If you’re looking for somewhere to see alligators in Louisiana then you’re in the right place.
There’s plenty of places to see alligators in their natural habitat all over Louisiana, from swamps to marshlands.
This post will tell you all of the best places to see alligators in Louisiana and includes all the information you’ll need for a fun day out.
About Alligators In Louisiana
One of the coolest things to do in Louisiana is to go and see the Louisiana alligators in the wild.
The alligators found in Louisiana are American alligators. There are estimated to be more than 1 million alligators in Louisiana which makes it the largest population of American alligators in the world.
The alligators tend to be found in ponds, lakes, canals, rivers, swamps and bayous.
Below are some quick fun facts about alligators:
- Adult alligators have between 74 and 84 teeth.
- Alligators become dormant in fall/winter and don’t feed during this time.
- Alligators can remain submerged for 12-24 hours.
- When an alligator’s tooth breaks off, a new one grows in its place.
The alligators found in Louisiana are American alligators which are native to the Southeastern United States. They can be found from central Texas all the way to North Carolina.
Best Places To See Alligators In New Orleans
You can see alligators in many places in and around New Orleans.
Below I’ve listed all the best spots for seeing alligators either in New Orleans or close by!
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
One of the best places in New Orleans to see alligators is at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve.
This huge preserve is made up of six sites and protects the natural area that surrounds the Mississippi Delta.
Head to the Barataria Preserve (one of the sites that forms part of the preserve) for the best chance of seeing alligators.
This 26,000-acre area includes swamps, marshes, bayous, and forest areas.
The best way to spot alligators at the Barataria Preserve is by walking along the boardwalk that crosses the swamp or by taking a stroll along one of the preserve’s many dirt trails.
In some areas of the preserve you can also get out onto the water. I’d recommend booking onto an airboat tour for the best chance of seeing alligators.
You’ll also likely see a range of other interesting animals including turtles, snakes and herons.
Check out some of the alligators of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in the video below:
Honey Island Swamp
Another place close to New Orleans where you can see alligators is at Honey Island Swamp.
Located in St. Tammany Parish, Honey Island Swamp is a pristine and natural swamp that stretches over 70,000 acres.
The Honey Island Swamp is home to alligators as well as a range of other animals including turtles, snakes, bears and plenty of birds.
The swamp is also allegedly home to the legendary Swamp Monster, an ape-like creature covered in gray hair with yellow eyes. Keep your eyes peeled for this legend.
The best way to spot alligators in Honey Island Swamp is by joining a boat tour.
This allows you to get the best close-up views of the alligators and hear all about the swamp legends from your experienced tour guide.
You can see some of the alligators of Honey Island Swamp in the video below:
Another great place near New Orleans where you can see alligators is at Manchac Swamp.
Manchac Swamp, just a short drive from New Orleans, features stunning landscapes including cypress trees, birds, alligators and slow-moving currents.
One of the most popular ways to spot alligators is to head out on a kayaking tour. You’ll spot lots of wildlife as well as alligators, including birds, turtles and frogs.
Manchac Swamp isn’t a place for the faint-hearted as it is also known as the ‘swamp of the ghosts’.
The swamp is supposedly haunted by a blood-sucking Rougarou (a Cajun version of a werewolf) and a voodoo priestess.
Another place near New Orleans where you can see alligators is at Maurepas Swamp.
This swamp is a large biodiverse 122,000-acre protected area that is known to be a hot-spot for alligators. You’ll also find lots of other animals here such as herons, bald eagles, owls, deer, pigs and turtles.
The best way to see alligators here is by joining a kayaking tour. You’ll glide along the river, paddling through the narrow passageways surrounded by trees draped with Spanish moss.
New Orleans City Park
One of the best places in New Orleans where you can see alligators is at New Orleans City Park.
City Park is a 1,300-acre expansive outdoor space located in central New Orleans. It features a botanical garden, an art museum, golf course and so much more.
The park is also full of lagoons and waterways and within these you will often be able to spot an alligator or two.
Generally, the alligators found in City Park are on the smaller side as the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will relocate larger ones for safety reasons.
For the best chance of spotting an alligator, head to the area north of Interstate 610 as the park tends to remove any alligators found south of Interstate 610.
Check out the video below of an alligator spotted in New Orleans City Park:
If you love alligators then you should definitely have Audubon Zoo on your list of places to visit.
This zoo and aquarium in New Orleans is one of the only places where you can see a rare albino alligator. There are actually only a few of these in Louisiana.
These white alligators are super rare so it’s worth stopping by at Audubon Zoo to see one in the flesh.
