The 9 Best Swamp Tours in New Orleans

A trip to New Orleans isn’t complete without a swamp tour. Step out of the bustling city and venture into Cajun Country by taking one of the best swamp tours in New Orleans.

There are several swamps to choose from, including the Honey Island Swamp and the Barataria Preserve in the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park.

Not only will you be guided through areas only accessible by boat, but you can also choose a trip on an iconic airboat or a flat-bottom traditional boat. Each boat has its pros and cons, but the tour will be unforgettable, whichever you choose.

You will learn about the swamps surrounding New Orleans and the wildlife that call the swamps home. From alligators to turtles or raccoons to wild boars – you never know what you will come across on a New Orleans swamp tour.

Remember that these are swamp tours, so alligator sightings are not guaranteed. However, you will likely see some scaley friends if you take a tour during the warmer months!

See an alligator by taking one of the best swamp tours in New Orleans.  Alligator sticking his head out of the swamp water.

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The 9 Best Swamp Tours in New Orleans

New Orleans Airboat Ride

Take an iconic airboat ride through Louisiana’s stunning Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve by taking one of the best swamp tours in New Orleans: The New Orleans Airboat Ride.

The swamp tour takes you through where you will see loads of swamp wildlife, including alligators, turtles, raccoons, birds and all of the aquatic plants that bloom in the swamp.

The tour takes place on the Tidewater cypress swamp, home to shallow marshes surrounded by tupelo-gum trees and mossy cypress.

One of the bonuses of taking an airboat over a regular swamp tour boat is the air helps keep you cool while keeping the mosquitos at bay. This is what makes the New Orleans Airboat Ride the best airboat tour in New Orleans.

You will be able to get quite close to the alligators on the New Orleans Airboat Ride, which is fantastic to experience! It can get pretty hot during the day, so bring plenty of cool clothing and a hat. Otherwise, I recommend taking the morning tour to avoid the afternoon heat.

The tour guides know about all the creatures you will see on your swamp tour. The tour is fun, and you will leave falling in love with the swamp.

What are the pros of the airboat over a regular boat? You can move through areas fast to see more alligators, and the air keeps you cooler in the hot summer New Orleans heat.

They have larger and smaller airboats of either 10 to 30 people. And you can choose to get picked up from your hotel, which makes getting to the tour super easy.

Book here: New Orleans Airboat Ride

New Orleans Swamp and Bayou Boat Tour

Explore the beautiful Honey Island Swamp by taking the New Orleans Swamp and Bayou Boat Tour. The boats you take creep through the wetlands, allowing you to get up close and personal with swamp wildlife without scaring them away.

The tour will transport you across the stunning Lake Pontchartrain to the Honey Island Swamp outside Slidell.

The bus and tour with the Captain are fantastic. You will learn so much about the wetlands and see all the wildlife you can imagine. The smaller boats make it easier to go through narrower passageways through the swamp offering a more intimate and peaceful tour. Airboats are cool, but there is something special about travelling quietly through the swamps of New Orleans on a smaller boat.

I recommend a boat with a top to protect yourself from the sun. It gets pretty hot down in the Honey Island Swamp! The tour guide I had made our trip incredible, and I consider it one of the best swamp tours in New Orleans.

My favourite thing about my tour of the Honey Island Swamp was seeing the pigs! I absolutely loved Oreo the best, and I recommend checking out the post about my trip to the Honey Island Swamp Tour in New Orleans.

Book here: New Orleans Swamp and Bayou Boat Tour with Transportation

Introducing the love of my life: Oreo the Pig!

Oreo the pig in the swamp water at the Honey Island Swamp in Louisiana

Swamp and Bayou Sightseeing Boat Tour

Visit the Take the New Orleans Swamp and Bayou Boat Tour to see all the alligators that call the Barataria Preserve in the Jean Lafitte Historical Park home. The preserve is wild wetlands surrounded by bayous, marshes, swamps and forests.

It is such an incredible boat tour, and the tour guides are hilarious and point out animals as you float through the swamp. They also get alligators to come as close to the boat as possible by feeding them sweet marshmallow treats. It’s so exciting to get up close and personal with wild alligators!

The bus ride passes over the Mississippi River, and you will get to listen to the driver talk about the history of each community we pass. 

And once you get onto the swamp, you are greeted by a local guide who knows the swamps’ ins and outs. Every staff member was incredibly friendly and helpful, and I cannot recommend them enough.

