The New Year always invites a fresh start, big ideas, and adventures to be had. Make sure that your 2020 to-do list also includes a trip to Lake Charles, Louisiana, and heaping helpings of Southern hospitality — oh, and Mardi Gras beads.
In Lake Charles, you'll find classic Cajun and Creole cuisine, untouched marshlands, local festivals and festivities, high-rolling nightlife, live music, and plenty of incredible locally owned shops, eateries, and breweries. Lake Charles' Mardi Gras officially kicks off on January 3, and Mardi Gras weekend is Friday through Sunday, February 21-25.
Also, look forward to being pampered in style at the glamorous Golden Nugget Lake Charles and L'Auberge Casino Resort. These properties sit side by side and offer golf courses, spa facilities, restaurants, live entertainment, and amazing pools with a lazy river.
The Isle of Capri Casino & Hotel has games of chance, restaurants, and a dance floor with live entertainment, great for anyone wanting to Cajun two-step. In Vinton, patrons can experience the heart-pounding thoroughbred racing action at Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel.
Taste the local flavor by strolling through downtown Lake Charles, which is completely walkable with a hyper-local focus. Here, you can experience Alexander Art Studio, complete with a larger-than-life mural on the outside of the building that's a must-stop photo opportunity. You can also find fleur-de-lis paintings, souvenirs, and specialty items there.
Within walking distance, you can enjoy Boombox Frozen Pops and Ice Cream, Botsky's premium hot dogs, and myriad other interesting finds from one of the lake area's favorite restaurants, Luna Bar & Grill, and the newly opened Panorama Music House.
Your taste buds will thank you as you enjoy delicious Cajun and Creole food like gumbo, jambalaya, crabs, and boudin, Southwest Louisiana's favorite snack. Or you can try the local spirits at Bayou Rum and YellowFin Vodka, and craft beer at Crying Eagle Brewing Company. Crying Eagle features a tap room, beer garden, gift shop, live music, and The Bistro, which serves up hot and delicious stone-fired pizza that pairs perfectly with one of their cold brews.
While you are in town, you owe it to yourself to dive into nature and explore outdoor adventures along the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. The road features four wildlife refuges, walking trails out over the marsh, Gulf beaches, and endless opportunities to reconnect with nature and unplug from the day-to-day. The Creole Nature Trail is one of only 43 All-American Roads in the nation, and the sunrises and sunsets along the marshlands and Gulf beaches boast some of the most brilliant shades of pink, orange, gold, and violet.
For a relaxing escape, check out places to stay and things to experience at www.visitlakecharles.org.