Lake Charles is in 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.
Continental Airlines (Continental Connection and Continental Express) serves the Lake Charles Regional Airport (LCH) with 4-6 flights a day to/from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport.
American Eagle now serves LCH with 2 flights a day to/from the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport.
The Amtrak Sunset Limited serves the station located at 100 Ryan St., Lake Charles, LA 70601.
Driving is the best way to get around Lake Charles, although Historic Downtown is a pedestrian friendly area and it is easy to walk to most downtown attractions.
Sallier Oak, 204 West Sallier Street (behind the Imperial Calcasieu Museum), . 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.
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.
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.
SWLA Convention and Visitor's Bureau, 1205 N. Lakeshore Drive (Off of I-10 at the downtown exit), ☎ 337-436-9588, . 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.
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.
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.
Prien Lake Park, 3700 W. Prien Lake Rd.. Walking paths, canoe and boat launches, playground and sprayground, amphitheater, pavilions and free WiFi.
Sam Houston Jones State Park, 107 Sutherland Rd (off of Hwy 378 in Moss Bluff), ☎ 337-855-2665, . Swampy lakes, cypress trees, hiking trails, 200 species of birds, and camping.$1.
Imperial Calcasieu Museum, 204 West Sallier Street, ☎ (337) 439-3797, . 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.
Creole Nature Trail, (looping towards the Gulf, south of Lake Charles), . 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.
Delta Downs Racetrack Casino, 2717 Delta Downs Drive (I-10 Exit 4 or 7), ☎ 800-589-7441, . Racetrack casino with hotel, dining, gaming and entertainment.
Isle of Capri Casino, 100 Westlake Ave (I-10 exit 27), ☎ 800-ISLE-VIP, . Two casinos, two hotels, four restaurants, live music and entertainment.
L'Auberge Du Lac Casino, 777 Avenue L'Auberge, ☎ 337-395-7777, . Resort hotel, golf club, 8 restaurants, spa, pool with lazy river, live entertainment, coffee shop, gelato shop, and shopping.
Children's Museum, 327 Broad Street, ☎ 337-433-9420, . m-sat 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.
Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, 809 Kirby Street, ☎ 337-430-0043, . 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.
Historic City Hall, 1001 Ryan Street, ☎ 337-491-9147, . 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.
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.
a drive-thru frozen daiquiri. One of the wonders of Louisiana (and there are many) is the drive-thru frozen daiquiri shop. Locals think nothing of driving up to the window of a small portable building and ordering a combination of flavored sugar, blended ice, and liquor... then driving away into the hot summer night. The lid is on the Styrofoam cup after all- it's not an open container.
505 Imports, 1776 W. Prien Lake Road (Target shopping center), ☎ 337-480-6505, . Exotic imported furniture, accessories and gifts from all over the world.
French Quarter Antiques, 3529 Ryan Street. Antiques and collectibles flea market
Expressions, 3204 Ryan Street, ☎ 337-433-6200, . Fragrances, jewelry, shoes, purses, fleur de lis items, and home decor.
Brousse's- A Child's World, 542 W. Prien Lake Road. Children's heirloom clothing, toys and gifts.
Gordon's Drugs and Fine Gifts, 2716 Lake Street. Full service pharmacy and unique gifts.
Prien Lake Mall, 496 W. Prien Lake Mall (off I-210, Lake St exit.). Regional Simon shopping center. Dillard's, Sears, JCPenny's, Kohls.
Serendipity, 2214 Ryan Street. Brighton jewelry, Sweet Shop chocolates, boutique, home decor, bath and body.
The Wine Store, 4070 Nelson Road, ☎ 337-477-7017. Great selection of boutique wines at affordable prices.
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.
Pat's of Henderson, 1500 Siebarth Drive, ☎ (337) 439-6618, . Slightly more upscale Cajun food in a relaxed atmosphere. Good luncheon specials. Shamelessly rich- they actually give you the butter that your fish was fried in so that you can dip in it! The crawfish fettuccine is a favorite.
Cancun Restaurant, 4001 Ryan St.. transports you to Mexico with their decor and staff. The food is full of flavor that everyone will enjoy.
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.
Harlequin Steaks & Seafood, 501 W College St, ☎ (337) 310-0077. If you're looking for mouth watering steaks go no further than the family run Harlequin Steaks & Seafood. The friendly staff will ensure that you have an enjoyable meal. The Harlequin is great for business trips, with private party rooms and being conveniently located near the interstate, or romatic dinners with a significant other.
Luna Bar and Grill, 719 Ryan Street (downtown), ☎ (337) 494-5862, . This bar has a hip atmosphere with it's 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.
Big Daddy's Sports Grill, 1737 W. Sale Road. Big screen TV for sports, live Cajun music and dancing every Friday night.
Cowboy's, 5329 Common Street. Bar with live music, DJs and dancing.
Frosty Factory, ☎ 337-474-9019. Frozen drinks and beer, Karaoke Thurs-Sat, pool, shuffleboard.
Jack Daniel's Bar and Grill (L'Auberge Casio), 777 Avenue L'Auberge, ☎ 337-395-7777. Features live entertainment every Thurs-Sat night.
Cigar Club, 1700 E. Prien Lake Road, ☎ 337-562-8889, . open until 2am. Retail cigar store and elegant lounge with full bar.
OB's, 1301 Ryan Street. Bar and Grill with music, dancing etc.
Pappy's, 2627 Ryan Street, ☎ 337-436-2813. Deli with connected pub. 30 beers on tap.
Yesterday's, 5313 Common Street, ☎ 337-474-7333. Bar with live music, DJs, dancing.