Seafood Trails in Lake Charles
Looking for your next adventure in Louisiana? Adore being out in nature? Love seafood? Lake Charles and the surrounding area are where all of these uniquely merge. Check out the Louisiana Seafood Trails to learn more about Lake Charles!
- Creole Nature Trail All-American Road
- Charlestown Farmer’s Market
- Fishing in the greater Lake Charles area
- Fishing & Family: Lake Prien, Bord du Lac Marina, and Millennium Park
- Shelling along the seashore
- Getting away from it all at Sam Houston Jones State Park
For more information about seafood in Lake Charles, visit the Stay for the Seafood – Lake Charles video.
Listen here: CreoleNatureTrail.mp3
If you enjoy spending your time in nature, the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is for you! This 180-mile trail by car gives visitors a little taste of some of the most scenic habitats southwest Louisiana has to offer, including wetlands, prairie land, and beaches.
Hop out of your car, stretch your legs, and spend time exploring the scenic stops along the way. We dare you to spend any less than a day at any one of these spots that include: beaches perfect for days discovering seashells in the sand and afternoons in the water surf fishing; boat launches to be used as jumping-off points for quality time spent freshwater fishing; locales for viewing wildflowers, alligators, song & migratory birds, and other wildlife.
In fact, the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road takes us through not one but FIVE Wildlife Refuges and Sanctuaries. These include:
- Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge
- Sabine National Wildlife Refuge
- Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge
- Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge
- Peveto Woods Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary
Whatever you choose to immerse yourself in along the Creole Nature Trail, you will be sure to go home happy!
(Images from top to bottom: SC Fiasco; Visit Lake Charles)
Listen here: CharlestownFarmersMarket.mp3
Let’s explore a weekend favorite with the locals in the Lake Charles area – the Charlestown Farmer’s Market! Open each Saturday from 8 AM to noon, the market is located just behind the Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center.
Brimming with community pride, this market sings the praises of Louisiana’s bounty and features local-grown fruits, veggies, eggs, meat, herbs, and honey – as well as homemade goods, arts and crafts. And let’s not forget the state’s kitchen staple: jasmine rice!
Believe it or not, rice – like that sold at the Charlestown Market – holds a strong connection to Louisiana’s seafood dynasty. Since the 1950’s, many Louisiana farmers have paired crops of rice and crawfish in their fields, doubling their harvests.
Farmers do this by planting rice in the spring and flooding those same fields with water several weeks later. They follow up, adding crawfish broodstock to the newly flooded fields. The broodstock reproduces, creating plenty of young crawfish to grow. Come late summer farmers drain the fields. This signals the crawfish to burrow and allows farmers to harvest the rice crop during this time. After the rice harvest, the fields are flooded once more. Any remaining bits of rice plant material will provide food for the growing crawfish, which can be harvested any time between Late Fall through Spring.
Talk about a match made on a dinner plate.
(Images from top to bottom: Lindsey Janies; LSU AgCenter)
Listen here: FishingInGreaterLakeCharles.mp3
Love fresh seafood? You are not alone! The greater Lake Charles area – which includes Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes – boasts over 40 boat launches and many charter fishing opportunities. These spots are perfect for launching not only a boat but also a great day spent on the water…while also catching dinner!
Salinity – or the salt content of the water – plays a major role in the types of fish living in any given location. The wide range of salinities surrounding the greater Lake Charles area gives way to so much tantalizing variety.
The calm waters of the Calcasieu and Sabine Rivers are just a couple of the inland freshwater spots the area has to offer. Delicious freshwater species, such as Largemouth Bass and Blue Catfish are often part of the catch.
Saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico combines with freshwater flow from the Calcasieu River to yield tasty mainstays, such as Speckled Trout, Redfish, and Southern Flounder in the brackish waters of Prien Lake and the southern section of Calcasieu River.
The salty, offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico are popular with fishers, as are the uniquely salty inland waters of Calcasieu Lake. Mahi Mahi, Red Snapper, and Pompano are just some of the species that can be caught.
If you love fishing but not the cleaning and cooking of your catch, check out the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) website. There, you can find a listing of restaurants participating in the Louisiana Catch and Cook program. Fishers need only bring in their fresh catch to a participating restaurant to have it cleaned and prepared by a professional chef.
(Image: Justin Hoffman)
Fishing & family: Prien Lake Park, Bord du Lac Marina, Millennium Park
Listen here: LakePrien-BordDuLacMarina-MillenniumPark.mp3
In search of peaceful outdoor retreats in the Lake Charles area that will bring smiles to both mariners and children (and their parents!) alike? Search no further than Prien Lake Park, Bord du Lac Marina, and Millennium Park.
