New Orleans
Boat Tours & River Cruises

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Our most recommended New Orleans Day Trips From

  • New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation & Airboat Swamp Combo

    1. New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation & Airboat Swamp Combo

    Discover Louisiana on a guided day trip from New Orleans to the historical Oak Alley Plantation, with entry tickets included, and a bayou airboat ride. Benefit from round-trip transportation from your New Orleans hotel.

    Start your experience with hotel pickup, and relax on the drive to Oak Alley Plantation. Enjoy a guided tour of the plantation home by guides in period dress while you hear and learn about the times of slavery. 

    Take in the house's Greek Revival architecture, the antique farm equipment exhibits, and walk around the grounds where 28 evenly spaced, huge oak trees grow. Browse the blacksmith shop and souvenir shop, or stop for a snack (at your own expense) in the restaurant.

    Continue onto Barataria Basin for an airboat tour of the bayou swamplands, where your local captain will guide you through the swamp...

    The airboat ride was interesting & exciting and we enjoyed the plantation and presentations there. Because of the 3 plus hours on the road it would have been nice to learn more about the area while on the road instead of just riding in silence

  • New Orleans: High-Speed Bayou Swamp Airboat Tour

    2. New Orleans: High-Speed Bayou Swamp Airboat Tour

    Catch a high-speed airboat and jet out into Louisiana’s backwaters on a guided tour of the famous bayous. Explore the local swampland from the comfort of your tour boat on a high-speed adventure with your captain guide. Tune in as your guide tells the story of local Cajun culture, the bayous backwaters themselves, and wildlife that inhabits them. Enjoy the beautiful scenery with soft waterway landscapes and moss-draped trees. Catch a glimpse of the local flora and fauna, including the much-sought-after alligator, plus other wildlife such as fish, raccoons, birds, deer, and even snakes.

  • Swamp Tours South of New Orleans by Airboat

    3. 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. Located just 30 minutes from downtown New Orleans, Airboats Adventures operate airboats that can 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...

    It was nice. Sunscreen and hat is needed for sure. Very cool gators but didn’t get to hold a baby one like mentioned. It was disappointing but maybe next time and they should probably update the listing about that.

  • From New Orleans: High-Speed Bayou Swamp Half-Day Airboat Tour with Transfer

    4. From New Orleans: High-Speed Bayou Swamp Half-Day Airboat Tour with Transfer

    Explore Louisiana’s country bayou landscapes on a high-speed swamp tour. Leave behind the bustling “Big Easy” for half a day, with roundtrip transportation included. After a hotel pickup, head down to the bayou wetlands, where you will board your high-speed airboat with your captain guide. Enjoy the local flora and fauna from the comfort of your airboat as you zip along the water. Listen as your guide tells you the tidbits about the swampland, the local area’s Cajun culture, and draw your eyes to the diverse wildlife that call these bayous home. Keep a special eye out for various types of snake, raccoon, fish, deer, birds, and perhaps even spot an alligator if you’re lucky. After your high-speed guided boat tour, hop back in your vehicle to be dropped off back at your New Orleans accommodation.

  • New Orleans: Daytime City Helicopter Tour

    5. New Orleans: Daytime City Helicopter Tour

    Hop aboard the helicopter at New Orleans Lakefront Airport, just 15 minutes from the French Quarter, and get ready to experience New Orleans from a new perspective. Choose between two different flight options. Choose the 15-mile option to fly over the city for approximately 12-15 minutes. Experience sites from above such as Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral, the French Market, and Bourbon Street. In addition to getting a close-up aerial view of the French Quarter, you will pass by the Central Business District, Canal Street, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and fly over City Park. This park is home to the New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana’s Children’s Museum, and the Bayou Oaks golf course. Next door is the Fair Grounds, home to the Louisiana Derby as well the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Choose the 30-mile option and get the opportunity to fly over both the city and...

    our pilot Mark was very professional and kept the tour very interesting! it was quick but very worth while.

  • New Orleans: High Speed 16 Passenger Airboat Ride

    6. 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.

