Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Lake Charles, LA

  • Published 2022/10/03

Lake Charles, Louisiana, is one of the best cities to visit with your friends and family.

This is because there are plenty of lakes and other water bodies in Lake Charles city and its surrounding area .

Lake Charles is also home to several museums, art centers, parks, nature trails, casinos, and resorts.

If you are in Charles Lake, you shouldn’t miss out on these attractions.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 20 best things to do in Lake Charles, Louisiana:

Revisit the City’s History at 1911 Historic City Hall

Exterior of the 1911 Historic City Hall

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History enthusiasts are sure to have a great time at 1911 Historic City Hall, art museum and cultural center that exhibits the cultural and historical background of Louisiana.

The four-sided manual clock of this museum and the Christmas village display are worth mentioning.

Admission to this museum and art and culture center is free to the public.

Facade of the 1911 Historic City Hall

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Experience Louisiana Pirate Festival

The Louisiana Pirate Festival is conducted on the shores of Lake Charles, and earlier, it was known as the Contraband days.

The festival spans 12 days in the first two weeks of May.

This is one of the most important festivals in the city’s cultural calendar, with over 200,000 people attending the festival.

The festival began in 1957 and celebrates the city’s maritime traditions.

The two-week mega event is spread over both sea and land.

During this festival, several musicians and band artists perform on the shores of Lake Charles.

It’s a family-friendly event with local arts and crafts, games, carnival rides, costume contests, and cannon demonstrations.

This festival is rated among the top 20 events in the Southeast US.

The best time to visit Lake Charles is between April and May and September to October.

Play Some Games at L’Auberge Casino Resort

Aerial view of the L’Auberge Casino Resort

Felix Mizioznikov /

This is the most famous casino resort in Lake Charles.

This is a 26-story building with around 1,000 guest rooms, a premier meeting place, and a golf course.

People enjoy gambling games such as Baccarat, Blackjack, and EZ Baccarat.

It also has several table games and poker room games.

The casino boasts 1,600 slots housed in a glass dome with a grand vaulted ceiling.

Night view of L'Auberge Casino Resort's exterior

Jburge123, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Additionally, it has facilities such as luxurious accommodations in the form of rooms and suites.

Each room has an LCD television, free access to Wi-Fi, a makeup mirror, a cozy mattress, and a coupon for the gym.

Another attraction is the packages they offer for the suites, such as the Royale Suite, Marquis Suite, and so on, based on the amenities available.

The unique features of these suites range from a perfect view of the golf course to the comfort of the oversized clawfoot tub and a marble shower.

Go Golfing at Contraband Bayou Golf Club

This 18-hole golf club is located at the L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles.

This club was built by the famous golf designer Tom Fazio.

This is a beautiful place for golf players to spend.

The design of this 7,077-yard and par-71 golf course complements Louisiana’s typical lowland marshy features.

It has eight spectacular lakes on the edges.

The natural vegetation and aquatic features challenge the skills of the golfers.

Every cart is equipped with a touchscreen GPS.

The staff at the course is friendly and skilled.

You also have a beverage cart service that offers snacks, sandwiches, and cool drinks.

Many golf magazines have rated it as the best golf course in different categories.

As a magnificent golf course within a Casino resort, it’s undoubtedly one of the places you would like to visit.

What’s more?

L’Auberge Casino Resort, where this golf course is situated, is known for its luxurious facilities, including hot water pools.

Play a Poker at Golden Nugget Lake Charles

Aerial view of Golden Nugget Lake Charles

Felix Mizioznikov /

This casino has a 22-story building with nearly 1,000 guest rooms, an extensive golf course, a meeting place, bar and dining facilities, and a waterfront.

It is famous for the beautiful casino experience it provides to guests.

It also has poker rooms and table games.

Exterior of Golden Nugget Lake Charles

CTtcg, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Golden Nugget offers a variety of cuisines, helping you experience the rich culture of Louisiana.

Amenities here include a spa and salon, bars and dining areas, pools, fitness centers, marina, tennis courts, and scooter rentals.

Pay a Visit to Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu

Exhibit in Mardi Gras Museum

Team at Studios, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is indeed an asset of Lake Charles as it displays Louisiana’s history, culture, and traditions.

This museum has six rooms, each exhibiting matters of cultural and historical importance.

The subjects range from the origin of Mardi Gras to the costume collection and Mardi Gras parades.

The most prominent Mardi Gras costume collection is worth mentioning.

