Lake Charles is located near the heel of the boot that makes up Louisiana. Once known as No Man’s Land, this 40-mile-wide swath of marshlands and wilderness once marked the official divide between Spain and the United States following the Louisiana Purchase. Settled at various times by Native Americans, French, Africans, Spanish, Creoles and Cajuns, the region is rich in traditions and culture.
Bet You’ll Love It Here
Betting on fun in the bayou? Try your luck at four local casinos. Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel is home to live Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse racing on an eighth-of-a-mile oval track. Golden Nugget Lake Charles Hotel and Casino offers family fun with an 18-hole championship golf course, lakefront beach and one-of-a-kind H2O Pool area with a two-acre heated pool and lazy river.
Slots and Entertainment
At Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel, the fun never stops with more than 1,600 slots, video poker, 79 table games and live concerts. L’Auberge Casino Resort has 70,000 square feet of Vegas-style gaming including a 2,100-square-foot Poker Room, 1,600 slots and 80 table games. Stroll through The Shops at L’Auberge or play 18 holes at the championship golf course.
Water, Water Everywhere
Lake Charles has all types of water, from freshwater and saltwater to brackish water. Kayak through cypress forests — just keep an eye out for gators gliding by. Have a great time on the Calcasieu River with a paddleboat or canoe. Anglers can choose what fishing adventure floats their boat — maybe a professionally guided tour or casting out solo from the pier. There’s even surf fishing on the beach. Calcasieu Lake offers light tackle saltwater fishing for speckled trout, flounder and redfish. Bass, crappie, redfish and panfish also are regional favorites. Ready to relax? Climb aboard the Lady of the Lake, a three-deck yacht, and enjoy a sunset cruise on Lake Charles complete with a full-course dinner and the sounds of Cajun and zydeco music.
Welcome to Creole Country
Travel the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road — one of only 43 designated scenic byways in the U.S. One of the top 10 birding destinations in the country is in Louisiana’s Outback, located between the Central and Mississippi Flyways, where more than 400 species of birds can be seen. Local wildlife includes bobcats, beavers, muskrats and alligators. Search for angel wings, cat’s eyes and periwinkles along 26 miles of Gulf beaches. Explore the history of Mardi Gras at the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, and pay a visit to the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, home to a large collection of historical artifacts and the famous 400-year-old Sallier oak tree, which marks the spot where town founder Charles Sallier built his home.
Tantalize Your Taste Buds
Nothing says Cajun like the food, so leave your worries behind and prepare your taste buds for some seriously fantastic meals. At Steamboat Bob’s, the seafood is succulent and spicy. Whether it’s fresh Gulf spicy boiled shrimp, crispy fried fish, flash-fried oysters or the spicy Cajun crab boil, you’re sure to be satisfied. Travel the Boudin Trail for that mouthwatering Southwestern Louisiana finger food made from pork, liver, rice, onions, parsley and garlic. Locals rave over Sonnier’s Sausage and Boudin, which sells spicy, regular and smoked rolls along with spicy hot link sandwiches and lip-smacking plate lunches. Billedeaux’s Cajun Kitchen serves up rich jambalaya, po’boy combos and plenty of tasty smoked sausage to hungry patrons.
Legend has it that centuries ago, French pirate Jean Lafitte had a hideout in the area and hid vast treasures in these bayous. Today, the Louisiana Pirate Festival, formally known as Contraband Days, takes place in May with Cajun food, Cajun French and zydeco music, and plenty of revelers dressed as pirates who make the current mayor walk the plank. Beach games, a sailing regatta and parades round out the 12-day event.
Live, continuous Cajun music, plenty of gumbo and jambalaya, and warm hospitality are the three ingredients to the famed Cajun Music and Food Festival held every July. Celebrating Cajun heritage with live musical performances, delicious spicy food and Cajun dance competitions is enough to make everyone feel at home on the bayou.
For More Information
Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau
Louisiana Office of Tourism