Monday, March 30, 2020

Lake Charles, LA - FL To NM Road Trip - Stop 2


We made so many wonderful memories on our FL to NM And Back road trip.  If we have enough time and energy, after we have met our goal of visiting every national park on the US mainland, we might want to do this trip again.  There are a few things we would pass on next time and some places we would plan to stay longer than we did this time.  One of those places we wished we had more time to explore was Lake Charles, LA.   


If we ever visit Lake Charles again, we will probably do it the same way, with our RV and camping in one of Louisiana's state parks.  We found Sam Houston Jones State Park by searching for a state park closest to I10 which was highway we were traveling on.  We were sold when we found out it was only 8 miles off the highway.  This was our second campground stop and we were hoping it would be as nice as our first stop but the campground was small and even though there were only 38 sites, it felt pretty cramped.  But each site had a picnic table and fire pit and enough room to cook up some burgers for dinner and sausages for our second night.


Please read our full report on Sam Houston Jones State Park in our brand new Guide To State Park Campgrounds coming very soon!

We didn't have any plans made, before we left on this road trip, for Louisiana.  This was just going to be a place for us to stop for two nights on our way to San Antonio.  During our 5 1/2 drive from Pensacola to Lake Charles, was when I looked to see if there was anything to do.  We were pleasantly surprised and very excited when we found out about the Creole Nature Trail which was very near the campground.  


So after breakfast the next morning we set off to explore the trail.  First we stopped at the tourist bureau to see if we could get some more information about the Creole Nature Trail.  The very helpful person at the information desk gave us a map and pointed out a few of the must see trails.  We found out, as soon as we entered this building, that the Mardi Gras was in full force.  For some reason, I thought New Orleans was the only city in Louisiana that celebrated.  I was wrong.  We didn't have any time this trip to check out any of the Mardi Gras festivities in Lake Charles so if we ever do have a chance to get back to this area we will plan it for February so that we can join in the all the festivities we missed this time.


The second stop we made, before we hit the trail, was Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point.  This attraction was at the start of the trail so it was easy enough to stop in here.   The very friendly host and hostess at the information desk answered all our questions about Mardi Gras, boudin and king cake.  After all this great info, we took a look at the displays and learned more about the culture of Louisiana and about the wildlife we could find in this area.  We were happy we stopped in. 


We needed to make one more stop, for lunch, before we hit the trail.  We packed a lunch before we left the campground and we were glad we did.  We saw on our map of the trail, Intracoastal Park.  Here we found a picnic table and had a relaxing lunch while watching all the activity on the Intracoastal Waterway. 



During our picnic lunch we pulled out our map of the Creole Nature Trail and decided what trails we wanted to hike and what else we wanted to see and do.  After lunch we got back into the car and headed to the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge.  With the bird identifying brochure, in hand, that we picked up at the Visitors Bureau, we hiked the Blue Goose Walking Trail.  We saw a couple of birds, but since we didn't have binoculars, we couldn't compare any of them to the brochure we had.  It was a nice, leisurely walk, though, down to the water and back.



We read that the best trail to spot alligators on was the 1 1/2 mile Wetland Walkway trail so that was where we headed next.  I wanted to see an alligator as much as I didn't want to see one I think.  I jumped at every sound I heard or movement I saw.  Halfway around the trail, we started to ask people, we passed, if they got a glimpse of one and no one did.  We were thinking that we would not see one until we noticed a couple looking intently at what we thought was a log but they were sure it was an alligator.






Our next stop on the trail was Holly Beach to get a close up view of the Gulf of Mexico.


After spending some time at the beach looking for shells, we decided it was time to get back to the campground so we headed off to find the Cameron Ferry that would take us a short distance over the Intracoastal Waterway.  We had front row seats on our ride to the other side of the trail.


We toured this side of the Creole Nature Trail without getting out of the car.  There wasn't as many trails on this side but enough that we would love to come back and explore this side one day.


Before we went back to the campground, we made a pit stop at a Market Basket supermarket where the nice people at Adventure Point told us we would find boudin.  Boudin (pronounced boodan) is made with cooked rice, pork, onions, green peppers and seasonings which is stuffed into sausage casings.  It is a staple food of Louisiana, especially around the Lake Charles area.  We wanted to try boudin balls which is boudin taken out of the casing, rolled into a ball shape then breaded and fried.  I was very excited to find that they also had king cake, which is a cake that's eaten throughout Mardi Gras season which lasts from Epiphany Eve to Fat Tuesday.


While I was researching things to do in Lake Charles, I found that there were three casinos that were only 20-25 minutes from our campground!  So after dinner and our delicious snack we went out to try our luck at the Isle of Capri Casino.  Me and Soko both came out winners!  I think it was because we walked in through these doors!!




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9 comments:

  1. I love your trip details! I am from Louisiana and have spent lots of time of the Creole Trail, and Holly beach is one of our favorites for shelling. We were just there in February.

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    1. We were there in February! We loved your state and hope to go back one day soon when things get back to normal again. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Looks like you all had a nice time! Thanks so much for linking up with me at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 11, open April 1 to 26. All entries shared on social media if share buttons installed. I’d like to invite you to check out my other current link parties too!

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    1. Thank you for hosting! Hope you are doing well. Be safe.

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  4. sounds like a great trip plan full of fun and adventure. I love road trips from the planning to the end all is so much fun
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    1. Yes! The planning and mapping out of the trip was definitely part of the fun!!

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  5. That does sound like a fun area to explore; I had no idea that other parts of LA celebrated Mardi Gras either.

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    1. It is amazing all you will learn while you are having fun traveling the country and world!

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