It includes the costumes of Carnival ball royalty, Mardi Gras Indians, Cajun Mardi Gras, Brazil carnival, Gay carnival, Walking clubs, and many more.

Visit Imperial Calcasieu Museum

This 58-year-old museum is known for its historical and cultural exhibitions.

It displays the rich culture of Louisiana.

Its mission is to support art and artists and provide education regarding skills to all age groups.

However, this museum is presently undergoing renovations.

Another attraction is the 400-year-old Sallier oak tree, named after Charles Sallier.

It is believed that he had built his summer house beneath this tree.

This tree assures a beautiful sensory experience for visitors.

How this oak tree has held out against hurricanes and other calamities is still a wonder.

Wander around Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point

Creole Nature Trail Road sign

Michael Kaercher /

This is a magnificent destination for nature lovers.

The crocodile populations and bird species are preserved here.

The landscape and wildlife here are sure to overwhelm your eyes.

Wildlife enthusiasts can make the most out of this spot.

The scenic background is splendid, located around 200 miles from the Cajun culture and about 30 miles from the Gulf coast.

It also provides facilities for fishing and boating.

You also learn tips and tricks to locate a crocodile in the lake.

Revisit History at Charpentier Historic District

Farm house at Charpentier Historic District

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This district is surrounded by Lawrence, Kirkman, Iris, Hodges, and Louisiana Street.

It incorporates an area of 158 acres of land.

The buildings of historical significance within the district exhibit outstanding architecture.

This is a must-visit destination in Lake Charles.

It is sure to surprise you.

The style of architecture reflected in this locality points back to Victorian fashion.

This destination can promise you a feeling as though you stepped back into history.

Have a Picnic at Prien Lake Park

The waters of Prien Lake Park

CTtcg, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is a perfect destination for nature lovers.

Its location along the Calcasieu River contributes to its magnificent landscape, which is sure to gift you a breathtaking experience.

Visitors can enjoy their evenings with their kids.

You are also allowed to take your pets in for a walk.

It offers services such as parks and picnic spots.

And one can also enjoy boating.

It features explicitly crabbing directly from the bank of the lake.

The attractions you can explore while boating includes Lake Charles Civic Center Sea Wall, Calcasieu ship channel, and Westfork of the Calcasieu River, among others.

Play at Millennium Park’s Playground

This destination is perfect if you are planning a trip with your kids.

Kids love to play, and this park has lots of amenities meant for kids.

The play area provides climbing rods and splash pads with shades.

The treehouse for kids to climb is worth mentioning.

Kids are sure to love it.

Additionally, it features a toddler zone.

This park is perfectly safe for kids.

Hence, you can enjoy your time without being worried about your kids.

It also has a Water Park with fountains.

The walking paths are beautiful.

Another attraction of this park is the 9/11 memorial, built-in memory of the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center.

However, even adults can enjoy the evening breeze a wonderful time here.

Have Fun at White Oak Park

As the name suggests, this park is dotted with oak trees.

The scenic background of this park is worth capturing on your camera.

This park has a protected area of 810 acres and is enlisted among the Allegheny County Parks.

It also features athletic fields meant for training in various athletic events.

This is sure to give a wonderful experience to the bike riders.

The park has an extensive network of bike trails that runs through the mountains and is hidden among the woods.

It also has a huge off-leash Dog Park.

So, your pet is sure to enjoy the trip.

See the Blooming Flowers at Drew Park

This park in Lake Charles offers a great recreational spot.

It has lots of greenery and blooming flowers.

It also features a large playground, picnic tables, and gyms.

Drew Park has several picturesque spots where you can click pictures with friends and family.

Another attraction is the recreational center, which provides several video and table games.

You can also have snacks and watch television here.

Several summer day camps are hosted in this park.

Drew Park is located close to Charles Drew Community Center in Lake Charles.

This could be an excellent place if you aim to enjoy the outdoors without tiring yourself.

You can play softball or basketball with your friends.

See the Bald Cypress Trees at Sam Houston Jones State Park

Daytime view of Sam Houston Jones State Park

Wirestock Creators /

As the name suggests, it is named after the 46th governor of Louisiana, who played an instrumental role in setting up this park.

It incorporates an area of 1088 acres.

This park is known for its cypress trees.

Additional attractions include the trails for walking and biking.

It is also a great spot to go camping and is home to several disc golf tournaments.

Signage of Sam Houston Jones State Park

Wirestock Creators /

Nature lovers can enjoy the scenic beauty of the lake with ducks and geese swimming in it.

This park is famous for its wildlife, including squirrels, bobcats, etc.

