Story Ideas

Southwest Louisiana

The true essence of Lake Charles, Louisiana is seeded in arts, culture, and the outdoors. With the story ideas listed below, you’ll see why we’ve earned our title as Louisiana’s Playground. Our region is fun, festive, and full of food. It’s the same stories that resonate with locals and visitors alike. It’s the kind of story your want to tell the rest of the world and experience first-hand. Welcome to Southwest Louisiana!

Lazy River

Casino Resorts

Experience the Lap of Luck & Luxury in Lake Charles, Louisiana 

Lake Charles is anything but one-dimensional, and our four casino resorts will send you into another dimension of chance and comfort laced with luck and luxury. You can bounce between properties on a boardwalk to enjoy the side-by-side resorts, Golden Nugget and L’Auberge, for concerts, pool parties, spa retreats, lakeside fun, golf getaways, lazy rivers, and more. You can place your bets on more than table games at Delta Downs by watching live thoroughbred horse races. Lastly, come celebrate Southwest Louisiana’s newest addition to the casino resort scene, Horseshoe!

Alligators along the Creole Nature Trail
Justin Hoffman

Creole Nature Trail All-American Road 

Kickback in Louisiana’s Outback 

The Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is a delectable travel treat for road trippers and day trippers seeking the ultimate outdoor experience in the state. You’ll see a variety of wildlife in Louisiana’s Outback, from sunbathing alligators and flocks of migratory birds to Louisiana blue crabs and fish of all kinds. This 180-mile trail stretches along Southwest Louisiana’s Gulf shore, where you’ll witness vibrant sunsets along the marshlands and seashells lining the beaches, while you take in Mother Nature’s glory. Pintail Wildlife Drive and the Wetland Walkway are picture-perfect excursions for photographers but be sure to stop by Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point for a list of guides that tell the best stories along the trail. The Adventure Guides will also share the best places to stop for food, and we guarantee you that Chesson’s Grocery will be on that list.   

Iowa Chicken Run
Kathryn Shea Duncan

Quirks & Curiosities 

Find Fantastic Oddities in Southwest Louisiana 

Southwest Louisiana is serving up quirks and curiosities for visitors year-round. Don’t believe us? We have a group of local pirates that make our mayor walk the plank at the Louisiana Pirates Festival. If you think that’s insane, wait until you’ve tried a sausage or boudin link from Insane Sausages that are filled with unorthodox flavors and blends. That’s weird, but this is wild. Did you know albino dolphins are pink? We have two of them swimming around The Gulf along the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. It gets even wilder and weirder around here, especially during Mardi Gras season. The Iowa Chicken Run is a neighborhood Mardi Gras Parade that takes place on Fat Tuesday each year. The entire event is developed around a live chicken that bounces from house to house. If these peculiarities didn’t make you scratch your head or question logic, either you’re unusually strange or you’re a Lake Charles local. 

Kayaking on Lake Charles

Outdoor Adventures 

There are Open Air Adventures Everywhere 

Expect to fall in love with Southwest Louisiana’s outdoor adventures. You can take in the region’s natural jewels from a bike, boat, fishing pier, kayak, jet ski, boardwalk, beach towel, yoga mat, cabin, golf course, or the comfort of your car. Whether you’re seeking a day trip along the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, renting watercraft from Lake Area Adventures, or soaking up the sun from your cabin at Sam Houston Jones State Park, there’s more to explore in Lake Charles.  

Zydeco Band in Lake Charles
Lindsey Janies Photography

Cultural Traditions 

Lake Charles Like a Local: Understanding the Areas Through History, Art & Music 

The identity of Lake Charles and its surrounding areas are deep-rooted in Cajun and Creole heritage, rich history, Zydeco/Cajun music, seafood, and a bunch of Southern hospitality in Sportsman’s Paradise. There are genuine stories in every nook and cranny of the area. The nationally recognized Charpentier Historic District covers a 40-block region of downtown Lake Charles and its Victorian architecture. Immerse yourself into No Man’s Land, also known as Louisiana’s “Wild West,” to unveil untold stories of unowned, uninhabited land that served as neutral grounds. The sounds of Southwest Louisiana were born in musical blends of folk and blues using washboards, silverware, accordions, fiddles, harmonica, and more. From pastime to the palate, you’ll see the community enjoying outdoor excursions for a moment of peace with nature or to catch and release nature’s bounty into the grease for dinner! You can sense the wholesome hearts of locals at every turn. Take a walk through our museums, galleries, performing arts studios, and more. You’ll understand why there’s no place like Lake Charles. 

Cajun Flavor Boudin

Food & Drink

Lake Charles Cravings Include Boudin, Brews, & Booze 

From our bayous to the soul, right in a piping-hot bowl, you’ll get a traditional taste of Louisiana’s staples, including jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish, muffulettas, étouffée, po’boys, red beans and rice, bread pudding, and more. In Southwest Louisiana, we’ve excelled the culinary status quo to include boudin, brews, and booze. Hop on our Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail or the Gas Station Eats Trail to discover our area’s delicacies. Fall in love with homemade cracklins at one of our quaint and cultured restaurants like Famous Foods. Then wash it all down with a pint of beer from Crying Eagle Brewing Company or spirits from Bayou Rum and Yellowfin Vodka Distillery if you’re on the hunt for something more potent with a punch. There’s a surplus of good food, great booze, and Cajun/Creole cuisine in Louisiana’s Playground. 

Mardi Gras in SWLA
Kathryn Shea Duncan

Mardi Gras 

From Twelfth Night to Fat Tuesday, Lake Charles is Drenched in Purple, Green, & Gold 

Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana is a next-level celebration filled with festive parties, neighborhood parades, king cake-flavored everything, and the pride of people keeping traditions alive. You’ll see more than 60 krewes in flamboyant costumes and festive décor at various restaurants and events around the city. Our Mardi Gras is family-friendly and full of delight with a warm welcome from locals. You’ll catch colorful beads and trinkets from parade floats and feel right home with the rest of us. People from various backgrounds and ages line the streets of Lake Charles hoping to score a throw from the float from small towns to downtown in Southwest Louisiana. Our Mardi Gras events provide top-tier stories that keep the Carnival spirit alive from gumbo cook-offs to Chicken Runs!  

Downtown at Sundown Couple Dancing

Festivals & Events 

75 Reasons to Eat, Drink, and Party in Louisiana’s Playground  

With more than 75 festivals, fairs, and annual events, Lake Charles has earned its title as the Festival Capital of Louisiana. Whether you’re seeking an extended taste of Mardi Gras celebrations, reveling in Cajun or Zydeco music under a vibrant sunset, multi-day Juneteenth festivities, or exploring the surrounding small towns for a charming experience, there’s always a party in Louisiana’s Playground. You can catch regional and national artists at our resort casinos, explore downtown events, or be a spectator at thrilling sporting events. Festivals, fairs, and annual events are a fun way to share our heritage with you, so we encourage you to eat, drink, and party while you’re here. Use our events calendar as a guide to our upcoming events.  

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