    We had a great time. Saw lots of gators and our captain was very funny and made the trip amazing. We will be back!!! Highly recommended

  • New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation & Swamp Cruise Day Trip

    7. New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation & Swamp Cruise Day Trip

    Experience 2 typical Louisiana features—plantation homes and bayous—on a guided day trip from New Orleans with hotel pickup. Tour Oak Alley Plantation, with entry tickets, included, and look out for wildlife on a boat trip through the swamplands.

    Start with a pickup from your French Quarter hotel. Head out of New Orleans and travel to Oak Alley Plantation, one of the best-known in the area. Built in 1837-39, the plantation is famous for its alley of 28 evenly spaced live oak trees.

    Take a guided tour of the historical plantation and gain an educational insight into the times of slavery.

    Afterward, enjoy a fully narrated boat tour of the swamps. Keep a lookout for alligators, turtles, water birds, and other local wildlife. Listen as your captain tells stories of local Cajun and Creole history, and the people who live in the Bayou area.

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    The swamp tour was lots of fun and I would recommend taking one. Fun to cruise the bayou waters. Something a tourist doesn't do everyday. Seen lots of alligators along with many raccoons running around. Our guide was very informative and fun loving. Cannot remember his name ( had a salt and pepper beard tho lol).

  • From New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation Tour

    8. From New Orleans: Oak Alley Plantation Tour

    Benefit from pick-up at your accommodation in New Orleans, and then make your way to the Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, Oak Alley was named for the 28 huge oak trees that line the road leading up to – and pre-dating – the plantation house. Admire the Greek Revival architecture of the house, built in the 19th century for one of the wealthiest families of the South. See original features, including antique farm machinery, and avail of amenities such as a restaurant and souvenir shop. Be led by a guide wearing authentic plantation-style clothes and hear about the first example of Antebellum restoration along the legendary River Road.

    Plantation was great! The tour of the house was awesome! And we had a great driver!

  • From New Orleans: Bayou Swamp Half-Day Boat Tour with Transfer

    9. From New Orleans: Bayou Swamp Half-Day Boat Tour with Transfer

    Escape the hustle and bustle of New Orleans to explore Louisiana’s mystical bayou landscapes on a half-day swamp tour, with roundtrip transportation included. After a hotel pickup, head down to the bayou swamplands, where you will board your boat with your captain guide. See the local wetland flora and fauna from the comfort of your boat as you drift along the water. Listen as your guide narrates the story of the backwaters, the Cajun culture that infuses the area, and points out some of the critters that call the bayous home. Keep a special eye out for deer, birds, snakes, raccoons, fish, and maybe even an alligator. After your guided boat tour, hop back into the vehicle for a drop-off back at your New Orleans hotel.

  • New Orleans: 3-Hour Interactive Scavenger Hunt

    10. New Orleans: 3-Hour Interactive Scavenger Hunt

    Turn New Orleans into a giant board game with the Urban Adventure Quest interactive scavenger hunt. Combine the thrill of the race with a unique sightseeing experience of the city. Beginning near the downtown waterfront, let your smart phone guide you along the Mississippi river and through some of the city's renowned marketplaces, solving riddles, finding clues, and completing challenges, all the while discovering more about the area's history. Hustle through the sights and sounds of the city, from Jackson Square along its many fabled streets, meandering through famous landmarks as well as New Orlean's many overlooked treasures. There are few tours of the city quite as exciting, and even fewer as unique! Points of Interest on Your Quest: • Spanish Plaza • Water Front • French Market • Cafe Du Monde • Jackson Square • Washington Artillery and Cabildo • Bourbon Street

    Our family was so happy we chose this. We saw parts of New Orleans that we otherwise wouldn’t have, plus we had a lot of fun together. We’ll do one of these in every city we travel to from now on!


Boat tours in New Orleans: Everything you need to know

You could probably come up with some popular songs and works of American literature in which the Mississippi river was the setting (and sometimes the character). While in New Orleans, don’t miss your chance to cruise down the second largest river in the United States. See the city from a typical paddlewheeler and discover what inspired Mark Twain or Johnny Cash on a New Orleans river cruise.

