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Down in the Bayou picture in New Orleans
Swamp views picture in New Orleans
Swamp friends picture in New Orleans
Down in the Bayou picture in New Orleans
Swamp views picture in New Orleans
Swamp friends picture in New Orleans

Price & Hours

  • Prices vary by tour company
  • Hours vary by tour company

Details

  • Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Tours Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.4
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Stretching from Houston to Mobile, Alabama, the Bayou Country played a crucial role in the development of the United States in terms of communication and transportation. In fact, there would be no New Orleans without the bayous, so you owe it to yourself to take a swamp tour. Noel Minturn, a concierge at the Windsor Court Hotel for 25 years, said the swamp tours are a truly unique aspect of the city. "There are a number of companies that go out on either airboats or flatboats out into the swamps and you learn all about the ecology, the wildlife [and] how people live out there," Minturn said.

A mix of saltwater and freshwater, the bayous are home to crawfish, shrimp, snakes, alligators and crocodiles. Multiple tour companies offer different kinds of boat tours of the Louisiana swamps. The following are some of the most popular New Orleans swamp tours:

Cajun Pride Swamp Tours: This experience takes you deep into Manchac Swamp for a look at local flora and fauna and the Cajun town of Frenier. As you travel by flatboat through Cajun Pride Swamp Tours' private wildlife refuge, you may spot alligators, turtles, raccoons and bald eagles, but the highlight for many reviewers was being able to hold crawfish, baby gators and snakes on board. The tours run for an hour and a half and start at $27 for adults and $16 for kids ages 4 to 12; hotel pick-ups are available but cost extra. Book online to save $3 to $7 per ticket.

Canoe & Trail Adventures: If you're feeling brave – and don't mind being extra close to alligators – sign up for a kayak swamp excursion with Canoe & Trail Adventures. These experiences, which last three-and-a-half hours, give you ample opportunities to spot critters and are led by knowledgeable guides, according to travelers. Standard day tours will set you back $35 for kids and $65 for adults and include kayak rentals, water, snacks and loaner waterproof phone cases. Lunch and transfers to and from New Orleans cost extra.

Airboat Adventures: With this tour operator, you can expect interesting guides and multiple glimpses of alligators as you weave through 20,000-plus acres of cypress swamp. After your roughly two-hour boat ride, take some time to explore Airboat Adventures' indoor habitat, which houses Sugar, an albino gator. All airboat tour tickets cover access to this facility in the $55 to $95 fee. For a more intimate feel, visitors recommend paying extra for the small boat tour.

Cajun Encounters: Standard flatboat swamp tours are available through Cajun Encounters, but for a unique twist on this experience, travelers suggest opting for an evening tour. Lasting two hours, each boat ride includes commentary from a friendly guide as you watch the sun set over the bayou and explore Honey Island Swamp. With the aid of a spotlight, you may see alligators, wild boar, owls and more. Tours start at $29 for adults and $19 for kids; hotel transfers cost extra.

New Orleans Airboat Tours: Visitors say shuttle service with New Orleans Airboat Tours is hit or miss, but many rave about its informative, entertaining tours. Each airboat excursion lasts nearly two hours and gives you an up-close look at wild alligators. You may even get the chance to hold a baby gator at the end of your ride. Tickets range from $65 to $105 per person (depending on the boat and whether or not transfers are included) and are sold through the Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours website.

New Orleans Kayak Swamp Tours: This tour outfitter offers three kayaking outings through regional swamps and bayous, including one in New Orleans' oldest neighborhood – Bayou St. John. During this two-hour tour, you'll paddle your way around the area's namesake waterway, passing historic homes and the 1,300-acre City Park as you go. Reviewers say you'll gain lots of insight about local history in a less crowded part of the city. New Orleans Kayak Swamp Tours' Bayou St. John option costs $59 per person.

For more information and tour schedules, visit the tour companies' individual websites. Additional tour details are also available on Viator's website.

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#1 Frenchmen Street If you want an authentic New Orleans experience more removed from the touristy areas of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, head to the lively Frenchmen Street. A popular spot ... Read more » Billy Metcalf Photography / Flickr

#2 French Quarter If you want to experience New Orleans properly, it's best to begin your tour here. Recent visitors said the neighborhood is lively, with lots to do and see and ... Read more » Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

#3 Garden District Take a walking tour of the Garden District (located a little less than 3 miles southwest of the French Quarter) for a peek at some of the city's most ... Read more » Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

#4 The National WWII Museum You don't have to be a history buff to enjoy The National WWII Musuem, according to recent travelers. Having opened June 6, 2000 (the 56th anniversary of D-Day), the ... Read more » Courtesy of The National WWII Museum

