When to visit
- Very Favourable
What to do
- Worth the detour
- Must see
Welcome to bayou country! Founded in 1834, Houma was named after the Native American tribe who settled here, the Houmas Indians.
The area features many marshes and swamps and some 50 bridges built to cross all of these bodies of water.
The city has become a must-see Louisiana destination for its bayous, but also for its Cajun culture, traditions, music, cuisine, and legendary hospitality.
The locals love to discuss their culture with tourists. You will quickly discover their joie de vivre!
Bayou Black Drive
Bayou Black Drive in Houma attracts many tourists because of its charming B&Bs and small local restaurants. If you are lucky enough to run into any Native Americans (there are still a few families in the area), don't hesitate to start a conversation and ask them about their history.
You're in a wetland! Don't forget your insect repellent. The mosquitoes can be very annoying when visiting the bayou...
Southdown Plantation / The Terrebonne Museum
Four generations of the Minor Family, along with hundreds of workers and their families, lived and labored at Southdown Plantation. You can tour the 19th century sugar plantation and manor house, which is filled with objects from the past. The on-site Terrebonne Museum presents exhibits on plantation life, the sugar industry and life in 19th century southern Louisiana.
Guided tours are offered Tuesday-Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
History of sugar
For more than 150 years, sugar was king in South Louisiana, enticing pioneers to the region and rewarding them with prosperity and progress. The city of Houma in Terrebonne Parish was home to 86 sugar mills during the industry’s boom years. The last operational mill in the Parish was the Southdown Mill, located adjacent to Southdown Plantation House. It closed in 1979.
Dare to try an authentic cultural experience!
Pay a visit to the Jolly Inn Cajun Dance Hall for a lively evening of dancing to Cajun music! Every Friday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., you can come to hear live bands, enjoy some authentic Cajun food, have a drink and kick up your heels in an old-fashioned, rustic, down-home setting!
1507 Barrow Street, Houma / 985-872-6114
This sugar cane plantation was founded in 1838 by a Scottish family. At the time, the 1100-acre farm had 67 slaves. Fifty years later, the land was purchased by Louisiana senator John Dalton Shaffer, and the house was completed in 1894. Ardoyne Plantation House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the largest and most elaborate example of rural Victorian Gothic architecture in the state of Louisiana. A tour of the house reveals original family furniture, china and plantation memorabilia.
Guided tours are offered Tuesday-Saturday at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Other times are also possible by appointment.
Boat tour of the bayou
If you haven't yet had the chance, treat yourself to a guided tour on one of the region's many bodies of water: it's a don't miss experience! You will see alligators and learn more about local wildlife and vegetation. Several companies offer 90-minute tours, such as Cajun Man's Swamp Cruise (www.cajunmanadventures.com / 985-868-4625) and Bayou Black Airboat Swamp Tours (www.bayoublackairboattours.com / 985-665-8571). Reservations are necessary in high season.
Tours leave from Bob's Bayou Black Marina at 251 Marina Drive, Gibson
Greenwook Gator Farm and Tours
Greenwood Gator Farm offers a one-hour tour through the back swamps of Houma, where many surprises await! You can also visit the alligator farm and find out how alligators are part of Louisiana life. You will even get to hold and meet a live alligator face to face!
Farm tours are at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Reservations are necessary. You must also call ahead to book your swamp tour with the Captain.
Time permitting, pay a visit to the charming village of Cocodrie , less than an hour from Houma along Highway 56, where you will find a unique and friendly community.
The houses are built on stilts and, like their ancestors, most of the village residents make a living from fishing. It's a unique, authentic place that looks and feels like the end of the world.
Where to eat
- $ Inexpensive
- $$ Moderate
- $$$ Upscale
- $$$$ Fine dining
The Shack of Houma ($-$$)
The Shack is a popular Houma eatery known for its Cajun cuisine and seafood. There is something for everyone on the menu: shrimp, crawfish, frog legs, grilled, boiled or fried crabs, served in a sandwich, salad or in a dish, with a choice of potatoes, steamed vegetables, onion rings or red beans and rice.
Open Sunday-Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Boudreau & Thibodeau’s Cajun Cookin' ($$)
This popular seafood restaurant has been offering authentic Cajun cuisine and warm hospitality in a relaxed atmosphere since 1998. The menu features local, fresh and high-quality products. You can taste oysters, crayfish and "hushpuppies" (cornmeal fritters), a southern favourite.
Open Sunday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Big Mike's BBQ Smokehouse ($$)
Specializing in barbecued meat, this restaurant is a family affair. You will love the cozy, welcoming atmosphere. Framed photos of musicians, roadside ads and pictures of logs decorate the walls. A live band sometimes plays in the evening.
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
*** Hours may vary ***
- Very Favourable