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Lake Charles, LA

About Lake CharlesLake Charles owes its early development to a happy combination of Capt. J.B. Watkins, natural resources and a deepwater port. In 1887 Watkins moved his New York newspaper to Lake Charles and started an advertising program that, with the terminus of a railroad at New Orleans, resulted in the establishment of a 17-mill lumber industry.

An abundance of pine and cypress led to a building frenzy at the turn of the 19th century. There were not enough architects to meet construction demands, so carpenters built houses from book plans that they modified for individual homeowners. These distinct designs now define the historic Charpentier (carpenter) District.

Lake Charles' Mardi Gras Day features an impressive parade with lots of music. Louisiana Pirate Festival , which takes place in early May, is one of Louisiana's largest festivals; it centers on the legend of the “Gentleman Pirate,” Jean Lafitte, who supposedly hid his treasures along the shores of Lake Charles. When the holiday season rolls around, so does Light up the Lake , which includes music, a lighted flotilla, a giant balloon parade, a carnival and fireworks.

The Creole Nature Trail National Scenic Byway (SRs 27 and 82), 9 miles west of Lake Charles, runs south from I-10 and passes through several refuges.

Visitor Centers Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau 1205 N. Lakeshore Dr. Lake Charles, LA 70601. Phone:(337)436-9588 or (800)456-7952

Self-guiding ToursBrochures for a 180-mile driving tour of the Creole Nature Trail National Scenic Byway and a riding/walking tour of the historic district are available from the convention and visitors bureau.

Shopping Prien Lake Mall , off I-210 Lake Street exit at 496 W. Prien Lake Rd., features Dillard's and Sears among its more than 80 stores.

Things to Do Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center

Imperial Calcasieu Museum

Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu

GAMBLING ESTABLISHMENTS Golden Nugget Lake Charles

L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort

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Lake Charles, LA

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

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Members save 5% to 15% and earn 10% bonus Best Western Rewards® points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Best Western Bayou Inn & Suites

1320 N Martin Luther King Hwy. Lake Charles, LA 70601

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Hampton Inn by Hilton Lake Charles

3175 Holly Hill Rd. Lake Charles, LA 70605

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Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

TownePlace Suites by Marriott Lake Charles

2985 L'Auberge Blvd. Lake Charles, LA 70601

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AAA Members

Members save 5% to 15% and earn 10% bonus Best Western Rewards® points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Best Western Plus Prien Lake Inn & Suites

1245 E Prien Lake Rd. Lake Charles, LA 70601

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