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Travel Logs April 2012

Compulsive Traveler

Explore Lake Charles and SW Louisiana

By Sandra Scott

Designated as one of the All-American Roads and National Byways the 180-mile trail offers wildlife refuges, marshlands, and beaches perfect for alligator and bird spotting. It is considered one of America’s Last Great Wildernesses.

v_scottlouisianaTravelers who enjoy nature, history and great food will find a lot to like in the Lake Charles, Louisiana, area. Visitors will find lakes, rivers, wildlife, gaming, and plenty more while experiencing Southwest Louisiana’s great hospitality.

  1. The Imperial Calcasieu Museum: Learn about the history of SW Louisiana through the museum’s historic exhibits that depict life from the 1800s to the present. Period rooms including a kitchen, parlor, barbershop, and pharmacy give life to an earlier time. Sit under the historic 400-year-old Sallier Oak located behind the museum and imagine all the tree has witnessed.
  2. The Historic Charpentier District: The historic district gives evidence to the legacy of a lumber boom when the “Michigan Men” arrived, bringing with them their Victorian-style of housing – which blended with the local style influenced by the French creating a unique Lake Charles style of architecture. The District was admitted to the National Historic Register in 1990. Walking and carriage tours are available.
  3. Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge: Before heading out to explore the natural side of SW Louisiana, visit the nature center where exhibits focus on the wildlife and the variety of ecosystems. Two animatronic figures help to explain the area’s natural wonders. Before heading out to explore, visitors can pick up trail guides and bird watch from their viewing platform.
  4. The Creole Nature Trail: Designated as one of the All-American Roads and National Byways the 180-mile trail offers wildlife refuges, marshlands, and beaches perfect for alligator and bird spotting. It is considered one of America’s Last Great Wildernesses. A new boardwalk along the Pintail Wildlife Drive offers an up-close communication with nature.
  5. Shell Beach: Shell Beach is just one of many beaches where people can enjoy the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Pick up shells, go swimming, try your luck fishing, or just hang out and relax. Rental properties are available.
  6. Boudin Trail: Imagine a sausage with its own trail. Boudin is a Cajun sausage unique to SW Louisiana. The Boudin Trail takes visitors to all the local boudin masters where they offer homemade boudin sure to delight the palate. The trail wanders through local cities and towns.
  7. Mardi Gras: Lake Charles’ Mardi Gras is considered the most family-friendly Mardi Gras celebration. Regardless of the time of year visitors can get the feel for the festivities at the Mardi Gras Museum where some of the fanciful costumes are on display. One of the highlights are the animated mannequins that tell the story of Mardi Gras.
  8. Golf: Golfing is a year-round attraction in Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana. With seven public courses, there is variety in the designs, and award-winning golf courses sure to enchant golfers of all levels. Whether you are a novice of a seasoned professional, these courses offer excellent conditions and Southern hospitality.
  9. Culinary delights: Gumbo may be the signature dish of Louisiana but there is more than gumbo to dining in the Lake Charles area. Enjoy everything from finger food to white-tablecloth experiences. Gourmands will want to attend the annual Rouge et Blanc food festival where there is a diversity of food and wine along with great entertainment.
  10. Gaming: Try your luck at one the first rate casino getaways that offer great accommodations, spas, excellent dining and incredible gaming experiences. The L’Auberge Casino offers the finest in entertainment and gaming.

From gaming to the great outdoors, from culinary delights to festivals, from museums to shopping, every visitor to the Lake Charles area will find just what they are looking for. The area is kid-friendly making it a great family destination. For more information check www.visitlakecharles.org or call 800-456-SWLA.


Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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