May 15, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Being a Tourist in Your Own Backyard

Imagine waking up one morning with the urge to explore, to discover new sights and experiences but instead of packing bags and heading to the airport, you simply step out your front door. For locals, the glamour of distant travels often overshadows the treasures lying in your own backyard. Yet, with a shift in perspective, Houma transforms into a playground of exploration and discovery. This guide is your key to unlocking the adventures that await in Houma, allowing you to experience the familiar as never before. It’s summertime on the bayou, y’all!

Let’s get started with the basics. Approach the Houma area as if you’re seeing it for the first time, imagining you know nothing about it. What would you be curious to explore? Just like planning a trip out of town- research, research, research! Based on your research, make a list of places to visit, foods to try and activities to do. Houma and the community of Terrebonne Parish are deeply rooted in authentic culture, are home to some of the most mouthwatering cookin’ you can get your hands on and offer a diverse and wondrous landscape to explore. Being a tourist in your own backyard can remind you that adventure doesn’t always require a plane ticket. It’s a fun way to explore the world right where you live, and here in Louisiana’s Bayou Country – we’ve got a little something for everybody.

For the Nature Enthusiasts

Experience our waterways from a different perspective at PAC Kayak Rentals. Enjoy a nice and easy trek around the coastal marshes of Pointe-aux-Chenes and focus on the ecology and southern scenery of the area. Or, enjoy solitude and become one with nature as you journey through the vast swamplands and ripping marshes of the Mandalay Nature Trail, a 19-minute walking trail that guides you through various habitats leading to a boardwalk overlooking splendid wetlands as far as the eye can see.

The wetlands and marshes around Houma are a bird watcher’s paradise. The Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge is a notable spot to observe a wide variety of bird species in their natural habitat. Bring your binoculars and camera to capture sightings of egrets, pelicans and bald eagles.

For the Foodies

Houma offers an authentic dive into Cajun and Creole cuisine, encompassing a melting pot of French, African, Spanish and Native American cultural influences. The Bayou Country Crawfish Trail is a curated culinary journey through over 40 of the best local seafood spots in the region and highlights recipes passed down through generations. What sets Houma apart for food lovers is the opportunity to experience food from source to table. Summer is the perfect time to embark on a culinary tour of the area. Don’t miss the chance to try a po’boy loaded with shrimp or oyster, fresh crawfish etouffee or a fried seafood platter. Looking for something a little lighter? Houma’s Market at the Marina is buzzing in the summer months, offering everything from fresh produce to homemade jams and artisanal crafts.

For the Outdoor Adventurers

Wander through the mind of artist Kenny Hill at the Chauvin Sculpture Garden, considered one of the top 20 sculpture gardens in the world and one of the top five examples of folk art in the world. Inspiration struck and what resulted is a densely packed collection of sculptures depicting seemingly weightless angels, spiritual representations and 45-foot-tall lighthouse.

Discover why Houma is considered a fisherman’s paradise with fresh water, salter water, marsh or offshore fishing options along Louisiana’s Bayou Country Fishing Trail. Whether you bring your own boat or use one of our countless charter services, you’ll find multiple marinas and convenient accommodations guaranteed to create the perfect mix for your trip. No boat? No problem! Our area is a fishing mecca, offering loads of opportunities to score a nice catch from land where canals and bayous along highways are plentiful.

With plenty of tales of Bayou legends and mysteries, journey through the swamps from the comfort of a tour boat with Annie Miller’s Son’s Swamp and Marsh Tour – the first ever swamp tour in Louisiana! Or take part in a GPS-based outdoor scavenger hunt with Cache de Crawfish – the only GeoTour in Louisiana and one of only 50 worldwide. Discover rich history, breathtaking landscapes and diverse culture as you locate each hidden cache and earn a commemorative souvenir!

Encouraging locals to explore the wonders of their backyard not only promotes a deeper appreciation for our community but also sets the stage for Explore Houma’s pivotal role in extending the invitation to a global audience, marketing all these authentic experiences and adventures that define Terrebonne Parish. In 2023, Explore Houma drew in 107,686 unique visitors to the Houma area, far exceeding the 56,646 visitors the year prior, and distributed monthly e-newsletters to over 6,000 subscribers from different areas of the world, reaching Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland, Australia and beyond. The tourism commission has significantly contributed to boosting local tourism and visibility by hosting 11 group tours, bringing diverse groups to experience the unique charm of Terrebonne Parish firsthand, in addition to orchestrating 23 conventions and meetings, turning Houma into a hub for professional gatherings and industry events. Explore Houma welcomed over 15 journalists and film crews to the area, including Nickelodeon, Paramount and A&E, facilitating widespread media coverage that showcases the best of Houma.

The impact of these tourism efforts can be felt all throughout Terrebonne parish. Tourists contribute to the local economy by spending on hospitality, retail and entertainment. The influx of money supports local businesses and contributes to the overall economic health of our area. In 2023, visitors to Terrebonne Parish generated over $113 million dollars in spending, creating $37 million in direct earnings and created 1,260 jobs. If it were not for the State and local taxes paid by tourists visiting Terrebonne Parish, each household would pay an additional $324 in taxes each year.

The narrative for the Houma area is slowly shifting. No longer just a passing route to New Orleans or Baton Rouge, Houma is becoming a destination in its own right, celebrated and cherished by those who know it best and with a growing interest from outsiders. By choosing to be tourists in our own town, we not only boost our local economy through direct spending in restaurants, shops and attractions, but also foster a sense of pride in our shared experiences.

So, to the residents of Houma, this is your invitation to explore, to discover and to fall in love all over again with your town. Visit that museum you’ve always passed by, dine in at that restaurant you’ve yet to try, take that tour through the bayous and immerse yourself fully in the blend of Cajun culture. Spend this summer soaking in all that Louisiana’s Bayou Country has to offer.