New Orleans Nature Guide

March 25, 2024

Explore New Orleans

New Orleans is famously known for its culture, with jazz music, Mardi Gras parades, and Creole cuisine; yet there is an entire side of New Orleans that people fail to explore by getting too wrapped up in the city scene of the Big Easy. The Deep South is home to some of the most unique flora and fauna in all of the United States, and New Orleans is no exception. Explore the greener side of New Orleans by visiting one of our famous parks or by getting outside the city and visiting the lush swamps of Louisiana. However you want to play it, we are here to guide you toward experiencing a completely different side of the Crescent City.

new orleans nature swamp

City Greenery

New Orleans boasts some of the best parks in all of the United States. One of those amazing parks is City Park, located in Mid-City. City Park was originally a space for dueling in the early 1800s: The Dueling Oaks as the park was previously called, was a place where men would defend their pride and honor by dueling under oak trees. Then in 1891, the ownership of the land went to the city of New Orleans, and it was converted into City Park, as we know it today. The park has a plethora of great facilities that allow you to get up close and personal with nature, enjoy a bike ride along the bike routes that weave around the park, gaze in awe at the massive oak trees that have stood for centuries, or find a park bench and watch the local fauna play in the trees and various ponds that pepper the park. Additionally, City Park has some great facilities if you want to elevate your park experience, such as the New Orleans Museum of Art or the botanical gardens; make sure to check out their website because City Park loves to host music and cultural events.

Uptown Living

Another great and accessible park for citygoers is Audubon Park located in Uptown, New Orleans. Audubon Park is a smaller park that was established in 1884 as a venue for the World Cotton Centennial. Now it serves as a beautiful greenspace for the Uptown residents of New Orleans. Audubon Park offers some of the best views in New Orleans with the Mississippi River just at the north end of the park. You can enjoy a stunning view of the Mississippi, watching barges and tugboats go up and down the famous river. Moreover, make sure to take note of the birds that you see around the park because Audubon is actually a bird sanctuary, so you are sure to see some interesting wildlife if you keep a lookout. Lastly, the Audubon Nature Institute, which includes Audubon Zoo, is located at the end of the park right before the Mississippi Riverview, so be sure to take note of that if you ever want to get the full park experience.

Down the Bayou(s)

New Orleanians do not have to travel far into the boondocks to experience easy bayou living. Bayou St. John in Mid-City allows citygoers to experience the magic of a bayou without a 2-hour road trip. The bayou serves as a natural drain feature from excess water in the swamplands to Lake Pontchartrain. Many residents of New Orleans often kayak and picnic in Bayou St. John. And, if you are ever in need of a kayak rental, we can help you get one with our self-service kayak rentals at

New Orleans Wildlife

Just outside of New Orleans are the Louisiana marshlands. Louisiana has a very diverse ecosystem ranging from the swamps that surround the area. The legendary swamps of Louisiana are teeming with interesting wildlife such as turtles, egrets, nutrias, and of course gators. The swamps are home to an abundance of bird species such as bald eagles, snowy egrets, blue herons, owls, and warblers. Not only are there a variety of bird species but there is also a list of impressive reptiles that make Louisiana their home like turtles, alligators, and snakes. Explore more of New Orleans’ swamp life by going on a guided New Orleans swamp tour.

The American Alligator

The American alligator has been a staple animal in Louisiana culture for years. The American alligator has been in Louisiana’s swamps before Louisiana was even a thing, Alligators have actually been around before America was even a thing; they are a living fossil. They are the apex predator of the swamp and have been apex predators for millions of years which explains why they have not evolved much. Not only are they extremely skilled predators but they are also a vital part of the swamp ecosystem. Being the apex predator, their main job is to regulate the populations of other species so that the ecosystem is balanced. Beyond their biological functions and history, American alligators have a very significant cultural role in New Orleans. They have become a staple symbol for New Orleans art, music, cuisine, and history. You can find alligator-themed things everywhere in New Orleans, whether you want a painting of one, or see one as the logo of a restaurant, you can even eat them in some Creole dishes (Word on the street is alligators actually do taste like chicken!). Alligators are such an important part of New Orleans culture, so take some time and get out to the swamp and see the gators in all their glory by going on a New Orleans airboat tour!

Botanical Bounty

New Orleans hosts some of the most magnificent flora in all of the United States, from massive oak trees that have withstood the test of time to colorful flowers that pepper the beautiful parks of the Crescent City, New Orleans has it all. Found all around New Orleans are giant oak trees that were planted there back in the 1700s when the French were designing the city. These oak trees serve as shelter to many of the unique birds and woodland creatures that call New Orleans home (They are also great climbing trees, just be careful). The warm and humid climate of Louisiana serves as a perfect breeding ground for the Louisiana irises that show off their vibrant hues of purple, yellow, and blue, or perhaps check out the variety of aquatic plants New Orleans hosts like water lilies and lotuses. Another one of New Orleans’ staple plants is the magnolia. Magnolias are Louisiana’s state flower, and they are very deserving of that title due to their beautiful and fragrant blossoms. The list goes on and on and on but one thing is certain, you will not be missing any beautiful vegetation when you visit the Big Easy.

Nature as far as the eye can see!

As you can see, New Orleans offers a uniquely singular nature experience. A city in the swamp teeming with diverse flora and fauna, New Orleans is home to a completely different world that will be sure to captivate you. Whether you want to take it easy and stick to the variety of parks around the city, explore a little bit of the bayou’s waterways, or even venture out into the marshlands on a guided swamp tour, New Orleans has it all and we would love to see you!