Travel – Lake Charles

Travel – Lake Charles

When you hear the words “golf trip” or “golf getaway,” what usually comes to mind? Perhaps you think of a bunch of guys, nonstop golf, greasy food, drinks and sports bars. Being married to a golfer and the daughter and sister of golfers, that’s what I envision the men in my life have done while away on golf weekends. Personally, that kind of trip never floated my boat … until I started to think about redesigning the concept of a golf getaway for women.

I wondered, what are the elements that would make a girls’ golf getaway appealing?

I’m talking about a golf getaway with enough – but not too much – golf, healthy and delicious food and wine, and also shopping, spas, culture and fun.  In addition, since some of my friends don’t golf but are great travel companions, it would be great to have activities to entertain those ladies, as well.

Well, as luck would have it, these things came together this fall when I went on a golf press trip to Lake Charles, LA. I made it my mission to see if Lake Charles could meet the criteria women might have for a girls’ golf tripone that went above and beyond just golf and had activities for golfers and non-golfers alike.

The Girls Golf Getaway… Lake Charles, LA Edition

My trip to Lake Charles certainly gave me an accurate “glimpse” of what an ideal girls’ golf getaway could look like. I was with a group of golf writers, and our job was to play 18 holes a day, sample local cuisine, stay at the L’Auberge Casino Resort, and explore Lake Charles. We were there to enjoy all Lake Charles had to offer and then let the world know about this hidden gem.

As it turned out, this trip had all the makings of a girls’ golf getaway that could easily work for golfers and non-golfers alike. Actually, it really felt like the perfect way to take a golf trip in generalvisit an area and take advantage of its courses while also getting a flavor of the cuisine, art scene, shopping and general vibe.

Luckily for me, Lake Charles was the perfect spot to do all of the above.

First Order of Business: Getting to Lake Charles

If you’re coming from Houston and planning a girl caravan, Lake Charles is a 145-mile car trip, or you can get there via plane, train or bus. Whether you’re coming from Dallas or Houston, Lake Charles Airport has you covered with its nonstop service on American Airlines to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and United Airlines to the Houston Intercontinental Airport.

Second: Where to Stay

Lake Charles and the surrounding area offer many great lodging options. I had the opportunity to stay in a luxurious suite at the L’Auberge Casino Resort. My room was incredibly spacious–perfect if you’ve got a couple of gals sharing a room. It had a mini-bar, a separate living area with a couch and flat-screen TV (great for cocktails with the group), and a huge bathroom with separate vanity areas on opposite sides (no fighting for the mirror if you’re sharing a room), a soaking tub and a giant shower.

Just next door, you’ll find another casino – the Golden Nugget Lake Charles. Like L’Auberge, it had a gorgeous pool, shops, a spa, bars, restaurants and its own golf course. Speaking of golf … it was so nice to have the course outside our hotelwe didn’t need to leave extra early to drive to the course. For a girls’ golf trip, the proximity of the courses to the hotels means convenience for the golfers and a great home base full of things to do for non-golfers. While the golfers hit the course, non-golfers can sleep in, work out, visit the spa, hit the casino … whatever they please. The casino resort has so much to offer, there’s no need to leave to have a relaxing and entertaining day. (Note there are other area casino resorts available, as well, including Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel and Horseshoe Casino & Hotel.)

Golf in Lake Charles

You definitely won’t run out of course options in and around Lake Charles.

Let’s start with the Contraband Bayou Golf Club at L’Auberge Casino Resort. Located right next door to the L’Auberge Casino Resort, this 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed championship course was challenging but accessible. Golfweek Magazine voted Contraband Bayou one of Louisiana’s Best Places to Play. I give it an A+ for the friendly staff, touchscreen GPS in every cart, immaculate course bathrooms and gorgeous clubhouse.

Next, there’s  The Country Club at the Golden Nugget, named the No. 1 course in Louisiana in Golfweek’s Best of 2021. The 18-hole, par-72 course provides just enough challenges to keep things interesting. A great dining option here is its Chart House for dinner, or check out their brunch on Sundays.  If you finish playing at lunchtime, head next door to the Golden Nugget, where you’ll have many dining options.