Situated directly on Lake Charles, Bord du Lac Marina is a gorgeous launch point for adventures out on the sparkling water. Not to mention Lake Charles is a sweet spot for fishing. No boat? No problem. Like much of the area, there are many charter fishing opportunities to choose from that can be hired for a day out on the water.
Just a picturesque stroll from the marina along the brick paths of the Lakefront Promenade brings us to Millennium Park. This park is a haven for families with younger children. In addition to park mainstays such as swings, the park has large yet beautifully elaborate play structures such as steamboats, lighthouses, and castles. And of course, there is a splash pad.
A leisurely ride south, by boat or car, along the Calcasieu River brings us to Prien Lake. Families who visit this wonderful outdoor space will enjoy spending time together at the park’s multiple pavilions, picnic tables, restrooms, and playground. Boaters and fishers alike will appreciate this waterfront park’s boat launch and boardwalk. Like Lake Charles, fishing on Lake Prien can yield catches of some dinner plate favorites – croaker, redfish, speckled trout, flounder, and black drum.
(Images from top to bottom: Visit Lake Charles; Visit Lake Charles)
Listen here: ShellsBeaching.mp3
Do you hear those sounds? Waves are crashing and shorebirds are calling your name when you come to visit the beaches just south of Lake Charles. Located along the sandy shores of the Gulf of Mexico, the beaches include Rutherford, Mae’s, Long Dun, Little Florida, Gulf Breeze, Constance, and let’s not forget, Holly Beach—sometimes referred to as the Cajun Riviera. At any of these tranquil saltwater beaches, you may find yourself immersed in the practice of collecting seashells, also known as shelling. Visitors will find their pockets and bags lined with shells such as the Angel Wing, Atlantic Coquina, Florida Fighting Conch, and Blood Arc. Some may even land a few sea beans! Though not shells or beans, sea beans are truly collectible. These seeds travel the ocean waters from South America and find their way to the shores of the Gulf.
Oyster shells are also among the beautiful mix of finds at these beaches. Their shells and tasty flesh aside, did you know that oysters improve the clarity of the waters they inhabit? This is great news for Louisiana’s beachgoers. Calcasieu Lake, which feeds freshwater to these Gulf of Mexico beaches, houses a vibrant oyster harvesting industry and is the soon-to-be home of Cameron Parish’s very own Alternative Oyster Culture Park—also known as an AOC Park. One of a handful in the state, the AOC park will include multiple oyster farms, each with oysters grown in anchored floating cages or bottom-placed cages. This method protects the oysters from both natural predators and hurricanes.
To learn more about Alternative Oyster Culture, please visit: www.laseafoodfuture.com/aoc.
(Images: Judy/Adobe Stock; Bonnie Taylor Barry/Adobe Stock)
Audio Recording: SamHoustonJonesStatePark.mp3
Tucked away on the western fork of the Calcasieu River, Sam Houston Jones State Park is just miles away from downtown Lake Charles, yet offers its visitors more than one thousand acres steeped in serenity. Whether you are making a day visit to the park or waking up in one of the cabins or tent camps on site, getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life is easy at this beautiful park.
A stroll down the hiking and biking trails provides ample opportunity for viewing the wildlife nestled amongst the dense, mixed forests of hardwoods and longleaf pines. The longleaf pines in this park are a must-see as they are some of the last of their kind in Louisiana. Once plentiful throughout the southeastern United States, longleaf pines were pushed to the brink by the early 2000’s. Through restoration efforts, these pines are slowly making a comeback. The carefully managed forests of Sam Houston Jones Park support, either directly or indirectly, more than 200 species of birds in the surrounding area, a treat for novice and seasoned birders alike.
Plentiful options are available for those who like to unwind by spending time on the water! Peaceful, tree-filled lagoons and the meandering Calcasieu River offer the perfect respite from the daily grind. Complete with boat launches, the Calcasieu River is a popular bass fishing spot, yet saltwater fishing options are not far from view. In fact, the river leads to a chain of connected waterbodies—Lake Charles, Prien Lake, and Calcasieu Lake. These water bodies—ranging from fresh to salty and everything in between—provide fishers with a wide variety of experiences. Before heading out on the water, be sure to check out the Louisiana Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recreational fishing information to learn more about the necessary permits and regulations.
(Images (from top to bottom): Visit Lake Charles; Visit Lake Charles)