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Best things to do in Lake Charles

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Where in the world: USA  /  Louisiana  /  Lake Charles

Top 15 things to do in Lake Charles

1. Golden Nugget Casino

Golden Nugget Lake Charles is a 242-acre waterfront casino resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S.A., owned and operated by Houston-based Landry's, Inc. The resort features 740 guest rooms and suites housed in a 25-story tower, an 18-hole golf course, 30,000-square-feet of meeting space, more than a dozen dining and bar options, a private beach, marina, spa & salon, retail corridor and expansive 24-hour casino floor.
Golden Nugget Lake Charles is the fifth Golden Nugget property, joining the original location in Downtown Las Vegas, and others in Laughlin, Nevada; Atlantic City, New Jersey and Biloxi, Mississippi.
Pinnacle Entertainment announced plans in 2006 to build Sugarcane Bay, a $350-million casino resort, next to its L'Auberge du Lac casino in Lake Charles. The plan was canceled in 2010, and Pinnacle returned the gaming license to the state.
In February 2011, the license was awarded to Creative Casinos LLC, the company of former Pinnacle chairman Dan Lee, for a $400-million casino named Mojito Pointe to be built on the Sugarcane Bay site.
Ameristar Casinos purchased Creative Casinos in June 2012 for $32.5 million, after Lee had difficulty financing construction. The project was renamed as Ameristar Lake Charles.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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2. L'Auberge Casino Resort

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Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about L'Auberge Casino Resort

3. Isle of Capri Casino

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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4. Millennium Park

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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5. Sam Houston Jones State Park

Sam Houston Jones State Park is a park near the city of Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, in southwestern Louisiana (USA) located at the confluence of the Houston and Calcasieu Rivers and Indian Bayou. It consists of 1,087 acres (440 ha) of woodlands, lakes and rivers. Prominent in the park are many bald cypress trees. Tree-filled lagoons and a mixed pine and hardwood forest combine to create a unique natural environment. The area hosts an abundance of wildlife, including deer, squirrels, bobcats, rabbits, alligators, otters, nutria rats, raccoons, foxes, and diverse bird life. Ducks and geese are usually found swimming in the ponds.

Originally named for Sam Houston, the Texas folk hero who traveled extensively in the western reaches of Louisiana, its current name is in honor of former Louisiana governor Sam Houston Jones, who was instrumental in setting aside this tract of land for the public to enjoy. Facilities include campsites, cabins, a boat launch, rental boats, a scenic picnic area with pavilions, a playground and restrooms.

The site is located in the Central Migratory Flyway and just north of the most productive birding region in Louisiana. In the spring and fall, migratory patterns bring nearly 200 bird species within 30 miles (50 km) of the park site.
The numerous waterways in this area make water sports a natural highlight at the park. Two boat launches are conveniently located on the West Fork of the Calcasieu River, providing access to the Gulf of Mexico, only a few miles away. Rental boats are available those who simply wish to take in the serene beauty of the park's ponds or for fishing.

The three hiking trails winding through this beautiful park make strolling or serious hiking, pleasurable. Hikers may visit the old stagecoach road to explore the park and the banks of the various tributaries to the Calcasieu River.

Hours of Operation are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday. All park sites close at 10 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and days preceding holidays.

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Sam Houston Jones State Park

6. Prien Lake Park

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Prien Lake Park

7. Bord Du Lac Park

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Bord Du Lac Park

8. Veteran's Memorial Park

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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9. Vermilionville, Lafayette

A living history museum, Vermilionville explores Louisiana's Cajun culture in a recreated 18th-century village. You can make your way around the 9.3 hectare (23 acre) site yourself or with the help of a tour guide. In the village, historical houses dating from 1765 to 1890 are accompanied by mock period structures. Many are occupied by costumed artisans practicing Acadian and Creole skills like spinning, dollmaking, and woodworking. You can find some of their finished products in the gift shop. Complete your visit with a trip to the on-site restaurant for some traditional Cajun cuisine.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Vermilionville
Tours including Vermilionville:

10. 1911 Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center

After extensive restoration, the 1911 Historic City Hall opened its doors as the City of Lake Charles' public art gallery and cultural facility in 2004. Since that time, Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center has showcased numerous traveling exhibitions from around the world, as well as regional and local artists. The Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center is City-owned-and-operated, under the direction of the Cultural Affairs Department. The beautiful historic building features three floors of gallery space, a clock tower, and, added in 2006, a landscaped brick courtyard. There have been many exhibitions by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Ansel Adams, Norman Rockwell, and Tasha Tudor, as well as many traveling group exhibitions. In 2007, Historic City Hall housed Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition, featuring over 100 carefully preserved artifacts from the historic vessel. The Historic City Hall is also the home to two local art galleries: Black Heritage Gallery and Gallery by the Lake. The Center has had visitors from across the country, many of which are surprised and delighted to find such high-caliber exhibitions in the Lake Area.

