Southwest Louisiana defines how to play it up on vacation. Whether you're in for a couples retreat, girlfriend's getaway, or family road trip, there's much fun to be had in Lake Charles. Explore casino resorts abound with gaming galore, lazy rivers, and dining experiences. Soak it up with outdoor adventure along the Creole Nature Trail-All American Road and watercraft rentals. Immerse yourself in our rich culture at local museums and galleries. Party it up as you tap your feet to free live music concerts by the Lake or renowned national acts at the casino resorts. You'll be sure to live it up in Lake Charles, Louisiana.



Located on I-10, Lake Charles is perfectly positioned to kick off or wrap up your Louisiana adventure. Fly direct into LCH via American Airlines out of Dallas, TX or United Airlines out of Houston, TX. Road trip your way through the best of the south with a 5-hour drive from Dallas (314 mi) or a 2-hour drive from Houston (140 mi). Lake Charles is an hour drive away from Lafayette (74 mi), two hours from Baton Rouge (126 mi), and 3 hours from New Orleans (205 mi).



Itinerary Summary


Breakfast: The Bekery
Attraction: Mardi Gras Museum, Port Wonder
Lunch: Luna Bar & Grill
Attraction: 1911 Historic City Hall & Cultural Center, Biking Through the Lake, Downtown Highlights
Dinner: The Villa Harlequin
Where to Stay: Luxury Casino Resorts, first-class hotels, charming bed & breakfast, adventurous RV and camping spots…your choice!

Breakfast: Coffee:30 Attraction: Sam Houston Jones State Park, Kayaking
Lunch: Crying Eagle
Attraction: Creole Nature Trail, Bayou Rum
Dinner: Restaurant Calla
Where to Stay: Luxury Casino Resorts, first-class hotels, charming bed & breakfast, adventurous RV and camping spots…your choice!

Downtown Lake Charles
Kathryn Shea Duncan


Detailed Itinerary


DAY ONE: Downtown Delights

Downtown Lake Charles, a micro-destination unto itself, offers a culturally rich, activity-filled, historic area of Lake Charles that boasts great restaurants, stunning sunset lake views, parks and playgrounds and locally-owned boutique shopping in a walkable district.

scones and other items from The Bekery

(BREAKFAST): The Bekery, LLC.

Fresh baguettes, scones, biscuits, muffins, quiche, coffee, and more delicious treats are baked fresh daily. Located just blocks from the Lake Charles scenic Shell Beach Drive, the French-inspired bakery is light, open and airy, with chandeliers sparkling on the wall of windows, two areas for outdoor patio seating, and a coffee bar. The Bekery is now serving wine and champagne in the afternoons. Enjoy seasonal specialties like king cake, crawish cheddar quiche, and boudin filled croissants!

mardi gras museum mannequin in white

(MORNING): Past, Present, and Future

Spend the morning immersing yourself in every aspect of Southwest Louisiana culture. Start your day at the newly redesigned Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, home to the largest collection of Mardi Gras costumes in the world. Learn about regional Mardi Gras traditions and the history behind them. Next, head to Port Wonder, the newest addition to the lakefront and home to the nature museum and science center. Touch tanks and saltwater habitats allow you to experience the ecosystems local to Lake Charles while learning about ongoing preservation efforts.

Luna Bar & Grill
Kathryn Shea Duncan

(LUNCH): Luna Bar & Grill Downtown

Luna Bar & Grill is a cultural cornerstone in Downtown Lake Charles, Louisiana. This local staple offers a diverse menu that mixes regional flavor with eclectic tastes. Don't miss their signature Luna Tuna or delectable Redfish entrees! It's a great choice for lunch or dinner, and even a special Jazz Brunch every Sunday. Luna’s prime location along the Mardi Gras parade route and in the heart of the downtown festival scene makes it a local-favorite for celebrations anytime of year.

