One of our favorite places to go when we go to Louisiana is in LaPlace, about twenty-five miles outside of New Orleans. A company called Cajun Pride Swamp Tours offers a unique experience that is both educational and entertaining, a tour of a swamp. This sounds like a place that you would use tons of bug spray, but one of the interesting facts that I learned on this tour is that mosquitoes do not live in the swamp.
We have taken two sets of our grandchildren on this tour so far. They have both had such a terrific time seeing the wildlife, especially the alligators. The captains of the boats which carry about 30-40 people each are very knowledgeable about all aspects of the swamp and also about Louisiana history in general. They present this information in a way that makes you think and also has you laughing at their down home humor.
We have seen lots of alligators on this tour because apparently they like marshmallows. When they hear the engines of the boat, they come out because they are waiting to be fed this treat. The highlight of the trip is when everyone is allowed to hold a baby alligator, if they want to.
So, for an experience that is different and very enjoyable, I would recommend taking this tour if you are ever in Louisiana. The website for the company is https://www.cajunprideswamptours.com
My son and his family have been on beach trips for the last several years. This year they decided on Orange Beach, Alabama. We went with them, but stayed in Foley. It is a nice town, that is north of Gulf Shores. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are practically the whole southern coast of Alabama from Mobile eastward.
We woke up at 4am and got an early start last Sunday morning. We met up at the Buc-ee’s in Terrel, Tx. If you have never visited one of these gas station/stores, you might want to stop just to see it. You could almost make a day trip visiting one of these. They transferred two of the grandchildren to our car because theirs was so full, and they kept saying it would be a much more enjoyable trip for them if they weren’t all in the same car. And we were off. It really wasn’t a bad drive, but with all the stops it took us about 12 hours. By the time we got there, ate and got checked in the Foley Holiday Inn Express, we crashed. This is the cleanest motel I have ever stayed in, and all the staff was extremely friendly and helpful.
The next morning, I wanted to be sure to get sunrise pictures so we drove down US 59 straight to the beach. Unfortunately, there was a building blocking the sunrise itself, but I ended up getting some beautiful pictures of the sky and amazing blue heron pictures and videos. I had never really watched a blue heron eat before. It is quite interesting. First, he walked around until he was ready to eat. He’d crouch down and bend his head to the side and strike. Sometimes he’d come up empty, and others he’d catch something. Then he had to maneuver the fish into position so that he could swallow it whole. Meanwhile, he might drop it a time or two before swallowing, and he would have to make sure it didn’t get washed away by a wave or stolen by a sea gull. The sea gulls would crowd around him to get a chance to steal the fish.
After the heron moved on and the sun rose higher in the sky, we went back to the motel and ate. Then we met up with our family and spent the morning on the beach fishing and playing in the water. My granddaughters and I took a long walk on the beach. Just listening to the waves was so relaxing. About 11am, when most other people were coming out, we’d go back to the room, eat and rest.
On this day, Monday, we ate lunch at the Fish River Grill in Gulf Shores off of Ft. Morgan Road and US 59. The food was excellent. We split the fried shrimp. It came with swamp soup (beans and mustard greens), fries, coleslaw and fried okra. Then we also split something I had never heard of before: shrimp pistols with crawfish sauce. This was absolutely amazing. It tasted so good that I ended up ordering another one just for myself. If you ever go, you have to try the Shrimp Pistol. The prices were extremely reasonable for all the food they gave us.
Then about 4pm we went to Perdido Pass to check out the fishing for the next evening. On our way back to the room, we stopped off in the state park, and I got more heron pics and a few squirrel pics. The squirrels here have white bellies and a stripe down their backs, nothing at all like the ones at home. We were getting back into the car and I noticed several people looking over the side of a bridge. I had to go and check it out before we left. There in the water was an alligator. Earlier, I had seen signs saying don’t feed or aggravate the alligators, but I never thought I’d see one this close. He swam right under the bridge and came out the other side and just sat there.
Between Orange Beach and Gulf Shores there is a very long fishing pier. My husband and I left early enough to get to the pier and walk around before sunset. Not many people were catching any fish, but lots were trying. One person did catch a stingray. We stayed long enough to get sunset pictures and then headed back to our room so that we could come back to the pier in the morning and get sunrise pictures. Who gets any sleep on vacations? Surely not us! There’s always too much do see and do!