Discover the charming city of Lake Charles, where day-to-day life seems infinitely far away
Deep in southwest Louisiana, discover the charming city of Lake Charles. This vibrant and historic place is home to casinos, nature trails, Cajun dishes, Creole culture, shopping, Victorian architecture, an active art scene and more. The lush green surroundings and meandering bayous that dot the landscape exude an incredible calm, and day-to-day life seems infinitely far away. Relax and explore in Lake Charles!
Have you ever thought that food could define a culture? If you really want to get to know the Lake Charles region, begin with its food, especially boudin. Boudin is a Cajun sausage which can be made from pork, shrimp, crawfish or even alligator. Lake Charles is home of the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail, a collection of locally owned markets and grocery stores located throughout southwestern Louisiana along Interstate 10 and Highway 90.
For a truly authentic taste of the local cuisine, pop by B&O Kitchen and Grocery. Family owned and operated since 1983, this off-the-beaten-path shop boasts everything from house-made boudin, beef jerky and smoked sausages, to hog head cheese, stuffed chicken, Cajun slim jims and more. Try the daily plate lunch specials to go and meals to take home and reheat such as meatball fricassee and chicken and sausage gumbo. Locals rave about the pepper jack stuffed boudin balls and boudin egg rolls.
Next, check out Insane Sausages, where the menu is ever-changing and the boudin is insanely good. Choose from more than 20 different varieties of house-made traditional and specialty sausages. Creative menu offerings include Cajun fries (smothered in cheese, boudin & “Insanity” sauce), the Cajun Hangover (two boudin roll-ups and a crumbled boudin ball on a warm bun) and three inspired riffs on the classic Louisiana po’ boy sandwich. Fried boudin balls and bread pudding offerings ensure you won’t be needing your next meal very soon.
Inside Famous Foods, you’ll find the previous winner of the “Boudin Wars,” a contest among local restaurants to determine who makes the best boudin. Famous Foods is also known among regular patrons as having some of the best cracklins around. These are pork rinds deep fried in Cajun spices – a must-try!
Don’t miss the local seafood at Seafood Palace, which serve crawfish, crab legs, blue crab and more. Chat with the locals and learn how important food is for bringing together community and family in Lake Charles.
Decadent plate lunch specials at a local restaurant
Nature at its Finest
After tasting the local delicacies, get out and explore nature in Lake Charles. The Creole Nature Trail is one of the oldest scenic byways in America. Follow along the trail to see American alligators, hundreds of species of birds, as well as places to fish, swim and sunbathe – it’s truly beautiful.
If you’re ready to see some wildlife up close, head Pintail Wildlife Drive. Here, exotic plants peek out of the tall grass while sunbathing alligators lounge in ponds and canals right beside your vehicle. It’s a unique opportunity to watch these prehistoric creatures and get your perfect photo of them.
A marsh tour is also an absolute must when you’re on the Creole Nature Trail. Check out Grosse Savanne Eco-Tours, a tour operator that offers small, individualized tours focusing on whatever you want to see most, whether it is alligators, roseate spoonbills or other wildlife.
Like many of the attractions in the area, The Creole Nature Trail also has an app for your Apple or Android device, making it even easier and more fun to explore this beautiful nature trail alone or with friends and family!
An alligator spotted along Pintail Wildlife Drive
Explore Lake Charles and the surrounding waterways with the help of local outdoor rental and tour companies. Whether stand-up paddleboarding through lush marshlands, kayaking across the bayous or leisurely paddle boating along the lakefront is more your speed, there’s a watercraft rental company for you. Try a new-to-you water sport with one of the many companies offering lessons for first-timers.
What other nature trail boasts 40 kilometers of natural beachfront? Holly Beach – also known as the “Cajun Riviera,” with its brightly colored stilt houses – is one of the eight relatively untouched beaches along the Creole Nature Trail. Filled with an abundance of unique shells, Holly Beach is a treasure trove for shell lovers and a favorite spot for local crabbing.
Gearing up for a paddleboarding outing on the Calcasieu River
If you get the chance, stay at one of the area’s incredible casino resorts. These resorts are gorgeous, the accommodations are top quality and the choice of dining is extensive. The casino is open 24/7 and when you are done with gaming, you can go and have a whiskey at the barber shop!
Lake Charles and its surrounding areas have so much intriguing history and culture to experience. You will love your visit to this warm and welcoming city.