This 1,087-acre park is close to Louisiana’s most productive birding zone.

It’s an excellent place for bird-watching as, within a range of 30 miles, you can see about 200 bird species.

Pathway at Sam Houston Jones State Park

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Shop for Equipment and Enjoy a Round of Golf at Gray Plantation

Gray Plantation provides an unrivaled sports club and a top-tier golf course in Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana.

The layout was planned with a goal and packed a competitive punch while simultaneously relieving tension with its magnificent natural surroundings.

Gray Plantation’s matches serve as an inspiration and a gentle reminder of what players appreciate about this timeless game.

It features many amenities, including a pro shop with all the necessary equipment and knowledgeable trainers always ready for teaching.

A distinctive award was given to Gray Plantation for ranking among the top 100 courses in the country.

Select from Various Beers offered at Crying Eagle Brewing

At the dinner table with the family, a discussion led to the creation of Crying Eagle Brewing.

The Avery family and a few beer-lover individuals embarked on a mission to establish a microbrewery.

Its goal is to serve craft beer, hand-made cocktails, and mouthwatering cuisine.

Pistol Bridge, Louisiana Lager, Ready to Mingle, and Hop Blooded IPA are their four most well-known beers.

The taproom has a large selection of comfy indoor seat ideal for trying their ever-changing lineup of beers that you won’t find anywhere else.

Enter the beer garden to unwind and enjoy Louisiana’s lovely outdoors while enjoying a game of washers or cornhole.

Feel the Sun and Relax at H2O Bar & Grille

Gather at Lake Charles’ most extensive and upscale outdoor swimming pool and lounge, the H2O Bar & Grille.

Modern built-in lounging spaces, a river, fire stations, hot tubs, and exclusive cabanas all come with their pool.

Light cuisine is available while you relax in the hotel’s stunning outdoor pool or cool the warm weather with one of their cold fruit cocktails.

On their menu, you may discover foods like frozen drinks, cold beer, snacks, pizza, burgers, and more!

In either case, H2O Bar & Grille is a fantastic location for some sun, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

A guardian must supervise children under the age of 16.

Attend a Concert in Burton Complex

Exterior of Burton Complex

CTtcg, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Public access to Burton Complex began in 1977.

One of the biggest buildings in Southwest Louisiana, the complete complex is built on around 50 acres of ground.

Along with its facilities, the parking lot has 3000 spots, 200 designated for camping, all of which have power, sewage, and water.

About 80 massive LED light units in the event venue produce a brighter impact on all functions much more effectively.

Around 200 events, including concerts, a garden and flea festival, graduations, training courses, and more, occur at Burton annually.

Witness First-Rate Service at Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse

Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse in Lake Charles is the best option for superb steakhouse cuisine.

Prime Midwest beef, delicious appetizers, seafood, delicious desserts, and excellent wine are all available on the menu, which uses only the finest ingredients.

Meals complement a comprehensive wine list, first-rate service, an exquisite yet welcoming setting, hand-made mahogany woodwork, soft leather furniture, and extravagant extras.

Vic & Anthony’s management ensures that the food, service, and environment are outstanding, whether it’s a leisurely Happy Hour, a corporate dinner, a romantic evening, or a wine night.

You may also reserve one of their two exclusive dining areas for an event; the Board Room can accommodate up to 16 people, while the Wheelhouse can accommodate up to 34 people.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore Nature with Grosse Savanne Eco-tours

An eco-tour is an excellent way to explore the magnificence of nature.

Grosse Savanne Eco-tours provides trips for small groups of visitors under the supervision of a guide.

You get to see the sights around the freshwater and saltwater marshy areas.

Grosse Savanne Eco-tours offers a protected area of approximately 50,000 acres where you can explore without restriction.

This eco-tour is a great way to explore the wilderness, especially the bird species.

You can have a glimpse of more than 400 bird species here.

It’s an excellent place for nature, birding, and wildlife viewing.

You can spend your day leisurely exploring private nature trails, a boat tour in marshes, or gaining educational experiences.

Final Thoughts

The friendly heartland of Lake Charles is where history enthusiasts may enjoy the city’s historical appeal.

Lake Charles caters to every taste with its vibrant casinos, serene parks, and trails.

Take a stroll around the streets to admire the majestic Southern mansions, and if you’re a gourmet, look for some of the tiny local restaurants offering delicious foods made from recipes that date back centuries.

Using the list of the best things to do in Lake Charles, you can schedule sightseeing tours of this famous welcoming city!

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