Plan an incredible weekend escape filled with delicious dining and exciting attractions with these things to do in Houma, Louisiana. While New Orleans is one of the most visited cities in the country, limiting your Louisiana trip to ‘The Big Easy’ means missing out on all the other incredible experiences that make Louisiana so unique. Venture beyond Bourbon Street to experience a blend of rich cultures and traditions, colorful festivals all year round, picture-perfect bayou landscapes, and Southern charm.
If you want to immerse yourself in Cajun culture, Houma deserves a spot on your itinerary. For one, a trip to Houma, Louisiana, promises an escape from the tourist crowds and a glimpse into Cajun culture and its flavorful cuisine. Bring your appetite and stretchy pants because you’re going to need it.
However, this isn’t a typical Houma travel guide. Sure, you’ll find a list of Houma attractions if that’s what you’re looking for, but consider this an invitation to kick back, relax, and soak in all Louisiana’s Bayou Country has going on.
Whether you know you want to spend a weekend in Houma, plan to be in town for a festival, or you’re already going to New Orleans and would like to spend a few days in a nearby city, look no further because this Houma travel guide includes things to do in Houma, places to eat, and my top recommendations to make your trip unforgettable. You can easily fill your 2-day itinerary with activities and still not cover it all.
Note from the author: My Houma travel recommendations are based on my personal experience, extensive research, and help from our friends at Explore Houma.
Houma Travel Tips
Table of Contents
- Houma Travel Tips
- Fun Things To Do in Houma, Louisiana, in 2 Days
- Outdoor Exploration
- Art Experiences
- For Foodies and Culture Seekers
- How Much Does a Trip to Houma Cost?
Houma is named after the Houma Indians, meaning “red” in their language. This referred to the sun or their war emblem, the crawfish. Today, Houma is known for Cajun culture, bayous, swamps, waterways, and many celebrations like Mardi Gras (spring) and Rougarou Fest (fall).
Click here to read a Rougarou Fest review and guide for everything you need to know.
Before we dive into things to do in Houma, let’s chat through logistics.
Where is Houma, Louisiana?
Since most people visiting Houma likely start from New Orleans, we will begin there.
How far is Houma from New Orleans?
Less than an hour southwest of New Orleans, Houma is approximately 57 miles from New Orleans, making it a convenient day trip from NOLA, a weekend getaway, or spend your entire vacation here.
With a population of approximately 33,000 as of 2022 and 14.2 square miles in size, Houma is a small city with a compact Historic Downtown home to local businesses, eateries, and landmarks like the Terrebonne Parish Courthouse.
Located in Terrebonne Parish, Houma, the largest city in the parish, borders the Gulf of Mexico and is surrounded by bayous and moss-draped cypress trees.
Bayous in Houma are a network of slow-moving waterways through marshes, swamps, and lush landscapes. These waterways are home to alligators, birds, and other wildlife.
One of the things I love about Houma is how easy it is to get out into nature. Within a few minute’s drive from the urban center, access the waterways by going fishing or kayaking, visiting an alligator farm, or taking a stroll on a nature trail. More to come on all these later!
Getting to Houma
Fly into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) in New Orleans.
The most convenient and affordable way to get to Houma from New Orleans is to drive. I recommend renting a car at the airport and driving to Houma, which takes around 1 hour to 1.5 hours, depending on traffic.
Click this link to see how much I spent on a car rental and gas while in town.
Without a car, taxis (or Uber) and buses are alternatives. According to Rome2Rio, Greyhound operates a bus from New Orleans Bus Station once daily. Tickets cost up to $35; the trip takes 1 hour and 25 minutes.
Where to stay in Houma?
I stayed at the centrally located Courtyard by Marriott Houma Hotel. This Houma hotel has an indoor and outdoor pool, a bistro, and an on-site bar. My room had two queen beds, and the bathroom was spacious. There’s plenty of free parking, and checkout is at noon.
Click here to book your stay at Courtyard by Marriott Houma Hotel via Booking.com.
