Food and drink are Louisiana's equivalent to heart and soul. While there are several local staples that cannot be missed — a "Darrell's Special" po' boy, an extra-large seafood platter from Steamboat Bill's on the Lake, and boudin and cracklins' along the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail — there are also loads of new local culinary treats worthy of the trip to Lake Charles.
Crying Eagle Brewing Co. is one of the newest additions to the Louisiana Brewery Trail, and it's easy to spend a lazy afternoon hanging out at the taproom. A local favorite is the crisp Louisiana Lager, which pairs perfectly with Cajun seasonings like cayenne, fresh herbs, and The Trinity. Take a tour or just enjoy a few brews, live music, or a stone-fired pizza from The Bistro, located inside the taproom.
While you're sampling the local libations, make sure Yellowfin Vodka and Bayou Rum are on the list. Both are distilled using 100 percent Louisiana sugarcane, and are 100 percent delicious. Take a tour to learn how these craft spirits are made and hear the from-the-ground-up stories of both these businesses while sipping on a few samples.
If you add Acadian Coffee Roasters to your list of stops, you will effectively visit the Southwest Louisiana Brews & Spirits Trail — after all, coffee is a "brew," too. You can get a nice cup of their brew at The Bekery.
There are also several farmers markets to be explored, with a proud community of local producers bringing in fruits, vegetables, meats, honey, jams, and spices.
Pops and Rockets freezes up more than 40 great flavors of gourmet popsicles, all with names inspired by epic '80 tunes, while organic juicers Pure Press Juicery has taken its farmers market popularity and grown into a full culinary experience that can be enjoyed outside of market days and at storefront as well.
Craving Creole? Check out more delicious finds for Creole cooking while in the Lake Charles area here.
If you're thinking of a spring trip, mark your calendar for the Louisiana Pirate Festival on May 2-5. This family-friendly event features live music, cannon demonstrations, costume contests, local arts and crafts, themed souvenirs, a boat parade, games, carnival rides, and more.