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Day Trip Through Cajun Country with Beyond the Bayou

Alligator in a swamp

The road trip is loosely based on itineraries crafted by Beyond the Bayou. We offer sustainable swamp tours as well as 2 and 4-day Cajun Country adventures that leave from New Orleans.

Leave New Orleans after breakfast and head towards Baton Rouge on Interstate 10. Once you leave the city behind, Highway 310 takes you across the storied Mississippi River and you’ll drive through farmland to reach the Whitney Plantation. River Road is the more scenic route, albeit takes a little bit longer as it winds upstream along the Mississippi.

A plantation in New Orleans.

Founded in 1752, the Whitney Plantation underwent an $8 million renovation that took 16 years to complete. It reopened in 2014 and is one of the only plantation museums in the U.S. dedicated to telling the story of what life was like for the enslaved who worked on plantations like this one across the South. It’s a beautiful property and an important educational experience for anyone interested in the history of Louisiana. The New Yorker magazine had this to say about it: “The Whitney Plantation is not a place designed to make people feel guilt, or to make people feel shame. It is a site of memory, a place that exists to further the necessary dialogue about race in America.”

Fried frog legs.

If you’re hungry for lunch after touring the plantation, there’s a perfect place located a quick drive upriver to take care of that. B&C Seafood in Vacherie is known for its amazing gumbo and specialties made with locally caught seafood. Snack on alligator bites and frog legs, or chow down on a huge soft-shell crab po’ boy. Owner Tommy Breaux is a well-known entrepreneur in the area, and if you’re lucky, he’ll entertain you with one of his fishing stories while you chow down on Cajun and Creole dishes.

After lunch it’s time to explore one of Louisiana’s most beautiful swamps! Make sure you booked in advance before making the 40 minute drive to Maurepas. Beyond the Bayou’s swamp tours are unique: the groups are small and they rely on their guides’ naturalist skills and instincts instead of baiting alligators and other wildlife, which sadly is a common practice among other area operators. Depending on the day and the time of year, you may see wild boar, great blue herons, osprey, owls, snakes, turtles—and of course gators! Slowly creep through narrow passageways surrounded by cypress and willow trees draped with Spanish moss and feel the wind on your face as the captain safely cruises wide stretches of the river at 30 miles per hour.

After your tour, head back to New Orleans for dinner and, if you still have energy, a fun evening in Crescent City.

Map & Directions

This full day of exploring Louisiana’s Cajun Country requires 151 miles of driving and 2:45 hours in total drive time. Link to map with directions

a close up of a map