I saw tons of alligators on my tour, but depending on the time of year, sometimes it can be hard to spot alligators in the water, so be prepared for possible disappointment. It doesn’t seem to happen too often, though!

Book here: Swamp and Bayou Sightseeing Boat Tour

Small-Group Swamp Tour by Airboat

Do you want to take a swamp tour in New Orleans but don’t want to share the experience with too many other people? The Small-Group Swamp Tour by Airboat is the tour I recommend.

You can sail the seas (okay, the swamps) of the Barataria Preserve with a local guide who will show you the best parts of the swamp. The airboat travels at high speeds through certain areas of the swamp, which is extremely fun.

Then, as you approach wildlife like alligators and to, pelicans, and so much more – the boat will slow down, allowing you to take photos as you learn about the animals in the area.

What makes this one of the best swamp tours in New Orleans? The airboat allows you to reach and explore inaccessible places on foot. Plus, the tour is family and kid-friendly and perfect for people who want to enjoy the peace of a smaller group as the boats seat a max of 9 people.

Book here: Small-Group Swamp Tour by Airboat

New Orleans: Manchac Bayou Swamp Cruise

Visit the Manchac Swamp by taking one of the best swamp tours in New Orleans with the Manchac Bayou Swamp Cruise Tour.

Explore the swamp by taking a Cajun-style boat tour through Louisiana’s Manchac Swamp, located outside the Cajun town of Frenier.

The swamp is stunningly beautiful as moss-draped cypress trees surround its calm waters. The boat, driven by a local guide, drifts through the swamp as you learn about the history of Louisiana and the animals that live there.

Some wildlife you may encounter includes wild boars, alligators, snakes, birds and more. If you want the inside scoop on Louisiana’s Cajun history with a side of swamps and alligators, I highly recommend this tour.

This tour offers optional pickup, so book for pickup if required.

Book here: New Orleans: Manchac Bayou Swamp Cruise

Alligator sunbathing on a log at the Honey Island Swamp

New Orleans: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

Want to speed through Louisiana’s Barataria Preserve on an airboat? New Orleans High-Speed Airboat Ride gets to venture into areas of the swamp that traditional boats cannot visit. 

Airboats can ride in inches of water, so it is perfect to get to those hard-to-reach swampy areas with this tour.

The tour includes a captain who will control the airboat, stopping at all the best locations where you can stop and float for a bit. You may see alligators, raccoons, or even a bald eagle!

The boat moves so fast that it can be scary but is perfect for adrenaline seekers!

Book here: New Orleans: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

Honey Island Swamp Tour

Spend the afternoon roaming the Honey Island Swamp alongside a wetland ecologist as they guide you by boat through the swamp. 

The Honey Island Swamp Tour is home to wildlife like alligators, turtles, crawfish and all kinds of wetland birds. My favourite was seeing the wild boars living between the moss-draped cypress trees.

The captain will point out loads of wildlife and the biome of the swamp ecosystem and what makes it unique to Louisiana. The tour starts with a narrated bus ride from the French Quarter over Lake Pontchartrain. You will still see areas affected by Hurricane Katrina all these years later.

Honey Island Swamp is truly a gem, and I cannot recommend this tour enough. Also, there are loads of hummingbirds at the meeting point before you start your tour.

Book here: Honey Island Swamp Tour

Small-Group Bayou Airboat Ride

Take the Best bayou tour in New Orleans through Bayou Segnette State Park with the Small-Group Bayou Airboat Ride. The tour passes through marshlands and the secluded bayou in the bayou Segnette.

The swamp is deep in Cajun Country so you will be transported via an air-conditioned van. This includes a narrated tour of the Mississippi and historic French Quarter sites.

The airboat can travel incredibly fast! Be sure to hold onto your hat as the boat speeds up through the open parts of the swamp on the hunt for wildlife sightings.

The captains often invite little alligators on board. You may even get to hold a young alligator on your tour!

Book here: Small-Group Bayou Airboat Ride

From Lafitte: Swamp Tours South of New Orleans by Airboat

From Lafitte: Swamp Tours South of New Orleans by Airboat is a family-friendly swamp tour. The tour explores the wetlands of Lafitte in Bayou Barataria, where you may spot alligators, snakes, birds and turtles.

The boat tours range from 6 to 30 people. If you want a quiet and more personal tour, I recommend booking with a smaller airboat.

I enjoyed how the captain and tour guide talked about the wildlife and history of the swamp. He made everyone feel included and ensured everyone on the boat could see the alligators in the water.

Book here: From Lafitte: Swamp Tours South of New Orleans by Airboat

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