For the past several years, Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center has been voted the Best Public Art Gallery by the Times of Lake Charles Reader's Poll. This honor recognizes the ongoing commitment the City of Lake Charles has made to providing the residents and visitors of Lake Charles with quality, educational, family-friendly entertainment and events at accessible prices.

Admission to all exhibitions is free to the public. For more information, please call (337)491-9147 or e-mail artsandculture@cityoflc.us.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about 1911 Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center

11. USS Orleck Naval Museum

Built in 1945 by Consolidated Steel Shipbuilding in Orange, Texas, the USS ORLECK DD886 was launched into the Sabine River on 12 May 1945, and entered duty on 15 September. She served proudly in Korea and Vietnam, earning many prestigious awards and citations for participation in battle and service to her country, including four battle stars earned during the Korean Conflict. She was decommissioned in 1982, transferred to the Turkish government, renamed the TCG YUCETEPE, and served the Turkish Navy in the Persian Gulf in 1991. Turkey donated the ship to the Southeast Texas War Memorial and Heritage Foundation (SETWMHF) in 1999 to serve as a museum ship. She returned to her original berth in Orange by tow 11 August 2000 where she served as a museum ship until Hurricane Rita resulted in the loss of her berth.

The USSONM, a non-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation (Federal Tax ID 90-0507764) established in 2009, towed the ship from Orange, Texas, to Lake Charles 19-20 May 2010. SETWMFH transferred the ORLECK to USSONM by act of donation on 22 June 2010, and volunteers are preparing her for the April 2011 opening at her temporary berth on the Calcasieu River at 604 North Enterprise Blvd. Local businesses and industries have provided much needed in-kind services and material (parking lot material, paint, sheet metal, dozers, etc.), allowing our volunteers to make significant progress in getting the ship ready for visitors.

The USS ORLECK DD886 is indeed a National treasure. With your help and support we will accomplish our mission of remembering and honoring those who served to secure our freedoms, historical preservation of the USS ORLECK and US Navy legacies, and educating adults and children alike through interpretive, social, and recreational programs.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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12. Crying Eagle Brewing Company

An Idea is Hatched

As so many great things do, Crying Eagle Brewing started with a conversation at the family supper table. From that evening on, the Avery family and a few brave, beer-obsessed souls set out on a journey that would become much more than just another business or job; this one would be a passion project!

The Incubation

Researching breweries is no joking matter! It takes dedication, fortitude, focus, and…who are we kidding?? That was the beginning of the fun! Countless days were spent at more breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms than we can count of all shapes and sizes from coast to coast to see the full spectrum and decide where we wanted to fit in. To be the best, we had to see the best.

The Nest

Our state-of-the-art facility was constructed from the ground up to produce great craft beer and be a place to enjoy it. The 7500 square foot main brewery features a custom 30 barrel brewhouse for our large distributed brews while the “Brewer’s Playground” pilot system is for taproom-exclusive brews.

Our 4000 square foot taproom features plenty of comfortable indoor seating made for sampling our rotating line of beers you won’t be able to get anywhere else. Step outside to the beer garden to relax and enjoy Louisiana’s beautiful outdoors while playing a game of washers or cornhole. Before the day is done, make sure you fill a growler to go!

The Convocation

Ducks have flocks; eagles fly in “convocations.” The next step in our journey was to put together a team to help make this dream a reality. If you look at our logo with all of the different colors swirling together, that is how our team came together. Crying Eagle has been and continues to be a convergence of guys and gals from every walk of life and every corner of this great land. {Link to bios}

Why “Crying Eagle?”

From tales of pirates, privateers, and buried treasure to the area at one point being a lawless “No Man’s Land,” Southwest Louisiana is home to many unique pieces of history.

Calcasieu, the name of the parish (or county for y’all not from around here) that we call home, comes from the Atakapan word, "quelqueshue", meaning "crying eagle". It is said to have been the name of an Atakapa chief.

Let’s get crafty, SWLA.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Learn more about Crying Eagle Brewing Company

13. Imperial Calcasieu Museum

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Imperial Calcasieu Museum

14. Charpentier Historic District

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Charpentier Historic District