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.
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.