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Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve: Our most recommended tours and activities

New Orleans: High Speed 6-9 Passenger Airboat Tour

1. New Orleans: High Speed 6-9 Passenger Airboat Tour

Experience the best of both a swamp tour and an airboat ride. Travel at high speeds in the airboat then slow down and stop for pictures. Along the way, enjoy a personal tour by your local captain. The airboats have stadium seating so every airboat seat is great for experiencing the tour and viewing wildlife. Yes, gators will get close, real close. So close that you will be able to look into those reptilian eyes. Alligators do hibernate in the colder months, but your experienced captains know where to look for them. On average, during the winter, you have better than a 50/50 chance of seeing a gator. In the warmer months, you will see a gator. Every New Orleans Airboat Tour is unique and you never know what could be around the next corner. Tour an area that is a combination of swamp, marsh, and lake, spotting anything from a Bald Eagle to a Pelican, from an Osprey to an Owl. The airboats are driven by a 454 Chevy engine that will produce speeds of up to 35 miles an hour. They are propelled by a huge fan that will blow air from the back of the boat in excess of 200 miles an hour. These tours are truly a blast. They ride in inches of water and go where traditional boats can't. The boats were designed to take you to inaccessible areas of the swamp, places that you cannot reach by foot or car, ensuring a unique experience.

New Orleans: Bayou Tour in Jean Lafitte National Park

2. New Orleans: Bayou Tour in Jean Lafitte National Park

Bring your cameras and adventurous spirits as you explore the Barataria Preserve of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Meet your guide at the meeting point or at one of the 8 pickup locations in New Orleans (if transportation option is selected), and travel to the swamp. Tours pick up daily from convenient hotels at 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM, and 12:30 PM. You’ll be taken on a 1.5-hour pontoon boat ride around the waters of the area. Get the chance to spot alligators, local wildlife, and two other friendly creatures, Sunshine the Pig and Patrick the Possum.  Listen to stories and legends told by your informative local guide. Following the tour, enjoy a delicious Cajun lunch at a local eatery down the street, the perfect way to refuel. After lunch, you’ll be driven back to New Orleans and dropped off at the original meeting point or pickup location you have selected.

New Orleans: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

3. New Orleans: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

Embark on a high-speed adventure through the swamps and marshes just 35 minutes from New Orleans and experience the amazing scenery by airboat. Slow down or stop to take pictures and get a personal tour from your local captain. Avail of airboats with stadium-style seating so that the person in front does not obstruct your view. Be amazed as alligators come so close to the boat that you can stare into their reptilian eyes! Encounter magnificent birdlife, including bald eagles, pelicans, ospreys and owls. Every tour is unique and you never know what will be around the next corner! Reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, propelled by a huge fan that blows air from the back of the boat in excess of 200 miles per hour. Ride in shallow water and access areas where traditional boats cannot go.

From Lafitte: Swamp Tours South of New Orleans by Airboat

4. From Lafitte: Swamp Tours South of New Orleans by Airboat

Climb aboard a unique airboat to explore Louisiana’s wetlands south of New Orleans in a truly unique fashion. Board an airboat just 30 minutes from downtown New Orleans, and listen to informative commentary as you zip through the bayou and squeeze into tiny canals hidden deep in the swamp. For 105 minutes, the captains at Airboat Adventures share some of the most beautiful and secluded areas of Louisiana. Wildlife such as alligators, turtles, and birds are common sights, but you never know what else might come out to visit! Round-trip transfers are available from New Orleans for guests without a car. Upon arrival, check in to the Airboats Adventures facilities, before departing on the airboat to zip across the swamps. Grab a snack at the gift shop, or check out Sugar and Flour, the only albino alligators on the bayou. Picnic tables are available both inside and out, where you can relax before your airboat departure. The boats can hold between 6 and 27 people. Opt for a small boat, with a capacity of 6-8 passengers, for a more personal tour, when the captain can spend more time with each guest. But even the large boats, with capacity for 15-27 passengers allow an up-close experience with the wildlife of the Louisiana swamps. Sit back and enjoy the ride through a unique landscape, and listen as you captain feeds you fascinating bayou facts. You never know; he might haul in a ‘gator if the opportunity arises, or even let you hold a baby ‘gator!

