From Gaming Resort Luxury to “Good Eats” & the Great Outdoors

Drift Away in Lake Charles, LA - Several photos by Lindsey Janies, Steven Perez and Parker Brand Creative

Lazy rivers, swim-up bars, incredible cuisine (that only Louisiana has on the menu), and Southern Hospitality like never before, Lake Charles is brimming with good times for you this spring. From concerts and gaming excitement to a round of golf or a spa treatment (or two), you need to take a break and dive in to luxury!

Spring is here, and it’s the perfect time to plan a spring break getaway or summer vacation. In Lake Charles, Louisiana, you can find that oasis without all the pressure of being in a big city – in the South’s Premier Gaming Resort Destination with two world-class casino resorts side-by-side along the shores of Lake Charles and two additional incredible casino complexes nearby.

There is a luxurious side of Lake Charles that deserves to be explored. Even the locals know that the Las Vegas style gaming experience is special. Golden Nugget Lake Charles and L’Auberge Casino Resort are within walking distance, and both sport golf courses, spa facilities, restaurants, live entertainment, and award-winning chefs. But during the summer, the pools are the real jackpot. With island-worthy cabanas and intricately designed lazy rivers, this is where you’ll want to be to beat the summer temperatures.

The Isle of Capri Casino Hotel, has games of chance, restaurants, retail outlets, and one of the best dance floors with live entertainment, great for anyone wanting to boot scoot or do the Cajun two-step, and in Vinton, close to the Texas border, patrons can experience the heart-pounding thoroughbred racing action at Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel.

Still wondering about what’s happening in Lake Charles? Once you arrive, don’t hesitate to ask a local. One of the benefits of Cajun Country are the people who live here – they are full of Southern hospitality and are always willing to give a helping hand or to just sit for a spell.

Lake Charles is a unique area conveniently located on Interstate 10, halfway between Houston and Baton Rouge, known for its colorful mixture of Cajuns, cowboys, and the coast. But, what really makes the region special is no matter if you’re coming for a week vacation, or a long weekend getaway, it’s how easy it is to settle into the area and enjoy what’s around you, like the people who live here.

Food and drink are Louisiana’s equivalent to heart and soul. And there are tons of passionate chefs and entrepreneurs thriving in Lake Charles. Of course, there a several local staples that cannot be missed – a “Darrell’s Special” po’boy; ham, turkey, and roast beef drowned in roast beef gravy served on a crunchy yet soft French loaf, an extra-large seafood platter from Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake, and you can’t visit Southwest Louisiana without sampling boudin and cracklins’ along the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail.

There are loads of new local culinary treats worthy of the trip – including the Southwest Louisiana Brews & Spirits Trail and Crying Eagle Brewing Co.’s new expanded Bistro menu. Crying Eagle not only has delicious beer on tap but also the best pairings of menu items alongside a cool brew. The new menu encompasses some heavy-hitting entrees and appetizers, such as gumbo, pistolettes, crawfish étouffée, and the real MVP – Eagle Wings, which have become an instant hit.

While you’re sampling the local libations, make sure Yellowfin Vodka and Bayou Rum are on the list. Both are distilled using 100% Louisiana sugarcane and are 100% delicious. Take a tour to learn how these craft spirits are made. You’ll love the homegrown, from the ground up stories of both these businesses, not to mention the samples! If you add Acadian Coffee Roasters to your list of stops, you will effectively visit the Southwest Louisiana Brews & Spirits Trail, after all, coffee is a “brew” too!

In addition to these local products, there are several farmers’ markets with a proud community of local producers of fruits and vegetables, meats, honey, jams, and spices. Foodie craftsmen like BOOMBOX Frozen Pops & Ice Cream with gourmet popsicles and organic juicers, Pure Press Juicery have taken their farmer’s markets popularity and grown into full culinary experiences to enjoy outside of market days with storefronts as well.

Another form of relaxation is stepping out into nature and just being free from all the pressures of the modern life that we all feel. Natural beauty is all around any time of the year, along the Creole Nature Trail. There are wildlife refuges including the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge – the perfect place to spot an alligator, or you can take a driving tour on Pintail Drive or walk on the boardwalk.

The Sabine National Wildlife Refuge boasts the Wetland Walkway where you can literally walk through the marsh on an elevated trail to spot wildlife and an abundance of birds. There are also abundant opportunities for surf fishing, shelling and sunning at more than 19 miles of natural Gulf beaches. An ideal place to get acquainted with the trail is at Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point, where you can see imaginative, hands-on, colorful exhibits explaining the landscape, beaches, Cajun/Creole cultures and Cajun/Zydeco music and culinary flavors.

For an in-depth tour of watery paradises in Southwest Louisiana, Grosse Savanne Eco Tours provides guides to take small groups out into nature where you can see bird rookeries up close. Birding and nature enthusiasts who visit Grosse Savanne will experience why others have proclaimed Southwest Louisiana as one of the top 10 birding areas in the United States. Over 400 species of birds migrate to and through the area. Grosse Savanne’s vast property of over 50,000 acres is nearly split in half by the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, a nationally acclaimed “Louisiana Outback” wildlife and photography trail.

Drift away to Lake Charles today to recharge, relax and have fun exploring like a Louisiana local!

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