Why are airboats so popular in Louisiana?

January 24, 2022

Here’s why this is on everyone’s list when they’re visiting New Orleans.

So you’re prepping for your first vacay of 2022: a trip to New Orleans, the most unique city in the U.S. Congratulations, because you’ve chosen one of the most vibrant destinations in the world.

You’ve probably already got a long list of restaurant reservations and walking tours lined up. You’re trying to make enough time throughout your visit to take in the scent of freshly-baked beignets at Cafe Du Monde, hear the joyous notes of a saxophone filter through the open doors along Frenchman street, and take a leisurely walk through the Garden District.

On top of all that, we’re guessing more than one person has told you to take an airboat tour, too. It’s no coincidence that so many people recommend at least one swamp tour during your trip to New Orleans, whether it’s your first time in the city or your 31st.

And you can be forgiven if you’re not familiar with airboats. Airboat tours are only available in select parts of the country, and most residents outside the Gulf South have never had the opportunity to take in the unique sights and sounds of a swamp tour. Even more reason why you should take this opportunity to try out a totally new experience, and see the swamps surrounding New Orleans in all of their natural glory.

Read on for more information about what you’ll see on an airboat tour, and why this is a must-do activity during your New Orleans trip.

Large group on airboat

What is an airboat?

There are multiple ways to take a swamp tour in New Orleans. The most popular vehicles to see alligators and other swamp life are pontoon boats, and airboats.

The main difference between airboats and pontoon boats is how they’re constructed. Pontoon boats are designed to drift relatively slowly.

In contrast, airboats can go faster than pontoon boats, so you’ll catch more of a breeze during your swamp tour. They have a large, powerful, fan-like propeller, and this style of tour boat is available in a range of sizes: depending on the type of airboat tour you sign up for, you might be enjoying the experience with up to 30 passengers, or as a more private experience with only 6-8. For these reasons, many tourists end up choosing an airboat tour to view the swamp life.

They’re well-suited for navigating the Louisiana bayou, where the water is often shallow, and relatively narrow.

Airboats that are used for public airboat tours are frequently inspected, and considered safe for all ages. If you choose one of the best airboat tour companies, your New Orleans swamp tour will be led by a knowledgeable boat captain who’s experienced with navigating the bayou, and also well-versed in the history of New Orleans and Louisiana wildlife.

How do airboats work?

Airboats are powered by their propeller in the back, which is often large and easily visible. It’s one of the most distinctive features of an airboat.

The passenger capacity can vary, and your airboat may be covered or uncovered. Even if an airboat is covered, it often has transparent sides and a clear roof, so everyone on-board can easily see 360-degree views of their surroundings. Take this into account when deciding what to wear and bring with you on your airboat tour, since you may want to pack an extra bottle of sunscreen or a hat.

Because of both their safety, speed, as well as the ability to see wildlife up-close, airboats are one of the most popular options for bayou boat tours. In the South, they’re particularly popular since they go fast enough to create a cool, refreshing breeze during any time of year. That’ll be a welcome relief from the Louisiana heat if you’re visiting any time in the spring, summer, or fall!

Small group on an airboat tour

Where can I take an airboat tour?

Airboat tours are relatively common in the Southern United States, such as in Louisiana and Florida.

If you’re planning to incorporate an airboat tour into your New Orleans trip, you’ll probably be headed to one of the popular bayous just outside the city. These bayous or swamps aren’t actually located in New Orleans; they’ll be at least a 20 minute drive from the city.

Airboat Adventures is one of the most popular airboat tour providers in the New Orleans area, boasting 4.7 out of 5 stars on Google from over 5,000 tour-goers. Airboat Adventures is located in Lafitte, Louisiana, but caters to residents and tourists in and around New Orleans and the French Quarter.

Beautiful sunset on the bayou

Why are airboats popular in New Orleans?

Even though your airboat tour will be located outside the Crescent City, it’s a quick drive from any part of the city. Many tour providers, including Airboat Adventures, offer their own transportation and can even pick you up from a range of hotels in the French Quarter. And the drive itself is almost as scenic as the tour, allowing you to catch a glimpse of other parts of Louisiana beyond the jazz and art scene of downtown. Just factor in the transportation time when you’re planning out your day.

Airboats are also fast enough to generate a welcomed breeze. This is ideal if you’re visiting New Orleans in the spring and summer, when that Louisiana humidity is at its peak.

