Your kids can get their fair share of sunshine and outdoor recreation in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Check out some of the fun offerings for families to unwind and explore parks, beaches, festivals, swimming pools, wildlife, and of course – places to indulge in snow cones and ice cream!
Summertime and the warmer months are perfect for splashing around in Louisiana’s Playground! Both Golden Nugget and L’Auberge Casino Resort boast lazy rivers with innertubes for floating. Not to mention, you can also enjoy a lazy river at SPAR Waterpark in Sulphur, complete with waterslides and a splash pad. A trek down the Creole Nature Trail will land you at Holly Beach on the west side of the trail or Rutherford Beach on the east side. Either one is perfect for playing in the surf or a seashell treasure hunt! The beaches along the Gulf in Southwest Louisiana have been named as one of the top 15 places to collect shells in the world by Reader’s Digest.
Lake Area Adventures offers kayak tours and sunset kayak tours of some of the majestic sights along Southwest Louisiana’s waterways with single and tandem kayaks. Pontoon boats are also available for tours or renting! Your kids might also want to check out the town with a tour with Lake City Cruisers on light up glow bikes with a wide array of tours available. (Kids must be 13+ to ride).
Nothing says sibling rivalry like a fierce game of Putt-Putt. The animal themed Putt-Putt course at Putt-Putt Fun Center has just the right amount of play mixed in with giraffes, pink elephants, and blue whales! They also feature batting cages. If combat and games appeal to your kids, they will love Bayou Games Paintball Complex. Bring the crew to indulge in paintball wars, gellyball, and laser tag, or check out their video game trailer for competitive play!
Each May, the Louisiana Pirate Festival boasts live music, carnival rides, fireworks, and – pirates! A Lake Charles tradition, pirates sail in from the lake, make the mayor walk the plank, and take over the city – even with the “militia” of cannon fire from the city. (Pirates manage to rule every year!) In July, enjoy the Red White Blue & You! 4th of July Festival with live music, a star-spangled parade, and fireworks to celebrate the nation’s birthday. Mardi Gras is a family-friendly celebration with parades, a gumbo cookoff, festival Krewe of Barkus dog parade, king cakes and more. Each October, the Cal-Cam Fair in Sulphur offers an array of activities, carnival rides, live music, funnel cakes, and family fun.
The Imperial Calcasieu Museum showcases local art and traveling exhibits. On the grounds is the Sallier Oak, named after one of the founding fathers of Lake Charles. The 375-year-old oak shades much of the backyard of the museum, and here, there are arts and yoga events held underneath its branches. In the heart of downtown Lake Charles, you can find the 1911 Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center with traveling exhibits, the Black Heritage Gallery and more. The grounds also play host to the Downtown Farmers’ Market. Other places to enjoy art and history are found at the Brimstone Museum Complex and the DeQuincy Railroad Museum.
Hands down, Pintail Wildlife Drive is one of the best places to see migrating birds, waterfowl and alligators. On sunny days, you can see alligators warming themselves along the banks of the canals found along the drive nicknamed “Alligator Alley,” which is located on the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge on the east side of the Creole Nature Trail. On the west side, Peveto Woods Bird & Butterfly Sanctuary is thriving with wildlife, and it’s also just a short walk to the Gulf of Mexico.
Near the waterfront, families can enjoy Millennium Park, which features playground equipment and a splash pad during the warmer months. The park includes fun, themed, playground features such as a pirate ship, Hazel the Oil Steamer, a Cajun cabin, and more. There is a separate area for toddlers with swings and a shaded seating area. Bord du Lac Park (translates to side of the lake) includes attractions such as Veteran’s Park, a promenade and 911 Memorial. Prien Lake Park has walking paths, a covered pavilion for picnics, and a playground for kids right along the lakefront.
Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point Welcome Center is known as the launchpad for the Creole Nature Trail. Here, you can learn about attractions and wildlife as well as culinary and cultural aspects of Cajun/Creole life. The center is interactive to learn about music, crabbing, cooking, and more. Just down the road from Adventure Point, you will find Almosta Ranch for interacting with farm animals and exotic birds. Here, kids can ride horses, and feed the animals, and they also have festivals and events. Niche Creative Studio is perfect for kids who want to get crafty and learn to sew, crochet, or paint!
Sports fans in the house? Bring the kids to a collegiate game and enjoy cheering the McNeese Cowboys on to victory! There are spectator sports year-round including baseball, softball, basketball, and football. Check out the full schedule of events.
After the ballgame with the kids, PT’s Snowballs and K’s Frozen Delights are right there in Sulphur for a sweet taste of delicious snow cones or ice cream. K’s Frozen Delights has a hint of 50s nostalgia, and they also offer rolled ice cream! RhinoPOP features old-fashioned candy and imaginative flavors of popcorn. For over-the-top sugary treats, look no further than Lulu’s Specialty Snowcones - especially if you’d like a slice of cheesecake as a topping!