#5 New Orleans Swamp Tours Stretching from Houston to Mobile, Alabama, the Bayou Country played a crucial role in the development of the United States in terms of communication and transportation. In fact, there would ... Read more » Sam Spicer / Getty Images

#6 Cemetery Tours Some of New Orleans' must-see attractions are its cemeteries. Many of the tombs found in these "cities of the dead" are above ground to protect them from rising water levels ... Read more » Nick Martucci / Shutterstock

#7 St. Louis Cathedral As the centerpiece of the French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral is one of New Orleans' most recognizable landmarks. The oldest cathedral in North America, St. Louis Cathedral was originally built ... Read more » gary718 / Shutterstock

#8 The Cabildo Flanking Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter, the Cabildo was originally constructed in 1799 (when New Orleans was under Spanish rule), as the seat of the Spanish ... Read more » Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock

#9 New Orleans Museum of Art Since opening in 1911, the New Orleans Museum of Art (known simply as "NOMA") has assembled more than 40,000 works of art­ – an impressive compilation considering the museum opened ... Read more » Zack Smith / Courtesy New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

#10 City Park City Park offers a lovely respite from the city and is a great place to spend an afternoon, according to recent visitors. Take a nature stroll through the 12-acre New ... Read more » Zack Smith / Courtesy New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

#11 Audubon Nature Institute Families on vacation should make some time to visit the Audubon Nature Institute. This massive facility is home to a zoo, an aquarium, and butterfly garden and insectarium, not to ... Read more » Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

#12 Chalmette Battlefield & Jean Lafitte National Park Chalmette Battlefield – the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans – is just 6 miles east of New Orleans along the Mississippi River. As many history buffs know, this battle ... Read more » Brberrys / Shutterstock

#13 Steamboat Natchez The only steamboat in New Orleans, Steamboat Natchez launched in 1975 and is a traditional sternwheel steamboat that takes visitors on a tour of the Mississippi River. The tours aim ... Read more » temis / Getty Images

#14 Backstreet Cultural Museum One of the best places to get a feel for the city's unique identity is at the Backstreet Cultural Museum. This off-the-beaten-path attraction was established by local photographer and ... Read more » Joseph McCarty / Flickr

#15 Louisiana Children's Museum When people say that New Orleans isn't the best place to bring kids, they're forgetting about the Louisiana Children's Museum. Yes, Bourbon Street may be too rowdy ... Read more » Paul Broussard / Courtesy New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

#16 Mardi Gras World Even if you're not in town for the actual festival, don't miss your chance to go behind the scenes of one of America's most renowned (and most ... Read more » Paul Mannix / Flickr

# Kayak-iti-yat Kayaking Tours Read more » Joanna Penn / Flickr

# Doctor Gumbo Tours Read more » Jocelyn & Cathy / Flickr

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The Cabildo picture in New Orleans
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A local favorite, the Spotted Cat is one of Frenchmen Street's finest jazz clubs.  Billy Metcalf Photography / Flickr

Don't be surprised if you come across an impromptu performance while strolling through the French Quarter. Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

Like its name suggests, this historic residential neighborhood is laden with trees, ivy, and yes, gardens. Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

Among the exhibits you can tour at The National WWII Museum is the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion. This part of the museum showcases the stories of several important amphibious landings including the Normandy Invasion. Courtesy of The National WWII Museum

If you're feeling brave – and don't mind being extra close to the alligators you can always go on a swamp tour via kayak. Sam Spicer / Getty Images

New Orleans' St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 can sometimes be as eerie as any ghost tour. Nick Martucci / Shutterstock

A bronzed statue of Andrew Jackson and his steed stand watch over St. Louis Cathedral. gary718 / Shutterstock

In the late 1700s, the Cabildo acted as the seat of the Spanish government. Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock

The New Orleans Museum of Art opened in 1911 with just nine pieces. The museum's inventory has since ballooned to some 40,000 works of art. Zack Smith / Courtesy New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

City Park sprawls across 1,300 acres. It's also one of the nation's oldest urban parks, established in 1854. Zack Smith / Courtesy New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

Audubon Park is home to a zoo, an aquarium, an insectarium, an IMAX theater, a golf course and several small parks. Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

Chalmette was the site of the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Brberrys / Shutterstock

temis / Getty Images

At the Backstreet Cultural Museum you'll find costumes, artifacts, memorabilia, photographs and films, among other materials that celebrate the Big Easy's culture. Joseph McCarty / Flickr

At the Louisiana Children's Museum, kids can learn about the mechanics of the human body, understand the science behind magnets and light, and play in an art studio. Paul Broussard / Courtesy New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Krewe of Orpheus' Leviathan is housed in Mardi Gras World during the offseason. Paul Mannix / Flickr

Joanna Penn / Flickr

Jocelyn & Cathy / Flickr

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