The zoo also has plenty of regular alligators, including some impressively large ones that you can see close-up.
You can see a white alligator at Audubon Zoo in the video below:
Where Else Can You See Alligators In Louisiana?
Outside of New Orleans there’s still plenty of places where you can see alligators in the wild.
I’ve listed all the best places where you can see alligators in Louisiana below.
A great place in Louisiana where you can see alligators is at Lake Martin in the Lafayette area.
The Cypress Island Nature Preserve at Lake Martin features a swampy ecosystem that is home to a variety of wildlife including nesting waterbirds, snakes, turtles, lizards and a substantial population of alligators.
The alligators can typically be spotted from Rookery Road which runs along the edge of the lake.
One of the best ways to see the alligators at Lake Martin is by joining a boat tour. You’ll get the best view of the alligators and be able to learn more about them from your experienced guide.
Check out the huge alligator spotted at Lake Martin in the video below:
Atchafalaya River Basin
Another great place in Louisiana where you can see alligators is at the Atchafalaya River Basin.
The Atchafalaya River Basin, located in south central Louisiana, is a vast area of natural wetlands. It also serves as a river delta where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge.
This huge area encompasses 860,000 acres of swamps and lakes, making it one of the best places to see alligators in Louisiana.
The Atchafalaya River Basin has a large population of alligators that are commonly seen by visitors.
Many boat and kayaking tours set out from the town of Henderson and venture out into the basin. This is the best way to get up-close and personal with the alligators.
The Creole Nature Trail
A fantastic way to see alligators in Louisiana is by driving along the Creole Nature Trail.
Driving the Creole Nature Trail is the best way to see Louisiana alligators in the wild without having to go trudging through swamps and marshes.
The Creole Nature Trail is a 180-mile scenic drive that traverses the wilderness of Louisiana. The trail crosses 4 different wildlife refuges.
Visitors can often spot alligators sunbathing just a few feet away from the road during the warmer summer months.
The Creole Nature Trail gives visitors a chance to experience stunning nature up close all from the comfort of their own cars.
You’ll see untouched wetlands, sandy ridges, oak trees, marshes and coastal shores along this epic route.
You can see some of the alligators found on the Creole Nature Trail in the video below:
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge
The Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge is one of the wildlife refuges that forms part of the Creole Nature Trail. It is located in the southwestern part of Louisiana on the Gulf Coast.
This large area of marshland is home to the most abundant alligator populations along the Creole Nature Trail.
It is a popular spot for fishing and crabbing. Alligator sightings are also super common here.
The Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge is also well-known for its pioneering research into alligators.
University of Louisiana
Another place in Louisiana where you can see alligators in the wild is at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette.
You can often spot alligators when taking a stroll through the university’s campus.
In the center of the campus, just behind the Student’s Union, is a swamp-like lake that is home to several alligators.
Cypress Lake, locally referred to as ‘the swamp’, has become a bit of a tourist attraction in Lafayette.
The university states that co-existing alongside alligators is part of life at the university and they take care to ensure the alligator population remains undisturbed.
Another great place within Lafayette where you can often see alligators is in Vermilionville.
Vermilionville sits on a glorious tree-covered site on the banks of the Bayou Vermilion right in the heart of Lafayette.
You’ll find a lake here that has a resident population of alligators in it.
You’ll often see them soaking up the sun on the Vermilionville Living History Museum grounds on a sunny day.
You could also take a boat ride through the Bayou Vermilion for up-close views of these incredible animals.
Alligator Safety Tips
As most of the alligators found in Louisiana are wild alligators, you should bear in mind these tips to keep you safe:
- You shouldn’t feed the alligators.
- You should keep 30 feet (10 meters) away from the alligators at all times.
- Avoiding swimming near the alligators especially at night, dusk or dawn.
- Do not let children or pets play alone close to the water.
It’s also good to know that humans are very rarely ever attacked by alligators. The alligators will usually only try to hurt you if you harass them.
Best Time Of Year To See Alligators In Louisiana
As alligators are cold-blooded reptiles, they rely on the surrounding environment to keep their bodies warm.
This means that they don’t like the cold so it will be much harder to see them in the wild during the winter months.
In the winter, they tend to feed less and often hide in holes underground and remain dormant.
The best time to see alligators in Louisiana is in the summer between the months of March and September.
You’re more likely to see them on sunny days as they often lie by the riverbanks soaking up the sun on hot days.
Did you know you can also see alligators in Mississippi?
Thanks for reading this post on where to see alligators in Louisiana.
Wherever you are in Louisiana, there’s plenty of options here to see alligators in their natural habitat in New Orleans, Lafayette and more.