Located directly between Houston and New Orleans in Louisiana, Lake Charles has a little bit of everything: outdoor adventures, family-friendly attractions, and big-city entertainment. Some of the best outdoor things to do in Lake Charles, LA include heading to one of its many local and state parks, and visiting Lake Charles Beach.
You also can’t visit without exploring the historic downtown Lake Charles district, with its great restaurants, beautiful lakeside views, and fun attractions. Although you could spend your entire vacation hopping between Lake Charles casinos, there’s also a larger selection of fun, family-friendly and romantic things to do in Lake Charles, LA below.
1. L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles
L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles truly has it all. Employing over 2400 people, the 26-story casino and resort has 1000 guest rooms, 147 luxurious suites, an 18-hole championship golf course, eight restaurants, a world-class spa, and a tropical swimming pool with a lazy river. Then there’s the casino, with its 80 table games, 1600 slot machines, and 2100 sq-ft Poker Room. It’s easy to see why over 400,000 people visit L’Auberge Casino Resort every month.
2. Golden Nugget Lake Charles Hotel & Casino
Just like its counterpart above, Golden Nugget Lake Charles Hotel & Casino is overflowing with amenities. It has 1094 guest rooms and suites, an 18-hole golf course, 13 restaurants and bars, a spa, a lakefront beach with private marina, and a two-acre heated pool area with a lazy river. Not to mention its large casino and fun nightlife entertainment. There are weekly events, including live music and DJs, at both the Blue Martini and Rush Lounge at Golden Nugget.
3. Prien Lake Park
Prien Lake Park is located on the eastern shore of Prien Lake. Overlooking Indian Bay, the 29-acre park has plenty of amenities. This includes walking paths with measurement markings, a kids playground, a canoe and boat launchpad, the SprayGround water park, as well as an amphitheater and two pavilions. Enjoy the outdoors in Lake Charles and have a waterfront picnic at Prien Lake Park. It’s also the perfect place to watch the sunset over the lake.
4. Louisiana Culinary Trails
For a one of kind culinary experience, you need to check out one of the many “Culinary Trails” in Louisiana. Taking through food tours with titles like “Bayou Bounty”, “Creole Crescent”, and “Delta Delights”, you can experience the culinary seafood joys of Lake Charles and the surrounding areas.
5. USS ORLECK Naval Museum
The USS ORLECK DD-886 is one of the most decorated US navy ships since World War II. It served between 1945 and 1982, and today visitors can step aboard and learn more about the ship at the USS ORLECK Naval Museum. Drawing visitors from around America and the world, the museum aims to preserve the country’s maritime history and educate future generations. Visiting the USS ORLECK Naval Museum is definitely one of the most family friendly things to do in Lake Charles.
6. The Children’s Museum of Southwest Louisiana
Speaking of things to do in Lake Charles with young kids, The Children’s Museum of Southwest Louisiana is another great attraction. Conveniently located in the downtown district, the museum features 45 hands-on and interactive exhibits over three floors. Focusing on arts, science and humanities, the museum aims to provide children with a fun and educational environment that encourages curiosity and creativity. Exhibits include The Rock Wall, ArtSpace, Fire Safety Station, and The Pressure Zone.
7. Charpentier Historic District
Listed on the National Register for Historic Places, the Charpentier Historic District includes over 280 buildings across 40 city blocks. Dating from the 19th and early 20th century, the eclectic historic buildings were built in a combination of architectural styles, including Colonial Revival, Victorian, and Queen Anne Revival. The buildings feature unique elements like gingerbread accents, turrets and towers, and leaded glass. Go for a walk or drive around the Charpentier Historic District and marvel at one of Louisiana’s finest architecture collections.
8. Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu
Nothing quite says Louisiana like the word Mardi Gras. Located in the Central School Arts & Humanities Center, the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu houses the largest collection of historic and recent Mardi Gras costumes. Over six rooms, visitors can learn more about the history of Mardi Gras, and can even climb aboard a parade float. The museum hopes to preserve the history of Mardi Gras, as Lake Charles hosts the state’s second biggest Mardi Gras celebration.
9. Lake Charles Visitor Center
One of the first things to do in Lake Charles when you arrive on vacation is to visit the Lake Charles Visitor Center. Acting as a resource center for the region, the friendly staff inside are ready to share with you their favorite foodie destinations, outdoor adventures, and family friendly attractions. You can also pick up local guides on the Creole Nature Trail, the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail, as well as the city’s best dining, casinos, and festivals.
10. Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lake Charles
Located on the waterfront, Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel is comfortably spread out over 45,000 square feet. The casino is filled with slot machines, video poker, table games, and $5 blackjack all day every day. There’s also three onsite bars and restaurants, a swimming pool, and two different accommodation options. Choose between the suites-only Tower Hotel, or the more affordable rooms at the Inn at the Isle. Either way, you’re sure to have an unforgettable vacation.
11. Bord Du Lac Park (Millennium Park)
Formerly known as Millennium Park, Bord Du Lac Park is a 20,000-acre waterfront park on Lake Charles – the city’s namesake. It’s one of the most family friendly attractions in Lake Charles, thanks to its huge playground. The playground is equipped with a rubberized surface and with fun things like a treehouse, pirate ship, rock climbing wall, maze bridge, and swings. Bord Du Lac Park is also home to a splash park and walking paths.
12. Sam Houston Jones State Park
There’s plenty of things to do within the 1000-acre Sam Houston Jones State Park. Firstly, you can go wildlife and bird watching, as the park is home to nearly 200 bird species and wildlife like bobcats, alligators, otters, and deer. There’s also three hiking trails that wind their way through the leafy park. Finally, watersports are naturally a great activity to enjoy within Sam Houston Jones State Park, as it’s home to several waterways and the Calcasieu River.
13. Gray Plantation Golf Club, Lake Charles, Louisiana
Golf Digest ranked Gray Plantation Golf Club as one of the country’s best public golf courses. The 18-hole golf course includes 60 acres of lakes, four par 3 holes, and over 90 bunkers. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a member of Gray Plantation Golf Club to enjoy the course, as daily rates are available. So if you’re looking for active and outdoor things to do in Lake Charles, check out the Gray Plantation Golf Club.
14. 1911 Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center
One of the city’s best free attractions is the Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center. Opening in 2004, the public art gallery and cultural space is housed in the Historic City Hall, which was built in 1911. It includes three floors for galleries, a restored clock tower, and a landscaped courtyard. It hosts traveling exhibitions, as well as displaying artwork by both regional and local artists. The Arts & Cultural Center has previously exhibited artwork by both Pablo Picasso and Norman Rockwell.