Released only A WEEK AGO, Pokémon Go is the hottest app on the Apple and Google Play stores. And guess what, Pokémon Trainers, there are plenty of opportunities to find creatures and gear right here in Southwest Louisiana! In fact, it’s a great way to explore the area.
While searching for Pikachu, remember to look up from your phone screen and enjoy the real world around you. Here are a few places (no particular order) in Southwest Louisiana we suggest exploring while you are Pokémon hunting!
- Downtown Lake Charles – Several landmarks and parks are speckled along the lakefront, so it’s guaranteed to have a few Pokestops. We suggest checking out Veteran’s Memorial Park, Millennium Park and all along Lakefront Promenade. Don’t forget about the Lake Charles Civic Center.
- Churches/ Historic Buildings– While traveling around downtown be on the lookout for historical plaque markers and churches. Both tend to be Pokestops. 1911 Historic City Hall, Central School Arts and Humanities Center and the locations throughout the Charpentier Historic District should be on your radar.
- Foodie Fuel Stop – Catchin’ all these ‘mons can really work up an appetite, you’ll need to refuel. Here is a list of our Top 20 Local Favorites, voted on by the locals. You’ll be excited to here that the #1 winner, Luna Bar & Grill is featuring, "The Charizard", a Pokémon Go special; a grilled or fried pork loin sandwich on jalapeño cheddar sourdough with fire sauce, wasabi mayo and jalapeños.
- Prien Lake Park – With more than 29-acres to hunt on, including walking paths and a Sprayground Water park, you are sure to find some good gear. Once you’ve caught ‘em at Prien Lake Park, enjoy a haven of trees, grass, flowers, fountains, and streams, with a sweeping view of Prien Lake the I-210 bridge and magnificent sunsets over the water. Oh, did I mention they have FREE WI-FI!?
- McNeese State University: Home to the Cowboys and named one of the best regional universities, we’ve heard several mentions of stops all around campus. The quad is confirmed to be a gym. Lined with several large and beautiful oak trees, you’ll have plenty of shade as you walk around. Like what you see, maybe stop by the Admissions Office.
- The Grove at Heritage Square/Brimstone Museum – Guess what?! Another park with free wi-fi! The park acts as a cornerstone for Heritage Square area – so while you are visiting The Grove, walk over to the Brimstone Museum for some history on sulfur mining and Henning Culture Center to see this month’s exhibit.
- Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point – They’ve got plenty of information on native wildlife – we wouldn’t be surprised if a Squirtle might be hanging out there. Give your phone a short rest, and check out the awesome interactive exhibits and learn about the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. Make sure to grab a map before you leave, who know what you’ll find if you head out to Pintail Drive & Boardwalk or the Wetland Walkway!
- SPAR Waterpark – Marked as a gym but with the summer temps rising - it's also a fantastic place to stop, take a break and cool off... This wild wet destination offers a 600 foot long Raging River, Larry’s Lazy River, and the Lagoon Pool. Younger guests will enjoy Patch’s Splash Pad and Splash & Play Island, with fountains, tipping buckets, small-scale slides and not to mention a gigantic yellow bucket that dumps 500 gallons of water every two minutes!
- Westlake – First stop Pinderosa Park. After that, make your way to the Westlake Multi-Purpose Complex is an active Pokémon gym. While in the area, take a short drive (2.9 miles down the road) to visit Lloyd’s Country Store to rent a kayak. You can experience the beauty of the Calcasieu River as you kayak along the banks of the West Fork to Sam Houston Jones State Park. Whether you want to do some fishing or just glide along the river – picnic tables, barbecue pits, and pavilions with restrooms will await you at your destination.
- Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Center – Located right off of Interstate 10 (perfect for traveling Trainers), the Convention and Visitors Bureau is home to a few PokéStops. Outside make sure to visit the Gumbeaux Gator topiary and the Lake Charles Gator Pond and inside you’ll find the Jean Lafitte statue. Make sure you get some information about the rest of the area. We have a ton of maps and brochures that might give you a few more ideas! Let us know what you catch!
Pokémon Go can be a great chance to see and learn about the community as well as work in a little exercise. And more the merrier - it's loads of fun with friends and family. Let us know where you’ve gone with pictures and selfies tagged #VisitLakeCharles on social media, you photo might even be shared!
Remember to be safe and alert of your surroundings. Enjoy the real world as you explore a virtual one. Please do not cause traffic obstructions just to catch Pokémon and always be respectful of private properties. Enjoy Southwest Louisiana as you “catch ‘em all” with Pokémon GO!