The kids have a break from school, and you want to take a mini-vacation. Where can you go? Consider Lake Charles and surrounding Southwest Louisiana, where you’ll find more fun than you can squeeze into a week! Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Creole Nature Trail – Travel through the marshes and along the coastline of Cameron Parish via the 180-mile Creole Nature Trail, a designated All-American Road. You’ll find opportunities to fish, hunt for crabs, and observe alligators, 400 species of birds, and other wildlife. Stroll beside the surf at Holly Beach and look for shells and sea glass. Our “Louisiana Outback” promises a day full of adventure.

Adventure Point– Adventure Point is the best place to launch your Creole Nature Trail journey. It is a visitor center especially geared to kids, with exciting activities to introduce the whole family to the culture of Southwest Louisiana. Listen to Cajun music and pretend you are part of the band. Imagine you’re hidden in a duck blind, hunting ducks in the marsh. Smell the mouth-watering aromas of Cajun and Creole cooking. Explore the wildlife of Southwest Louisiana – alligators, nutria, and birds, to name a few.

Bord du Lac Park and the Lakefront – The City of Lake Charles offers plenty to see and do along Bord du Lac Dr., otherwise known as the Lakefront. Start your visit at Bord du Lac Park, a mega-playground where kids can climb, spin, swing, run and jump. In the warmer months, there’s a splash pad. Walk east along the seawall and stop at the 911 Memorial. Have a snack at one of many tables that offer a front row seat to watch spectacular sunsets. Continue on and find fountains to dip your toes in. Veterans Memorial Park sits on the far east end of the Lakefront. See displays such as a tank from WWII and a Viet Nam War helicopter. Adjacent to the Lakefront, you’ll find the city’s Civic Center, a hub of community activity, with a variety of events and shows.

While you’re exploring the Lakefront, take a ride in a mule-drawn carriage with J&R Carriage Rides or Vintage Carriage Company. Both companies offer several tours through the city’s historic districts. For a change of pace, rent YOLO bikes or paddle boards from Lake City Board and Bike or Paddle Up.

H20 + Pool at Golden Nugget Lake Charles -- Lake Charles’ sleekest pool combines exciting ambience with contemporary seating, a fire pit, upbeat sounds, poolside cabanas and day beds, lively libations, a swim-up bar, and a lazy river. It’s open year-round and heated to a comfortable 84 degrees. Day passes are available for purchase for non-hotel guests. L’Auberge Casino Resort also has two heated pools open year around. Prefer a beach? Try Touloulou’s Beach at L’Auberge for volleyball nets, swimming, and fire pits for s’mores at sunset. Free admission. 

Maybe the weather is uncooperative for outdoor activities. No problem! Southwest Louisiana offers plenty of fun indoor activities.

The Children’s Museum – Located in downtown Lake Charles, the Children’s Museum offers three floors of interactive exhibits centered on science, art, and old-fashioned fun to delight children of all ages.

Imperial Calcasieu Museum features both art and history exhibits. 204 W. Sallier St. 1911 Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center displays artwork by both local and national artists. 

Cinema Movie Bistro – Cinemark recently opened a posh new theater. Enjoy new movie releases while eating upscale (by movie theater standards) food in big comfy reclining seats.

Altitude Trampoline Park – In addition to trampolines, this indoor park offers a trapeze swing, foam pits, dodge ball and basketball, and an area for smaller children. 

 

A photo posted by Jason Holder (@jasholder) on

Got a sweet tooth? Try gelato at Modern Pantry at L’Auberge Casino Resort, chocolates at Golden Nugget’s Chocolate Box, cookies at Sweets and Treats,  and pastries at The Bekery.

Whatever you find to do in Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana, you’re sure to have a wonderful time. While you’re in town, be sure to download the Lake Charles Events app and follow #VisitLakeCharles for more inspiration.