Louisiana serves up more than bowls of its famed gumbo.
To experience an indelible part of the state’s past, present and future, visit the mysterious and exquisite swamps throughout south Louisiana, home to one of the planet’s richest and most diverse ecosystems.
Perceived as beautiful and menacing, south Louisiana’s ancient swamps have long captivated writers, historians and travelers.
Modern-day explorers still have an intense curiosity about the beauty found in Louisiana swamps—the untouched nature and groves of gnarled cypress trees dripping with lush Spanish moss. Voyagers encounter indigenous critters such as alligators peering just above the waters and hundreds of species of birds, and hear colorful lore about pirates and other inhabitants of the vast, winding waterways.
One of the best ways to experience the intricate network of Louisiana’s scenic swamps is by hopping on a guided tour—and ways to get up close and personal are as varied as swamp life itself. Airboats, kayaks, tour boats accommodate sightseers’ desire to explore the swamp.
Atchafalaya Basin Landing & Marina, located in Henderson, offers airboat trips at the gateway to the expansive Atchafalaya wilderness, America’s largest river swamp—perfect for photographers, birders or anyone wanting an unforgettable glimpse into swamp life. Licensed captains who live on the water narrate these exhilarating swamp tours.
The 250-square-mile Honey Island Swamp, a wild and pristine river swamp, has breathtaking scenery and its flora and fauna include alligator, deer, turtles and sweet-smelling azaleas. Honey Island Swamp Tours offer small covered and uncovered boats that have access to this cypress-loaded wonderland and are led by knowledgeable and licensed interpretative guides.
A Cajun Man’s Swamp Cruise is led by Captain Ron “Black” Guidry, a former Louisiana state trooper who shares his firsthand knowledge of south Louisiana’s swamps and plays modern Cajun music on his accordion.
Come face to face with Louisiana’s wildlife and exotic plant life on Jean Lafitte Swamp & Airboat Tours, near New Orleans in the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Navigators will take you along the meandering, murky waters of swamps where you can capture pictures and memories of a true paradise that time has forgotten.
For something different, strap on a helmet for an ATV Swamp Tour in Plantation Country. Action-packed and down-and-dirty, this unusual four-wheel land tour allows visitors to traverse challenging terrain on more than 40 miles of swampland trails.
Paddle along tranquil cypress, tupelo and oak-forested swamps in the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area near New Orleans. Lost Land Tours combines the unique perspective of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Marshall, who educates visitors while giving them an incomparable experience on Louisiana’s swamps.
Acadian Swamp Tours is just minutes away from Nottoway Plantation in White Castle and is the closest swamp tour to Baton Rouge. During the hour and a half tour, Rodney Daigle relies on his 30 years experience as he takes visitors on a jouney through the Atchafalya Basin and Bay Natchez.
Whichever tour you choose to explore Louisiana’s postcard-perfect swamp culture, one thing is guaranteed—it will be the ride of a lifetime.