Lake Charles Louisiana
A sunset picnic at Prien Lake Park
Wildlife watching on the Creole Nature Trail
Al fresco live music session at Rikenjaks Brewing Company
Paddling excursion on Contraband Bayou
A flock of migratory white pelicans spotted along the Creole Nature Trail
Aerial view of one of the city’s resort pools
Reeling in a bass on a fishing charter
Diners enjoy a crawfish boil, a popular local culinary tradition
A dramatic sunset at Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge
The festive décor of Steamboat Bill’s
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 check out rotating art exhibits and fun events at Henning Cultural Center. 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 Historic 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.
Local Food and Fun
The food here is consistently delicious. Boudin – a pork sausage filled with rice, meat, onion and spices – is a regional specialty. Lake Charles is home to 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, delicious and filling plate-lunches at B&O Grocery, and boiled crawfish at Seafood Palace or 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 all natural, unrefined Louisiana 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. Enjoy live music including two free concert series held annually in March (Live at the Lakefront) and May/June (Downtown at Sundown).
Wild and Wonderful Nature
Along an easy-to-follow network of back roads, the Creole Nature Trail is an adventure into Louisiana's Outback. This untamed natural landscape holds creatures great and small (more than 400 species of birds, thousands of alligators, marsh mammals, 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.
Lake Charles’ North Beach is the only inland white-sand beach found between Texas and Florida.
The Imperial Calcasieu Museum is home to a 375-year-old oak tree known as the Sallier Oak.
Legendary country singer Dolly Parton recorded her first single at the age of 13 at Goldband Records studio in Lake Charles.