Since 1958, the Lake Charles Civic Symphony has provided the area with quality programs under the baton of an experienced conductor. The annual season consists of three concerts featuring guest artists, a youth concert and a special appearance at the Spring Arts Festival.
Lake Charles Little Theater, founded in 1926, is the oldest arts organization in Lake Charles. Artists Civic Theater and Studio (ACTS), with a full time professional director, is housed in its recently acquired theater facility in the downtown area. The Communication and Theater Department at McNeese State University produces plays and conducts theater and communications workshops for the university community as well as area residents.
Lake Charles Ballet Society, founded in 1963, sponsors an annual concert series presenting national touring companies and guests artists, as well as showcasing local dancers. Lake Charles Civic Ballet annually presents Christmas ballet especially for young audiences. Dance Theater Southwest provides concerts to satisfy every dance lover’s taste.
Burton Coliseum is located southeast of Lake Charles near the Lake Charles Regional Airport. Burton Coliseum is the home of the McNeese Cowboy basketball team. Other events include rodeos, livestock shows, and 4-H events.
Located on the north shore of Lake Charles, North Beach is the only white sandy inland beach on the Gulf Coast. Directly off Interstate 10, the beach is easily accessible and provides the perfect backdrop for water sports of all kinds.
The 210 Beach is located under the 210 bridge off West Prien Lake Road. The Beach provides easy access to one of the areas most beautiful lakes, Prien Lake.
Historic downtown Lake Charles features one of the finest collections of Victorian architecture in the state. The Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau offers a walking/riding tour brochure that outlines the district.
CREOLE NATURE TRAIL
Exiting off Interstate 10 at La. 27 South, the Creole Nature Trail runs south through Hackberry to Holly Beach and the Gulf of Mexico. The 105 mile driving tour offers a walking trail at the Sabine Wildlife Refuge plus a close up view of the unique plants and wildlife found only in Southwest Louisiana.
OLD SPANISH TRAIL
Originally a Spanish trading route in the 1800’s, the Old Spanish Trail offers a scenic and historic look at west Calcasieu Parish. Such sights as a Confederate encampment, blacksmith shop, crawfish farm, and other features of historical significance may be seen along the Trail.
NIBLETT’S BLUFF PARK
The park site, once an old Civil War encampment, is located west of Vinton on the Sabine River. Tent camping areas, trailer hook-ups, picnic areas, boat launch, hunting, fishing and hiking are among the many activities.
SAM HOUSTON JONES STATE PARK
North of Lake Charles, Sam Houston Jones State Park offers nature trails, boat launch, lagoons, fishing, picnic areas, cabin and boat rentals, and RV hook-ups.
IMPERIAL CALCASIEU MUSEUM
Located on the corner of Ethel and Sallier Street in Lake Charles, the museum features a 300 year old oak tree and houses, historical records, and exhibits depicting the history of Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana. 439-3797
The Children’s Museum is located on Enterprise Blvd. just south of Broad Street. The Museum hosts exhibits year round and provides many exciting activities for children of all ages. 433-9420
Located in Frasch Park in Sulphur, the Brimstone Museum is housed in the Southern Pacific Railroad depot. Special and permanent exhibits pertaining to Southwest Louisiana may be viewed year round. 527-7142
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Big Lake, Lake Charles, Prien Lake, Calcasieu River – in these waters the fisherman can find speckled trout, bass, bream, flounder, catfish, redfish and crawfish. Big game enthusiasts can pursue their deep sea sport in the Gulf of Mexico where tarpon, marlin, bluefish, king mackerel, spanish mackerel, and other large fish inhabit these waters.
For the hunter, two game preserves, marsh and woodland, are available. These preserves are alive with ducks, geese, quail, deer and doves.
Sabine National Wildlife Refuge – The largest waterfowl refuge on the Gulf Coast.
Rockfeller Wildlife Refuge – Internationally recognized as a major alligator research center. Its visitor’s center has a display of artifacts from “El Nuevo Constant”, an 18th century Spanish merchant vessel that sank off the Cameron coast.
Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge – Hosts over 200 species of birds as well as certain threatened and endangered species of wildlife.
The Lake Charles area boasts five 18-hole golf courses.
The two private clubs are:
The Lake Charles Country Club, located on Prien Lake Road
The Bayou Oaks Country Club near Carlyss
The area has three public golf courses:
Pine Shadows Golf Club on Goodman Road
Frasch Park in Sulphur – 527-8693
Mallard Cove Golf Course at Chennault – 491-1241
Parimutuel thoroughbred and quarter horse racing from September through July can be found at Delta Downs Racetrack in Vinton, just 25 miles west of Lake Charles.
The Lake Area Runners sponsor many races and participate in weekend runs in nearby cities.
Courts are available in all areas of the parish:
Lake Charles Country Club
Lake Charles Racquet Club
A.M. Barbe High School
Lake Charles High School
For all age groups.
436-3376 – a full program from Tiger cubs and Cub Scouts to Explorers is available.
436-4794 – Today’s Girl Scouting offers programs from Kindergarten through High School.
478-6550 – The Camp Fire Program is no longer just for girls. The purpose is still the same: helping young people grow into responsible adults withe emphasis placed on service to others, the arts, home life, and the outdoors.
During the first part of May, Lake Charles celebrates for Contraband Days. The theme is the capture of Lake Charles by the notorious pirate, Jean Lafitte. Organized events such as power boat races, concerts, carnivals and fireworks make for an exciting festival. For more information call 436-5508.
Although Lake Charles is close enough to enjoy the New Orleans Mardi Gras season, Southwest Louisiana has its own Mardi Gras celebration. Carnivals and parades are just a few of the many events. Mardi Gras is held the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday each year.
This event is held during the week of July Fourth. This festival has grown out of a Deep Sea and Inland Fishing Rodeo. Power boat races, water ski shows, and a wide variety of carnival activities are part of the week.
LAKE CHARLES CIVIC CENTER
The civic and convention center is located on the eastern shore of Lake Charles. It is surrounded by a new boardwalk, fountain, and Veterans’s memorial park. The Civic Center is home to the Lake Charles Ice Pirates, and Ice Hockey team.
Lagrange High School
Lanza Recreation Center
W.W. Lewis Junior High
McNeese State University
Simmons Street Park
Sulphur High School
W. 18th Street Park
W. Lake Courts
The Foreman-Reynaud YMCA is located on the north side of Lake Charles. It too has a complete schedule of classes, a gym, tennis courts, etc. for family recreation.
Foreman-Reynaud – 214 Albert St. – 436-2509
Little League baseball is very popular in Lake Charles and the area quite often sends teams to compete in regional tournaments. The City of Lake Charles is divided into three areas. The recreation department provides the fields. The City of Sulphur and Moss Bluff are aligned with the Dixie Youth League. From the age of 5 to 15, boys and girls can sign up for teeball, softball, or baseball. Older boys play American Legion Ball.
Plays under the Recreation Department at school fields. Mostly for the grade school group, the teams have volunteer coaches and cheerleaders.
For the grade school age group, sponsored by the Recreation Department. The school gyms are used.
The area is home to two riverboat Casino’s and one Indian Casino.
ISLE OF CAPRI
This facility is located just over the I-10 bridge in Westlake. The casino recently opened a brand new hotel. Like Players, the Isle of Capri has slot machines, video poker, and various table games on its two Riverboat Casinos.
GRAND CASINO COUSHATTA
This is the areas only land based Casino. Located north of Lake Charles in Kinder, the Casino is about a 40 minute drive from I-10. The Casino has several restaurants, slot machines, video poker and various table games. The Casino also has babysitting and a Kids Quest playground for children. The Casino is in the process of building a large hotel.
DELTA DOWNS RACETRACK
Racy days and racy nights! Just north of Interstate 10 in Vinton, Delta Downs offers year round quarter horse and thoroughbred racing.