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Great blue heron takes flight in Houma, Louisiana

Louisiana

Houma, Louisiana: 4 Ways to Explore Scenic Wonders

By: Christi Womack

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  • States:
    Louisiana

Enjoy Cajun hospitality and experience the great outdoors in Houma.

Explore diverse landscapes and native wildlife on a swamp tour, along a boardwalk in a wildlife refuge or miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Swamp Tour with Cajun Flair

Journey into the heart of Louisiana's wetlands with Cajun Man’s Swamp Tour and Adventures. The narrated tour though scenic bayous features Cajun music and wildlife watching. Your engaging guide, Captain Billy Gaston, a south Louisiana native, has hunted alligators in the swamps for over 30 years. Alligators and American bald eagles even come to the boat when he sends out a special call. Along the way, see breathtaking flora, turtles, herons, egrets and hawks. You might get lucky enough to take a turn steering the boat. Enhance your tour by arranging in advance for a local artist to perform live Cajun music or for Cajun food to be served after returning to the dock at Bob’s Bayou Black Marina in Gibson.

A boat tour deep in the heart of the Louisiana swamp

A boat tour deep in the heart of the Louisiana swamp
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Scenic Route to Learn About Marine Life

From Houma, drive south on the Wetlands Cultural Byway, take in the sights and stop along the way to soak up the local culture in a village café, at a plantation-turned-museum or at the Chauvin Sculpture Garden. Just a bit farther south, learn about local marine life and the state’s coastal environment at the Defelice Marine Center operated by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. See educational exhibits and a variety of species in nearly 50 tanks at the research center, then take a self-guided tour along the boardwalk to see birds and other wildlife. Climb to the top of an observation tower for a fantastic view of the surrounding wetlands. Those traveling with a group of 10 or more people can arrange for a guided tour or longer trip into nearby salt marshes or bays.

Touring the wetlands along the boardwalk at Defelice Marine Center

Touring the wetlands along the boardwalk at Defelice Marine Center
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A Refuge for Birds and Animals

Just outside Houma, go hiking, birding and wildlife watching at Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge. Follow a gravel trail to a boardwalk leading to a wetland overlook. The freshwater marshes and ponds are home to alligators and thousands of birds. Depending on the time of year, you’ll see bald eagles, mallards, teal, gadwalls, widgeon and ducks. Animals you might encounter living on high points or ridges in the refuge include deer, squirrels, rabbits, foxes and opossums. Bring a fishing pole to cast a line for bass, crappie, bream and catfish.

A Louisiana alligator in his swamp habitat

A Louisiana alligator in his swamp habitat
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The Catch of the Day

Perhaps you’ll pull in a Louisiana black drum, grouper or snapper on an offshore fishing outing with Pelagic Dive Charters, based in Bourg. If you’re a certified diver, opt to explore an oil rig 30 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico or try spearfishing. Take advantage of Houma’s fishing culture and taste the freshest seafood in local restaurants. Better yet, take your catch to Cristiano Ristorante, known for its inspired seasonal menu and classic Italian dishes, and let the chefs prepare it for you. Start off with an appetizer of charred octopus or bluefin tuna. For the main course, ask for your fish to be pan-seared and seasoned with fresh herbs organically grown on the property.

Offshore fishing excursion yields a large catch

Offshore fishing excursion yields a large catch
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Getting There

Fly in to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), rent a car and drive southwest for about an hour to get to Houma.