Lake Charles

Lake Charles, Louisiana has a little bit of everything that defines Louisiana’s inimitable character. Here you’ll find Cajun and Creole cuisine (including fresh Louisiana seafood), untouched marshlands filled with birds, wildlife along the Creole Nature Trail and year-round local celebrations overflowing with food, live music and people waiting to welcome you. In a nutshell, it’s everything you need in one hot spot.

Starting your Louisiana adventure in Lake Charles allows your trip, and your knowledge of Louisiana’s unique cultures, to build as you travel towards the crown jewel of Louisiana, New Orleans. Located just 2 hours east of Houston, Texas and 3.5 hours west of New Orleans, Lake Charles’ is a must stop in your Louisiana or Deep South itinerary.

Beaches & Shelling

The 26 miles of natural beaches along the Creole Nature Trail are largely undeveloped and easily accessible, providing an excellent opportunity for a wide range of water and beach activities from swimming and tubing to surf fishing, birding, sunbathing and not to forget the family favourite shelling!

When and where to Shell?

Shelling is generally best at low tide or up to 48 hours after rough weather has sent waves crashing on to the shore.

All the beaches along the Creole Nature Trail provide great shelling opportunities but Rutherford Beach n eastern Cameron Parish, and the smaller beaches to the west of Holly Beach, are usually the best as they are the least inhabited. Be sure to look for shells both where the waves are hitting the shore, as well as where they hit the shore at high tide. Often called the ‘trash line’, the gulf leaves its treasures behind as the high tide slowly recedes.

 

Birding

It is estimated that as many as half of all land birds that breed in eastern North America pass through Louisiana twice each year. In a typical year, more than 400 different species can be spotted in Southwest Louisiana!

Whether you wish to see neotropical songbirds fluttering in the trees during the spring and fall, shorebirds refuelling in the tidal flats and salt marshes, fields made white by massive flocks of wintering snow geese or butterflies in the late fall to early summer, the Creole Nature Trail is a perfect destination for nature lovers. Birds can be seen year-round however, fall, winter and spring are the best seasons for birding in this area.

Here are just a few of the best places to go birding: Niblett’s Bluff Park, Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, Cameron Jetties, Rutherford Beach and the Chenier Loop.

Louisiana Seafood

Nearly 1/3 of the seafood consumed in the United States comes from Louisiana as the state is the number one provider of shrimp, oysters, crab, crawfish and alligator. Louisiana harvests more than 100 million pounds of shrimp annually. That’s because the nutrient-rich estuaries are the perfect environments for both brown and white shrimp breeding.

Although blue crabs are often associated with Delaware or Maryland, if you’ve eaten crab on the East Coast, chances are it’s actually from Louisiana. The blue crab is one of the more abundant and tasty macroinvertebrates in Louisiana’s coastal waters and plays a crucial role in the estuarine food web.

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