Louisiana Destinations ... Travel Across the Bayou State

The Great Atchafalaya Basin and Swamp

Visitors to Louisiana often ask this question ... "What is the Atchafalaya Basin?"

The Atchafalaya Basin is the nation’s largest river swamp, containing almost one million acres of the nation’s most significant bottomland hardwoods, swamps, bayous and backwater lakes.

Where is the Atchafalaya Basin?

The Atchafalaya River meanders from near Simmesport southward past Pierre Part down to Morgan City and the Gulf of Mexico. The Atchafalaya Basin is a unique combination of wetlands, bayous, marshes, estuaries, and river delta area.

It is often called "America's Wetland", and covers an area 20 miles wide and 150 miles long.

Facts about the Atchafalaya Basin in south Louisiana


Atchafalaya Swamp, Henderson Louisiana
Louisiana's Atchafalaya Swamp at Henderson (Staff Photo)

What are some interesting facts about the Atchafalaya Basin?

  • It’s larger than the Florida Everglades.
  • It’s five times more productive than any other river basin in North America.
  • About 65 species of reptiles and amphibians inhabit the Basin.
  • Over 250 known species of birds fly in the Basin.
  • Other species of animals found in the area include the Florida panther, black bear, bobcat, nutria, mink, fox, muskrat, beaver, otter and raccoon.
  • The Basin is home to the largest nesting concentration of bald eagles in the south central United States.
  • There are more than 100 different species of fish and aquatic life in the Basin.
  • The Basin has an estimated average annual commercial harvest of nearly 22 million pounds of crawfish.
  • The Basin contains the largest contiguous bottomland hardwood forest in North America and is the largest overflow alluvial hardwood swamp in the United States.
Atchafalaya Visitor's Center at the Butte LaRose Exit from I-10, near Henderson, Louisiana
Atchafalaya Basin Swamp Visitors Center in Butte LaRose, near Henderson on Interstate Highway I-10 (Staff Photo)


How do I pronounce "Atchafalaya"?

An American-Indian word, "Atchafalaya" (ah-CHA-fa-LIE-ah) means long river. Established in 2006, the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area stretches across 14 parishes in south-central Louisiana.

It is among the most culturally rich and ecologically varied regions in the United States, home to the widely recognized Cajun culture as well as a diverse population of European, African, Caribbean and Native-American descent.

Swamp tours and boats in the Atchafalaya Basin in south Louisiana

What outdoor attractions are there in the Atchafalaya Basin?

One of the most popular things that visitors to Louisiana love to do is touring the swamps!

Airboat used in a Louisiana swamp tour
Airboat used in a Louisiana Atchafalaya Basin swamp tour (Staff Photo)

The lush growth in a Louisiana swamp is indescribable. You have to see it to believe it.

The most impressive objects in the swamp are the cypress trees which are very graceful in their structure, with their reddish bark, exquisitely bent branches, and delicately fine leaves.

Besides the trees and abundant fauna, there are a variety of alligators, turtles, snakes, birds and other wildlife.

The area between Lafayette and Baton Rouge offers a number of Atchafalaya Basin swamp tours, operating from communities such as Breaux Bridge, Henderson, St. Martinvile and Plaquemine (see map below).

Swamp tour operators provide a variety of options, boats, tour length and cost. Some use flat bottom boats, other airboats. Kayak and canoe tours are also available.

Some operators offer online reservations but others accept reservations only by phone. Some tours accept credit cards but others require cash, so make your plans accordingly.

Map showing locations of swamp tours in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin



We have no connection with any of the tour operators listed below ... we just know of their existence and offer their names, web addresses and phone numbers as a starting point in choosing the right tour for you and your group. We also offer links to TripAdvisor to read reviews for many of the tour companies.

