Lake Charles earns destination distinction

By By Nichole Osinski / American Press

A recent USA Today article listed Lake Charles as one of the top 10 destinations for a holiday getaway — a ranking that included

Hawaii, Turks and Caicos, and Los Angeles.

Lake Charles, cited as a place “where the parades and festivities play up tradition more than titillation,” beat out sister

city New Orleans.

Jennifer Miner, Kara Williams and Beth

Blair, travel writers with TheVacationGals.com blog, teamed up with

freelance travel

writer and editor Larry Bleiberg to compile the holiday

destinations list. Adding Lake Charles to the list meant asking travel

experts for recommendations, as well as positive experiences.

“I grew up in Baton Rouge and fondly

recall road trips around the state — the culture in Louisiana is deep

rooted and like

nowhere else,” Blair said. “I enjoy Lake Charles because it is a

lot less touristy than some cities but still has all of the

Southern charm and hospitality as the rest of the state.”

For the winter season visitors can expect the annual holiday market with merchants from around the country; the Moss Bluff

Harvest Festival; and a number of shows, rides, and different cuisines to experience.

“Right now we have many events going that are unique to the area such as arts and crafts shows, Mistletoe and Moss, and the

L’Auberge ice rink,” said Amos Orr, online content manager at the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“People enjoy the fact that they can get real Cajun culture but still have a traditional Christmas.”

Choosing Lake Charles for a winter vacation means skiing and snowmobiling are unlikely, but there are still ways to enjoy

the outdoors — the Creole Nature Trail, Sam Houston Jones State Park, the Lakefront Promenade.

“Louisiana is a friendly part of the country and colorful part of the country and there is so much to do there,” Bleiberg

said. “I think that there are places readers are used to, but Lake Charles is a surprise and people would love the welcome

they would get.”

Other getaway locations on the list were Palm Springs, Calif.; Puerto Rico; Sanibel Island, Fla.; Carlsbad, Calif.; Atlanta;

and Tucson, Ariz.