Are you planning a visit to New Orleans, Louisiana? If so, you’re in for a treat! Not only is the city full of amazing culture and fantastic food, but it’s also home to some of the most beautiful plantation houses in the country.
From antebellum estates to rural farmhouses, these historic homes offer a glimpse into the past of this remarkable region. To help you make the most of your visit, we’ve put together this guide to the best plantation tours from New Orleans.
Table of Contents
Best New Orleans Plantation Tours
1. Laura Plantation Tour
For those wanting to explore the history of Louisiana plantations, the Laura Plantation is a great place to start. Located in Vacherie, Louisiana, this 19th-century Creole plantation is steeped in history and offers visitors a unique glimpse into the past.
The guided tour of the main house, gardens, and slave quarters last approximately one hour and fifteen minutes, while self-guided tours are also available. On the tour, you’ll learn about the Creole culture and the stories of the people who lived and worked on this plantation over two centuries ago.
You’ll also visit the main house, slave quarters, kitchen house, and other buildings, as well as explore the beautiful grounds and gardens. Whether you’re interested in Creole culture or simply want to experience a unique slice of Louisiana history, a tour of Laura Plantation is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
2. Oak Alley Plantation Tour
For those seeking to explore the unique history of Louisiana plantations, a visit to Oak Alley Plantation is a must. Located along River Road in Vacherie, this plantation is widely considered to be one of the greatest historic attractions in the area. Visitors can enjoy a 40-minute guided tour, which includes the main building, with its neoclassical design, plus the slave quarters and gardens.
You’ll also get to take in the stunning views of the 28 oak trees that line the quarter-mile-long path leading up to the grand house. After your tour, you can stop for lunch at one of the plantation’s on-site restaurants for a truly memorable experience.
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3. Oak Alley or Laura Plantation Tour from New Orleans
For those looking to experience the unique culture of Louisiana plantations, Cajun Encounters offers a 4-hour tour from New Orleans, where visitors can choose to explore either Oak Alley or Laura Plantation. Both plantations offer a range of activities for visitors to learn about Louisiana plantation culture.
Oak Alley Plantation is located along River Road and is widely renowned for its grandeur. On the other hand, Laura Plantation offers visitors a glimpse of the Creole culture with its unique architecture and artifacts. Regardless of which plantation you choose, visitors can expect to have a memorable experience learning about the history of Louisiana plantations.
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4. New Orleans Oak Alley Plantation Half-Day Tour
For those who are short on time but still want to explore the historic Louisiana Plantations, a half-day Oak Alley Plantation Tour from New Orleans is a great option. This tour embarks from the city and takes you to the famous Oak Alley Plantation, passing under the 250-year-old oak trees.
At the plantation, you can take a 40-minute guided tour of the main house, slave quarters, and gardens. This tour is perfect for those who don’t have a full day to spare but still want to experience the history of Louisiana’s plantations.
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5. Whitney Plantation Tour
The next stop on our list of best plantation tours in New Orleans is the Whitney Plantation. This plantation offers visitors a unique chance to explore the history of slavery and gain insight into Louisiana’s past. The tour starts with a guided tour of the main house and its grounds, including the historic slave quarters and surrounding area.
You’ll also get to take part in educational programs and interactive activities, such as exploring the plantations’ artifacts, learning about the local history, and taking part in a remembrance ceremony at the memorial dedicated to African-Americans who were enslaved at the plantation.
This tour is sure to provide you with an informative, moving experience that will stay with you for years to come.
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6. Nottoway Plantation Tour
The Nottoway Plantation tour is also a great option for those looking to explore Louisiana’s history. Nottoway Plantation is the largest antebellum mansion in the United States and is located just outside of New Orleans. The tour offers a guided tour of the plantation grounds, a look inside the mansion and its gardens, as well as access to the slave quarters.
This is a great opportunity to see what life was like for the people living on a plantation during the 19th century. While on the tour, you will learn about the plantation’s history and the stories of those who lived and worked there. This is an amazing experience that will provide you with an insight into the history of Louisiana plantations.
