Because Lake Charles has so much to offer – nature trails, Cajun food, Creole culture, shopping, Victorian architecture, museums and gaming resorts – to say “there is something for everyone” is accurate.
I was focused on all of the above, but what I hadn’t anticipated was the charm of the residents and their true love of the city. If you get the chance to stay at one of the area’s incredible entertainment resorts, you have to do it. These resorts are gorgeous, the accommodations are top quality and the choice of dining is extensive. When you are done with gaming, go have a whiskey at the barber shop!
Mardi Gras and Victorian Homes
After a perfect night’s sleep and beignets for breakfast, I toured the Mardi Gras Museum, which claims it has the biggest collection of Mardi Gras costumes in the world. They truly are a sight to see. I even got to try on one or two myself, and that was fun! After the museum, I wandered through the Charpentier Historic District. The houses are gorgeous and date 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
My stomach began its usual grumbling after the morning city tour, I headed to a local favorite restaurant, Famous Foods. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, this is not going to be your best option, but if you like meat, this is your spot! My friend wanted to try a bit of everything and that we did. Lunch consisted of brisket, turkey legs, barbecue, 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. They are not the healthiest things to eat, but are 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 lunch calories, so the next stop took us to the Creole Nature Trail. We started at 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. There also are hundreds of species of birds to watch as well as places to fish, swim and sunbathe. It is 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, and I loved that. After a quick coffee, we strolled 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 at the hotel, it was time for a quick freshen-up before dinner. After so much meat for lunch, we decided to try Seafood Palace, another local favorite, for dinner. Between us, we ordered five pounds of crawfish, crab legs, blue crab and some broccoli (we had to have a green!). All were unbelievably delicious, and the prices were reasonable.
Although there are plenty of wonderful restaurants in Lake Charles, Seafood Palace is a must-visit place and was a wonderful way to end my superb time in Lake Charles.
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Lake Charles: Nature Trails and Boudin Tales
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