Imagine paddling through a misty Louisiana swamp or flying through the water on a lightning-fast airboat.
Gnarled cypress trees dripping with Spanish moss casting eerie shadows. Exotic bird calls echoing all around you. Raccoons and wild boar rustling on the banks. Snapping alligators swimming up for a closer look.
It’s a vivid scene that has captured the imaginations of explorers for centuries – and still draws boatloads of visitors today. Why? There’s no better way to immerse yourself in Louisiana’s incredibly diverse ecosystem than on a Louisiana swamp tour.
As varied as these swamps and their accompanying wildlife are, so too are your options for experiencing them. You can tour them in broad daylight or by the light of a silvery moon when a calm blankets the swamp and animals peek out from the shadows.
But we know rubbing elbows with alligators isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
If you’re a little nervous about exploring these mysterious waters on your own, let an expert lead the way. Airboats, kayaks and tour boats large and small offer a variety of guided trips in many parts of the state, featuring licensed captains to ensure an educational, safe and fun trip.
And you don’t have to be an expert to hop on aboard. Most trips are suited for family members of all ages and we’ve compiled this handy list of the must-have items first-timers should bring for a swamp tour.
What to Bring on a Swamp Tour
- Light, Layered Clothing: Tour attire is casual, but you will want to be mindful of the elements. If it’s cool outside, you’ll likely get cold when wet. If it’s hot, you’ll want to shed the long sleeves. Light clothing that you can layer on and off is your best bet in both cases.
- Poncho or Rain Jacket: Let’s face it, there’s a chance you’re going to get wet on the water. And while that’s part of the fun, a good drenching from above can put a damper on the festivities. Pack a light rain jacket in case the skies open up above you.
- Water or Athletic Shoes: A swamp tour is no place to dress to impress. Sensible, comfortable water shoes, sandals or tennis shoes will keep you on your feet much more effectively.
- Sun Protection: If you’re taking a daytime tour, be sure to bring sunglasses, sunscreen and maybe a hat. The sun can be intense, but these precautions will keep you from getting too toasty.
- Insect Repellent: Whatever you do, be sure to bring your bug spray. At certain times of the year, those tiny critters enjoy our swamps as much as you will – but they can take their own tour.
- A Little Cash: Although you can buy your ticket and stash your purse or wallet in advance, you’ll want to keep a little cash handy in a safe, dry, secure pocket. Some boats sell snacks and drinks – and you’ll definitely want to tip your captain after a memorable trip.
- Camera: You’ll make lots of memories on a Louisiana swamp tour, but how are you going to make your social followers jealous with those thoughts alone. Don’t forget your camera so you can capture stunning photos of the waters, woods and wildlife you see. (Umm, how many of your friends will have selfies with an alligator?) Waterproof cameras are ideal, but a smartphone in a protective case works well, too.
- An Adventurous Spirit: A Louisiana swamp tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but you’ll get the most out of it if you set aside your fears and open up to nature. Let the good times roll, we like to say. Just relax and see what we mean!
Ready to put these essential items to good use? Start planning your Louisiana swamp tour here.