Best Ways to See the Swamps of New Orleans (Photos, Tours & More)
Southern Louisiana is arguably the most eclectic portion of the United States. From the famous parades of the French Quarter, to the grand estates of Plantation Country, the region emanates history, culture, and mystery.
Perhaps one of the most stunning sights to behold are the many swamps and bayous peppered throughout New Orleans and the surrounding areas. But sometimes it's hard to know the best ways to see the swamps of New Orleans.
Widely considered a can't miss New Orleans attraction, swamp tours exhibit the best of NOLA culture. Keep reading to learn about every major swamp near the Crescent City, and maybe then you'll be able to decide what is the best way to see the swamps of New Orleans!
Table of Contents
- Why Visit the Swamps of New Orleans?
- What Animals Live in the Swamps of New Orleans?
- Are Swamp Tours Safe for Kids?
- What is the Best Way to See the Swamps of NOLA?
- What are the Best Swamps of New Orleans to Visit?
- Honey Island
- Is Visiting the Swamps of New Orleans Worth it?
Why go on a Swamp Tour?
Pictured above is a swamp tour guide feeding one of the local alligators
Swamp tours are great for families, couples, friends, and work retreats. Spend an afternoon in pre-historic wetlands surrounded by exotic plants and animals including alligators, snakes, turtles, nutria, and a wide assortment of stunning birds. Tour guides are tried-and-true Louisiana natives, schooled in the history of each swamp.
Want to learn more about the Creole lifestyle, or the infamous swamp monster "the rougarou"? Want to see the world as it was centuries ago, untouched by supermarkets, condominiums, and your neighborhood Walmart? Then a swamp tour is right up your alley!
What Animals Live in the Swamps of New Orleans?
Louisiana and New Orleans Swamps are full of incredible, rare, and downright scary animals! One of the coolest animals you'll see is the alligator, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of species of birds, turtles, fish, snakes, insects, and rodents call the swamp home!
Are Swamp Tours Safe for Kids?
One of the best features of this unique excursion is the all-ages appeal. Visiting the swamps of New Orleans is suitable for children 1 - 100. Experience the swamps on a laid-back, slow moving pontoon cruiser, or opt for the thrill of a high speed airboat ride!
Swamp tour vehicles can be large enough to accommodate groups of over 100, or small private parties of under 6. However you want to experience the swamp (up-close and personal, or with plenty of space between you and the gators) there is a tour you'll love! Check out some of the boats you'll ride on a swamp tour:
What is the Best Way to See the Swamps of NOLA?
With so many great choices, it can be hard to determine which way is the best way to see the swamps of New Orleans. Between swamp boats and airboats, and tours that include transportation and those that do not, there are a few things to think about before choosing the tour that’s best for you. Before booking your excursion, it’s important to consider:
- Type of Boat You'll be Riding
- Tour Guide
- If the Tour is Combined with Activities/Attractions like Plantation Tours
- Featured Animals
As you can see, there are a variety of factors determining which tour is right for you. Let's look at some of the top swamps of New Orleans, and discuss reasons to visit each swamp along with some featured tours.
What are the Best Swamps of New Orleans to Visit?
Louisiana is home to 3 million acres of wetlands, meaning there is a lot of swamp in NOLA to explore. If you’re still unsure about the best way to see the swamps of New Orleans, the best place to start is by discovering which swamp you’d like to visit most. Below are some of the most popular swamps of New Orleans, so you can choose the one that’s best for your group!
Located in St. Tammany Parish, Honey Island is one of the South's most popular swamp destinations. Named after a since-depleted honeybee population, Honey Island Swamp is a true sight to behold with hanging moss, Lily-pad coated waterways, and a healthy population of giant green alligators!