An airboat tour will offer you a totally different experience than you’ll get from any walking tour or self-guided attractions in downtown New Orleans. You’ll get a break from crowds of tourists, and get a chance to spend some time in nature, with Louisiana native species like alligators, herons, turtles, raccoons, and much more. It’s one of the safest ways to see gators in their natural habitat.

You can enjoy an airboat tour any time of year. In fact, even if you’ve already taken a New Orleans swamp tour, we recommend trying an airboat tour during a different season, and even at a different time of day or evening. You’ll be surprised to see different species of birds and animals every time you go.

So no matter when you’re visiting New Orleans; whether you’re traveling by yourself, on a couple’s getaway, or rolling with a crew of 15; an airboat tour will be one of the most memorable parts of your trip. Be sure to make this part of your itinerary to New Orleans, and if you’re wondering how long it will take or even what to wear, check out our list of everything you need to know for your swamp tour.

group on a boat in a swamp

Where can I reserve an airboat tour?

Once you’re walking the streets of the French Quarter, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to sign up for an airboat tour (or any other swamp tour, for that matter). There are a number of tourism offices and booths throughout the city where you can walk in and buy your tickets.

Many New Orleans hotels also partner with tour agencies and operators, so you may be able to make a reservation at the front desk.

But we recommend reserving your spots in advance. If you do your research upfront and buy your airboat tour tickets online before the plane even takes off, you can be sure that you’re selecting the right tour company. Of course, you’ll want to book with an airboat tour provider that’s earned thousands of positive reviews, and is known for their commitment to safe and thoughtful swamp tours.

Plus, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your trip once your itinerary is all set up. That means even more time spent relaxing over Chicory coffees or soaking in the unique, historic architecture that surrounds you.

Book your airboat tour and start looking forward to your New Orleans trip. You can choose from a large boat, or a smaller, more intimate experience. No matter how many people are joining you, you’ll get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to mingle with Louisiana gators and breeze through a southern bayou.

We look forward to seeing you in the Big Easy.

Where To Stay During New Orleans Airboat Adventure Tour

January 20, 2022

Best Places to Stay During Your New Orleans Airboat Adventures Tour


New Orleans is famous for its vibrant nightlife, extravagant Mardi Gras season, jazz music, voodoo, and historic Creole-style architecture. It is also the perfect hub for those looking for outdoor adventure, boasting a catalog of iconic hotels. Whether you want to wind down after a New Orleans airboat tour at Airboat Adventures, enjoy what our historic hotels have to offer, or sleep in after a night of partying, we got you! Best part? Airboat Adventures has an option for shuttle pick up from hotels in the Greater New Orleans Area.

Exterior of Hotel Monteleone New Orleans

“New Orleans – French Quarter ‘Hotel Monteleone'” by David Paul Ohmer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Boutique Hotels

Boutique hotels are smaller hotels in fashionable neighborhoods. They’re more intimate and focus on art and design more than other hotels.

Old 77 Hotel & Chandlery

Located in the trendy Warehouse District of New Orleans, the industrial-chic Old 77 Hotel & Chandlery has so much to offer. Three blocks from the French Quarter, the One 77 is close to all the fun but far enough for a quiet peaceful sleep or just to wind down after your airboat tour. Bonus points: complimentary pet services, pet snacks from local dog bakery, “Café Du Bone”, a rotating art collection on display, and a virtual concierge called Paige.

ONE11 Hotel

We love tradition here in New Orleans, but we love growth even more. ONE11 Hotel is the first new French Quarter hotel in 50 years. Not only is the ONE11 steps away from Audubon Aquarium, but they also have a rooftop terrace with stunning city views. They have a 24/7 grab-and-go bar should you have the urge for a late-night snack without having to leave the hotel. You can also dine at Batture Bar + Bistro, which offers delicious small plates and a climate-controlled porch featuring a pool and firepit.

Ace Hotel

If you’re looking for the consistency and convenience of a chain with the “coolness” that boutique hotels exude, look no further than the Ace Hotel. This stylish boutique chain serves visitors with its cool chic vibes and high-quality service in the major cities of North America and Japan. Located in the trendy warehouse district, the Ace is steps away from the streetcar and a fifteen-minute walk from the world-famous Bourbon Street. Rudy’s Barbershop provides toiletries for their fashionable rooms, while all suites have living rooms equipped with record players and acoustic guitars. The pet-friendly hotel offers chic restaurants, bars, a rooftop pool, and a retro photo booth. Their regular live entertainment and cool chic vibes attract the “hip” locals as you’ll always see them hanging around at the restaurants and the rooftop pool.

