Lake Charles

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Lake Charles [1] is in the Acadiana region of Louisiana and is well known for gaming and the great outdoors, culinary delights and rhythm and blues. There are over 75 annual festivals from the splendor of Mardi Gras to the swashbuckling days of the Contraband Days Pirate Festival, there is something going on nearly every weekend.


For years, Lake Charles has been a gambling destination primarily attracting tourists from nearby Houston and New Orleans. Since casino gambling is illegal in Texas, many residents come to Lake Charles. Having casinos since the 70s, the L'auberge du lac impacted the region as the first full service resort in the area. Since then, the Golden Nugget opened, adding another full service resort. Lake Charles remains as having 5 casinos considered to be in the area (L'auberge, Golden Nugget, Isle of Capri, Delta Downs, and Coushatta).

While gambling is the primary tourist attraction, many visitors enjoy shopping and dining during the stay.

Get in[edit]

By Plane[edit]

Lake Charles Regional Airport (IATA: LCH) [2] is located just south of Lake Charles. Car rentals are available at the airport, as well as taxi service. Service includes multiple daily flights to both Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth, via United Airlines and American Airlines respectively. From there, you can connect to many destinations across the world.

For many travelers, it would make sense flying to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IATA: IAH) [3] or William P. Hobby Airport (IATA: HOU), both in Houston and drive the 2 hours or take a bus or train. Both airport feature domestic flights all across the United States as well as international flights to every inhabitable continent.

By Bus[edit]

Greyhound [4]] offers bus service to Lake Charles. The station is located on interstate 10 and Shattuck St. From there you can hail a cab to your hotel.

Many charter bus companies offer trips to Lake Charles that offer bus service that drop you off direct to the casinos. The trips are all throughout the day, so you can access the casino without having to book a room, and return the same day. The companies offer packages that include casino chips as well as food vouchers, etc. For a listing of charter companies and routes, visit the casino you would like to visit's website.

By Train[edit]

Amtrak's Sunset limited line makes a stop in Lake Charles.

By Car[edit]

Lake Charles is accessed via Interstate I-10, which runs through major cities such as Houston, New Orleans, and going all the way to Los Angeles and Jacksonville, Fl. Some casinos are located right off of I-10. To get to L'auberge du lac or Golden Nugget, you merge onto Interstate I-210.

Get around[edit]

Depending on where in Lake Charles you are located or are trying to get to, different modes of transportation are fit for each other. Yellow Cab Lake Charles (337-433-8282) is a 24 hour taxi service that is convenient when you would rather not drive, or aren't familiar with the area.

