Lake Charles Louisiana
A waterfront Zydeco dinner party on the Lake Charles promenade
Wildlife watching on the Creole Nature Trail
A dramatic sunset at Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge
Kayak fishing on a local waterway
Al fresco live music session at Rikenjaks Brewing Company
Aerial view of one of the city’s resort pools
Enjoying appetizers, craft beer, live music and dancing at Jack Daniel’s Bar and Grill
Showing off fresh catches on a fishing charter
The festive décor of Steamboat Bill’s
A group of roseate spoonbills and other birds spotted along the Creole Nature Trail
History, food and wildlife with Southwest Louisiana style
Unusual Museums and Historic Sites
Your Lake Charles history lesson begins at the Imperial Calcasieu Museum where Charles Sallier, one of the first settlers, built his winter home. A sprawling 375-year-old live oak tree stands at the old home site, and exhibits inside the museum display historical artifacts. Step back in time at the DeQuincy Railroad Museum, housed in a 1900s railroad depot, then learn about the region’s sulfur mining at the Brimstone Museum. During the 19th century, there were many new settlers but no architects or engineers, so industrious carpenters made up the style and plans as they built homes with products from the local sawmills. See this uniquely Lake Charles architecture in the Charpentier District. The beautifully maintained houses make for great photos. Lake Charles loves Mardi Gras; in fact, it’s home to the second-largest celebration in Louisiana. Year-round, visit the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, home to the largest collection of krewe costumes in the world.
Local Food and Fun
The food here is consistently delicious. Boudin – a pork sausage filled with rice, liver, onion and spices – is a regional specialty. Lake Charles is part of the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail, which highlights mom-and-pop restaurants, butchers and grocers that serve this popular snack. Other signature dishes to try: po’ boy sandwiches at Darrell’s, authentic Southern food at Mama Reta’s Kitchen and boiled crawfish at Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake. Wash it down with a cold craft beer from Crying Eagle Brewing or a belly-warming shot of Bayou Rum, made in Southwest Louisiana with unrefined, local sugarcane and molasses. Lake Charles and the surrounding area is also home to four casinos, two of which are resorts: Golden Nugget Lake Charles and L’Auberge Casino Resort. Stay up late to enjoy Las Vegas-style entertainment and live music, then relax the next day with a spa treatment or some quality time by the pool or on the golf greens.
Wild and Wonderful Nature
Along an easy-to-follow, 290-kilometer network of remote roads, the Creole Nature Trail is an adventure into the Louisiana Outback. This untamed natural landscape holds creatures great and small (more than 400 species of birds, thousands of alligators, reptiles, fish and migrating butterflies), includes four pristine nature preserves and is on two major aviary flyways. Start by exploring the educational exhibits at Adventure Point, then follow the trail to seek out fishing, shelling, crabbing and wildlife watching, or book a kayak or airboat tour. Walk the Lake Charles promenade or rent a bike and explore the art galleries and boutique shops downtown. Just 30 minutes east of Lake Charles, take your picture with a baby alligator at Gator Chateau, an alligator rescue organization.
Every year, more than 200,000 people attend the Louisiana Pirate Festival, a celebration of Lake Charles’ pirate past.