Sightseeing boat tours in New Orleans

Whether you’re a first-timer or a returning visitor, embark on the ultimate sightseeing experience in New Orleans. Board a genuine steamboat and cruise down the Mississippi River. See the French Quarter from the river on this two-hour cruise to the sounds of Jazz. This activity includes live narration, so you’ll learn all there is to know about the Big Easy.

For a well-rounded NOLA experience, add the Creole lunch option to your river cruise. Feast on local delicacies like the chicken and sausage gumbo, green beans almondine, and white chocolate bread pudding.

New Orleans dinner and cocktail cruises

If you don’t feel like checking out the party scene on Bourbon Street, take the New Orleans’ night in on a dinner cruise. Aboard the Creole Queen, a typical Mississippi paddlewheeler boat, enjoy Creole cuisine while listening to the resident Jazz band.

Head to the promenade deck for a cocktail and raise a glass to historic Jackson Square. Or, if you feel like it, there’s still time to dance after dinner on this two-hour cruise.

Choose a dinner cruise aboard the Steamboat Natchez if you prefer the option to eat outdoors. You’ll also listen to the sounds of Dixieland-style Jazz as the city's skyline unfolds before your eyes.

New Orleans bayou boat tours

Home of alligators and other swamp species, the bayous in the Mississippi River Delta are must-sees if you’re interested in visiting beyond New Orleans. You can choose from many swamp boats tours. All of them allow travelers to get close (but not too close!) to local bayou residents.

If you’re visiting on a tight schedule, choose a guided tour that takes you to the bayou at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Reserve. This is the closest swamp to downtown, so you’ll get there in about 25 minutes. For convenience, the tour includes pick up and drop off at your hotel.

After spotting the bayou wildlife with an experienced local guide, travelers can enjoy a Cajun lunch at a local restaurant.

If you’re staying for a few days and want to combine two-day trips into one, choose a swamp tour that includes visits to former plantations. You can choose, for example, The Oak Alley and swamp tour boat combo, a one-day tour with pick up and drop off included. You get to visit the plantation in the morning and take the swamp tour in the afternoon.

New Orleans airboat tours

Want to travel to places in the bayou that other boats can’t reach, and you don’t mind a little speed? Consider an airboat tour. These fast boats with a giant fan in the back can reach smaller canals that bigger riverboats can't. Some boats take small groups of up to six people, while others can accommodate close to 30 passengers. Choose tours on smaller airboats if you'd like a more personal experience. Follow the tips of your local guide to spot Flour and Sugar, the bayou's albino alligators. In addition to the bayou’s most famous residents, peel your eyes for turtles, frogs, raccoons, cranes, and wild pigs.

Good tips and things to know for New Orleans boat tours

  • Check if the boat company allows passengers to bring food and drinks from outside. Do so especially if you’re not planning to eat aboard one of the cruises with optional lunch or dinner.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, appropriate for traveling on a boat. Prepare for splashes on open boats. If you’re opting for an airboat tour, choose one that provides hearing protection.
  • If you’re traveling with small children, look for a boat with onboard bathroom facilities for convenience.
  • For travelers choosing a swamp tour, follow the local guide’s recommendations when it comes to feeding or approaching the resident wildlife.

Other Sightseeing Options in New Orleans

Want to discover all there is to do in New Orleans? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about New Orleans

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 857 reviews

Our Honeymoon. Nothing can bring down a dinner cruise on NOLA...COVID-19, DELTA Variant tried. We had a perfect Honeymoon dinner cruise with great food, jazz and staff. Couldn't gave been more perfect.

It was awesome! Everyone was kind, organized, and our guide was super informative. I wish I could remember the guide's name, he was so informative and helpful and even funny!

Great host & staff, amazing band, variety of food, and beautiful evening scenery along the river!! Highly recommend.

Our tour guide Charles was awesome. His knowledge and humor set the tone of the tour. Highly recommend him.

I love everything, so relaxing the food and drink good. People who works there so nice thank you