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7. Destrehan Plantation Tour
For those looking for a plantation experience closer to New Orleans, Destrehan Plantation is the oldest and closest plantation near the city. With a tour of the 1787 sugar plantation home, grounds, and slave quarters, travelers can learn about the history of the area while taking in the oak-lined River Road.
Destrehan Plantation Tour offers a 1-hour house tour with hotel pick-up and transportation included. Tripadvisor travelers recommend this tour for its great value and memorable experience.
8. San Francisco Plantation House Tour from New Orleans
For those who want to experience the beauty of a plantation but don’t have the time to visit the historic sites around New Orleans, the San Francisco Plantation House Tour is an ideal choice. This tour takes you through the grounds of this gorgeous plantation home.
The tour includes a guided tour of the house and its gardens, as well as a look at some of the artifacts and furnishings that were used by the family who lived there. This tour is a great way to get an in-depth look at the history of Louisiana plantations without having to leave the city.
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9. Evergreen Plantation Tour
Evergreen Plantation is a historic plantation located in Edgard, Louisiana, about an hour west of New Orleans. It is considered one of the best New Orleans plantation tours because of its well-preserved original structures and rich history.
The Evergreen Plantation tour offers visitors a unique and in-depth look at the lives of enslaved people who worked on the property, including the unique lives of the free people of color and the creole population.
The tour includes access to 37 original structures, including the main house, slave quarters, and a sugar mill. This gives visitors a comprehensive look at the entire plantation complex and provides insight into how everything was connected.
One of the things that make the Evergreen Plantation tour unique is the tour guide. The guides are highly knowledgeable about the history of the plantation and are able to provide in-depth explanations and anecdotes about the lives of enslaved people and the history of the property.
The tour also includes access to the African American Heritage Museum. The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of enslaved people and their descendants, including the Creole people, and it provides a deeper look into the history of the plantation, the people who lived there, and the history of slavery in Louisiana.
10. Plantation and Swamp Combo Tour
The New Orleans Plantation and Swamp Tour is a popular tour option for visitors to the city, it combines a visit to one or more of the historic plantations with a boat tour of the nearby swamps. This tour offers a unique and in-depth look at the history of the region and provides visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the culture and lifestyle of New Orleans.
One of the things that make the New Orleans Plantation and Swamp Tour special is the opportunity to see both the grandeur and the natural beauty of the swamps as well as the New Orleans plantation country.
The plantations, like Oak Alley or Houmas House, provide visitors with an in-depth look at the history of the region, the lifestyle of the plantation owners, and the stories of the enslaved people who worked there.
The boat tour, on the other hand, provides an opportunity to see the swamps up close and learn about the unique ecosystem and the wildlife that calls it home.
Another thing that makes this tour special is the opportunity to explore the lesser-known parts of Louisiana. A lot of visitors to New Orleans only get to see the city and its famous French Quarter, but this tour gives visitors a chance to see the state’s rural side and learn about the culture and history of the rural communities that call the swamp home.
Transportation Options for Plantation Tours
Visiting the beautiful plantations of Louisiana is a great way to take in the history and culture of the area. Before you start your journey, consider the transportation options available to you. There are several tour operators offering convenient transport from the French Quarter in New Orleans to the plantations.
Gray Line offers a Whitney Plantation tour and Oak Alley or Laura Plantation Tour from New Orleans, while Nottoway Plantation offers a guided narrative tour in a 14-passenger bus. You can also take a half-day tour of Oak Alley Plantation with transportation from the French Quarter.
San Francisco Plantation House Tour from New Orleans is also an option for transportation. Whichever one you choose, make sure that you have comfortable seating and enough room for all your belongings.
Things to Do at the Plantations
After selecting the right plantation tour for you, it’s time to get ready for an unforgettable experience. Each plantation offers a unique set of activities and attractions that are sure to impress. Whether you’re visiting Oak Alley or Laura Plantation, you’ll be able to experience the history of the area and learn more about the lives of those who lived there.