New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation and Swamp Cruise Day Trip

5. New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation and Swamp Cruise Day Trip

Explore Louisiana with a visit to the Oak Alley Plantation, followed by a swamp boat tour. Enjoy a guided day trip from New Orleans on a day trip you won't forget. Begins your day with a pickup at your New Orleans hotel. Enjoy the views as you head out to the Oak Alley Plantation, where you will be led on a tour by guides in period costume. Explore the house and its grounds as you learn about the history of the plantation. Next, head out on a boat tour to explore the Louisiana bayous. Relax in the covered boat and tune in to your guide’s commentary about the local culture of the wetlands.  Cruise past a Native American burial mound, a Cajun cemetery, and a fishing village. Drift down narrow waterways and pass moss-covered trees. Be on the lookout for wildlife, including snakes and alligators. Back on dry land, you will board the bus to return to New Orleans, then you will be dropped off at your hotel.

New Orleans Airboat Adventure Tour

6. New Orleans Airboat Adventure Tour

Climb aboard a flat-bottomed airboat and prepare for an exploration of Louisiana's wetlands just south of New Orleans. Head 30 minutes from downtown and experience some of the most beautiful and secluded areas of the state while catching glimpses of alligators, turtles and birds. Set out on a 20,000-acre (8,095-ha) track of tidewater cypress swamp close to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Your boat is powered by an aircraft propeller to allow a fast, fluid trip through the shallow marshes. Feel the wind on your face as you zip into bayous lined with mossy cypress and tupelo-gum trees as your pilot points out a stunning variety of wildlife. Prepare to see plenty of alligators in the warmer months (and warmer days in winter) and your guide may even feed the gators, affording you amazing photo opportunities. As you zigzag through the soggy wetlands, keep your eyes open for turtles, snakes, egrets, herons and ibis. You may even catch sight of a hawk, owl, or bald eagle. In the cooler months, look for white-tailed deer, raccoons and the large rodents known as nutria.

New Orleans: Destrehan Plantation & Swamp Combo

7. New Orleans: Destrehan Plantation & Swamp Combo

Destrehan Plantation is an antebellum mansion, in the French Colonial style, modified with Greek Revival architectural elements. It is located in southeast Louisiana, near the town of the same name, Destrehan. This plantation is about 45 minutes away from downtown New Orleans.   Welcome to the New Orleans Swamp Tours and Wetlands Adventure. See the Cajuns of the bayou living and surviving in harmony with the swamps. Here, the waterways are their highways. From the relaxed comfort of the covered New Orleans Swamp Tour boats, you will drift slowly past a 2000-year-old Indian burial mound, a Cajun cemetery and fishing village. You may see the wildlife that made the Barataria swamps the crown jewel of the Louisiana Purchase. Here, birds, snakes, turtles, fur animals and gators are the king of the swamp and easily spotted in spring, summer and fall. Your captains are natives of the Barataria swamps with a background in gator hunting, fishing and trapping. They will entertain you and amaze you with their knowledge of the ecology of the swampland. They have lived the life. Pick up begins at 8:30am and return by 245pm. Ground transportation included.

Other Sightseeing Options in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Want to discover all there is to do in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,249 reviews

The tour was great, we saw at least 15 alligators and also different birds. Our tour guide was a cool guy and he told us a lot of interesting things about the swamps and animals.

Great activity outside of the city. Rocky was my guide and extremely knowledgeable and informative about the area.

Captain Ernie was the BEST tour guide. I high recommend if you visit Louisiana to do a swamp tour!

Our boat driver was AWESOME! We had the most wonderful afternoon for my birthday. Thanks

We really enjoyed our boat ride. Highly recommended