Between the Golden Nugget and L'auberge, there is a complimentary trolley that runs between the two casino resorts. The resorts are still, however, within walking distance, and can be accessed through the casino boardwalk.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Sallier Oak, 204 West Sallier Street (behind the Imperial Calcasieu Museum), [5]. This 375 year old live oak tree marked the corner of early resident Charles Sallier's property and is thought to be the 3rd oldest live oak in Louisiana. It stretches to create a canopy with some branches sagging all the way to the ground.  edit
  • I-10 Bridge. Built in 1962, this steep bridge has a vertical clearance of 135 feet. Drive slow enough to check out the decorative cast-iron pistols that embellish the railing over the entire length of the bridge. Traveling west-bound you will top the crest of the bridge to view a vast landscape of plants and oil refineries. This can be an oddly spectacular sight, especially at twilight.  edit
  • North Beach, (just east of the I-10 bridge, south of the highway). On the north shore of Lake Charles is the only naturally occurring inland white sand beach on the Gulf Coast. It is also very close to Interstate 10, true. Nevertheless, there are volleyball nets, picnic tables, restrooms, and a full view of the Lake. The waters are not the cleanest as there are refineries in the area, but it is ok if you;re not looking for superclear water.  edit
  • SWLA Convention and Visitor's Bureau, 1205 N. Lakeshore Drive (Off of I-10 at the downtown exit), 337-436-9588, [6]. The CVB is an attractive new building that looks out over the Lake and provides visitors with info, maps, calendars, and brochures covering the Southwest region of Louisiana. There is a deck to relax with some free coffee, a gift shop with unique Louisiana finds, and even an alligator pond! They will tell you about driving tours of the area and events that are going on.  edit
  • Bord Du Lac Park, (Along the northern & eastern shores of the Lake). Visit Veterans Memorial park , Bord Du Lac Park, and a fountain that is ok to play in. There are plaques detailing Lake Charles history, geese to feed, and plenty of places to sit and catch the lakeside breeze, including gazebos built onto docks over the Lake.The newly rebuilt Millenium Park is an excellent, very large playground for kids of all ages. Fenced in, whimsical, best playground in town. There are also horse carriage rides. All in all, this is a great area of town for anyone to stop and take a break from a long car ride. Right off I-10.  edit
  • Drew Park, 416 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive (close to the lake). Play gyms, swings, a walking trail, picnic tables and oak trees. A community center with indoor activities like pool and video games.  edit
  • Prien Lake Park, 3700 W. Prien Lake Rd.. Walking paths, canoe and boat launches, playground and sprayground, amphitheater, pavilions and free WiFi.  edit
  • Sam Houston Jones State Park, 107 Sutherland Rd (off of Hwy 378 in Moss Bluff), 337-855-2665, [7]. Swampy lakes, cypress trees, hiking trails, 200 species of birds, and camping. If you like the quintessential southern image of lots of Spanish moss everywhere, this is it. There is a playground and swings amid great scenery. Lots of picnic spots by the river. The trails are great for bicyclers. $1perperson.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Imperial Calcasieu Museum, 204 West Sallier Street, (337) 439-3797, [8]. Tues-Sat 10am to 5pm. The Museum houses an historical collection of artifacts from the five surrounding parishes, as well as a gallery featuring arts and cultural exhibits. Behind the Museum stands the 375 year old Sallier Oak- this is a great place for a picnic in the shade. $5 adults/$2 seniors and children.  edit
  • Creole Nature Trail, (looping towards the Gulf, south of Lake Charles), [9]. This scenic drive takes you south from Lake Charles, along the Gulf of Mexico, and north again to Sulphur, LA which is just west of Lake Charles. There are plenty of coastal swamplands to see, very natural beaches, and wetlands wildlife. The wildlife refuge has a trail where alligators can be spotted, as well as many docks to go crabbing (which does not require a fishing license). An audio tour is available for download on the website. A detailed map of the route can be found either on the website, or at the Convention and Visitors Bureau.  edit
  • Delta Downs Racetrack Casino, 2717 Delta Downs Drive (I-10 Exit 4 or 7), 800-589-7441, [10]. Racetrack casino with hotel, dining, gaming and entertainment.  edit
  • Isle of Capri Casino, 100 Westlake Ave (I-10 exit 27), 800-ISLE-VIP, [11]. Two casinos, two hotels, four restaurants, live music and entertainment.  edit
  • L'Auberge Du Lac Casino, 777 Avenue L'Auberge, 337-395-7777, [12]. Resort hotel, golf club, 8 restaurants, spa, pool with lazy river, live entertainment, coffee shop, gelato shop, and shopping.  edit
  • Children's Museum, 327 Broad Street, 337-433-9420, [13]. M-Sa 10am-5pm. $7 admission. Three floors of hands-on, educational exhibits in a family atmosphere. Features many exhibits including television studio, shopping market, toddler area, and several science exhibits.  edit
  • Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, 809 Kirby Street, 337-430-0043, [14]. Tues-Fri 1-5pm. Largest Mardi Gras costume display in the world, history of Mardi Gras and king cakes, costume design, parade float to climb aboard. $3/$2.  edit
  • Historic City Hall, 1001 Ryan Street, 337-491-9147, [15]. Restored building which hosts three floors of gallery space for traveling exhibitions. Permanent exhibition of the Great Fire of 1910 which destroyed the building before it was rebuilt in 1911.  edit
  • SWLA Boudin Trail, (multiple locations), 800-456-7952. Boudin is considered a staple snack of the Bayou State, seasoned meat and rice formed into a fingerfood, it's perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Pick up a copy of the Boudin Trail brochure at the Visitor's Bureau and travel around Calcasieu Parish trying all varieties of Boudin.  edit
