Because Lake Charles has so much to offer – nature trails, Cajun food, Creole culture, shopping, Victorian architecture, museums and gaming resorts – it’s accurate to say that there is something for everyone.
You’ll be enamored not only by Lake Charles’ myriad activities, but also by the charm of the residents and their true love for the city. From gorgeous scenery to extensive dining choices, Lake Charles is a must-visit Louisiana locale. Dive into all this waterfront playground has to offer.
Downtown Views & Victorian Homes
Start your first day in Lake Charles with a trip back in time – head downtown for a walking tour of the Charpentier Historic District. The striking collection of Victorian-era homes truly is a sight to see, decorating 40 city blocks in splendid late-1800’s architecture. Don’t miss a chance to admire marvels like the Gothic towers of the R. H. Nason House and the hand-carved signage of the Old Post Office and Courthouse. Just a few streets over, you’ll find the Spanish Baroque architecture of the Historic City Hall Arts & Culture Center. This was once the center of Lake Charles’ local government, but now you can find rotating art exhibitions from artists both locally renowned and internationally acclaimed.
The Spanish-inspired façade of the Historic City Hall Arts & Culture Center
Once you've worked up an appetite, you won't have to go far to enjoy Lake Charles’ premier dining scene: You'll find superior spots to chow down on delicious Cajun and creole-inspired cooking no matter what time of day. On Sundays, make a reservation for Jazz Brunch at the LUNA Bar & Grill to enjoy live music and fresh seafood omelets in a lively, eclectic dining room. For a dose of authentic Louisiana flavor, check out Leonard's Food Quarters. This friendly and welcoming family-run business is a must-try. Standout menu items include Louisiana delicacies like boudin, a savory rice and pork sausage, and cracklings, deep-fried pork rinds. Take advantage of Lake Charles' proximity to the Gulf of Mexico with delectable seafood feasts at fine dining establishments like Restaurant Calla, or enjoy a taste of Italy at The Villa Harlequin. When it's time for a drink to cap off your night, duck into Crying Eagle Brewery and wash down a plate of boudin nachos with a locally-brewed ale.
Enjoying po'boys and more at Leonards Food Quarters
Getting Active in the City
One of the most exciting features of Lake Charles is the way the town seamlessly blends urban comforts with outdoor adventures. You may have guessed from the name that this place offers endless opportunities for waterfront exploration. Paddle the town’s namesake water feature in a kayak; you won’t want to miss the chance to catch sunset views of the Calcasieu River Bridge. Lake Area Adventures offers rentals of single, tandem and even fishing kayaks every day of the week. Traveling with the whole family? No problem: Rent a pontoon boat for a laid-back way to cruise the lake with your whole entourage.
Kayaking in Lake Charles as the sun sets over the Calcasieu River Bridge
Nature at its Finest
Connect with Louisiana’s native flora and fauna on an excursion down the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. Lake Charles makes the perfect gateway to this nearly 300-kilometer scenic byway. Start at the Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point, a visitors center where hands-on exhibits and displays will help you learn more about Louisiana’s natural landscapes. When you’re ready to start exploring, download the free Creole Nature Trail mobile app to help you chart your course. No matter where you wander, you’ll be treated to up-close views of American alligators and over 400 species of birds ambling along the scenic, marshy waterfronts.
An American alligator, one of the many species of animals that live in Louisiana's waterways
International flights arrive daily at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, Texas, and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). Houston is 2.5 hours west of Lake Charles, and New Orleans is 3 hours to the east; from either airport, it's easy to rent a car and drive.
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