Houma is found near the tip of the “boot” of Louisiana. It is rich in French and Cajun history, as the region was first settled by both French and Spanish colonists, and later by the Acadians (Cajuns). Since the region was isolated from the rest of the United States, it never became as “Americanized” as the rest of the nation. Thus, Houma strongly holds onto its roots and offers a unique cultural experience. You better brush up those French skills, because you’re going to want to be able to say more than “Je ne sais pas”, while you’re in Houma. Here are the best things to do in the area!
1. Downtown Marina
The Downtown Marina is situated at the intersection of the Bayou Terrebonne and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The area attracts visitors and locals alike, with its authentic Acadian charm, amazing food, and diverse wildlife. There is plenty of accommodation in the area, for those looking to spend a bit more time on the water, so don’t fret if you don’t get to see all of the marina in one day.
Address: Bayou Terrebonne and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, 8828 Park Avenue
Website: Downtown Marina
2. Southdown Plantation & Museum
The Southdown Plantation & Museum is a 19th-century manor house, built in 1859. It has admirable Victorian-style architectural features and an equally admirable role in history. In the 1920s, the owners of the house helped save the Louisiana sugar industry by growing a new disease-resistant breed of sugarcane. Visitors can find significant historical artifacts within the main house, and if you’re lucky, witness a beautiful wedding on the Southdown Plantation.
Southdown Plantation & Museum
Address: 1208 Museum Drive, Houma, LA 70360
Website: Southdown Plantation & Museum
3. Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum
The Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum works to promote Houma’s (and the surrounding areas’) vibrant and historic connection to seafood, water transportation, and water based hunting. While working as a preservation mechanism, it is also a science museum. The museum features a variety of exhibits, serves as a reception hall for all kinds of celebrations, and has a wonderful view from the back porch, overlooking the bayou.
Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum
Address: 7910 W Park Ave, Houma, LA 70364
Website: Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum
4. Swamp Tours
If you’re ready for some adventure and are excited by a journey into the unknown, then be sure to take a swamp tour. Swamp tours bring you into the mysterious Louisiana swamps and surround you with vivid wildlife, hidden creatures, and even the occasional alligator. If this sounds like it’s up your alley, then check out some of the tours that bring you into the swamp.
Cajun Man's Swamp Tours and Adventures
Address: 251 Marina Drive, Gibson, LA 70356
Annie Miller's Son's Marsh and Swamp Tours
Address: 3718 Southdown Mandalay Road, Houma, LA 70360
5. Geo Tour
Think scavenger hunts are just for kids? Well, you thought wrong, because with Houma Geo Tours you can experience the Cajun culture of Houma while looking for hidden caches (over fifty geocache locations exist in the Houma area). You just need to download the app to your smartphone and follow along. If you visit enough historical sites and collect enough cache’s, you’ll be rewarded with a special prize! Happy scavenger hunting!
Website: Geo Tours
6. Cajun Meat Market
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
The Cajun Meat Market is a specialty meat market where you can find unique, Cajun delicacies, like turduckens, boudin, hog head cheese, and stuffed quail. The market has everything to satiate your growling stomach or a whole wedding party’s growling stomachs - whatever you’re looking for they’re bound to have, and all with a Cajun twist.
Cajun Meat Market
Address: 216 Mystic Blvd., Houma, Louisiana
Facebook: Cajun Meat Market
7. Regional Military Museum
You can find the Regional Military Museum in downtown Houma, where you can explore the plentiful memorabilia they feature, including uniforms, jeeps, rifles, helmets, and more. If you’re interested, you can even schedule a ride on a Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP), a boat modeled after the Higgin’s Boat - the boat used in the Normandy Landings on D-Day, during World War II.
Regional Military Museum
Address: 1154 Barrow St. Houma, LA 70360
Website: Regional Military Museum
8. The Jolly Inn
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
The Jolly Inn is a cafe, lounge, and dance hall, all rolled into one. It’s the perfect place to spend the evening, as you can grab a bite to eat, enjoy live music in the lounge (or while you eat), and if you’re feeling up to it, get on the dance floor and dance all night long (or at least until they close at 11 PM).
The Jolly Inn
Address: 1507 Barrow St. Houma, LA 70360
Website: The Jolly Inn
9. Wildlife Gardens
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
The Wildlife Gardens are truly a garden of wildlife. During your tour (either self-guided or with a guide) you’ll have the chance to see the exotic local plants and animals, roaming free, all around you. You can even stop by the alligator farm to see some live gators in action. The Wildlife Gardens also have an on-site bed and breakfast if you’re looking for private accommodation during your time in Houma. But you better book fast, as there are only four cabins available.
Address: 5306 North Bayou Black Drive, Gibson, LA 70356
Website: Wildlife Garden
10. Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge
Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge is one of the eight wildlife refuges in Southeast Louisiana. These refuges aim to create a national network for water and land conservation, to preserve habitats across the US. At the refuge, visitors might be able to see several endangered and threatened species, such as the American alligator (de-listed in 1987, but still kept in the refuge) and the bald eagle. Other species of wildlife are also present, like raptors, wading birds, and waterfowl. It’s a great place to see animals in their natural habitat and also learn about the importance of conservation efforts.
Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge
Address: 3599 Bayou Black Drive, Houma, LA 70360
Website: Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge
Houma is wonderful, n'est-ce pas?
There are few cities in the US that can rival the authentic experiences and cultural immersion that Houma has to offer. So you better start exploring because it’s your turn to figure out what gives Houma its “ je ne sais quoi”. Bon Voyage!
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