Actually same building, but the more upscale side: Anthony's.

            1. re: N.O.Food

              yesterday, a good source told me it has gone way, way downhill.

            2. re: Hungry Celeste

              A friend in th' earl bidniss (that's "oil business" to the un-initiated) says that you can pay the toll on-line and I think he said that you have four days after you use it to get on-line and pay if you did not do so in advance. he said it is quite a piece of work. I am glad for the info as I need to go get some shrimp from a friend down there and have niot been since 2008

              1. re: hazelhurst

                Bummer. According to the GI state park's website, the mandatory toll kicked in in August. I assumed they would keep the old road open and not force folks to pay the toll. Too bad about Anthony's. I always thought it was damn good - especially considering the location.

                1. re: N.O.Food

                  There is NO "old road". The toll kicks in at the new Leeville Bridge across Bayou Lafourche. The old bridge was in imminent danger of falling into the bayou due to scouring, so it was replaced with a fixed-span highrise. You can't go south of Leeville without paying a toll....

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                    You could leave a car at the Wal-Mart and try an Assault By Sea

                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                      Gotcha. I didn't know they were planning to take the old bridge down. I just assumed the toll road would be mainly for the energy sector's use, and everyone else could parallel it with the old route. Oh well, can't make as much money that way I guess. As an aside, it's amazing how fast the govt can build a road when it's a priority.

            3. I just have to say that if you're visiting New Orleans and are only there for a few days, I can't recommend heading to Grand Isle (this coming from a former N.O. resident who has been to Grand Isle several times). There is something cool about its remoteness, but I find the beaches there fairly unpleasant--although the drive is interesting as the landscape completely changes from New Orleans. That said, there's not a lot in the way of food or really much commercial activity at all in Grand Isle and it's not a place to really "hang out." I think passing through the city of "Cut Off" says it all :)

              If you are just going for the beach, I personally prefer Pensacola which is about the same drive and has white sand, clear calm water, lots more food choices, and the beaches are prettier as the mud/etc. from the Gulf of Mexico makes swimming kind of "meh" at Grand Isle (the few times I've been there we've also spotted sharks). I'd recommend actually buying some provisions for a picnic so you have them for the beach, as IMO there aren't a ton of great places to stop along the way.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MaddyK

                Or if you want beach, just pack a lunch, go to Gulfport and get on the boat to Ship Island. They do have a snack bar out there, but most folks just drag along an ice chest with whatever they fancy. Beautiful beaches and a great place for a picnic!

              2. The trip to Grand Isle can be such a enigmatic dichotomous sojourne. ( I made it up) The old two lane crosses back & forth across the Bayou Lafourche through the little communities long dependant upon seafood and oil, go figure. Make no mistake, you will be within inches of the finest crab meat, oysters, shrimp, and fish filets on this blue green planet. The flavor and texture of Speckled Trout , and/or blue crab is unmatched. Sadly, little is cooked there, most all is shipped away to feed us who cannot get there often enough. One really does not go there to dine. Instead, the teasure can be found with the people, from a culture unlike anywhere else in the US. They create the “joi de vivre” along the way. They are very friendly, if one takes a moment to stop talking about ME. Listen closely, you will strain to understand the strange tongue, usually coming from someone wearing white boots. If you go, ask those on the ground where you can find fresh cooked fresh seafood. That is when the fun can begin.