  • USS Orleck Museum (DD-886), 604 N Enterprise Blvd Lake Charles, LA 70601 (, 337-214-7447, [16]. 1000-1500. Tour a World War II-era destroyer that saw service during the Korean War. $7 for adults, $4 for youth, $5 Active Military.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Shops at Golden Nugget, 2550 Golden Nugget Boulevard, 337-508-7777, [17]. Upscale shopping featuring name brand items.  edit
  • Expressions, 3204 Ryan Street, 337-433-6200, [18]. Fragrances, jewelry, shoes, purses, fleur de lis items, and home decor.  edit
  • Gordon's Drugs and Fine Gifts, 2716 Lake Street. Full service pharmacy and unique gifts.  edit
  • Prien Lake Mall, 496 W. Prien Lake Mall (off I-210, Lake St exit.). Regional Simon shopping center. Dillard's, Sears, JCPenny's, Kohls.  edit
  • Serendipity, 2214 Ryan Street. Brighton jewelry, Sweet Shop chocolates, boutique, home decor, bath and body.  edit
  • The Wine Store, 4070 Nelson Rd, 337-477-7017. Great selection of boutique wines. Specializing in small production, hand crafted wines. Gourmet cheeses. Custom gift baskets. Wine tastings every Th 5PM-7PM.  edit
  • Charleston Farmers Market, 1001 Ryan Street (Behind Historic City Hall). Small farmer's market with fruits/vegetables, specialty jams, candles, artisan breads, etc. 8am-12pm every Saturday.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Luna Bar & Grill, 719 Ryan St, (337) 494-5862, [19]. Located in Downtown Lake Charles and across from the Luna Live music venue, this is one of the most popular restaurants in Lake Charles. Famous for their sandwiches, names after the planets, the menu consists of mainly seafood, but also includes land meat recipes.  edit
  • Que Pasa Taqueria, 4080 Nelson Rd, (337) 310-7272, [20].  edit One of the most popular Mexican/Tex-Mex style restaurants in Lake Charles. Famous for their fajitas, quesadillas and margaritas.</eat>
  • Tony's Pizza, 335 E Prien Lake Rd. a Lake Charles staple. Serving the lake area since 1968, Tony's is a favorite by many. Family owned and operated by the Dickson family of Lake Charles, it is a great place to bring the family. With an entire menu of delicious food from Italian Pizza, Po-Boys, Pasta, and Salads,to Greek Gyros, it will be impossible to make a bad decision.  edit
  • 121 Artisan Bistro, 121 Dr.Michael Debakey Dr, (337) 310-7499, [21]. Previously named DeAngelo's Pizzeria Company, the building burned down in 2008. After renovations, the restaurant reopened as 121 Artisan Bistro serving Italian food with some plates adding cajun flavor to the mix.  edit
  • La Truffe Sauvage, 815 West Bayou Pines Drive, 337-439-8364, [22]. Fine dining with French, southwest, Louisiana and Mediterranean influences. $$$$.  edit
  • LA Star, 3539 Ryan St., (337) 602-6070. Biggest Chinese buffet in the Lake Charles area. Includes sushi and hibachi, as well as pork rolls, yuxiang qiezi and other dishes that one would actually eat at a restaurant in China.  edit
  • Nobless Oblige Teahouse, 316 Iris Street, 337-433-8095. M-F 10-4:30pm and 1st & 3rd Sat of the month 9-1pm. Tea house and cafe, tea parties, lunch.  edit
  • Pujo Street Cafe, 901 Ryan Street, 337-439-2054, [23]. American, Cajun, and French bistro with a historic downtown feel. Porch seating.  edit
  • Pappy's, 2627 Ryan Street, 337-436-2813. Hole in the wall delicious, mufflettas, poboys, gumbo and fried anything.  edit
  • Seafood Palace, 2218 Enterprise Blvd, 337-433-9293. Cajun/Creole, boiled seafood in a family friendly atmosphere.  edit
  • Mary Anns's Cafe, 110 Broad Street, 337-436-9115. M-F 8-2pm, Sat 8-1pm. Lake Charles' oldest restaurant, est. 1950. Diner-style, home-cooked breakfast and lunch.  edit
  • Steamboat Bill's on the Lake, 1004 N. Lakeshore Drive, 337-494-1070, [24]. Cajun (AKA fried) seafood, featured in USA Today. You can eat this type of food anywhere in Lake Charles, but Steamboat Bill's appeals to tourists, with a fun atmosphere and convenient location just off of I-10.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Luna Bar and Grill, 719 Ryan Street (downtown), (337) 494-5862, [25]. This bar has a hip atmosphere with its exposed brick used to display local artist's work. It has a long, shaded patio with live music on many nights. The drink prices are reasonable, and the food is great, too. Their spinach and artichoke dip is out of this world.  edit
  • Big Daddy's Sports Grill, 1737 W. Sale Road. Big screen TV for sports, live Cajun music and dancing every Friday night.  edit
  • Cowboy's, 5329 Common Street. Bar with live music, DJs and dancing.  edit
  • Frosty Factory, 337-474-9019. Frozen drinks and beer, Karaoke Thurs-Sat, pool, shuffleboard.  edit
  • Jack Daniel's Bar and Grill (L'Auberge Casio), 777 Avenue L'Auberge, 337-395-7777. Features live entertainment every Thurs-Sat night.  edit
  • Cigar Club, 1700 E. Prien Lake Road, 337-562-8889, [26]. open until 2am. Retail cigar store and elegant lounge with full bar.  edit
  • OB's, 1301 Ryan Street. Bar and Grill with music, dancing etc.  edit
  • Pappy's, 2627 Ryan Street, 337-436-2813. Deli with connected pub. 30 beers on tap.  edit
  • Stellar Beans Coffee House, 319 Broad St (downtown), 337-564-5739, [27]. Locally owned and operated coffee house with a hip, relaxing atmosphere with Louisiana's favorite "Community Coffee", as well as "Higher Grounds" a fair-trade coffee, roasted in the South. They also have breakfast sandwiches and rich soups/salads for lunch.  edit
  • Yesterday's, 5313 Common Street, 337-474-7333. Bar with live music, DJs, dancing.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Delta Downs Race Track Casino and Hotel, 1-800-589-7441, [28]
  • Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino, 1-337-508-7777, [29]
  • L'Auberge du Lac Hotel and Casino, 1-866-580-7444, [30]
  • Microtel Inn & Suites Lake Charles, [31], Tel: (337) 477-4230.
  • Isle of Capri Casino & Hotel Lake Charles, [32]. Casino, hotel, dining, RV park.

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

Routes through Lake Charles
HoustonBeaumont  W noframe E  LafayetteBaton Rouge

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