While Avery Island may be most well known for being home to the Tabasco Pepper Sauce factory, right next door is a beautiful part of the island that certainly gives the factory tour a run for its money when it comes to desirable tourist destinations; Jungle Gardens!
Jungle Gardens is a 3 mile driving or walking tour through 170 acres of lush deep south gardens! The scenic tour is self-paced, so you can drive through in 30 minutes, or you can take a picnic and spend the day. (It’s beautiful! Take a picnic and spend the day! 😉 )
Tickets for the Jungle Gardens Tour are purchased at the store at the beginning of the drive. Inside are some fun Louisiana souvenirs, as well as a penny press (yay! Pressed pennies are our favorite RV-friendly collectible)!
You can learn a bit about the island here, as well as visit Monsurat on the back porch…
The road through the gardens is well marked, and throughout your tour, you can listen in on a recorded cell phone tour to learn about the gardens in more detail.
We were fortunate to visit the island while the Camellias were in bloom….
The island is a popular destination with birders due to its diverse array of wild birds.
Located along a bayou, much of the scenic drive is overlooking waters where alligators hide in cool weather, and can be seen on the bordering banks sunning themselves on hotter days.
All through the park the old growth oaks and cypress make for stunning backdrops for photos, or relaxing shade for a leisurely break from the car.
You can take an rv through the grounds, but if you are over 9 feet, you will need to skip the short loop that leads to the massive, 300 year old Cleveland Oak and through Holly Arch; it is clearly signed (and don’t think you can just squeeze through – unless you want your coach scratched to pieces….). The Cleveland Oak is an easy walk from the rv route!
Tip – if you have to walk to the Cleveland Oak from your RV, take the long way back through Holly Arch so you don’t miss our favorite spot in the park..this elfin pond shrouded in algae and ringed by moss covered, gnarled trees that temporarily transport you to a land of enchantment…
I didn’t want to leave!
‘Bird City’, as it is affectionately named, is home to the island’s first aviary, built over 100 years ago. Now it is home to thousands of egrets, herons, and various other birds who return year after year and call this lake home.
There are numerous short walks along the island tour – try them! They are through beautiful areas, and there is so much to see, even at this short distance off the road!
Cypress knees have always fascinated us since we are from the north!
One of the walks is through the ‘Old Nursery’. It was there that we found our favorite flowers…
The grounds are stunningly beautiful! I’m pretty sure I could never feel like I had taken it all in, that I had spent enough time there.
The drive through the gardens is just 3 miles long, but if you want to get out and explore a few paths, enjoy the drive, and maybe take a few photos, we recommend a minimum of 3 hours for the tour.
This was not our first visit to Avery Island, but with the changes to the Tabasco factory tour, as well as the addition of the new restaurant located next door to the factory, our recommendation would be to allot an entire day to Avery Island.
Tickets can be purchased for each location individually, or you can purchase a combo ticket and save a bit of money. Arriving in the morning and doing the factory tour first, followed by taste testing in the Tabasco gift shop and lunch in the new 1868 restaurant, then hopping next door to take in the Jungle Gardens Tour, is ideal. *Unless the day is to be a scorcher, then do it all backwards to spend the afternoon indoors on the tour!
*Don’t forget your camera. You will seldom find such breathtaking beauty and serenity. (Your mileage may vary on the serenity part – on the day we were there, we saw one other car!)
*Tickets are good for one day, so arrive in plenty of time to enjoy your destination(s).
*Visit the factory tour first and learn about the topography of the island (or at least look up and learn about salt domes – super interesting – and it’s what you will be walking on!).
*There is no drinking water or restroom access on the tour route, so take advantage of the facilities at the entrance, located in the gift shop, and bring bottled water.
*Remember that the animals on the island are wild. Do not approach the alligators, or harass the birds.
*Do not skip the gift shop – the kids loved learning about Monsurat on the back porch, and we would have missed out on a couple of fabulous souvenirs!
*No matter what time of year you visit, there will be flowers in bloom – have the kids take a flower guide to help identify them!
*RELAX! This gorgeous setting will make you want to stay, and you will leave refreshed.
If you want to learn more about Avery Island and the Jungle Gardens, visit their website here.
*Disclaimer: Extra thanks to the McIlhenny Company and Lafayette Travel for proving The Tribe tickets to the Jungle Gardens Tour so we could share it with you! <3