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Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lake Charles, Louisiana: Nature Trails and Boudin Tales

By Jody Sidle Short

Lake Charles, Louisiana, has everything to offer – casinos, nature trails, Cajun dishes, Creole culture, shopping, Victorian architecture, museums and more – so to say “there is something for everyone” is an accurate statement.

I was focused on all of the above, but what I hadn’t anticipated was the charm of the local residents and their true love of their city. First, if you get the chance to stay at one of the area’s incredible casino resorts, you have to do it. 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!

Mardi Gras and Victorian Homes

After a perfect night’s sleep and some beignets for breakfast, I took a trip to the Mardi Gras Museum, which boasts the biggest collection of Mardi Gras costumes in the world. They truly are a sight to see and I even got to try on one or two myself which was fun! After the museum, I went for a wander through the Charpentier Historic District. The houses are gorgeous and date back to the late 19th century. There were a couple of houses for sale that I would have jumped at given half a chance.

Give Me Cracklings

After a lovely morning, my stomach began its usual grumbling so I headed over to a local favourite, Famous Foods. Now, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, this is not going to be your best option, but if you like your meat, then this is your spot! My friend wanted to try a bit of everything and that we did. Lunch consisted of brisket, turkey legs, BBQ, pork, pulled chicken, boudin and cracklings.

The boudin and cracklings – rice and pork sausage and deep-fried pork rinds – are local specialties and are so delicious. Not the healthiest things to eat but addictive – I took a bag of cracklings to go! The best part of lunch was meeting the owner, Darby. The business has been in the family for three generations and now his son runs it; you couldn’t meet a nicer family!

Nature at its Finest

It was time to burn off some of the lunch calories, so the next stop took us to the Creole Nature Trail. We started at the Adventure Point, which has tons of information and great interactive exhibits, then headed on to the trail itself. Along the trail you will definitely see the King of the Marsh, American alligators, and plenty of them! Plus there are hundreds of species of birds to watch, as well as places to fish, swim and sunbathe – it’s truly beautiful.

Free Guides to Downloads

A special part of Lake Charles is that so many of the attractions have free apps that you can download to take a personal tour – I, for one, loved that. After a quick coffee we strolled down to the lake which was alive with people walking and biking. The backdrop from there was wonderful with two of the area’s big casino resort hotels accenting the rest of the skyline.

Catch of the Day

Back to the hotel for a quick freshen-up then out to dinner. After so much meat for lunch, we decided to try the local seafood favourite for dinner at Seafood Palace. Between us we ordered 5 pounds of crawfish, crab legs, blue crab and some broccoli (got to have a green!). All were unbelievably delicious and the prices were very reasonable.

Although I know there are plenty of other wonderful restaurants in Lake Charles, Seafood Palace is a must-visit and was a wonderful way to end my superb time in Lake Charles!

For more information, please visit us:

Official Lake Charles Travel Site

When you go

Places to Stay

L’Auberge Casino Resort

Things to Do

Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point
Creole Nature Trail All American Road
Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu
Charpentier Historic District

Places to Eat

Famous Foods
Seafood Palace

For More Information

Lake Charles Convention & Visitors Bureau

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