biking through the lake in front of Van Gogh murals

(AFTERNOON): Biking Through the Lake

Experience Lake Charles like never before. Biking Through The Lake, LLC offers bicycle tours through Lake Charles with music, optional light-up wheels, and an exciting atmosphere that your group will love. Begin your tour at 1911 Historic Arts & Cultural Center, where you can view the work of local artist and traveling exhibitions alike. Explore downtown shopping at Muller’s Vintage Market, hunt for your favorite vinyl records and music memorabilia and more at The Emporium, and take in the sunset along the waterfront.

tomato bisque soup and bread from The Villa Harlequin

(DINNER): The Villa Harlequin

The Villa Harlequin combines favorites from Italian and Louisiana influences to present dishes like Harlequin Crab Remick, Crab Royale, Creole Tomato Bisque with Lump Crab, and Shrimp & Crab salad with famous Harlequin House dressing. Enjoy a lively dinner in the heart of downtown Lake Charles.

Kayaking in Lake Charles

DAY TWO: Adventure Awaits

There are many different ways to experience the sights and sounds of Southwest Louisiana. See alligators and numerous bird species, walk along beaches and boardwalks and experience the natural splendor of Louisiana's coastal marshlands. Lake Charles offers glistening waters filled with fish, from freshwater to saltwater. Birding is top-notch, with Southwest Louisiana located along both the Mississippi and Central Flyways, spotting new species is always in the cards.

coffee:30 Chicken Lake Charles

(BREAKFAST): Coffee:30

Fuel up for your day with the scrumptious menu at Coffee:30 Cafe and Coffee:30 Express, which includes breakfast favorites such as the Chicken Lake Charles: a fresh biscuit, fried chicken, egg, apple smoked bacon, and Cajun hollandaise sauce or a fresh avocado toast on Artisanal Sourdough. Breakfast sweet tooth lovers will enjoy their made fresh daily beignets and Forever French Toast.

Kayaking on the Water
Kathryn Shea Duncan

(MORNING): Sam Houston Jones State Park

Sam Houston Jones State Park is a nature-lover’s paradise, with over 1,000 acres of lakes, trees, rivers, and hiking trails. Explore the newly added 500-foot boardwalk along the Calcasieu River and keep an eye out for wildlife, including over 200 migratory bird species. Boat and kayak launches provide access to Calcasieu Lake. Book your guided kayak or boat rental through Lake Area Adventures. Self-Service also available via Bayou Adventure. RV parking, glamping, camping, and cabin rentals are bookable online.

Crying Eagle Brewing Pizza and Beer
Kathryn Shea Duncan

(LUNCH): Crying Eagle Brewing Company

Opened in July 2016, Crying Eagle Brewing Company is a craft brewery with a unique vision for the entire family. The 4,000-square-foot taproom features plenty of comfortable indoor seating made for sampling the rotating line of beers you won’t be able to get anywhere else. Step outside to the beer garden to relax and enjoy Louisiana’s beautiful outdoors while playing a game of washers or cornhole. The Bistro features weekly specials, hand-rolled pizzas, Louisiana classic small bites and more.

Bayou Rum Barrels
Jessica Pickett

(AFTERNOON): Gators & Rum

Hit the open road in Louisiana’s Outback. Drive down the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road to Pintail Wildlife Drive, a 3-mile driving loop known by locals as the best place to see wildlife. Alligators, birds, bobcats, otters, and more call this area home. Be sure to stop at the half-mile loop over water boardwalk to walk right out into the marsh! Before you head back to Lake Charles, take a short detour down Interstate 10 to Bayou Rum – Louisiana Spirits Distillery. Distilled from locally grown fresh Louisiana sugarcane, their recupe uses 100% single estate molasses produced by the oldest family-owned and operated sugar mill in the United States. Tour the distillery and sample all the flavors!

restaurant calla seafood and other flavorful creations


Restaurant Calla stands as a culinary masterpiece, where each dish is a work of art and every visit is an unforgettable experience. The menu features thoughtfully crafted culinary creations to showcase the freshest ingredients from local farms and waters. From the first bite to the last, each plate tells a story of passion and innovation, guided by a commitment to culinary excellence. Local favorites include the blue crab beignets, the Calla burger, and brussels sprouts, in addition to exquisite seafood and steak flavorful creations.