Find Louisiana’s most prized characteristics in the city of Lake Charles in the southern part of the state. Rich ecosystems crawling with gators, deep history, festive Cajun culture and twisting oak trees spilling into the streets are only the start to the landscape. Nicknamed the “Festival Capital of Louisiana,” the city throws a party for 75 plus events a year — including a slightly more family-friendly Mardi Gras than New Orleans festivities. Check it: These are the Top 10 Reasons To Visit, with a quick tip to mark the dates for spring or fall to escape the humidity.

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