List of Selected Atchafalaya Swamp Tours by City

Swamp Tour Operator, Website, Address & Phone Number City

Cajun Country Swamp Tours

1209 Rookery Road. 7 miles off the I-10 Breaux Bridge exit 109

Flatboat tours in the Cypress Island and Lake Martin Swamps. Owned and operated by Walter "Butch" Guchereau and his son, Shawn, who are proud to offer eco-swamp tours that are done with as little environmental impact as possible through a beautiful surreal cypress/tupelo swamp.

p 337.319.0010

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Champagne's Cajun Swamp Tours

1151 Rookery Road

Swamp tours on Lake Martin. Handicapped accessible dock. Tours in French are available as are custom photography and bird watching tours. Kayak and canoe rentals and/or tours. Reservations are required. RV and tour bus parking is available as is a store with drinks, snacks, sandwiches, etc.

p 337.230.4068

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Houseboat Adventures

Cypress Cove Landing, 1399 Henderson Levee Road

Tours into Henderson Lake in the Atchafalaya Basin Swamp.

p 800.491.4662

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Swamp Tours of Acadiana

1209 Rookery Road

Lake Martin swamp tours. Night tours by request.

p 337.342.3867

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Couret's Swamp Tours

Ernest Couret operates a custom all-welded aluminum 16 foot long, wide bottom boat, into the Atchafalaya Swamp near Henderson.

p 337.296.1173

Butte La Rose, Louisiana

Cajun Customized Excursions

Atchafalaya Welcome Center

Enjoy a personalized nature adventure deep inside the Atchafalaya Basin with Cajun Customized Excursions. Enjoy a customized tour aboard the “Wood Duck”, a deep woods excursion vessel, and venture into a world only accessible by small boat. The boat has custom made benches and a Bimini top to protect guests from the sun.

​Safety of tour guests is in the hands of Captain Mark Allemond, a captain of more than thirty-five years. Mark is a native of the Henderson, Louisiana area and knowledgeable of regional waterways. Captain Mark will share in French or English the beauty of the swamp, his lifelong nature experiences, and firsthand stories about the ways of life in the swamps and bayous of South Louisiana.

The tour service offers a minimum two-hour Deep Swamp Excursion in the Henderson Swamp Area as an introduction to the beauty and mysteries of the Atchafalaya Swamp.

Tour guests are met at the Atchafalaya Welcome Center at Exit 121 near Butte LaRose. For more information, visit ...

p 337.303.8060

Henderson, Louisiana

Atchafalaya Basin Landing & Marina

1377 Henderson Levee Road

Airboat tours in the Henderson Swamp

p 337.228.7880

Henderson, Louisiana

The Atchafalaya Experience

1212 Bordelon Road

Expeditions by Coerte Voorhies and Kim Voorhies for photographers, birders and lovers of nature into the Atchafalaya Swamp

p 337.277.4726

Henderson, Louisiana

McGee's Landing

1337 Henderson Levee Road

Atchafalaya Swamp tours and airboat tours; kayak rentals. Restaurant and cafe on the premises. Cabin rentals and campground are also available.

p 337.228.2384

Henderson, Louisiana

Mequet Swamp Tours

1399 Henderson Levee Rd.

Jude Mequet and Mitch Mequet provide swamp tours and airboat tours in the Atchafalaya Basin

p 337.258.0700

Henderson, Louisiana

Miss Sandi Houseboat Rental

637 N. Belle River Road

p. 337.298.2705

Pierre Part, Louisiana

Last Wilderness Tours

33115 Highway 75

Personalized day and night swamp tours, by appointment, into the Atchafalaya Basin. Night tours in the summer. Family owned by Albert (Al) Wilson.

p. 225.385.9562 or 225.692.4114

Plaquemine, Louisiana

LeBlanc Swamp Tours

4939 Main Highway

p 337.654.1215

Saint Martinville, Louisiana

Acadian Swamp Tours

58235 New Camp Road

Tours into the Atchafalaya Basin and Bay Natchez. Minutes from Nottoway Plantation.

p 225.247.4156

White Castle, Louisiana

Scenes around the Atchafalaya Basin in south Louisiana
Cypress swamp in Louisiana Swamp scene in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin Swamp
Swamp scene in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin Swamp Swamp scene in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin Swamp
Swamp scene in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin Swamp Swamp scene in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin Swamp

Interactive map of the Atchafalaya Basin in south Louisiana