Alternatively, search for other hotels below.
With logistics out of the way, it’s time to jump into the fun stuff!
I’ve broken down this Houma travel guide into a few sections. While I encourage you to read all the way through, feel free to jump around:
- Things to do outdoors
- Where to see art in Houma
- Places to eat in Houma, LA, and experience Cajun cuisine
Fun Things To Do in Houma, Louisiana, in 2 Days
Here is a list of must-do activities I highly recommend.
- Mandalay Nature Trail
- PAC Kayak Rentals
- Chauvin Sculpture Garden
- Terrebonne Folklife Culture Center
- Wall Murals
- Greenwood Gator Farm and Tours
- Bayou Country Crawfish Trail
Mandalay Nature Trail
For an easy hike with a scenic wetland overlook at the end, explore Mandalay Nature Trail to get a glimpse of the natural landscape and fresh air.
Home to different types of birds, like shorebirds, waterfowl, and other animals, this protected habitat is perfect for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.
An easy hike covering 0.9 miles, Mandalay Nature Trail takes 20 minutes to complete.
Ideal for kids, I wouldn’t recommend bringing a stroller on this trek, though. Consider long sleeves and pants to avoid sun exposure and bugs. While mostly gravel, the trail gets flooded when it rains, so you may want to bring waterproof shoes just in case.
Take a break on one of the benches and marvel at the natural scenery.
You may see a few other people on the trail who will acknowledge you with a warm smile and a ‘Bonjour’ greeting. Remember you are in ‘Cajunicity,’ so take the opportunity to brush up on your French — Cajun French, that is.
On a clear day, you can see the wetlands for miles at the trail’s end.
And if you fly drones, this area is a dream!
If you enjoy nature and appreciate secluded peace and quiet, add Mandalay Nature Trail to your Houma travel itinerary.
Mandalay Nature Trail Address: 3599 Bayou Black Drive | Houma, LA 70360
Helpful Tip: The drive to the out-and-back trail is on a secluded dirt road. Don’t worry, you aren’t lost. Follow the signs. You’re almost there. There are no entrance fees.
Cruise the coastal marsh with PAC Kayak Rentals
There’s no better place to experience the waterways of Louisiana’s Bayou Country than Pointe-aux-Chenes, one of the top fishing destinations in the world.
Driving to the PAC Kayak Rentals floating dock from Houma takes an hour. Put on your favorite travel podcast. The time will pass quickly, I promise.
As you approach Pointe-aux-Chenes, you’ll see houses elevated on stilts, a reminder of the hurricanes that have devastated the area in recent years. Some homes are under construction, while others are in ruins. You’ll also see families fishing and crabbing right on the side of the road, a normal part of everyday life in Houma.
Pointe-aux-Chenes is home to a prominent Native American fishing community that relies on the waterways for sustenance, leisure, and employment.
Helpful Tip: October through May is the best time to kayak in Pointe-aux-Chenes since the water is shallow and clear. However, PAC Kayak Rentals is open year-round.
Cruising along the coast, I was awed by the stunning natural scenery. Suddenly, I spotted a pair of wild horses roaming free!
Later on, we saw dolphins! The area near Pointe-aux-Chenes is perfect for dolphins to raise their calves, providing ample opportunities for the young dolphins to practice hunting before venturing out into the ocean.
Captain Eddie, owner of PAC Kayak Rentals, explained how the frequent hurricanes are speeding up the erosion of the marshes and ways the local community is banding together to preserve the environment.
On our way back to the dock, we picked up a couple who had spent the day fishing. Having caught these big redfish, they hopped on the boat, discussing their incredible day of paddling and fishing. The redfish here are massive, so if you plan to fish, come prepared with lots of bait and ice. This coastal area is also known for blue crabs.
