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Kayaking in Lake Charles, Louisiana
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Experience both sides of this Louisiana town, from quiet spots in nature to lively downtown streets.

In the heart of Southwest Louisiana, Lake Charles is known for its luxury casino resorts, tasty Cajun and Creole cuisine, and family-friendly lake recreation opportunities. It’s a place that blends the excitement of city life with the tranquility of nature. Experience the best both sides of Lake Charles – from its serene nature scenes to its bustling downtown.

Venture into Nature in Sam Houston Jones State Park

The calm beauty of nature awaits at Lake CharlesSam Houston Jones State Park. Take to one of three relatively easy hiking trails, where you’ll wander through towering longleaf pines and wildlife-filled wetlands. Paddlers will love the opportunity to kayak on the Calcasieu River, where breathtaking water views await. All the while, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the over 400 species of native and migratory birds that like to hang out in this thriving park. If you’re not quite ready to leave nature behind at the end of the day, stay overnight in the park in a cabin or campsite.

The serene bayous at Sam Houston Jones State Park

The serene bayous at Sam Houston Jones State Park
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Go Out on the Town in Lake Charles

Centered around a lake of the same name, downtown Lake Charles is filled with wonderful waterfront views – from the Lakefront Promenade to Bord du Lac Park. You can even opt for a less traditional lake-viewing experience with the help of Biking Through the Lake tours. Take to the streets in style on one of their effervescent evening tours, where you’ll explore downtown and the lakefront with the help of upbeat music and light-up bike wheels.

Beyond the water, downtown Lake Charles has a thriving arts and culture scene. The Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center, a public art and history museum, features incredible traveling art exhibitions. In the past, works by greats like Pablo Picasso, Tasha Tudor, and Norman Rockwell have graced the walls. Two permanent galleries, the Black Heritage Gallery and Gallery by the Lake, highlight the works of standout regional and local artists.

Feeling artistically inspired? Pop into local art galleries, vintage stores, and boutiques to shop for pieces to spruce up your home and your closet. Once your arms are full of treasures, stop for a meal at some of the most beloved local restaurants. Buffi's Peaux Boys serves up mouthwatering fresh seafood sandwiches and other Louisiana specialties, while Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp puts a Mexican spin on the local catches. If live music is a must for you, Panorama Music House and Luna Bar & Grill Downtown are both known for their fantastic tunes and equally incredible food.

Biking past colorful murals in downtown Lake Charles

Biking past colorful murals in downtown Lake Charles
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Getting There

Lake Charles is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from both George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) in Houston, Texas. Lake Charles Regional Airport (LCH), just 12 kilometers from the heart of downtown, offers connections from many major U.S. airports. Rent a car at your airport of choice and get ready to see everything the area has to offer.