This post is a review of Oak Alley Plantation near New Orleans, with information on how to get tickets, what tours are available, what you will see there, and an analysis of online reviews.
- Directions, Hours + Tickets
- Plantation Highlights
- Reviews of Oak Alley
- Tours to Oak Alley
- Other Plantation Tours
Oak Alley Plantation is often thought of as the most iconic plantation in Louisiana.
With its massive, 300-year-old Live Oak trees, well-preserved mansion, and close proximity to New Orleans, Oak Alley has become a must-do for many travelers to the Big Easy.
Be sure to read our post that compares Oak Alley with other plantations near New Orleans.
How to Get Here
There is no public transportation to Oak Alley. If you have a car, we recommend using this link for directions to Oak Ally Plantation.
Oak Alley Plantation is located on the banks of the Mississippi River approximately 1 hour west by car from New Orleans in Vacherie, LA, along the famed River Road.
Guests without a car must either rent one or go with a tour company.
Expect to pay around $70 for the trip, which includes transportation and the cost of admission to the plantation.
Costs are usually lower for children depending on each individual tour company.
The plantation is open every day except New Year's Day, Mardi Gras Tuesday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
- Open daily, 8:30am-5pm
Last admissions sold at 4pm. Please allow a minimum of 2 hours to explore.
Tickets can be purchased upon arrival at the plantation, but advance reservations are highly recommended.
Prices (not including tax):
- $30 - Adults (18 yrs & older)
- $10 - Youth (6 to 17 yrs old)
- Free - 5 yrs & younger
- Discounts offered with ID: AAA, Military, Senior 65+
Site without “Big House” exhibit
- $27 - Adults (18 yrs & older)
- $9 - Youth (6 to 17 yrs old)
- Free- Toddlers ( 0-5 years)
- Discounts offered with ID: AAA, Military, Senior 65+,
The "Big House"
Tours of this mansion (house tour) run every half hour and are included in the cost of admission.
Historic Interpreters and take groups through the many different rooms of the home, all the while sharing stories of how the property developed, why it eventually declined, and where it stands today.
A majority of guests who visit the plantation house are very impressed with their experience.
Several reviewers enjoyed both the beauty and the history behind this building, making sure to take several pictures during their trip.
There are very few negative reviews, and none of them indicated any serious problems with the tour. Couples were the most likely to enjoy this guided walk around the house.
The row of (nearly) 200-year-old live oak trees is what differentiates Oak Alley from other southern plantations.
The impressive Allee of oaks was created using enslaved labor.
The mansion's balcony offers a great view and photo opportunity, though nothing emphasizes the true magnitude of the trees like a picture of someone standing next to one of them!
Several guests visit Oak Alley just to see the beautiful trees. Reviewers claim that this plantation features oak trees larger than cars!
Some visitors felt that the pictures of this location simply didn't do it justice. Even customers who didn't enjoy their visit were taken aback by the size and grandeur of these Oaks.
Couples, families, and those who brought a friend for the trip were most likely to leave a positive remark about the foliage.
Slavery at Oak Alley Exhibit
One of the newer exhibits on the property, "Slavery at Oak Alley" features 6 reconstructed cottages that tell the story of the enslaved people who resided at the plantation.
Some days Site Interpreters provide dialogue about the enslaved community, starting a conversation about the difficult history of this plantation. Days when a site interpreter is not available, visitors can explore the exhibit, in their own time.
On average, there were just over 100 slaves at any time on Oak Alley Plantation.
Although this journey may not be for everyone, most visitors feel that it is important to experience.
A few guests were disappointed with the level of detail that they put into this interpretation of the plantation lifestyle, but this wasn't a common complaint.
In fact, an overwhelming majority of reviews for this exhibit are absolutely stellar. Couples were the most likely to appreciate this tour.
There is a gift shop where you could purchase souvenirs from Oak Alley plantation as well as the Louisiana plantation region and New Orleans.
Oak Alley Plantation currently has a 4 ½ star rating on TripAdvisor.
A very small percentage of reviews for this historic location is negative, indicating that most visitors absolutely love exploring the grounds.
As a matter of fact, some guests felt that it was quite easy to spend several hours discovering Oak Alley.
Thousands of positive comments recommend a visit to this estate. By and large, couples were the most likely to enjoy their trip.
Reviews for the tours described above are generally very favorable.
Although they have received some negative comments, most visitors have a wonderful time exploring Oak Alley Plantation with the help of a tour guide.
Several guests indicated that their docent was very knowledgeable, providing a lot of valuable information about the mansion and its history.
