Lake Charles is the second-largest city 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.
- 1 Lake Charles Regional Airport (LCH IATA). United Airlines serves the Lake Charles Regional Airport with nonstop flights to/from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport. American Eagle serves LCH with nonstop flights to/from the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport.
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.
- 1 Imperial Calcasieu Museum, 204 West Sallier St, ☏ . Tu-Sa 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.
- Sallier Oak, 204 West Sallier St (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.
- 2 North Beach, I- 10 Srv Rd (just east of the I-10 bridge, south of the highway), toll-free: . On the north shore of Lake Charles is the only 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 (in fact, they did not pass the quality test in 2018) as there are refineries in the area, but it is OK if you're not looking for superclear water.
- SWLA Convention and Visitor's Bureau, 1205 N. Lakeshore Dr (Off of I-10 at the downtown exit), ☏ . 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.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.
- Drew Park, 416 Dr. Michael DeBakey Dr (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.
- 3 Sam Houston Jones State Park, 107 Sutherland Rd (off of Hwy 378 in Moss Bluff), ☏ . 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.
- 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.
- 1 Delta Downs Racetrack Casino, 2717 Delta Downs Dr (I-10 Exit 4 or 7), toll-free: . Racetrack casino with hotel, dining, gaming and entertainment.
- [dead link] Isle of Capri Casino, 100 Westlake Ave (I-10 exit 27), toll-free: . Two casinos, two hotels, four restaurants, live music and entertainment.
- 2 L'Auberge Du Lac Casino Resort, 777 Avenue L'Auberge, ☏ . Resort hotel, golf club, 8 restaurants, spa, pool with lazy river, live entertainment, coffee shop, gelato shop, and shopping.
- Children's Museum, 327 Broad St, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-5PM. 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. $7 admission.
- Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, 809 Kirby St, ☏ . 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 St, ☏ . 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), toll-free: . 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.
- 505 Imports, 1776 W. Prien Lake Rd (Target shopping center), ☏ . Exotic imported furniture, accessories and gifts from all over the world.
- French Quarter Antiques, 3529 Ryan St. Antiques and collectibles flea market
- Expressions, 3204 Ryan St, ☏ . Fragrances, jewelry, shoes, purses, fleur de lis items, and home decor.
- Brousse's- A Child's World, 542 W. Prien Lake Rd. Children's heirloom clothing, toys and gifts.
- Gordon's Drugs and Fine Gifts, 2716 Lake St. 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 St. Brighton jewelry, Sweet Shop chocolates, boutique, home decor, bath and body.
- The Wine Store, 4070 Nelson Rd, ☏ . Great selection of boutique wines. Specializing in small production, hand crafted wines. Gourmet cheeses. Custom gift baskets. Wine tastings every Th 5PM-7PM.
- Charleston Farmers Market, 1001 Ryan St (Behind Historic City Hall). Small farmer's market with fruits/vegetables, specialty jams, candles, artisan breads, etc. 8AM-12PM every Saturday.
- 1 Pat's of Henderson, 1500 Siebarth Dr, ☏ . 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.
- 2 Cancun Restaurant, 4001 Ryan St, ☏ . transports you to Mexico with their decor and staff. The food is full of flavor that everyone will enjoy.
- 3 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.
- 4 Harlequin Steaks & Seafood, 501 W College St, ☏ . 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 romantic dinners with a significant other.
- 5 La Truffe Sauvage, 815 West Bayou Pines Dr, ☏ . Fine dining with French, southwest, Louisiana and Mediterranean influences. $$$.
- 6 Pujo Street Cafe, 901 Ryan St, ☏ . American, Cajun, and French bistro with a historic downtown feel. Porch seating.
- 7 Pappy's Deli, 2627 Ryan St, ☏ . Hole in the wall delicious, mufflettas, poboys, gumbo and fried anything.
- 8 Seafood Palace, 2218 Enterprise Blvd, ☏ . Cajun/Creole, boiled seafood in a family friendly atmosphere.
- 9 Steamboat Bill's on the Lake, 1004 N. Lakeshore Dr, ☏ . 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.
- 1 [dead link] Luna Bar and Grill, 719 Ryan St (downtown), ☏ . 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.
- 2 Big Daddy's Sports Grill, 1737 W Sale Rd, ☏ . Big screen TV for sports, live Cajun music and dancing every Friday night.
- 3 Cowboy's, 5329 Common St, ☏ . Bar with live music, DJs and dancing.
- 4 Frosty Factory, 4688 Common St, ☏ . Frozen drinks and beer, Karaoke Thurs-Sat, pool, shuffleboard.
- Jack Daniel's Bar and Grill, 777 Avenue L'Auberge (In L'Auberge Casio), ☏ . Features live entertainment every Thurs-Sat night.
- 5 Cigar Club, 1700 E. Prien Lake Rd, ☏ . open until 2AM. Retail cigar store and elegant lounge with full bar.
- 6 OB's Bar & Grill, 1301 Ryan St, ☏ . Bar and Grill with music, dancing etc.
- Pappy's, 2627 Ryan St, ☏ . Deli with connected pub. 30 beers on tap.
- 7 [dead link] Stellar Beans Coffee House, 319 Broad St (downtown), ☏ . 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.
|Routes through Lake Charles|
|Houston ← Beaumont ←||W E||→ Lafayette → New Orleans|
|Houston ← Beaumont ←||W E||→ Rayne → Lafayette|
|Houston ← Beaumont ←||W E||→ Rayne → Lafayette|
|END ←||S N||→ Woodworth → Alexandria|
|Shreveport ← Many ←||N S||→ END|