If you are interested in nature and find yourself near the coast in Mississippi, a swamp cruise is a natural possibility to explore. However, since Mississippi’s coastline is relatively short, and since the swamp lands in the state are somewhat limited, there are not many different swamp cruise options to choose from, in contrast to a place like Louisiana. What options exist we detail, though, and we also give a brief overview of what to expect when you take a Mississippi swamp cruise.
We were first made aware of the swamp cruises of Mississippi when we were searching for whale watching in Mississippi. It turns out there are no whale watching opportunities in the state, which led us to explore alternatives, and all we could find were swamp tours. So, the boating tours that allow you to see wildlife are limited to swamp tours in Mississippi, and while they are obviously very different from the whale watching cruises we originally set out to find, they are quite interesting in their own right. As is the case with every swamp tour we’ve come across in the U.S., alligators are one of the prime attractions – this is what the companies that offer swamp tours generally emphasize, and this is no doubt what draws many people in. However, alligators are merely one of many different creatures you can see in a swamp, which have incredibly diverse ecosystems. For animals, there are various kinds of amphibians, fish, and birds in Mississippi swamps, and there are also hundreds of different species of plants, including a number of flowers. There is no shortage of fauna and flora in a swamp, and you’ll be exposed to wide range of it during most swamp tours.
As for who you can take a swamp tour with, there are, as far as we can tell, only two swamp tour companies that operate in Mississippi, Gulf Coast Gator Ranch & Airboat Swamp Tours and Eco-Tours of South Mississippi. Both companies offered motorized boat tours – Gulf Coast Gator Ranch with airboats, and Eco-Tours with a Boston Whaler – but Eco-Tours also offers kayaking tours. Of the two, Eco-Tours definitely seems to be more focused on exploring the ecosystem of the swamp, and to that end you can take tours of a variety of lengths, allowing you to explore essentially as much as you want, and you can even take multiple-day trips in which you stay in a remote cabin in the swamp. Gulf Coast Gator Ranch, as its name implies is more exclusively focused on alligators, and in general offers what might be called a more artificial experience; you get to feed alligators and hold a baby alligator, for instance, and all the airboat tours are short half-hour trips that don’t do much serious swamp exploring. Both tour companies are located near each other on the eastern side of the Mississippi coast, so you can pick the one that most appeals to you, as the location probably won’t sway your mind in either direction. It is also worth mentioning that many of the swamp tours in Louisiana are easy to get to from Mississippi. In fact, if you are on the western side of the state, many of the places in Louisiana are closer than either Gulf Coast Gator Ranch or Eco-Tours.
There aren’t many swamp cruises in Mississippi, but the two companies that offer them cover a lot of different options. Between the two of them, there are cruises of various lengths and styles, and the emphasis of each company is different. And if neither of them appeals to you, and depending on where you are in Mississippi, it might be just as well to go into Louisiana for a swamp tour.