The Louisiana Bayou is the iconic local landscape. In the United States, the bayou landscape generally stretches from Houston, Texas, to Mobile, Alabama, with much of it located in the state of Louisiana. These lands have inspired countless tales of intrigue and legend, and the bayou is one of the most interesting outdoors landscapes you can explore anywhere.
A haven for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife watchers, the Louisiana swamp and bayous host many visitors looking to spend time in nature. Whether you're looking for adventure or a relaxing stroll, you find what you're looking for in these scenic landscapes. When planning your Louisiana vacations, you should carve in some time to spend some time in the great outdoors.
The largest swamp in Louisiana is full of interesting places you can explore. Also known as the Atchafalaya Basin, the swamp is located in south-central Louisiana where the Gulf of Mexico and the Atchafalaya River come together, creating a lush landscape of cypress trees, bayous, and marshlands. You'll spot the largest swamp in Louisiana while traveling on Interstate 10, west of New Orleans.
If you want to take a closer look at the Louisiana swamp, consider making a trip to the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, located 30 miles west of Baton Rouge. You'll want to grab a camera and a field guide, especially if you're into birdwatching. These fragile landscapes of the largest swamp in Louisiana are home to flocks of feathered friends, providing a vital habitat for wood ducks, eagles, and ospreys.
When you embark on tours of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, you'll have the chance to do more than admire the landscape. In Baton Rouge, Bayou Teche, and Port Allen, along with the other communities along the Louisiana bayou, you can tour plantation homes, follow paddling trails, and more. On Avery Island, options include tours of the Tabasco factory and exploring one of the loveliest gardens in Southern Louisiana. Pointe Coupee Parish, nicknamed of the Acadian Outback, is an outdoor enthusiast's dream with fantastic fishing, boating, and kayaking.
In and around New Orleans, you'll find a number of tour companies that offer tours of the Louisiana swamp. A typical trip consists of a ride from the big city west, with a guide explaining the change in landscape. Once you've arrived in the swamp, you can step aboard a pontoon boat for a guided tour deep into the bayou. If you're lucky, the experience will include a meal filled with Cajun and Creole specialties.
West of New Orleans, too, you will find a route so scenic it's been included on the list of the prettiest drives in America. Encompassing 180 miles of the Louisiana bayou and other rugged terrain, the Creole Nature Trail has been declared a National Scenic Byway.
Throughout the year, the cities along the way host a variety of special events, including Contraband Days in Lake Charles. Modern-day pirates flock to Lake Charles every summer, following in the footsteps of Jean Lafitte, an outlaw and reputed pirate, and now a man of legend. Not surprisingly, Mardi Gras brings a reason to celebrate when February rolls around.
Beyond the events, the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road offers a full range of things to experience in every seasons. When the weather's warm, you could soak in the sun at one of the beaches along the Gulf coast. The marshes, bayous, shorelines offer numerous opportunities to experience this distinctive landscape.
Whether you're spending a morning birdwatching, an afternoon shelling, or an evening watching the sunset, you'll be sure to return home with amazing memories and some fantastic pictures.