Make your time in New Orleans a whole new kind of thrilling, while getting closer to nature, on these top airboat tours.
New Orleans sits near the Mississippi River delta, where a vast network of bayous, lakes and wetlands crisscross the fringes of America before succumbing to the Gulf of Mexico. With so much water around, sometimes the best, and often the only, way to get from one place to another is by boat. With sea levels on the rise, this method of transport will only become more necessary than ever. Some airboat tours ply the extensive network of waterways around the New Orleans, while others incorporate other sights into the tour. Here are our favorite five.
Swamp Tours South of New Orleans by Airboat
For a chance to spend two hours winding along the cypress-lined waterways of the Lafitte wetlands at Bayou Barataria, check out this popular ride from Airboat Adventures. You’ll see plenty of wildlife along the way, including alligators (two of which are albino), turtles, snakes and plenty of water birds, such as ibis, egrets and herons. These airboats are large, holding up to 30 people. The prices do not include transport to the dock from New Orleans, although this can be added onto your ticket. From $59 per person.
New Orleans High-Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride
Get a swampy thrill on a high-speed airboat ride on this two-hour tour. Taking up to 16 passengers, the boat alternates between speeds of up to 35 miles per hour and virtual standstill, once reaching areas where the wilderness becomes particularly fascinating. Professional guides help lend context to the flora and fauna, that’s if the alligators don’t first come and introduce themselves. The fan-propelled boat can get to areas of the swamp that would be inaccessible by any other means. From $63 per person.
New Orleans High Speed 6-9 Passenger Airboat Tour
With passengers limited to only nine people, there is a much more personalized feel to this New Orleans swamp tour. Over the course of two hours the boat will explore varied waterways, including swamp, lake and marshland. The emphasis of this tour is to discover local wildlife, getting nice and close to large reptiles and fascinating birdlife along the way. Although there are no guarantees with the wild, it is highly likely that alligators will appear. From $82 per person.
Small-Group Swamp Tour by Airboat with New Orleans Pickup
For travelers who don’t have any way of getting out to the start points of some of the other tours, this is a great option as downtown hotel pickup in New Orleans is included. The tour itself will last two hours (not including transfers to and from New Orleans). Your guide will help unlock the mysteries of the local flora and fauna, including alligators, which will be clearly abundant on all sides once the airboat gets moving. Group numbers on the boats are kept low. From $102 per person.
Swamp Airboat, 2 Plantation Tours & Lunch from New Orleans
It’s worth remembering that there are plenty of other great sights around New Orleans, and some of them can be combined with an airboat tour. In this example, you can pair a short airboat ride with guided tours of two different plantations. Start the day with a scenic narrated history of New Orleans, before discovering the teeming wildlife of a swamp environment from the comfort of your airboat. Then visit Laura and Houmas House plantations, and enjoy a Cajun lunch served at the latter. From $230 per person.