In the Southern states of the United States, there are plenty of different travel hotspots to hit up if you're curious about exploring the natural beauty of swamplands. Whether you're interested in learning about local history, legends, mysteries, wildlife, or, most importantly, alligators and crocodiles, then there's a swamp tour on this list that will be for you.
If you don't like boat tours as much, there are also several places that offer guided walking and hiking tours. Many of these locations have neighboring campgrounds so you can make your stay for more than one day at a time and ensure you get to see the full glory of the locale. Check out these ten amazing swamp tours you can go on right now.
In Punta Gorda, Florida you can take a guided 90-minute tour through four different Floridian ecosystems, including the Cypress Swamp. Not only will the guides tell you about the ecosystems, the wildlife, and the natural beauty of the area, but you will learn about Florida history as well.
Plus there is a highly rated restaurant on the property to visit before or after your excursion. The Babcock ranch is 90,000 acres of a cattle farm, neighboring the Cypress Swamp. There is plenty to do and see at this tourist hotspot. If you'd like to stick around after your boat tour you can travel the many hiking trails and maybe even spot a cougar.
The Francis Beidler Forest is located in Audubon, South Carolina and it stretches across 18,000 acres. The forest is best known for its gorgeous Cypress trees. It has fantastic trails you can hike or bike on but it is recommended you take advantage of their private canoe and kayak tours. Audubon is also home to many different wildlife and bird sanctuaries if looking at wildlife is your preference.
In the Francis Beidler Forest, they have a 1.75-mile boardwalk through the swamp forest. The forest has gone untouched for thousands of years. If going on one of the canoe or kayak tours is of interest to you, then you will be paired with a naturalist who will guide you and talk to you about the range of wildlife in the area.
Let's be honest, one of the biggest draws for going on a swamp tour is trying to scope out alligators. Well if that's what your real focus is, then you should travel to Beaumont, Texas and look into the Gator Adventure Park. One of the biggest alligators there weighs in at more than 1,000 pounds! You can also hold and even feed little baby gators.
But they don't only have gators around, they also have snapping turtles, snakes, and a wide variety of other creepy critters. Gator Country is the largest alligator sanctuary in Texas with more than 400 different species of alligators, crocodiles, and more housed there.
The Great Dismal Swamp is one of the biggest and most famous swamps in the continental US. The swamp itself had five different entrances to gain access to it. While you can take boating trips out on the swamp, particularly if you're interested in fishing, it is recommended you take advantage of the bike trails.
The Dismal Swamp has over 80 miles of bike trails surrounding it and they take you through the lush areas of the Dismal Swamp, allowing you to see rare fauna, florals, and various wildlife. Despite the Dismal Swamp falling victim to habitat deconstruction, great care has been taken to preserve areas of the swamp and rebuild, both for the ecosystem and for visitors.
If you want a change of pace from your typical boat-guided swamp tour, consider visiting Central Florida to see the 110,000 acres of the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve. On the preserve, you can hike the Florida National Scenic Trail. The entirety of the trailer is 35-miles long.
You can do a simple day tour and hike through the lush wildlife of the Green Swamp, but it is recommended you do a multiple-day backpacking trip so you get the complete experience of the area. Due to the trail being located on a preserve, you can participate in educational environmental activities and volunteer work on your trek too if you please.
The Cajun Man's swamp tour in Houma, Louisiana is one of the more interesting swamp tours on this list. It takes place in the Bayou Black and typically Captain Black Guidry is one of the tour guides on the trip. The boat is a large 49-passenger vessel that takes you along at a leisurely pace.
Instead of just being talked to for the bulk of the tour, Captain Black will entertain by playing real Cajun music with his accordion. He was also a former accomplished alligator hunter and can talk about how alligators are captured, but also cared for, in the swamp area. Other wildlife spotting includes eagles and migratory birds.
In Lottie, Louisiana, you can take a swamp tour at the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge if you're interested in going sportfishing or largemouth bass hunting. The Atchafalaya swamp is 900,000 acres in total but the refuge is sequestered to a small section of the refuge. This is definitely one of the best swamp tours for people that are avid fishers.
You can catch all manners of fish here from catfish to anglerfish to white crappie. You might even spot some beautiful wildlife such as black bears and songbirds while in the area. But you will need to be cautious when fishing as some areas of the swamp are known for having high levels of mercury.
If you're interested in a swamp tour that is just about the swamp itself, then you can get a guided tour through Cajun Country with a special two-hour tour through the bayou. This tour will offer you the opportunity to see the vast expanse of the bayou, full of alligators, turtles, and other critters and wildlife.
There is plenty of different swamp wildlife too, things you won't see anywhere else. The tour guides will tell you all about the legends of the swamp, including the local swamp town called Frenier. Since the tour is a full two hours, sometimes even three, there is plenty of time to see everything.
New Orleans is known for its many swamp tours, of course, but this is a special tour as it involves a visit to the famous Laura Plantation. While there, you'll be able to tour the area and learn the story of the Creole women who once worked there. The entire tour entails a full day of touring.
Aside from the Laura Plantation, you'll also visit the Old Valley Plantation. And you'll be treated to a delicious meal of classic New Orleans food like sausage gumbo and crawfish. Finally, the tour entails a guided swamp tour of the Manchac swamp and you can learn the legend of the Cajun werewolf.
If you're down in the Georgia area then you'll want to go on a swamp tour at Okefenokee Adventures in Folkston, Georgia. These tours are known for their leisurely 90-minute boat tours through the swamp waters of the Okefenokee. The tours began by Chip and Joey Campbell, a pair of brothers who left their North Carolina home to move down to Georgia.
Some of the wildlife you might see while on one of the tours are the obvious alligators, and plenty of birds such as egrets, herons, and ibis. All tour guides are well-versed on alligator biology and aware of different swamp lore and legend. They also run popular sunset tours if you want to see the swamp at dusk.