Beyond Bourbon Street: Jefferson Parish’s Unique Blend of Nature and Culture

Feb 27, 2024

Enjoy a wild time in Jefferson Parish! As a New Orleans neighbor, Jefferson Parish spans more than 400 miles from Lake Pontchartrain to the fishing community of Grand Isle on the Gulf of Mexico.

The area offers diverse attractions, ranging from humble fishing villages and swamp territories to historical districts and contemporary buildings. Neighborhoods are comprised of modern high-rises, historic homes, fishing piers, Mississippi River views, marshland, contemporary and old-world restaurants, flourishing industrial parks, and family-friendly green spaces.

Jefferson Parish is home to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, the Jefferson Louisiana Oyster Trail, two state parks, a national park and preserve, historic districts, wetland adventures, and urban shopping and dining. Enjoy an up-close adventure aboard an adrenaline-pumping airboat, explore the wonders of nature along lush boardwalks, step back in time at the Gretna Green Blacksmith Shop, or savor the salty Louisiana delicacy along our Oyster Trail.

Groups seeking some time outdoors will enjoy Bayou Segnette State Park. Teeming with wildlife such as alligators and turtles, as well as local vegetation and flora, the park is a spectacular outdoor space for exploring or just relaxing. Both salt and freshwater fishing are available because of the park’s unique location. From the boat launch, you may explore many areas not readily accessible by overland routes. Catches of bass, catfish, bream, perch, redfish, and trout are common in the park. On land, picnic areas are available, as are campsites and playgrounds. Group shelters are a perfect spot to gather, as are the unique floating cabins for overnight accommodations!

The Barataria Preserve at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve has more than 26,000 acres of wild Louisiana wetlands, hardwood forests, swamps, bayous, marshes, and forests. Walk along boardwalks and dirt trails to spot animals, including alligators and over 200 species of birds, plus an ever-changing array of wildflowers and plants. Exhibits at the preserve visitor center highlight how the Mississippi River built Louisiana’s wetlands, the national importance of the area, and the relationship between the land and its people. An environmental education center is used for field trips and special programs.

Groups seeking a unique Louisiana adventure will delight in an excursion to Elmer’s Island Beach to see the largest single coastal ecosystem restoration, or the wildlife refuge that features saltwater marsh, coastal dunes, and beaches.

Jefferson Parish has built a solid ecotourism trade, luring groups of all ages with hiking in Jean Lafitte Park, canoeing in the waterways of Bayou Segnette, boating from Kenner’s launch in Laketown, getting a first hand look at the local fauna and flora around Grand Isle, and visiting the Bucktown Wetlands Boardwalk located within a 3.4-acre man-made marsh where you are able to learn about and experience- first-hand- a beautiful coastal marsh, coastal restoration and wildlife habitat along the shores of the stunning Lake Pontchartrain.

Hundreds of different species of birds visit Jefferson Parish each year, making it one of the nation’s top destinations for migratory bird watching. With birding trails across the area, there are plenty of opportunities to view the wildlife throughout the region. The pristine beaches at Grand Isle are a perfect place to watch some of the many species of shorebirds. You will also be able to view gulls, terns, skimmers, and, of course, the Louisiana State Bird, the brown pelican. The marshes that line the back of the island provide a perfect habitat for wading birds, including the great blue heron, ibis, snowy egrets, and occasionally the pink roseate spoonbills.

For more information and to book your group trip, visit

Photos Courtesy of LazyEye Photography.