Customers were most likely to leave a glowing review after taking one of these plantation tours with either their family, friends, or significant others.
OAK ALLEY PLANTATION TOURS
In addition to tours offered at the plantation, there are also a few companies that offer day trips to Oak Alley by shuttle bus.
These trips typically last for approximately 5-6 hours, giving you plenty of time to explore the grounds.
This is a perfect opportunity for anyone who wants to avoid driving to and from the area, allowing them to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Ticket prices typically fall in the $70 range (less for children). Most offer hotel pickup and dropoff.
Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.
This very highly rated tour departs at 12:30 pm and runs between 5-6 hours. Unlike Gray Line, Cajun Pride offers hotel pick-up for their customers.
Another advantage of this service is that it's more affordable than the other options on our list, so if you're looking for a less expensive outing, this is definitely one of the better choices for a visit to Oak Alley.
The lone drawback for some will be the midday departure.
- Adults | $62
- Children (3-12) | $40
NOTE: This tour is not currently available as of July 2021.
Cajun Encounters Oak Alley Plantation Tour
This tour departs earlier than the other two companies and provides hotel pick-up.
Departure time is between 9:00 am-9:30 am (depending on your pick-up location). The duration of the tour is approximately 7 hours (including travel time).
Although they have received some negative reviews, it's worth noting that they do provide hotel pick-up.
Unlike their competitors, they offer a tour that starts in the morning, which may be preferable for some people.
- Adults | $67.75
- Children (4-11) | $50.75
- Infants (0-3) | Free
If you're looking for an Oak Alley tour that departs early in the morning and runs for at least 5 hours, this is an excellent option.
With departures starting at 8:15 am, you can get a nice, early start and see the plantation before most other visitors arrive.
This outing lasts for approximately 5 ½ hours, which means you'll be back in New Orleans in time for a late lunch!
- Adults | $67
- Children (4-12) | $40
This trip is offered twice daily with departures at 12 pm and 1 pm. The tour is about 5 hours in total (including travel time).
Gray Line has very good reviews in New Orleans, and most guests who took this particular tour were very impressed.
- Adults | $69
- Children (6-12) | $35
For more information on visiting other plantations with a tour company, check out our post covering New Orleans Plantation Tours.
The incredible Live Oaks that welcome guests to the mansion and give the property its name were planted between 1725-1750, though why they were planted and by whom remains a mystery.
Valcour Aime, a prominent sugarcane farmer, purchased the land in 1830 and established a community of enslaved people to care for the plantation.
A few years later Aime traded the plantation with his brother-in-law Jacques Telesphore Roman who would eventually build the mansion that sits on the property today.
The mansion was completed in 1837 and was built entirely by slave labor.
There was a large enslaved community that lived on the property throughout the antebellum period.
One of the most famous enslaved men to reside there was Antoine, who gained great recognition for grafting "paper shell" pecan trees.
The Roman family continued to live at Oak Alley until just after the Civil War when it was sold at auction due to the high cost of maintaining it.
The plantation was not damaged during the war but quickly fell into disrepair.
Oak Alley relied heavily on slave labor, and with the ratification of the 13th Amendment, it became impossible for the plantation to continue operating as it originally did.
In 1925, Andrew Stewart purchased the property as a gift for his wife Josephine. Together, the Stewarts initiated a restoration project that would span the rest of their lives.
In 1966, a few years before her death and decades after her husband's, Josephine established a non-profit foundation to preserve the home and 25 acres of the grounds. Josephine Stewart passed away in 1972.
As the longest resident of Oak Alley and in honor of her memory, all the clocks in the mansion are stopped at 7:30, the time of Josephine's death. Both she and her husband are buried on the property.
In 1978 Oak Alley became officially designated as a National Historic Landmark and is run by the Oak Alley Foundation, a non-profit organization.
Ghosts at Oak Alley Plantation
As with most antebellum plantations of the South, Oak Alley is rumored to be home to some spiritual activity.
Of course, there is great debate as to how much truth is behind these tales, but a few of the more well-supported stories include:
- A woman who very much resembles Mrs. Stewart, the last private owner of the property, has been seen looking out the window of the mansion's lavender room after dark.
- The sound of a horse-drawn carriage and the whirl of dust being kicked up by some sort of presence, both of which were unaccompanied by a material explanation.
- A candlestick flew across the room in front of a tour guide and 35 guests.
- Empty chairs rock in unison.
Movies, TV Shows, and Music Videos Filmed at Oak Valley Plantation
- Midnight Bayou
- Ghost Hunters
- Primary Colors
- Interview with a Vampire
- Beyoncé's Déjà Vu Music Video