Millions of travelers flock to Honey Island for its untouched wildlife habitats that are home to alligators, wild boars, bears, and a large variety of seabirds! If you're a fan of the supernatural, Honey Island Swamp is rumored to be home of the BigFoot-like "Honey Island Swamp Monster." With sightings dating back decades, the monster is a bonafide legend in NOLA and southern Louisiana! The top reasons to visit Honey Island Swamp include:
- One of the most pristine marshland environments in the country
- Several exotic animals reside here
- Home to the mythical Honey Island Swamp Monster
Featured Honey Island Swamp Tour
Pictured above is a group enjoying a tour through the bayou with Cajun Encounters
Owned and operated by NOLA natives, the Honey Island Swamp Tour with Optional Transportation from Cajun Encounters offers an authentic and thrill-filled tour of Honey Island. The narrated boat tour uses a more intimate 22-passenger boat to get you closer to the wildlife than ever before! Use Promo Code SWAMP43 to SAVE 10% on tickets when booking online.
The Manchac Swamp spans several small towns in Louisiana's Cajun country. The historical swamp is a favorite among travelers, with stunning wildlife, plant life, and unsullied waters.
Many natives still live in harmony with the swamp-lands, with waterfront homes and hunting posts scattered throughout. Locals love to tell the story of the voodoo queen Julia Brown's curse, creating a sense of magic and danger while exploring the many bayous and inlets of the Manchac Swamp. The top reasons to visit Manchac swamp include:
- One of the largest swamps in the NOLA region
- Several exotic animals reside here
- Home of voodoo queen Julia Brown and her swamp curse
Featured Manchac Swamp Tour
According to a recent Traveler Story, holding a baby alligator was the highlight of their tour
This one-of-a-kind adventure through the Louisiana back-country is considered by many to be one of the best swamps of New Orleans! Both fascinating and educational, witness the dozens of swamp creatures including alligators and bald eagles aboard a spacious river cruiser!
Learn about the unique culture of wetlands inhabitants, and the history of the Cajun town Frenier. SAVE 20% on tickets automatically, and an additional 10% with Promo Code SWAMP43 when booking online.
Part of the Barataria Preserve outside Marrero, LA, Barataria Swamp is home to incredible swamp animals including over 200 species of birds.
The swamp is named after a notorious French pirate and smuggler and his swashbuckling crew nicknamed the Baratarians. As part of a much larger waterway, it's not uncommon to see airboats zipping through the waters of the Barataria Swamp. The top reasons to visit Barataria swamp include:
- Part of the Barataria Preserve system of swamps, bayous, and hiking trails
- Several exotic animals reside here including over 200 species of birds
- Site of pirate activity in the 19th century and beyond
Featured Barataria Swamp Tour
Incredible views of Spanish moss, amazing wildlife, and Cypress trees are just a few of the many reasons why exploring the swamps of New Orleans is a must
1/2 thrilling and 1/2 educational, this all-ages tour offers a high speed ride through the swamps of Barataria. Get up close to gators and more wildlife, and learn from the Louisiana native who will guide and narrate this back-country excursion. Use Promo Code SWAMP43 to SAVE 10% on tickets when booking online.
Located approximately 25 miles west of New Orleans, Maurepas is mostly flooded cypress tupelo swamp. Some of the most stunning trees and fauna including Red Maple, American Elm, and Sugarberry inhabit this unique marshland west of NOLA.
The swamp is used heavily for recreational purposes including hunting, fishing, and birding. Bird watchers can enjoy the sights and sounds of rare birds including Osprey, Egrets, and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries).
The extraordinary nature found in this marshland makes Maurepas one of the top swamps of New Orleans to visit! The top reasons to visit Maurepas Swamp include:
- Home to hundreds of diverse animal and plant species
- Memorizing views of a flooded cypress tupelo swamp
- Ever-changing landscapes appear different day-to-day based on water levels and season
The Osprey is found in Maurepas Swamp - Image by pxhere.com
Is Visiting the Swamps of New Orleans Worth it?
With thousands of incredible animals, fascinating history, creole and cajun culture, and wonder and excitement around every corner, we can all agree that visiting the swamps of New Orleans is definitely worth it!
Now that you've learned about the most popular swamps of Louisiana, which tour do you think is best for you? From rare bird species, to legendary swamp monsters, there is a tour for every age and interest!
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