PAC Kayak Rentals Address: 179 Paw Paw Ct, Montegut, LA 70377
Chauvin Sculpture Garden
Nearby to Pointe-aux-Chenes, in Chauvin, don’t miss Chauvin Sculpture Garden, an outdoor art exhibit with a collection of life-size cement sculptures by a mysterious self-taught local artist named Kenny Hill.
While little is known about Mr. Hill, he started working on the art pieces on his bayside property in the late 1980s.
There are more than 100 unique structures depicting the world through his eyes.
I quickly picked up on the biblical symbolism alongside military and musical references. With bright blonde hair, he even places himself in a few scenes.
One of the stand-out pieces is the 45-foot lighthouse, which cowboys, angels, and soldiers cling to. While intriguing, I couldn’t help but notice the troubling pain and turmoil this veteran expressed through his art.
Sadly, Mr. Hill abandoned his home and art in early 2000 and has never been seen again.
This beautiful and peaceful sculpture garden is a sight to see and will make you reflect.
Chauvin Sculpture Garden Address: 5337 Bayouside Dr, Chauvin, LA 70344
Wall Murals in Historic Downtown Houma
If you love murals, head to the Historic Downtown District, where you can find several wall murals showcasing Cajun flair, Houma history, and pride.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite Houma wall murals:
- ‘Explore Houma’ on the side wall of La Boujee Boutique on Grinage Street.
- ‘A Look into the Past…’ located on the corner of Lafayette Street and Main Street.
- ‘Home Sweet Houma’ located on the side wall of Lumiere’s Blues and Jazz Bistro on Main Street.
- ‘Before I Die’ on Church Street between Downtown Jeaux’s and M Power Yoga. Feel free to use chalk to write on the lines things you most want to do, see, experience, or accomplish during your lifetime.
Terrebonne Folklife Culture Center
This small cultural center houses artifacts from the Acadians (Cajun ancestors), who were skilled craftsmen and boat builders. Antique tools from the late 1800s and early 1900s used in boat and barrel making, like axes, drills, box scrapers, and more, are on display.
They also have an extensive duck decoy carving exhibit. The level of detail, especially of the feathers, looked so real. These multipurpose decoys could be used for hunting and fishing.
Terrebonne Folklife Culture Center Address: 317 Goode St, Houma, LA 70360
For Foodies and Culture Seekers
Greenwood Gator Farm and Tours
Want to hold a baby gator? Well, here’s your chance!
Open seven days a week, join a 10:30 am or 1:30 pm Greenwood Gator Farm educational tour to learn about the gator farming process.
Did you know alligators can go 2-3 years without food? You’ll learn some fun facts in addition to harvesting eggs, incubating, hatching, and growing alligators.
I appreciated the level of detail in all the displays and videos, which helped me visualize what gator eggs look like, how long alligators get, and more.
While the alligator industry is thriving today, in the mid-20th century, the American alligator population was getting dangerously low due to habitat loss, excessive hunting, and lack of regulation. Gator farming has played a significant role in the population rebounding and removing them from the endangered list in 1987.
When I asked about the tools they bring to harvest gator eggs out in the wild, I loved that my tour guide said: “We Cajuns just go out there and do it.”
This means they bring no weapons, just a stick to ward off angry gator mamas. Remember, legally, you cannot harm an alligator without proper authorization. State and federal laws protect alligators.
Having so much fun, I barely noticed that 1.5 hours had already passed when we were taken to the outdoor gator den at the end of the tour, where you could see large gators sunbathing. There were other farm animals on-site, such as ducks and chickens.
Greenwood Gator Farm Address: 125 Gator Ct, Gibson, LA 70356
Bayou Country Crawfish Trail
I intentionally saved the best for last. A trip to Houma is incomplete without sampling food from the Houma Crawfish Trail, a food trail showcasing over 30 destinations to experience Lousiana crawfish, from seafood markets to down-come Cajun restaurants in Houma.
While crawfish is in season in spring, The Crawfish Trail helps you pick out spots all year. Plus, if you submit five receipts, you can claim a Crawfish Trail T-shirt.
