A couple of months ago, I spent Mardi Gras weekend in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  I had never heard of Lake Charles and now I will always hold the town dear to my heart!  I was pleasantly surprised to learn it’s only a little more than 2 hours away from my hometown of Houston, which makes it the perfect getaway for many of my friends.

 

Where to Stay

L'Auberge du Lac Resort
L’Auberge Casino Resort

I stayed in the luxury casino and resort, L’Auberge. If you wanted to, you can spend the entire weekend getting all your desires catered to without having to leave the property. Amentites include a casino, golf course, heated pool, a lazy river, spa, luxury shopping, and restaurants! The beds were quite comfortable. If you’re a sucker for turn down service, they will woo you with exceptional turn down service. I’m still thinking about their gold-dusted chocolate cookies and cold milk waiting in my room after a long day of fun!

777 Avenue L’Auberge, Lake Charles, LA 70601

 

Where to Eat and Drink

Ember Grille and Wine Bar

Tucked inside in the L’Auberge’s casino resort, is an excellent fine dining option called Ember, a Southern and Cajun restaurant offering winning fine dining experience. Read more about my experience there on my food blog.

777 Ave L’Auberge, Lake Charles, LA 70601

 

Lebleu’s Landing

Lebleu’s Landing is a family owned Cajun restaurant with a Louisiana gift shop and a meat market. Visitors can watch boudin being made. What’s boudin (prounoced boo-dan)? Boudin is ground pork, liver, rice, parsley, onions, and seasoning in a sausage casing. Trust me, it’s so good! If you fall in love with boudin, you can go on a boudin trail in Lake Charles!

202 Henning Drive, Sulphur, LA 70663

 

Crying Eagle Brewing Co. 

Come to the Crying Eagle Brewing Co., tour their facility, and drink their beers while enjoying their beer garden. I loved their Belgian Single, Ready to Mingle. Oh, They often host live music!

1165 E. McNeese St., Lake Charles, LA 70607

 

Blue Dog Cafe

Come to Blue Dog Cafe for a delicious Sunday brunch buffet while listening to live music. I especially loved their gouda grits! They’re named for George Rodrigue’s famous artwork; you can see a gallery of his Blue Dog series at this cafe.

609 Ryan St. Lake Charles

 

Steamboat Bills

Steamboat Bill’s

Located right off of I-10, Steamboat Bill’s will forever be the place I first discovered the Louisianan dish, pistolette. Pistolettes are fried stuffed bread rolls. I could eat a whole plate of their crawfish étouffée pistolettes!  Photo by Hayden Walker

1004 Lakeshore Dr., Lake Charles, LA 70601

 

seafood palace lake charlesSeafood Palace

A formidable local purveyor for crawfish is Seafood Palace. I could tell it’s a town favorite from walking through the restaurant and seeing how bumping the place was. Every table had multiple platters of crawfish! They offered rubber gloves if you didn’t want to get your hands dirty, but I recommend getting your hands dirty! Also on their menu: boudin balls, gumbo, seafood filled pistolettes, and fried shrimp or fish.

1004 Lakeshore Dr., Lake Charles, LA 70601

 

Rikenjak’s

Rikenjak’s reminded me of the house-converted restaurants and bars we have in Austin (particularly on Rainey Street). Their outdoor patio had fun yard games that adds to their casual and laid-back atmosphere. Known for their burgers and brews, you can have crawfish as your appetizer before getting your hands on their burgers!

3716 Ryan St, Lake Charles, LA 70605

 

What to Do

creole nature trail

Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point 

Great place for the kids. Practice your Cajun French , smell the smells of Cajun cuisine, and “play along” with cajun and zydeco beats. The staff there are also great resources for what to do in the Lake Charles!

 

Grosse Savanne Eco-Tours

Take a boat tour of private marshes and enjoy access to several bird rookeries, miles of land to spy on some wildlife and enjoy the wide variety of plant life.

 

Festivals

Lake Charles Mardi Gras Children's Parade

Lake Charles Mardi Gras Parade

A city that values tradition, Lake Charles has a full calendar of events and festivals all year round. Lucky me, I went during the festival weekend, Mardi Gras weekend. I attended theKrewe of Barkus Parade (extravagant Mardi Gras parade for pups!), the World Famous Cajun Extravaganza Gumbo Cook-Off, and the Mardi Gras Children’s Day Parade. In fact, I got to ride the first float during the Children’s Day Parade and it was such a thrill to throw beads at squealing children and yes, squealing adults too!  Float Photo by Craig Crawford

 

Iowa Chicken Run

If you go around Mardi Gras, be sure to experience Cajun Mardi Gras by way of a hayride chasing after chicken. Do I even need to elaborate? Okay fine, it’s a fun tradition where you go house to house collecting ingredients for gumbo and dance to zydeco at each stop.

 

Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu

The Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu has largest Mardi Gras costume display in the world. There are fun Animatronics that tell the history of Mardi Gras. Because I’ve never been to Mardi Gras, I had no idea how grand the royal costumes were! I learned how each costumes can not only run thousands of dollars to make and require a lot of muscle strength to walk in, but they’re also not to be worn again in subsequent years!

809 Kirby St. Lake Charles, LA 70601

 

And there you have it. A recap and guide to my first weekend in Lake Charles. I’m looking forward to visiting again! Have you been to Lake Charles? What was your favorite thing about it?

 

For more information on Lake Charles, Louisiana or to book your next trip visit: www.visitlakecharles.com

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