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A swamp and plantation tour in Louisiana was at the top of my must-do list on my latest trip to New Orleans. Since both the swamps and plantations are located outside the city and I didn’t have a car with me, I wanted to book one tour that offered both activities in one day. This was harder to find than I anticipated, and most of the choices I found were overly expensive. I decided to book with Cajun Pride as they offered everything I was looking for: roundtrip transportation to/from my hotel, the opportunity to visit a swamp and plantation the same day, and a reasonable price.
On the morning of my swamp and plantation tour, Cajun Pride arrived to pick me up from right outside my hotel around 10:30am. Their shuttle bus was very spacious and air conditioned, and the driver narrated the tour, giving us information about things we passed on the way to our first stop. I always love getting extra stories like this — it really adds to the experience!
When we arrived at the location for the swamp tour, we boarded the boat and promptly set off into the Manchac Swamp. Almost immediately we began spotting alligators swimming in the swampy waters. They were everywhere! We must have seen at least 100 alligators of all sizes on the 1.5 hour tour…it was impressive and exciting.
The swamp tour guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the swamp and the creatures living there. Before returning to the dock, tourists were given the opportunity to briefly hold a baby alligator! They are so cute up close and actually feel soft. The tour guide closely monitored each person to ensure the alligator’s safety.
Once we returned from the swamp tour, there was plenty of time to use the restroom and purchase a drink or souvenir in the well-stocked gift shop. The Cajun Pride shuttle bus then took everyone to the next destination on the swamp and plantation tour — Oak Alley Plantation. When booking your tour online, you have the choice of choosing between Oak Alley or Laura Plantation. When I visited, Laura Plantation was closed due to the pandemic, but has since re-opened. I plan to visit Laura Plantation my next time in New Orleans. The Laura is dedicated to the history of slavery that took place there, and provides important historical details not present at other plantations.
Upon arrival at Oak Alley Plantation, we were welcomed inside the house for our guided tour with one of the museum’s employees. The thirty-minute tour was interesting and educational, and very well-researched. The docents at Oak Alley have compiled extensive documentation on the lives of the slaves who worked at the plantation along with the family who owned the house and land. Rooms are fully decorated with antique furniture, including dozens of pieces original to the home.
Oak Alley gets its name from the intertwining oak trees that line the path up to the front of the house. It’s truly breathtaking!
After touring the house, we were able to visit the grounds, gardens, and slave cabins on our own. After exiting the main house, there is a small stand selling mint julep cocktails (a non-alcoholic version was also available). Make sure you stop to get one! It was absolutely delicious and so refreshing on a hot day…the best mint julep I’ve ever had.
The cabins contained lots of information on some of the people who lived and worked there. There was also an employee inside talking to many of the guests about the enslaved people’s lives on the plantation. This was the most important part of the day — learning about the lives and stories of the enslaved people.
Once we were done touring, we boarded back into the shuttle and were dropped off right at our hotel. It was about an hour ride back into the French Quarter, perfect for taking a quick nap before going out to dinner. Taking a combination swamp and plantation tour with Cajun Pride was the perfect activity to fill a day in New Orleans. My whole family enjoyed it and it would be suitable for children as well. As of today, the tour costs just $96 per person — an amazing value for both tours and roundtrip transportation.
*This post is not sponsored in any way. I paid full price for my tour and all opinions are my own.