What are the best places to eat in Houma? I enjoyed stopping at a handful of Houma restaurants on the list throughout my stay, and I want to highlight a few.
Cajun Critters is a top-rated, family-friendly seafood restaurant in Houma that serves chargrilled oysters, seafood gumbo, stuffed crabs, redfish, trout, fried okra, and lots more. The menu is extensive, so there’s no shortage of delicious grub.
I indulged in a half-shrimp and half-catfish buttery Po-Boy. The pickles gave it a nice crunch, and I washed it all down with a smooth Abita Amber, a Louisiana staple from Covington, LA.
Cajun Critters’ staff are friendly and made me feel welcome. You’ll notice everyone calling you ‘babe, baby, and babes,’ sweet terms of endearment.
For authentic Cajun cuisine, Boudreau & Thibodeau’s Cajun Cookin is one of the best restaurants in Houma, highly rated by locals and visitors.
Bring your appetite because appetizers start with crawfish pie, hushpuppies, boudin balls, and frog legs. Moving into the main course, pick from slow pot Cajun cookin’, seafood favorites, and more. Savour Southern favorites like pecan pie and bread pudding if you have room for dessert.
Try gumbo, red beans and rice, crawfish étouffée, jambalaya, and alligator meat if you crave other Cajun dishes. Don’t forget the fixins – potatoes, corn, sausage, onions, and mushrooms.
While you may be saving your appetite for lunch and dinner, please don’t miss coffee and breakfast at Downtown Jeaux. I recommend the beignets, but grab your napkins because powdered sugar will be everywhere. Ha, ha!
While I made the most of my two-day trip to Houma, there are still so many things I did not get to do, including…
- Ardoyne Plantation,
- Southdown Plantation,
- Spigots Brew Pub,
- All the festivities!
Lastly, I saved all my receipts to share my Houma trip cost breakdown.
How Much Does a Trip to Houma Cost?
Transportation $361 USD
- Car rental $318.73 (3 days x $106.25/day)
- Gas (departing) $19.73
- Gas (returning) $22.46
Lodging $350 USD
- Courtyard by Marriott Houma Hotel (2 nights x $175/day)
Food and Activities $188 USD
Day 1 Expenses $29 USD
Dinner at Cajun Critters – $28.09
- Fried Crabby Po Boy $16.95
- Abita Amber $3.50
- Tip: $5.00
- Mandalay Nature Trail
Day 2 Expenses – $149 USD
Breakfast at Downtown Jeaux Coffee Cafe – $13.58
- Egg and cheese sandwich $4.50
- Beignets $3.50
- Latte $4.35
Gator farm tour at Greenwood Gator Farm and Tours – $25
- Admission – $15
- Souvenir – $10
Lunch at Mr. PoBoy (East) – $20.08
- Shrimp Platter $17
- Water bottle $1.25
Kayak rental at PAC Kayak Rentals – $55
- Chauvin Sculpture Garden
Dinner at Boudreau & Thibodeau’s Cajun Cookin – $35
Day 3 Expenses – $10 USD
Breakfast at Downtown Jeaux Coffee Cafe – $9.08
- Beignets $3.50
- Latte $4.35
I spent $900 on lodging and transportation for my two-day trip to Houma.
So, there you have it – a comprehensive guide on how to spend two enjoyable days exploring Houma, Louisiana, and how much it would cost you. I hope you found this in-depth Houma travel itinerary helpful; it offered suggestions for fun things to do in Houma, LA, how to get from New Orleans to Houma, and what you can expect in Louisiana’s Bayou Country.
Sound off in the comments: what other experiences should be added to the list?
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Danielle Desir Corbett paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries, including her favorites, Iceland, China, and Bermuda. Go here to learn Danielle’s incredible story, from struggling financially and in debt to finding creative ways to earn more and live on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast, where Danielle shares how you can creatively travel more and build wealth regardless of your current financial situation. Reach out to Danielle by contacting: thethoughtcard (at) gmail (dot) com.