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The 9 Best Louisiana Swamp Tours of 2024

Swamp tours are a popular activity for any visit to Louisiana. In addition to alligators, Louisiana’s swamps and bayous offer a chance to see bears, beavers, foxes, nutrias and racoons, as well as dozens of amphibian and reptile species.

We’ve determined the following Louisiana swamp tours to be the best based on traveler reviews and expert opinion. What’s more, several of the recommended tour companies are located close to New Orleans and offer transportation.

Airboat Adventures – Small Boat Tours: Lafitte

Price: From $89
Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes

One of the best swamp tours near New Orleans, this small-group excursion accommodates up to 10 passengers and features a multitude of reptiles, birds and other swamp residents. Riders frequently report enjoying the high-speed trips as well as the experienced guides and, of course, the plentiful wildlife on display.

Shuttle service between New Orleans hotels and Airboat Adventures’ Lafitte location is available for an additional fee of $30 per person. Note: Airboat passengers must be at least 5 years old. The company also offers tours in its larger airboats and pontoon boats.

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Cajun Encounters – VIP Swamp Tour: Slidell

Price: From $94.99
Duration: Two hours

This small-group excursion traverses the Honey Island Swamp via a flat-bottomed boat, which has the ability to maneuver narrow waterways. The excursion puts travelers within close proximity of alligators, bears, river otters and numerous types of birds, including great horned owls and bald eagles. Tour-takers consistently find the boat guides informative and entertaining, and enjoy the array of observable plant and animal life.

Tours are available several times daily. Cajun Encounters, located on the West Pearl River in Slidell, also offers pickup service from several French Quarter hotels as well as its New Orleans tour office (941 Decatur Street) for an additional fee. Note that children under age 13 are not permitted on this tour; however, they are allowed on the company’s larger swamp tours.

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New Orleans Kayak Tours – Manchac Swamp Kayak Tour: Ponchatoula

Price: From $59
Duration: 2.5 hours

Many swamp tours rely on motorized boats to navigate Louisiana’s waterways, but this tour uses kayaks to explore the peaceful Manchac Swamp. Thanks to the swamp’s calm waters, this outing is suitable for paddlers of all experience levels. Trip-takers tend to appreciate the guides’ educational commentary, as well as the frequent animal sightings. If you’re interested in the paranormal, ask your tour guide about the haunted history of Manchac Swamp — it is believed to be haunted by a voodoo priestess.

Departure times may vary by season, but start times of 9 and 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. are typical. From March through September, there’s an additional 4:30 p.m. departure time. Transportation from New Orleans (the Rampart Treehouse/10 pizza) is available for an additional $25 per person.

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Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours – Swamp Airboat Tour: Marrero

Price: From $98
Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Traverse southern Louisiana’s swamps and bayous and the canals connecting them aboard a powerful airboat on this top-rated expedition. Tour-takers generally enjoy both the numerous wildlife sightings and the informed commentary by the guides.

Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours operates multiple airboats, with tours departing at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. daily. Winter hours vary. Transportation between select New Orleans locations and the company’s Marrero base is available for an additional fee. Hotel pickup starts up to 90 minutes before tour departure times. Note: Children younger than 5 are not permitted on this tour.

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Louisiana Tour Company – New Orleans Swamp Tour by Tour Boat: Marrero

Price: From $35 for adults; $15 for kids
Duration: 2 hours

Glide through the wetlands within the Barataria Preserve aboard a covered boat built for comfort. Along with restrooms and cushioned seats, boats are equipped with guides who will regale you with amusing and informative commentary as you keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and sights like an ancient Native American burial mound and a Cajun fishing village.

Hotel pickup in New Orleans is available for an additional fee. Boat rides start at 9:40 a.m., 12:10 p.m. and 2:10 p.m. daily with a seasonal 4:15 departure time, and hotel pickups start about 90 minutes prior to start time. In addition to swamp tours, the company also offers plantation and airboat tours, among other options.

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Ultimate Swamp Adventures – Covered Pontoon Swamp Boat Tour: Westwego

Price: Adults from $32; kids from $15
Duration: 2 hours

Cruise Bayou Segnette on this excursion, which features captains versed in the local culture and habitat. Past participants describe the guides as highly entertaining and enlightening and report seeing many alligators and birds. Tours are offered multiple times a day all year long. They depart at 9:45 a.m., noon and 2 p.m., with an additional 4 p.m. start time in months with sufficient evening sunlight.

Transportation from New Orleans hotels is available for an additional fee, and shuttle service begins about an hour prior to designated departure times. The large covered vessels can accommodate up to 68 passengers. Ultimate Swamp Adventures, located in Westwego about 10 miles from New Orleans, also offers airboat tours.

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Atchafalaya Basin Landing Airboat Swamp Tours – Traditional Swamp Boat Tour: Henderson

Price: From $39
Duration: 1.5 hours

The Atchafalaya Basin has bragging rights as the biggest U.S. river swamp – even bigger than the Florida Everglades. A variety of swamp creatures inhabit its nearly 1 million acres of bayous, swamps and lakes. Tourgoers consistently sing the praises of the striking scenery and the friendly, professional staff. Additionally, by opting for the swamp boat tour, you can ride through even more of the basin than during the company’s namesake airboat tours.

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McGee’s Louisiana Swamp & Airboat Tours – Swamp Tours: Henderson

Price: Adults from $35; kids from $25
Duration: 1.5 hours

Enjoy an up-close look at the Atchafalaya Basin’s unique ecosystem on this tour. Reviewers say the tour is well-suited for families with children, and applaud the guides for their insightful and compelling narration. Tours happen three times daily, departing at 10 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m.

In addition to the swamp boat tours (which welcome up to 48 passengers), rides in smaller airboats, as well as seasonal sunset tours, are also available. Henderson, where McGee’s is based, is located 45 miles west of Baton Rouge.

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Champagne’s Swamp Tours – Swamp Boat Tour: Breaux Bridge

Price: Adults from $28; kids from $23.50
Duration: 1.5 hours

The Cypress Island Nature Preserve at Lake Martin is home to hundreds of bird species, as well as alligators and other wildlife. This tour provides opportunities to see some of these spectacular creatures up close. Guides regularly win accolades for their knowledge of the local flora and fauna.

Reservations are required and can be made by contacting the company directly. The Champagne’s Swamp Tours storefront in Breaux Bridge, which is approximately 50 miles southwest of Baton Rouge, opens daily at 8 a.m. (excluding some holidays). The company’s boats are wheelchair-accessible.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Atchafalaya Basin is largely considered the most famous swamp in Louisiana. It is the largest river swamp in the U.S.

Dress comfortably (think: loose layers) and bring a light jacket in the event it rains or you get chilly while you’re out on the water.

Spring and summer are prime time for alligator sightings, though you’ll likely see them no matter when you visit.

You’ll increase your chances of spotting alligators by booking a morning tour, as wildlife is typically most active during this time (as well as late evening).

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Bernard Greenhall
Bernard Greenhall

Bernard is a sports and physical education expert with years of experience. He's passionate about promoting health and wellness through physical activity, and he's worked with athletes and non-athletes alike to help them achieve their fitness goals. Bernard holds a degree in Physical Education and is dedicated to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and research in his field.

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