Houma, Louisiana is located about an hour from New Orleans and it’s a destination worth discovering. Guests who visit will find that it’s a great place for gator-themed adventures and fantastic Cajun food!
Get an Overview of the Area at Houma Visitor Center
114 Tourist Dr, Gray, LA
When I visit a destination for the first time, I love to stop at the visitor center first so that we can get an overview of the area.
The Houma Visitor Center is a great resource to find insider tips from locals of things to do in the area, local places to eat, and adventures not to miss.
The name Houma means “red” and dates back to a Native American tribe of Houma people in Louisiana who resided near the Red River.
Stop for a Roadside Attraction
When you arrive, don’t forget to get a picture with the giant white boots in front of the visitor center.
The white boots are common for anyone who spends time outdoors fishing or crabbing.
Another perk of making a stop at the Houma Visitor Center is that they have Mr. Ronnie’s delicious glazed donuts, making your stop even sweeter.
Houma is home to local celebrity RJ Molinere and his son Jay Paul of History Channel’s Swamp People. The swamps in Houma are the filming location for the gator hunting reality show.
Sign the Virtual Guestbook
Don’t forget to sign the virtual guestbook before you go and you will join other visitors on a virtual map from around the world. You can even email the picture to yourself to keep as a reminder of your visit.
Take a Geocaching Tour
If you are into geocaching you will definitely want to check out Louisana’s first and only GeoTour with over 50 geocaches.
If you are unfamiliar with geocaching, it’s basically a GPS based scavenger hunt that turns your time outdoors into an exciting adventure.
You choose the geocache that you want to find, follow the coordinates, and then look for a cache. After you find the cache sign the log book and you can continue to look for more caches.
The Houma Travel GeoTour descriptions also give you a lot of interesting background stories and additional information about the area which will enhance your adventure.
Experience an Airboat tour with RJ Molinere of History Channel’s Swamp People
One of the highlights from our visit was the privilege of taking an airboat ride with RJ Molinere known from the History Channel reality show “Swamp People.”
RJ is now offering Airboat ride tours in French because he noticed that there was a need for visitors who didn’t speak English who wanted to learn about the area. (he also offers airboat tours in English too) .
We learned SO MUCH about gators from our time together, we saw a few gators, and we even learned how to spot gator tracks. RJ also pointed out different species of birds and shared about the ecology of the swamp.
RJ’s mom taught him how to hunt gators and live off of the land when he was 18, back in 1979. Gator hunting is not just for sport and every part of the gator that is hunted is used from head to tail.
RJ took the time to answer so many of our questions and shared so many interesting stories along the way. He also pulled up a crabbing trap and told us how we can identify them in the water.
During our tour, we spotted RJ’s son Jay Paul out on the water fishing with his kids. RJ shared with us that the only way that he agreed to do the reality show was if he could do it with his son.
RJ even showed us the area of the swamp where the scene of one the “10 deadliest Swamp People scariest moments” took place when his son Jay Paul wrestled an alligator in the water.
I cannot imagine going into that water with or without a gator in sight. RJ told us that back in the day people would even waterski and tube in that area.
NOPE! I’m totally happy just staying in the boat.
During our time together, we even learned that RJ was a champion arm wrestler so of course, we had to do a photo opp.
The experience of riding on an airboat was both really exciting and really peaceful. We wore ear protection headphones to help block out the sound of the engine during our ride and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous!
At different points during our tour, we slowed down so that we could talk. We were also told that he would slow down at any time if we had additional questions or if we saw something of interest.
The picture above shows several different paths/alligator tracks. I would have never have noticed those as tracks before, but now after our tour, I definitely see the swamp with a new perspective and detail.
The gator hunting season lasts for 30 days in September which is also when they film the reality show.
RJ shared that shooting a gator in the brain stem is more humane so that the alligator doesn’t suffer and so that it doesn’t wake up on the boat which could quickly become dangerous for everyone involved.
I highly recommend taking his tour if you are in the area. Our time with RJ was such a gift and he is such a great ambassador for the area. His tours can be customized for couples or groups.
Take a Tour of Greenwood Gator Farm
125 Gator Ct. Gibson, LA
You can learn more about the gator farming process during a tour of the Greenwood Gator Farm. Greenwood Gator Farm is the only tourable working gator farm in Louisiana.
The small gator farm houses about 12,000 Gators between 7 buildings. Gator Farms were started because they were nearly extinct in the ’80s. Gator farms were a big part of the success of gator repopulation.
The alligators are considered a crop, just like raising chickens or cattle for meat and many local restaurants serve gator on their menus.
Farm gators like an environment that is quiet, dark and hot, which is why the tour shares the farming process with hands-on demos and exhibits in an air-conditioned building instead of going to those buildings.
Alligators are 4-12 inches when they are born. They grow about 1 foot a year and they need to be 4-6 feet long to defend themselves in the wild.
10% of farm gators (around 80,000 from all of the farms) are released back into the wild near their original nest each year.
Any of the Gators with mouth or tail deformations can’t go back into the wild because they would not be able to survive on their own.
Pictured above is a baby gator born without a tail who is now part of the educational tour for guests who visit.
During our tour, we learned more about alligator nests and how the eggs are found and gathered.
Females don’t lay eggs on farms which is why some of the eggs are taken from nests. At the hatchery when it’s 90 degrees or hotter you get 95% male when it’s cooler you get a female.
They do not take all of the eggs from the nest and there is a detailed system for tracking the eggs and tagging the released gators.
The collectors are looking for the fertile and infertile eggs in the nest. A white band is placed around the fertile eggs and they mark lines on the eggs they will take. The egg has to stay exactly how it was in the nest so that it doesn’t drown.
