Bordering the country's largest river swamp has its perks

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In the heart of the Atchafalaya Basin swamp, Henderson Lake is a destination apart from any other. A far cry from the daily grind of city or suburban life, head deep into the backwater's natural beauty and you’ll emerge relaxed and renewed.

If you're traveling across the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge on a sunny weekend day, you'll see scores of trucks with empty trailers in tow parked along the National Heritage Area's public boat launches. Everyone has the same idea—getting out on the water. The lake is ideal for freshwater fishing, filled to the brim with bass, bream, catfish, crappie, and sac-a-lait for anglers looking to earn their dinner.

Covering five thousand acres of ancient watery terrain from the Atchafalaya River, it's not uncommon to discover artifacts from centuries past buried among the area's shallow flats—a remnant of the days when outlaws and pirates ruled the ever-shifting territory.

Take an airboat swamp tour with the folks over at Atchafalaya Basin Landing Airboat Swamp Tours, who have shown visitors the allure of the Atchafalaya for over twenty years. Besides group tours, the family-owned business offers packages where you can host your party or event via any or all of their five airboats, which hold over ten passengers each—perfect for field trips, team building, or a birthday outing. Adjacent to the landing is the world famous Turtle’s Bar, where you can pop a top and watch the sun set over the basin.