If you've heard of or been to Lake Charles, Louisiana, chances are you haven't experienced everything it has to offer. The destination is only a short, two-hour drive from Houston, making it ideal for a getaway.
Going for a weekend? Here's what you shouldn't miss.
In downtown Lake Charles, almost every single restaurant is locally owned and operated, giving you a literal taste of local cooking. Luna Bar & Grill, with its Cajun-fusion cooking and live music on the patio, is continually voted the No. 1 restaurant in Lake Charles. Pro tip: Make it a point to stop in for the incredible Sunday jazz brunch.
Another spot that's a must-visit on the weekends is Blue Dog Cafe. Chef Ryan Trahan has some impressive credentials, including being crowned the King of Louisiana Seafood and also as the 2018 King of American Seafood. Saturdays bring the Zydeco Lunch, featuring lively Zydeco musicians, and with Sundays come bottomless mimosas for the grown-ups. Everyone will want to take a peek at George Rodrigue's iconic blue dog art, which is sprinkled throughout the restaurant.
If you're looking for just a quick snack, stop in at Pops & Rockets Gourmet Ice Cream or Botsky's for a hot dog. Stellar Beans Coffee is ready any time you need a caffeinated pick-me-up.
Entertainment and accommodations
The two go hand in hand in Lake Charles, which is known for its world-class casinos. The luxurious Golden Nugget Lake Charles and L'Auberge Casino Resort sit side by side, and each offers truly spectacular pools and lazy rivers. Heated pools are a blessing in the cooler months, as are the fire pits on the beach. Stroll the beachfront boardwalk along the waterway and soak in the atmosphere during the day, or under a canopy of stars at night.
Head to the piano bar Ember at L’Auberge or relax at Rush Lounge inside the Golden Nugget. Jack Daniel's Bar & Grill and Blue Martini are each popular for night owls who are looking to take a spin on the dance floor. And, of course, you can't overlook the multitude of gaming options on the casino floors.
The Isle of Capri Casino Hotel also provides a plethora of casino games, retail outlets, and restaurants, along with one of the best dance floors in the area and live entertainment at the Lone Wolf Lounge.
For some, vacation means fitting in a few rounds of golf while others look forward to some serious R&R at the spa. Golden Nugget Lake Charles and L'Auberge Casino Resort can each fulfill both wishes, sporting golf courses designed by the award-winning Todd Eckenrode and Origins Golf Design and Tom Fazio, plus serene spa facilities.
In downtown Lake Charles, pop in at Alexander Art Studio, the largest independently owned art studio in Louisiana.
On your way in or out of Southwest Louisiana, take a detour to Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel. You can experience the heart-pounding action of thoroughbred racing, or take in a live music set at the Gator Lounge.
Learn more about adventures to be had in Lake Charles by going to VisitLakeCharles.org or following #VisitLakeCharles on social media.