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7 reasons to visit Lake Charles in Louisiana

Lake Charles, Louisiana sits on the confluence of the Gulf of Mexico, the lake of the same name, culture, unique cuisine, and attractions. This is Cajun country, full of historical French-inspired influence that extends from lodging to attractions to cuisine. The area is known for incredible fishing and hunting, yet the other aspects of Lake Charles make it must stop if you want a unique cultural experience different from New Orleans. Blue Dog: artful cuisine If you want Cajun-inspired upscale cuisine with a bit of history, look for the Blue Dog Café. Started by George Rodrigue, who painted Louisiana swamps, good old Cajuns and folklore legends of the Acadiana area. One Cajun story was about a supernatural werewolf dog haunting the marshes, and hence the Blue Dog series was born. Great modern Cajun food in a lively atmosphere, and everywhere you sit you are under the spell of the Blue Dog. L’auberge Resort and Casino You will have to stay somewhere, and the L’Auberge Resort and Casino is the ideal stopping spot both in location and amenities. A 70,000 square foot casino enables your gambling hunches to play out combined with elegant suites. On property, dining is way above average at this AAA Four Diamond resort with the Ember Grille for the ultimate wine pairing, and the Jack Daniel’s Bar & Grill where hard spirits meet their food match, especially in the oyster realm. Darrell’s Famous Po’boys This is the sandwich that made the gulf area famous, and the best place for a po’boy’ is simply Darrell’s. This is a down-home restaurant where locals flock, and when in doubt, go where they go. Think of this as the Louisiana version of the submarine sandwich – lots of meat including shrimp or crawfish and then dressings of choice on a New Orleans baguette-like bread. Bayou Rum Company Sugar cane grows aplenty in this area of Louisiana, and what better use for sugar cane then rum. They have been crafting rum for years, so expect a variety of flavors and potency levels that would make a pirate beard go straight. Their Bayou Select Rum is aged in bourbon barrels for up to three years using the Solera aging method. Lake Charles golf Given that you are in a delta region, the ground is incredibly fertile which means grass and course foliage is exceptionally lush. Stay anywhere in the middle of town, and these courses are a maximum of 15 minutes drive. The Contraband Bayou Golf Club, designed by world-renowned golf architect, Tom Fazio, complements the lowland marsh features of the natural Louisiana environment to enhance a different 7,077 yard, par-71 championship golf course. Gray Plantation is a beautifully landscaped, semi-private golf course that is part of the prestigious Audubon Golf Trail. If you want water, then the National Golf Club of Louisiana is set in a mature growth pine forest, featuring an abundance of water hazards on almost every hole, preserved wetlands, and roughly 90 bunkers. The Country Club at the Golden Nugget is right on the bayou, with the course featuring Miniverde greens and Celebration tees, fairways and roughs. Birds and gators Most people feel the best way to see an alligator is from a distance where you won’t be lunch. There are eco-tours in a variety of formats so you can view the fantastic birds, gators, and wildlife without fearing for yours. Kayak through a bayou with Lake Area Adventure Tours, or relax with a marsh boat ride with Grosse Savanne Eco-Tours. If driving an exploring here and there is more your style, the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road provides viewing to over 400 species of birds, fishing and crabbing. Seafood Palace The one place that serves all the local seafood is Seafood Palace, a down-home, casual eatery that is big on portions of what is in season. Step in, and you can tell this the right place as you are greeted by the owner, then go the  gourmet gamut with hush puppies all the way to the famous whole crabs. And yes, a wide selection of appropriate sudsy items to wash it down.

Neil Wolkodoff

Neil Wolkodoff is a golf and travel writer from Denver, Colorado. He covers golf, dining, activities and accommodations from the luxury and unique perspective. He has even been golfing with goats.

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  1. Why is that every golf photo has to feature bunkers and water hazards? For just for fun amateurs like me, we want something that invites us to play. I need all the help that I can get. I’d rather see perfect lush greens to help my putting and immaculate emerald fairways to help my approach shots. Come on, give us amateurs a break please?

    1. Pete, that is what this area features as it is along the bayou and marshy areas. I just wrote about what was there and their features. There are people who golf who like the fact that courses feature the natural geography, topography and climate. The golf here represents the area. These courses were quite playable even with the water features and bunkers.

    1. This appears to have started in the 1800s, with the original being fried oysters on a french loaf. During a 1929 strike, street car workers were handed these sandwiches because they were on strike and needed lunch. Then the sandwich morphed into its’ current form and variations.

  2. To me the Blue Dog Cafe seems like a Dead Cert nailed-on winner. Cajun Food is one of those good-time cuisines that always seems to with fun and laughter, maybe that’s just the spirit of the Deep South. As far as I understand it any eaterie that can tell a story with its food, especially if it is local story, is going to pull the punters in. People need food and they love stories. Stir in a touch of the supernatural and they will be queueing up.

    1. I totally agree with that, I love the sound of cajun food and that modern, lighthearted vibe. As a tourist, I’m always game for a good story and something a little unusual!

  3. The Deep South is well known for its hospitality and it seems that the Seafood Palace meets and greets very well, its a nice touch to get a personal welcome from the owner.

  4. Scary sounding supernatural werewolf dogs, yet the paintings of them look so cute! I love the sound of that place, it’s more my style with cajun food, modern and laid back atmosphere, quite colourful and a little different to the norm. A stop off for some Bayou Rum is a definitely must; is there any kind of visitors centre for the company with tours and tastings?

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