At Oak Alley Plantation, you can explore the Slavery At Oak Alley Exhibit, take in the stunning view of the Alley Of Oaks Plantation, and even enjoy a Mint Julep. Meanwhile, at Laura Plantation, you can explore the Lafitte Wetlands Acadian and learn about the Creole culture that was prevalent in Louisiana.
What to Bring on a Plantation Tour
When you’re packing for a Plantation Tour, it’s important to consider what to bring. You’ll likely be outdoors for much of the tour, so make sure to dress for the weather. Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses are essential during the summer months.
Also, bring a bottle of water and snacks to keep you hydrated and energized throughout the tour. A camera is also essential to capture all the breathtaking views. Lastly, wear comfortable shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking.
Tips and Tricks for Enjoying Your Tour
When it comes to visiting the plantations, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make your experience more enjoyable. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes for a day of walking. A hat and sunscreen are also recommended, as some of the plantations are in direct sunlight for most of the day.
Additionally, be sure to bring a bottle of water and some snacks to keep you hydrated and energized during your tour. Lastly, be respectful of the property, as many of these locations are still operating plantations with active residents.
Conclusion – Exploring the History of Louisiana Plantations
Exploring the history of Louisiana plantations is a great way to gain insight into the culture and heritage of the region. Plantation tours offer a unique way to connect with the past and learn more about this fascinating piece of American history.
From Oak Alley to Laura Plantation, visitors can take in the beauty of the grounds and get a glimpse into the world of plantation life.
With a variety of transportation options and things to do at the plantations, visitors can plan an unforgettable day trip or weekend excursion. Whether you’re looking for a guided tour or want to explore on your own, plantation tours provide a great way to experience the rich history of New Orleans.
What is the best plantation to visit in New Orleans?
There are several plantations in and around New Orleans that are worth visiting if you’re interested in the history of the region. Some of the most popular options include:
Oak Alley Plantation: This plantation is located about 30 miles west of New Orleans, and is known for its stunning 28 oak trees that line the entrance to the property. The plantation offers tours of the main house, as well as the grounds and gardens.
Houmas House Plantation: This plantation is located about 45 miles northwest of New Orleans, it is one of the largest and most well-preserved antebellum plantations in the South. It offers tours of the main house, as well as the grounds and gardens. Additionally, there’s a butterfly garden, a whiskey distillery, and a café.
Laura Plantation: This plantation is located in Vacherie, about an hour west of New Orleans, it has a special emphasis on the stories of the enslaved people that lived and worked on the property. It has been well preserved and offers tours that highlight the history of the enslaved, the Creole culture, and the evolution of the plantation.
Whitney Plantation: This plantation is located in Wallace, LA, around 50 miles west of New Orleans. It’s well known for its museum on the history of slavery in Louisiana, and the tour includes the original slave cabins, quarters, and the sugar mill, it also features sculptures and memorials to the enslaved people.
San Francisco Plantation: This plantation is located in Garyville, LA, about an hour west of New Orleans. It is one of the few remaining examples of the “Steamboat Gothic” architectural style, it offers tours of the main house, gardens, and outbuilding.
These are some of the most popular and well-preserved plantations in the New Orleans area. It is worth noting that some plantations focus on the lifestyle of the plantation owners while others focus on the stories and experiences of enslaved people, so it is advisable to research the focus of each one before visiting to see if it aligns with what you are looking for.
Which is better to visit Oak Alley Plantation or Whitney Plantation?
Both Oak Alley Plantation and Whitney Plantation are popular tourist destinations in Louisiana, and both offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the region and the lives of those who lived and worked on the plantations. However, the two plantations have different focuses and offerings, so which one is better to visit will depend on your personal interests and what you hope to learn from your visit.
Oak Alley Plantation is a great option if you’re interested in the lifestyle and architecture of the plantation owners, while Whitney Plantation is better for those interested in learning about the history of slavery and the lives of the enslaved people who worked on the plantations. Both are very interesting and worth visiting, depending on your interests.