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Bacon is a perfect thing for breakfast. But you know what’s even better? Taking the idea of bacon, cubing it, deep frying it in massive cookers and snacking on ‘cracklins’ all morning. Only in southwest Louisiana would this be on the menu first thing in the morning, and the kids will go wild over it. This was only one of many incredible eats enjoyed throughout this part of the state, ideal for family vacations. Sure, New Orleans is iconic, but it would be a shame to journey all the way to Louisiana and not check out its Cajun and Creole roots outside the city. We explored Lake Charles, Louisiana and all the delicious bites it had to offer.

l'auberge casino resort lake charles

L’Auberge Vs. The Golden Nugget

A great home base to choose when checking out southwest Louisiana is Lake Charles. This bustling area is booming with jobs, so they are constantly adding trendy new restaurants, attractions and hotspots surrounding their lakeside location. One of the most popular retreats is the L’Auberge Casino Resort. As soon as you arrive, kids will notice the massive swimming area, complete with lazy river surrounded by palm trees. If you can drag them away, head to the plush, spacious rooms that offer comfort and great amenities. Some of the rooms have giant bathtubs where you can easily have your own private pool party! After a swim, choose one of the fantastic onsite dining options that are sure to please kids of all ages. The Jack Daniel’s Bar & Grill has some hearty mac & cheese croquettes, tater tot sides, and a desert pear lemonade the little ones will love. Make your reservations early though, as this place turns into a bumping bar with live entertainment later in the evening. While the kids can’t enter the casino, there’s still a great arcade next door that has plenty of modern games and the opportunity for the older kids to relax and make some new friends.

Hotel room at L'Auberge in Lake Charles Louisiana - by Eileen Cotter Wright

Right next door is the Golden Nugget Casino Resort, which opened in late 2014. The two properties work together in harmony, providing double the fun for families who want to experience the best of both worlds and two distinct resort personalities.

What is Boudin?

Picture this – a tasty sausage that a little lighter, fluffier and more flavorful. Boudin is a mix of pork liver and a dirty, stuff in natural basing and either grilled or simmered to perfection. This versatile meat is served everywhere in this town and in every which way. Although at least a half dozen varieties were sampled, every kind was perfectly prepared and enjoyed any time of day. Kids will love being introduced to boudin at Steamboat Bills in Lake Charles, which offers a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere and giant menu sure to please. Give the pistolettes a try too – it’s a fried dinner roll stuffed with seafood and sauce, topped with gravy. It’s practically a meal in itself.

Making cracklins in Lake Charles Louisiana

Adventure Out on the Lake

It might take some time to digest after this smorgasbord of foodie delights, so have a nap then take to the lake. Locals and guests alike enjoy the pretty waterfront year-round, due to the mostly mild weather. While there are fun water sports options like jet ski rentals, the whole crew can participate in a pontoon boat ride together. For instance, Redneck Yacht Rentals has a few boats that are perfect for fishing, gatherings and maybe even gator-spotting. For special occasions, like the holidays, the crew will take your family out on a boat covered in lights to admire the twinkling decorations on the house from the water. They even have hot chocolate and little presents for the kids on board.

A Few Treats to Take Home

Before heading home, it’s well worth grabbing some vacuum-packed boudin and other southern culinary treats to share with friends upon return. Luckily, Lake Charles and its surrounding towns have a ton of specialty shops and butcher stores to help you choose the perfect edible souvenirs. First, give the B & O Kitchen & Grocery in Sulphur a try for their homemade jerkies, sausages and meals to go. They do sell frozen cuts of meat, which could make it home in a freezer if you’ve arrived by car. For more non-perishable items, visit LeBleu’s Landing, also in Sulphur. The little ones can watch fresh boudin sausage being made while the adults peruse the aisles for specialty grabs like pickled okra, jarred roux (a base for gumbo), biscuit mixes and much more.

alligator legs lake charles louisiana

Take a drive through Lake Charles, sample a little bit of everything and introduce your child to a brand new food and fun culture next time you visit southwest Louisiana.

More Information:

L’Auberge Casino Resort

Jack Daniel’s Bar & Grill

Golden Nugget Casino Resort

Redneck Yacht Rentals (no longer in business)

B&O Kitchen & Grocery

LeBleu’s Landing

Eileen Cotter Wright

Author Eileen Cotter Wright

Eileen Cotter is a freelance travel journalist and owner of Pure Wander. She's our resident expat extraordinaire and falls down a lot in yoga class. Follow her on Instagram @Pure_Wander.

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