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An exotic Louisiana marsh full of hidden treasures

Native American, Cajun, Acadian and African cultural traditions have all contributed to the flavor of the fascinating town of Houma. From fishermen to tour operators, residents of this southern Louisiana town continue to carry on professions and traditions handed down to them by ancestors.

Houma may not be familiar to most people by name, but fans of pop culture will undoubtedly recognize the surrounding area’s swampy landscapes from reality television programs like the History Channel’s “Swamp People.” The region has provided a home for fictional characters as well, like the DC Comics series “Swamp Thing” that takes place in the bayous of Houma.

However, nothing on screen or in print can give justice to the uniquely diverse ecosystem that serves as a home to the surrounding area’s vast array of native wildlife. From the regionally infamous alligators lurking on the surface of muddy waters, to the exotic birds, wild cats, otter and nutria that thrive within the area’s seemingly endless network of swamps, marshes and rivers, Louisiana’s swamp country is a tropical Southern habitat at its most primitive.


Houma Area Convention and Visitors Bureau/Mathew Noel

Browsing the Bayou

While the Southern hospitality associated with Louisiana culture may paint a laid-back portrait of the region, the wildly untamed and painstakingly preserved natural habitats of the area betray a relentlessly primordial side of things. But it’s not completely wild. Seasoned fishermen and explorers navigate the web of naturally occurring aquatic channels in the same way that city dwellers rely on a network of interstate freeways to connect neighborhoods and suburbs.

Characterized by more than 2,500 square miles of swampland, marshes and humid climate, this Louisiana getaway allows for a relaxing voyage into one of the most untouched and naturally preserved areas of the deep South.

Located just 5 miles southwest of the Houma town center, Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge features over 4,000 acres of cypress-tupelo swampland and marshes. The refuge is a prime spot for freshwater fishing and in-season hunting.


Houma Area Convention and Visitors Bureau/Mathew Noel

Airboats and Alligators

An airboat tour through the Mandalay refuge is an ideal way to soak in the beauty of Houma’s breathtaking scenery. And thanks to a variety of local businesses, even the most inexperienced prospective alligator hunter can get a chance to see living ancestors of dinosaurs in the flesh.

In addition to the airboats offered to the public by local guides, tours featuring canoes, pontoon boats and other vehicles allow visitors to travel as the locals do.

Still eager to explore? Nearby Gibson is home to a pair of family-friendly attractions that offer a compelling glimpse into the local flora and fauna. The Wildlife Gardens provides visitors the opportunity to walk through a live cypress swamp, tour a small alligator farm and see a 110-pound loggerhead turtle.

Also in Gibson is Greenwood Gator Farm and Tours, which annually houses and hatches between 5,000 and 10,000 baby alligators. Visitors enjoy a range of informative live shows and a behind-the-scenes tour.

For More Information

Houma Area Convention & Visitors Bureau




Louisiana Office of Tourism