Higgins Hotel

World War II history buffs will love everything that the bespoke Higgins Hotel has to offer. As the official hotel of the National WWII Museum, this hotel is a historian’s Disney World. Part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, this boutique hotel has everything that the Hilton chain has to offer as well. Higgins Hotel boasts impressive dining options as well as ‘Rosie the Riveter’ themed bar, Rosie’s On The Rooftop.

The Frenchmen Hotel

A stone’s throw away from the French Quarter lies The Frenchmen Hotel in the Marigny. This 19th-century hotel, remodeled in 2021, boasts lush courtyards with a pool and hot tub. This adults-only hotel has an open-air mezzanine bar available now and new bar, Midnight Revival, opening its doors February 2022. They also have a breakfast room with complimentary coffee and food for purchase.

Historic Hotels

Being that New Orleans is rich in history, it is natural that a few hotels would be part of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America program. Here’s a couple of the best.

Hotel Monteleone

Hotel Monteleone has been family-owned and run since 1880. Not only is this luxurious hotel a historic landmark, but it’s also one of the three literary landmarks in North America. Hotel Monteleone is famous for housing many literary figures; there are five literary suites available. Literary genius Tennessee Williams featured Hotel Monteleone in one of his plays, he called it home prior to purchasing his French Quarter mansion. Another suite is named after Truman Capote, who loved telling everyone that he was born inside Hotel Monteleone; his mother was transported from the hotel to the hospital where she gave birth. The hotel boasts 522 rooms and 55 luxury suites. While you’re there, make sure you have a drink at the famous Carousel Bar & Lounge.

Hilton New Orleans/St. Charles Hotel

This historic hotel has the Hilton chain convenience, consistency, and affordability without skimping on the magnificent décor, architecture, and history that New Orleans has to offer. Formerly a Masonic temple, Hilton New Orleans’s interior features turn of the era influences with nods to the Art Deco movement in modern tones of grey and umber. This certified environmentally sustainable hotel offers brasserie-style dining option, Luke, and room service for those that want a quick meal at the hotel before setting off to enjoy everything the city has to offer.

Bed & Breakfast

If you’re looking for a homey feel and stellar service, you may want to look into bed & breakfast lodging. These converted homes are owner-occupied and will give you a great taste of southern hospitality.

Elysian Fields Inn

If you’re looking for a New Orleans twist on a classic, look no further than this Marigny property. Bob and Michelle, Elysian Fields Inn‘s keepers, really love New Orleans so you know you’re in good hands. Five blocks from the French Quarter, this well-kept inn has a climate-controlled pool and the option to rent out the entire inn, which can accommodate a total of 18 guests.

Blue60 Guest House

A fifteen-minute walk from the French Quarter, this Marigny historic house, Blue60, has much to offer, including its very own house cat. This inn offers a great outdoor environment with lush décor and a large hot tub. Their unique rooms are decorated with the innkeeper’s photography, which is available for purchase. You can also stay in a porch or river suite, along with a garden apartment that features a full kitchen. Personal photography instruction is available on request.


You can still enjoy everything this beautiful city has to offer on a budget by staying at a hostel. Perfect for groups or solo travelers.

The Quisby

This 18+ hostel has staff available around the clock as well as a 24-hour bar. While Louisiana residents can only stay in their private rooms, out-of-state visitors can enjoy budget-friendly shared dorms, with a female-only dorm available. Located in the Lower Garden District by the St Charles streetcar, The Quisby went through many owners and names while maintaining a debaucherous reputation that warrants bragging rights. The Quisby’s fun and colorful history still lives on its walls (in poster form). Touring musicians are in like as The Quisby offers free accommodation in exchange for a gig at  Quartz Bar. Towels + linens provided.

Four Seasons

The Jack of All Trades, Four Seasons Hotel, deserves its own category as it combines pure luxury, family-friendliness, and history.  This long-anticipated luxury hotel finally opened their New Orleans location. This historic building was completed in 1968 to celebrate New Orleans’s 250th anniversary. Designed by modern architect Edward Durell Stone, the building initially housed the World Trade Center & International Trade Mart. With swimming pool facilities, gardens, luxurious suites, elevated food & drink, babysitting services, and a cultural center, Four Seasons Hotel truly has it all and then some more.

Now that you’ve checked out our hotel list, make sure to book your New Orleans Airboat Adventures tour with us!

Browse our photo gallery of our New Orleans Airboat Adventures!