Considering Louisiana contains the largest swamp in the U.S., it’s no wonder that houseboaters flock to the Atchafalaya Basin. The Atchafalaya, with more than a million acres of wetlands created by the Mississippi River, is teeming with far-flung bayous that boaters have been exploring for hundreds of years. You can explore this area in the air-conditioned comfort aboard your own floating castle.
Houseboat rentals in Louisiana
A few miles northeast of Lafayette is the town of Henderson, where you’ll find Atchafalaya Basin Landing & Marina. Don’t worry if you’ve left something back at your hotel; with a full-service store that stocks bait, groceries and gas, this marina likely has everything you need. Interested in airboat tours? They have those, too. The company advertises its four houseboats as “floating cabins,” each with full-size beds or bunk beds, kitchenettes and barbecue gear. Fun fact: nationally syndicated columnist Rheta Grimsley-Johnson’s book Poor Man’s Provence features characters who stayed aboard Atchafalaya Basin Landing & Marina’s Green Queen, a well-outfitted houseboat that sleeps four.
Down the street, you’ll find Houseboat Adventures at Cypress Cove Landing. This company maintains a fleet of five houseboats on Henderson Lake. Boats with names like Midnight Sky and Atchafalaya Queen feature all the trappings of rustic country homes, and the views of Spanish moss-draped cypresses from them are especially memorable.
Next door to Henderson, in Pierre Part, is Miss Sandy Houseboat Rental. While Miss Sandy does not allow overnight stays, she does provide daytime guided tours aboard her 68-foot houseboat to the Belle River, Lake Verret and Lake Palourde. The crew and captain are provided, as well as a DJ and water slide.
South of Lafayette, in Morgan City, Bayou Houseboats hosts visitors on its houseboat dubbed the Summer Time. This is a 56-footer moored in Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, near Gros Marina. Aside from the phenomenal views from the back deck of the Summer Time — and the fact that it sleeps up to 10 — Gros Marina has a reputation for hosting great local zydeco bands on the weekends.
Cajun Houseboat Rentals is another Morgan City destination for houseboaters. This marina has a knowledgeable staff that can tell you about the history and ecology of the Atchafalaya region. For a more up-close look at this dynamic ecosystem, climb aboard the Cajun Gypsy (bunk beds, Wi-Fi, kitchenette) or the Gypsy Dreamer (two beds, two baths; sleeps six). If you book your houseboat stay at Cajun Houseboat Rentals in the warmer months, you’re more likely to hear the alligators croaking — they’re far more active then than in the winter.
Whatever your interests are while taking a houseboating trip in Louisiana, you’re likely at some point to see some of the Atchafalaya’s wide expanse of wetlands. Why just look at it from the roadside, though, when you can get an up-close view by climbing aboard a home on the water?