There’s nothing quite like the marshy landscape of Louisiana. Behind the Spanish moss and gnarly cypress trees is an entire world waiting to be discovered. More than alligators and a little bit less spooky than the horror films will lead you to believe, even a hit show like Swamp People can’t capture the true natural beauty of it all. If you’re up for discovering one of Louisiana’s most captivating ecosystems, hike up your gators because it’s time for a swamp tour.

It’s completely acceptable to start spontaneously singing, “Down on the Bayou.”

"Chillin'" by Ccharmon via Flickr Creative Commons

Budget-friendly with a big payoff

Located near Lafayette, Cajun Country Swamp Tours are led by a family of bonafied swamp fishermen who know the waters like the back of their hands (and actually have degrees in Zoology and Botany). Open even on holidays, the two-hour tour is just $20 for adults and $10 for children — a true steal! Have your camera ready because you’ll see plenty of alligators as the area has one of the largest populations in the state, especially of creatures over 10 feet long. The tour is conducted aboard open swamp people boats (crawfish skiffs) that are designed to get into the heart of the muck and yuck.

Photo Credit: JC Winkler

Two for one: a tour and a show

A little bit of Cajun music never hurt anyone, and Cajun Man’s Swamp Tour aims to please with his renditions. It’s not all fun and games for Ron Guidry, though. As a former state trooper, your safety is of utmost importance. So, relax and sing along to the music from his guitar and accordion, and rest assured you’re in good hands with Cajun Man as your guide.

Photo Credit: JC Winkler

The best of the best in Acadia

Located just outside the state’s capital of Baton Rouge, the Acadian Swamp Tour will ensure you’re up close and personal with some Louisiana’s biggest gators — in the safest way possible, of course. Hosted by a local who has called the Atchafalaya Spillway and Bay Natchez home for over 30 years, the area isn’t called Louisiana's sportsman's paradise for nothing.