They have to record the site of where the eggs were taken and have to release the gators near that area a year later.
They leave both fertile and infertile eggs so that the mother will likely stay at each nest. The collected eggs are kept separated by each nest. Each female can lay between 35-50 eggs and can conceive from up to 6 mates at a time.
The tour continues to share the process all the way through harvesting the alligators for food and for leather. Each section of the tour was really interesting with visuals to help you connect each stage of the process.
Several weeks later my boys were channel surfing and came across a show with an alligator nest and I loved that they retained so much of the information from our tour at Greenwood Farms.
Toward the end of the tour, you can hold a live alligator. Have your camera ready for this photo opp.
Alligators mate once a year in May and every alligator is born sometime in August which makes the second or third week in August a great time to visit the gator farm if you want to see a lot of baby alligators.
After our tour, we watched an alligator feeding. This is another time that you will want your camera ready. Be on the lookout for Tboy, one of the farm residents that is 13ft long and about 65 years old.
I would definitely not be brave enough to stand in the pen surrounded by hungry gators.
During our visit, I got to watch the feeding from a closer vantage point under the supervision of another employee.
If you ever encounter an alligator in the wild it’s important to know that there is no self-defense law and it’s a felony if you harm a gator outside of hunting season. The biggest predators for a gator are humans and themselves.
A Gator can reach speeds up to 35 mph in short bursts so if ever you find yourself in a situation where one is chasing you, run in a zigzag to escape.
During our visit, we also heard something that the owner had never heard before. We heard a gator pass gas. That’s right, we heard an alligator fart. I can’t make this stuff up!
Additional Activities at Greenwood Gator Farm
Greenwood Gator Farm also offers hour-long swamp tours and can be a great venue for field trips and birthday parties.
There is a large covered area with tables and a large field and playground with the additional option of inflatable rentals.
Great Places to Eat in Houma, LA
One of the best parts about visiting Louisiana is the AMAZING food! You will find plenty of great options in Houma for every meal.
Breakfast at Demitasse Cafe
6815 W Park Ave, Houma, LA
A breakfast and lunch spot that’s known for their Paninis, Demitasse Cafe is a great option if you are looking for a casual dining experience or if you want quick quality food options when you are on the go.
I tried a shrimp omelet for the first time and I really liked it. Normally I would not think to mix shrimp and cheese but it worked.
For my coffee, I decided to mix things up with the cafe au lait (French Roast with chicory and steamed milk)
Chicory is a flowery plant. The roots are roasted and ground and were formerly used as a coffee substitute. The blends of coffee and chicory are very popular in the New Orleans area. Chicory has a bit of a woody flavor and it’s worth trying when you are in the area.
Lunch at Big Mike’s BBQ Smokehouse
3034 Barrow St. Houma, LA
If you are looking for a popular bbq stop, Big Mike’s is the place to be! This popular BBQ restaurant has a fast-casual atmosphere with plenty of seating and a fast-moving line to order.
I was familiar with boudin on the menu from my previous trip to Lake Charles but Big Mike’s had a crawfish boudin that I had to try that was really delicious!
We also tried the Grilled BBQ Shrimp(Gulf shrimp seasoned w/our signature rub & glazed w/Mutha BBQ sauce served over creole rice with double sides of baked macaroni and cheese,) Baby Back Ribs with fries and the Smoked Brisket with garlic toast, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese.
That was definitely a great meal to start our visit.
Dinner at Cajun Critters Seafood
6240 W Main Houma, LA
When you visit Houma, you have to try Cajun Seafood. Cajun Critters Seafood has indoor and outdoor seating available. We opted for the outdoor patio because it was such a nice night.
We started with locally sourced Gator Bites and Crab Claws as appetizers.
For dinner, we opted for the stuffed crab, crawfish boil with royal red shrimp and sausage, and the tuna steak. This place is loved by locals and tourists alike.
Depending on the night that you visit you might catch live entertainment or you can challenge each other to a game of cornhole.
Stop for a Drive-Thru Daiquiri
I know, right? I was pretty floored when I found out that Louisiana has drive-thru daiquiri shops, and they have lots of them.
You can even purchase gallons to go!
This concept still blows my mind!
Only in Louisiana….drive-thru daiquiris!
…..so of course, I had to try it and get pictures to document my first time at Daiquiris & Company.
I was also pretty floored by the price because they don’t use powders or premixes. They just use fresh fruit and tropical juices blended with choice liquors and liqueurs.
What makes them legal is the tape across the straw hole.
And the special was 2 for $6!!!
It was strongly suggested that I order both to discover my favorite…so I did… in the name of research.
I think that I’m a strawberry daiquiri purest because it was my favorite flavor but I did try the Cajun Colada.
Dessert at Scarlet Scoop Ice Cream Parlor
300 Barrow St. Houma, LA
If you are in the mood for a sweet treat, stop at Scarlet Ice Cream Parlor for some homemade ice cream.
They have an assortment of homemade cones and chocolate dipped ice cream bowls with and without sprinkles or nuts.
The boys got their ice cream and I got my special 21+ drive-thru order so both of us were happy.
An Affordable Hotel Near New Orleans
1800 Martin Luther King Blvd, Houma, LA
During our visit, we stayed at the Holiday Inn in Houma. Houma is a great place to find affordable hotels, conveniently located about an hour from New Orleans.
You can find great deals on area hotel rooms around Houma here.
More Information on Houma, Louisiana
We really enjoyed our first time in Houma. I was really sad when we had to leave because of the fascinating the local culture and the amazing people there.
You can find more information on Houma from the Houma Travel website.
Thanks again to Houma Travel for hosting our visit. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
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