What Is A Bayou & What Is There To Do?

There’s a good chance that if you’re visiting New Orleans for the first time, you might not be familiar with exactly what a bayou is, or what activities you can do on a bayou.

What Is A Bayou?

A bayou is a body of water typically found in a flat, low-lying area, and can either be an extremely slow-moving stream or river, or a marshy lake or wetland. Bayous are most commonly found in the Gulf Coast region of the southern United States, in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas.

The bayou is more than just a place to fish, hunt, and explore. The bayou is a natural barrier between the inland areas and natural disasters, and can protect the inland cities from storm surges when hurricanes and tropical storms roll in.

New Orleans is surrounded by swamp land, and the bayou is only a short drive away. One of the more popular activities to do on the bayou is to take an airboat tour. Airboats are powered by big fans, have flat bottoms, and are designed to operate in waters as shallow as a few inches, so they are perfect for navigating the narrow waterways that bigger boats wouldn’t be able to explore.

There is a lot to see on the bayou including different types of trees with Spanish moss dangling from them, and all types of wild life. Spanish moss hangs from trees and in fact is neither moss, nor is it from Spain. Spanish moss got its name by French explorers who when they first saw it were reminded of the Spanish conquistador’s long beards. Many kinds of wildlife take advantage of Spanish moss. Birds make nests out of it and spiders and frogs live in it. During an airboat tour through the swamps and bayou, you can expect to see alligators, snakes, wild boar, and many different species of birds.

New Orleans Swamp Tours

Of course if you’ve decided to take a bayou tour in New Orleans, you’re hoping to see some alligators. You don’t have to worry about alligators attacking you on your swamp tour, as alligators are less aggressive than crocodiles and will typically escape if approached by humans. Alligators are inherently afraid of humans but with regular contact they will lose some of that fear.

There is no doubt that a trip to New Orleans is incomplete without experiencing the nature and wildlife in the nearby bayous and swamps. There are several tour operators that traverse the swampy areas for a chance to spot wild boars, gators, egrets and more. Choose from a fast-paced airboat tour or a slower educational cruise as you lurk in the murky waters. Whatever floats your boat, we hope you have an amazing time with the best airboat tour in New Orleans.

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