North America Solo Travel

Louisiana Swamp Tours – All You Need To Know

Last updated on February 29th, 2024 at 10:55 am

Are you keen to see some alligators? Maybe a few racoons? Perhaps some turtles? If so, then add a Louisiana swamp and bayou sightseeing tour to your New Orleans itinerary. 

I did just that when I visited New Orleans in September. I didn’t quite know what to expect and I’m guessing you may not either so here’s my guide on all you need to know about Louisiana swamp tours.

Is A New Orleans Swamp Tour Worth It?

Probably the most important question! The answer to which is a resounding yes!

For those of us who don’t live in an area where swamps and bayous exist, tours offer a great opportunity to experience an environment you aren’t familiar with, meet people who are and see and learn new things. It’s also a fun experience! The cherry on the top of course is the opportunity to see the local wildlife….keep in mind however that with wildlife, there are no guarantees!

Image of 2 alligators seen on a Louisiana swamp tour

Where Is The Best Place To Go On A Swamp Tour In Louisiana?

South Louisiana has an abundance of swamps and bayous and as such, there are many places offering swamp tours. The following are 3 areas that are accessible from the city of New Orleans and were most commonly mentioned in my pre-visit research:

1. Jean Lafitte Swamp within the Jean Lafitte Historical Park and Preserve – located about 27 kilometres south of New Orleans

2. Honey Island Swamp – located about 60 kilometres north of New Orleans and home to the Honey Island Swamp Monster, a creature similar to Big Foot!

3. Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area – located about 40 kilometres west of New Orleans

Image of the swamp and Spanish Moss seen hanging from trees on a Louisiana swamp tour

What Kind Of Swamp Tours Are There?

There are a variety of ways you can experience swamp tours in Louisiana, including:

1. Swamp Boat Tours

Probably the most common type of tour, these pontoon (or flat bottomed) boats will glide slowly through the water. Covered with a canopy and captained by a guide offering a narration, I think these boats are a great option, especially for groups or those with kids.

Image of flat bottom swamp boat used on a Louisiana swamp tour

2. Airboat Swamp Tours

Thrill seekers may want to consider an airboat tour. Airboats travel more quickly than the swamp boats but will accommodate smaller numbers of passengers. They are open topped and quite loud (although ear protectors are included in the tour) but can also access parts of the swamp that the larger swamp boats can’t. There may be restrictions however as to who can join these tours.

Image of an airboat swamp boat in action and used on a Louisiana swamp tour

3. Kayaking Tours

The adventurers may prefer joining a kayaking tour. A more eco-friendly, less noisy option than either the swamp boat or airboat option, taking a kayak tour may mean you see more alligators as you won’t be jostling for viewing space unlike on a full swamp boat but you will of course be closer to them!

4. Swamp Zipline Tours

Yes, you can take a zipline tour if that’s your thing! Whilst this will give you a birds eye view of the swamp below, you won’t see any wildlife as close up or for the same duration as you would from a boat or kayak.

5. Aerial Tours

More of an indulgence for sure, but taking a seaplane over New Orleans and its surrounding swamp will definitely be an experience to remember!

6. Walking Tours

Guided and self-guided tours through the Barataria Preserve, part of the Jean Lafitte Historical Park and Preserve, are also an option for those looking for something a little quieter.

Image of a Spanish Moss draped tree seen on a Louisiana swamp tour

Best Louisiana Swamp Tours?

Now that is the $64,000 question! I only did the one tour of course, but I have set out below a selection of companies that operate tours within the areas I have referred to above and which appear to be very popular.

Jean Lafitte Swamp

I joined this tour operated by Gary Line which went to the Barataria Preserve. The swamp boat trip (operated by Adventures of Jean Lafitte) was narrated and the guide on board my trip was very entertaining!

Other tour companies operating in this area include Louisiana Tour Company and Airboat Adventures. Check also the National Park official site for the Barataria Preserve.

Honey Island Swamp

Tour companies operating in this area include Honey Island Swamp Tours and Cajun Encounters.

Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area

Tour companies operating in this area include ZipNOLA and Cajun Pride Swamp Tours.

I would strongly advise you to carry out your own research – review what each company offers and read the restrictions/conditions, assess price, transportation options etc., consider whether you wish to combine a swamp tour with a visit to a plantation home – and decide which option suits you best. I always find Get Your Guide a good place to start research.

Image of the swamp and vegetation seen on a Louisiana swamp tour

How Long Is A Louisiana Swamp Tour?

Durations will vary depending on what type of swamp tour you take but generally speaking you should expect around 1.5-2 hours for swamp boat and airboat tours, 2+ hours for kayak tours and 1-1.5 hours for ziplining.

You will also need to add transportation time. By way of example, the tour I took included pick up and return from/to New Orleans and the total tour time was 3 hours 45 minutes.

How Much Is A Swamp Tour In Louisiana?

Prices for New Orleans swamp tours will differ depending on what type of tour you book, which company you book with and whether you need a transportation inclusive deal.

On average, expect to pay $50+ for swamp boat tours with transport, more for airboat tours. Prices for children will be lower. Zipline prices are also higher, whereas kayaking may be similar. My advice is to do your research and compare offers.

My Tips For Taking A Louisiana Swamp Tour

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to join a swamp tour! If so, here are my tips to help you get the most out of your experience:

  • Manage your expectations – when dealing with wildlife there are no guarantees that you will see anything. That said, the guide on my tour did tempt the alligators and racoons with marshmallows (they were clearly partial to them!) so there is a good chance you will see something!
  • Wear cool, comfortable clothing and good footwear
  • Take water – it’s very hot and humid in the summer months
  • Take bug spray
  • In summer, take sunscreen and sun glasses
  • Take a poncho or raincoat…just in case!
  • Most important of all….don’t fall in! 

Final Thoughts

Enrich your time in New Orleans by adding a swamp tour to your list of Louisiana experiences. It’s such a unique environment and with a variety of tour options to suit all tastes, there’s something for everyone.

When planning your trip to New Orleans, don’t forget to read my posts 12 Best Things To Do In New Orleans and Whitney Plantation Tour for more ideas, tips and inspiration for your visit!

Disclaimer: Visitor information correct at the time of writing but do check before travelling.

Disclosure – This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you book something using them, I will earn a small commission but you will not pay anything extra. Thank you for supporting my blog.



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