There are two kinds of swamp tours out there. One for people who mostly just want selfies with baby gators; the other for those interested in seeing alligators and other wildlife in their natural habitats and learning how to protect them as well. Dr. Wagner’s Honey Island Swamp Tour falls into the latter category. This eco tour is both a life-enriching learning experience and a fun day outdoors with family and friends. You’ll still get to watch gators jump for marshmallows but it’s so much more than that.
Located on the West Pearl River in Slidell, Dr. Wagner’s Honey Island Swamp Tour was founded in 1982 by a beloved Tulane professor and wetland ecologist. Now retired, Dr. Wagner’s legacy lives on in the captains who follow in his wake daily. Dr. Wagner’s great understanding of and respect for nature is present on every adventure.
Named for the abundance of honeybees in the area, Honey Island is one of the most breathtaking swamps in Louisiana, teeming with alligators, wild boar, racoons, nutria, turtles, deer, black bear, snakes (yeah, venomous ones), and the occasional big cat. Graceful birds of all shapes, colors and wingspans watch on from the branches of the Cypress trees above, while swamp iris and other colorful vegetation bounce up and down in the water. If you're lucky, you'll get a glimpse of Big Al, the top male in this part of the swamp, the Big Man on Campus.
The local guides clearly love this place, and they have a depth of knowledge that gives this tour a dimension other swamp adventures lack. There are no put-on Cajun accents on these tours. This is the real Louisiana experience you’ve been looking for.
You’ll maneuver down the river, lined with moss-draped cypress trees and elephant ears in traditional swamp boats that can go where no airboat can dare to enter. The boats are also covered which means tours run, rain or shine. Turns out, this is a great rainy-day activity. It’s not as hot when it rains and the gators, blue heron, and other swamp critters, don’t seem to feel the need for umbrellas.
One more thing you ought to know: you can’t live in these parts for long without hearing about the Honey Island Swamp Monster. While it’s up for debate whether a Big Foot-esque creature has actually left its footprints around here, it has definitely left its imprint on local legend. We maintain, however, that when it comes to Dr. Wagner’s Honey Island Swamp Tour, the Wookie isn’t the real draw. It’s the pristine swamp itself.
Dr. Wagner’s Honey Island Swamp Tour is located about 45 minutes from downtown New Orleans and they offer shuttle service to and from your hotel. For tour times, pricing and more information, visit their website.