Lake Charles is the fifth largest city in Louisiana. Founded in 1861, it is located near Prien Lake and the Calcasieu River. This place has both an active nightlife and family fun with promises of plenty to do in between. With its urban appeal and location, there are many tourist attractions in Lake Charles.
10. Children’s Museum
A perfect first stop on any vacation is a destination for the kids. A fun and cool way for children to get some hands-on learning are by visiting the Children’s Museum. This hand on the museum is an excellent way for kids to learn about the Louisiana wetlands, the Gulf Railroads and “Big Mouth” a giant ceramic model of a human mouth to teach kids about dental hygiene. In addition to the hands-on exhibits, the museum also features a nature center with fun animals like iguanas and parakeets. Tickets are $7.75 for adults and kids, infants of 23 months and under getting in free and, seniors get a dollar off discount.
9. Charpentier Historical District
To expand on the historic side of Lake Charles, the Charpentier Historical District offers visitors a look into the city’s past and how it played an important role in the state’s history starting with the settling of this state by French settlers in 1760. The name Charpentier is French for a carpenter, and that is because Lake Charles was the capital of Louisiana’s pine forests and helped create a boom in the lumber industry. Today, a lot of the homes made in that era are open for tours. You can check out their website for more information.
8. Sam Houston State Park
Sam Houston Jones State Park is a great destination for outdoor fun with the whole family. Part of the State Parks Department, Sam Houston has a full range of activities and services including a boat launch, visitor/ nature center, disc golf and camping areas. There are a variety of trails for guests to use for hiking or biking. This trip is very cheap at only $2 per person with seniors 65 and older getting in for free. Cabins are available for guests to rent for $85 a night. This is a great stop for a weekend outdoors with the family.
7. Lake Charles Visitor Center
If you and your family feel like taking a pit stop while also enjoying the local festivities or Lake Charles, the Visitor Center has you covered. Located off of I 10 down south, this visitor center serves as a one-stop resource for the city on activities. Guests can learn about all the outdoor activities in the city as well as all the locations on this list. If you already know where you are going, then let this place serve you as an oasis with a dog-friendly park, gift shops, and a gator pond.
6. USS Orleck
This stop is for those who love to learn about our nation’s past as well as the history of war and the ships that perpetuated it. The USS Orleck is a naval ship that was launched on September 15th, 1945 and served during the Korean War and Vietnam. She was decommissioned in 1982 and returned to port in 2000 where she serves as a museum that is open to the public. This nonprofit museum serves to educate people on the ship’s past as well as the events that it had a hand in. The USS Orleck is about to celebrate its 70th year; you can donate to help keep the doors open for another 70 years.
5. Mardi Gras Museum
For a look on the wild partying side of history, one can always check out the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu. This special event highlights all the Mardi Gras celebrations, showcasing masks, costumes and exhibits on traditional customs. Seeing as it’s Louisiana and just a stone’s throw away from New Orleans which is the home of the greatest Mardi Gras celebrations, it would make sense that other cities do the same in celebrating. However, the museum is home to a plethora of exhibits showcasing fine art and culture. They change from month to month so check the website for more information.
4. Golden Nugget Casino
Now if there is one thing to do in the nighttime places to visit in Lake Charles, it is places to gamble and one of the grandest being the Gold Nugget Casino and country club. This luxury destination has wall-to-wall entertainment, games, dining and amenities any adult would die for. Enjoy a round of golf during the day and unwind with a romantic day at the spa. When the sun goes down, however, the coffers come out and it is time to hit the tables. With slots, craps, poker and many more games of chance, the Gold Nugget can be adults one-stop destination for high-quality entertainment, but be warned, play responsibly or the house wins.
3. Millennium Park
Millennium Park is a newly remodeled water park that you can bring the whole family to. This location is designed for kids 5-12. The summer season is from April to October and the Winter Season is from November to March. This destination was a major city renovation that started back in 2011 that detailed a community plan for two years. In 2013, the mayor unveiled the new and improved Millennium Park. Past visitors have been raving about this being the best place to take your kids for outdoor excitement and fun.
2. Prien Lake Park
This location overlooks the Indian Bay near Prien Lake. This low-key destination has a relaxing walk through the park with lovely flora and fauna. Prien Park has all the amenities one could ask for such as a pavilion, an amphitheater, picnic pavilions and walking paths. In the park there is also an interactive fountain kid can play in that the locals have dubbed a “playground” where kids can pass through the water that shoots up from the ground. This is a destination where you come to relax whether it is to plan your next move or take a rest before going there.
1. L’Auberge du Lac Casino
If you are looking for the height of luxury, look no further than L’Auberge. Enjoy the amazing amenities this place has to offer such as a spa, golf club, and shopping mall. What separates this place from the other casino resorts is that this place has things for kids as well. Children can enjoy L’Arcade, a state of the art arcade where vintage games meet modern thrills. For the adults, there is the game room full of slots, poker tables, and globar. In addition to all this, guests can enjoy live shows. This month they can look forward to singer Michael McDonald.
In an urban city like this, it is no wonder there are so many things to do in Lake Charles. There is a variety of activities for families to choose from that is guaranteed to make the trip worth it. If you are visiting for the casinos and you want to save some money by booking a hotel that is not at the casino, make sure to book a hotel that offers a bus service to your destination to save that extra buck at the tables.