If you’re visiting New Orleans, a swamp tour is an absolute must. It’ll help you get away from your hotel and out into the bayou, where you’ll see totally different scenery. For many tourists, those centuries-old cypress roots and meandering waterways are a welcome contrast from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter.
And while there are many ways to catch glimpses of the swamp, a dedicated sightseeing tour is your best option if you’re looking for a combination of photogenic views, ecology, and history.
Excited to book your tour? We’ll walk you through the different types of swamp tours out there, and what to expect on your New Orleans sightseeing tour.
If you Google “New Orleans swamp tour,” you’re going to come up with a lot of different results. It might feel overwhelming to choose the right one for you and your family.
Here’s our breakdown of the main types of swamp tours you’ll come across in the greater New Orleans area, so you can make the right decision and get the best experience.
In the New Orleans region, these terms are used more or less interchangeably. Regardless of whether your particular tour company calls it a swamp, bayou, or gator tour, you’re going to get the same basic experience: a boat ride through the swamp. You’ll have an equal likelihood of seeing alligators on any tour that takes you through the bayou.
Instead of the title itself, focus on the details of the tour: which swamp you’re going to, whether transportation is included or offered, and the credentials of their tour guides. You might also look at online reviews to find out which tours are the most entertaining, informative, or eco-friendly.
If you want to learn about the origins of the Louisiana bayou, the animals that reside there, and the history behind the local Cajun fishermen, then a sightseeing tour of the swamp is ideal. It’s relaxing and you’ll learn all about the local ecology and swamp-life from trust-worthy guides and boat captains. This type of tour is geared to help you get the most out of your bayou experience: from fascinating stories and historically accurate information, to amazing photo ops of the bayou.
A sightseeing tour agency is the best way to get a safe, guided, and fact-based tour of the Louisiana swamp.
Airboats are the fastest way to get around the swamp. With a large propeller, you’ll catch a breeze while still getting a 360-degree view of the bayou surrounding you.
You’ll have a fun, invigorating ride while seeing alligators, wild boar, and more first-hand. You’ll traverse the narrow waterways of the swamp, and you’ll be able to cover a lot of ground since this type of boat goes faster than traditional pontoon boats.
Pontoon boats are slower and quieter than airboats. Otherwise, it’s a very similar experience to the ride you’ll have on an airboat. Just as you would on an airboat, you’ll be able to get close to gators and other animals without disturbing them – as long as they’re available and up for having a few visitors, of course!
Most tour companies will indicate whether you’re on a pontoon or an airboat. If it’s not clear what kind of boat you’ll be on, you’ll likely be on a pontoon boat, as airboat tours are often advertised as such.
When it comes to choosing the right company for your swamp tour, Crescent City Tours is your best bet. They offer guided swamp tours with knowledgeable boat captains. You can choose from a larger boat, or a smaller, more intimate tour experience.
Crescent City Tours has glowing testimonials for all of their tours, and they are truly committed to providing a memorable, informative experience for all of their guests. You’ll be in good hands, and can rest assured that you’ll board a safe, clean, well-inspected and maintained boat for your sightseeing tour.
There are many reasons why tourists seek out sightseeing tours of the bayou – not only once, but multiple times or even during every visit to the Crescent City.
Here’s what you can expect from a sightseeing tour.
On a New Orleans swamp tour, you’ll see so much more than the actual bayou itself. You’ll also see cypress trees, birds, and all kinds of animals that live both in the water and on the banks of the bayou.
The scenery is rich and dense: expect to see a landscape that you can’t find in most parts of the country. On a sightseeing tour, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to snap amazing photos of the bayou in all its glory.
The types of animals you see will depend on the season. Typically, you can expect to see alligators, wild boar, turtles, and bullfrogs. You may even run across a watersnake or nutria (at a safe distance, of course!)
Crescent City sightseeing tours are always safe both for you, and the animals.
The weather in New Orleans can vary, so look up the average temps before you start packing. If you’re visiting any time between May and October, dress for the heat. Be sure to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and of course – your camera!
Closed-toe shoes are probably a good idea since you’ll be on a boat. You’ll want your feet to be firmly planted as you snap the million-dollar shot of an alligator gliding by!
Sightseeing swamp tours fill up fast, especially during peak tourist seasons. There are limited spots on each boat, for your own personal safety and to keep the tour to a smaller size – this makes for a better experience and allows everyone to get a great view of the swamp.
So book your sightseeing swamp tour in advance. If you’re planning to go on a tour with a group, then it’s important to book your tour well ahead of time to make sure everyone has a seat in the same boat. You’re bound to get a memorable experience unique from anything else you’ll see in New Orleans.
We look forward to seeing you on the bayou!
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