Lake Charles’ newest premiere golf experience is the Mallard Golf Club, a Scottish links-inspired golf course designed by Jeff Blume. All levels of golfers will feel comfortable on this lovely course, and everything about the venue is top-notch. The new clubhouse is stunning, and the Mallard Club & Grille is perfect for a post-round lunch or drinks.  Plus, I need to note that the carts were top-notch, and the bathrooms on the course … fabulous.

Head to the National Golf Club of Louisiana, where you’ll find 14 lakes, 65 bunkers and some challenging greens – it sounds a bit daunting, but it’s actually very playable for all levels. Plus, this club is sincerely trying to grow the game and develop new area golfersso much so that it has partnered with the local rec department to offer free golf opportunities to (West Lake) residents.  The club and its restaurant, The Max, have a great small-town feel, and as a visitor, you’ll be treated like family.

Spa Services – a must! 

It wouldn’t be a girls’ trip without spa services, right?  I took full advantage of the gorgeous L’Auberge Spa du Lac. I worked out in the fitness center (great equipment), had a glorious 50-minute massage, and capped off the experience in the hot tub, sauna and lounge. If I’d had a bit more time, I would have had a mani/pedi or a facial. This full-service spa also offers body treatments (seafood wrap, anyone?), waxing and hair services. Spa guests can access the spa all day on the day of their appointment. (A similar experience is available next door at the Golden Nugget Spa & Salon.)

Dining in Lake Charles

If you like seafood, cajun cooking, and just plain delicious food, you’ll be very happy with the food scene in Lake Charles.

L’Auberge Casino Resort was full of options … from seafood to bar food. (Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, Johnny Sanchez and ASIA are a few options.)

Next door at the Golden Nugget, find 13-plus venues for food/drinks and the favorite Saltgrass Steakhouse.

Pat’s of Henderson: Third-generation restaurant with award-winning gumbo and cajun food, steaks and seafood. The staff was friendly, and the elegant but comfortable atmosphere was great for a group dinner.

Crying Eagle Brewing Company: Craft brewery (plus wine and mixed drinks) with indoor and outdoor dining. They had great pizza, as well as salads, Brussel sprouts, and other delicious sides and appetizers.

Luna Bar and Grill:  Great variety and two locations. Jazz brunch on Sundays. Owners started Chuck Fest, a celebration of Louisiana culture.

Restaurant Calla: Relaxed yet elegant, featuring culinary delights from local farms and waters.

121 Artisan Bistro: Pristine attention to detail in traditional cuisine.

The James 710: Globally inspired, locally sourced ingredients and a Southern flair.

Shopping, Festivals & The Arts in Lake Charles

Visit Lake Charles does a remarkable job of promoting their wonderful city, and I think their slogan is perhaps one of the best reasons you’d want to visit: “Lake CharlesAs Much Joy as You Can Pack In.” In a nutshell, the goal is for you to find something that brings you joy in Lake Charles and then go and enjoy it.  This might mean you can shop your heart out in the many boutiques and specialty stores, take in a festival, investigate the art scene, or enjoy outdoor recreation.  You’ll always be able to find something to do, as Lake Charles has more than 75 festivals and special events each yearsuch as Mardi Gras, the Louisiana Food & Wine Festival, Lake Charles Crawfish Festival, and more. In addition, there are music, art and food festivals sprinkled throughout the year.  Be sure to check out the murals and street art that illustrate the growing art scene in Lake Charles.

Lake Charles for the Win 

My five days in Lake Charles had me swinging (clubs), eating, drinking, shopping and enjoying the city’s positive, relaxed vibe. Lake Charles is definitely girls-golf-trip-worthywhether your entire crew golfs or includes non-golfers.  The golf was amazingso many beautiful courses that were challenging but definitely enjoyable for an average golfer like myself. Off the course, I got a taste of Lake Charles and found culture, art, great food, beautiful nature, shops and, best of all, unmistakable Southern hospitality that will have me coming back. Ladies, if you’re looking for a place to go with your crew, head to Lake Charles for a golf and travel experience you won’t forget!

Abbey Algiers is a freelance writer specializing in golf, travel, Spain and lifestyle. She writes regularly for the LPGA Women’s Network and has written for, including an account of her trip along the Camino de Santiago – one of GoNOMAD’s “Best of 2022.” Find more about Abbey on her website or in her weekly lifestyle newsletter.