Moving to Lake Charles

Welcome to a realm where Southern charm intricately intertwines with a thriving economy, culturally rich history, and warm, friendly community spirit. Lake Charles, Louisiana, presents itself as an inspirational relocation choice for those seeking to unload the hustle and bustle of city life, yet enjoy the amenities of urban seclusion. Our comprehensive Lake Charles relocation guide digs deep into the heart of this beguiling city, detailing its cost of living, picturesque landscapes, the ebullient local culture and everything in between. Let's unlock all the delights Lake Charles has to offer as your idyllic new home.

Moving to Lake Charles, LA landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Lake Charles

1. Rich in History & Culture

Breathe in a whiff of the local culture in Lake Charles, LA as it is steeped in history reaching back centuries. From its early origins as the land of the noble and picturesque Attakapas Indians, to French settlers, this little city has a story to tell. Influences from its Mexican, German, Irish, English, Italian, and African-American population are seen throughout the city. Whether you love immersing yourself in local culture, or simply enjoy a good tale, there's always something to captivate you in Lake Charles.

2. Outdoor Activities Galore

Situated on the banks of the west fork of the Calcasieu River, Lake Charles offers a plethora of outdoor activities for nature lovers. Whether you enjoy fishing, boating, bird watching, or simply want a scenic place to run, cycle or walk, this city has you covered. Don't forget to visit the Creole Nature Trail where you can spot hundreds of bird species, alligators, and meet some friendly raccoons!

3. Delectable Culinary Scene

Lake Charles' culinary scene is remarkable, consisting of a rich blend of Cajun and Creole flavors that are sure to tingle your taste buds. A haven for seafood lovers and home to some authentic Louisiana dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, boudin and crawfish etouffee. Enjoy a cozy meal in a locally owned restaurant or experience a fusion of flavors at an upscale eatery.

4. Famed for Mardi Gras

When you think Mardi Gras, you likely think of New Orleans. But did you know Lake Charles has one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in Louisiana? It is home to the second largest Mardi Gras museum in the world, showcasing the history and traditions of this colorful event including the flamboyant costumes and elaborate floats. Being in Lake Charles during Mardi Gras season is an unforgettable experience.

5. The Pirate Mystique

Many locals swear by the stories of Jean Lafitte, the infamous pirate who supposedly hid his treasure in Lake Charles. The city even holds an annual pirate festival, Contraband Days, which includes a reenactment of Lafitte's ship invading the city. Brush up your pirate accents and get ready to walk the plank, matey!

6. It's Not Always About Gambling

While Lake Charles is known for its fun and fancy casinos, there's more to it than just the slots and poker tables. The city is home to a thriving arts scene with galleries, theaters, and community events that celebrate both visual and performing arts. For music lovers, the city also hosts concerts spanning most genres, including country, rock, pop, and of course, jazz and zydeco - the heartbeats of Louisiana.

Whether you're seeking a place that offers cultural richness, an outdoor playground, a vibrant food scene, participatory traditions, hidden pirate treasures or a robust arts scene, Lake Charles, LA just might be your ideal place to call home. Make no mistake, life in Lake Charles is never dull - it's a city that keeps on giving you reasons to love it more each day! What to know before moving to Lake Charles, LA image
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Pros and Cons of Living in Lake Charles

Pros of Living in Lake Charles

1. Rich Cultural Heritage

One of the significant advantages of living in Lake Charles is the region's rich cultural heritage. This city embraces its French, English, and Spanish roots and celebrates several cultural festivals like Mardi Gras and Contraband Days Pirate Festival. Such traditions make the city vibrant and colorful.

2. Outdoor Recreational Activities

Lake Charles is an excellent place for those who love outdoor recreational activities. The multiple lakes and rivers allow residents to engage in fishing, boating, and other water-related activities. Additionally, there's a wealth of scenic and lush nature trails ideal for biking and hiking.

3. Strong Sense of Community

Residents in Lake Charles maintain a strong sense of community, often coming together to celebrate local events and festivals. The neighborhood communities are welcoming and friendly, enabling newcomers to feel at ease and integrate quickly into their new surroundings.

4. Excellent Food Scene

Lake Charles is home to a variety of amazing food, ranging from mouth-watering Creole and Cajun cuisine to delicious BBQ. The city boasts a robust food scene with plenty of restaurants, food festivals, and farmers' markets featuring locally sourced produce.

5. Quality Education

Lake Charles is home to several top-ranked schools and universities, like the McNeese State University. Consequently, residents have access to quality education, making the city a good option for families with children in all age groups.

Cons of Living in Lake Charles

1. High Humidity and Heat

Living in Lake Charles requires getting used to its high humidity and heat, particularly during the summer. This climate might not be enjoyable for everyone, and those unused to such conditions can find it challenging to adapt.

2. Hurricane Risk

Lake Charles is located along the Gulf Coast and, therefore, has a higher risk of hurricanes. Residents must be prepared for such occurrences and the possible inconvenience or evacuation that may be necessary.

3. Limited Public Transportation

Lake Charles has limited public transportation, which may require residents to rely on personal vehicles for most of their commutes. This factor might be a disadvantage for those who prefer or depend on public transit for daily travel.

4. Slower Pace of Life

If you prefer a high-paced, big-city lifestyle, Lake Charles might not meet your expectations. The life in this town is relatively slow and peaceful, which could be a downside for those who thrive on the hustle and bustle of larger cities.

5. Limited Job Opportunities

While the job market in Lake Charles has seen considerable growth over the years, it still falls behind compared to large metropolis areas. Some professionals might find limited job opportunities depending on their respective fields.

Modern day picture of Lake Charles, LA highlighting pros and cons of living in Lake Charles, LA

Is Lake Charles a Good Place to Live?

Lake Charles, LA is a great place to live because of its unique blend of Southern charm, exciting casino nightlife, and rich cultural history. With plentiful outdoor recreational activities ranging from fishing to bird-watching in the pristine natural reserves, there is always something interesting to do. Furthermore, its renowned Cajun cuisine and warm community spirit truly make Lake Charles feel like a cozy, welcoming home.

What Is Lake Charles Famous For?

L'Auberge Casino Resort

This much-loved entertainment venue combines a luxury hotel with a bustling casino. A hotspot for tourists and locals alike, it also features multiple dining options, a championship golf course, and a full-service spa. Visiting L'Auberge Casino Resort is an absolute must when in Lake Charles.

Creole Nature Trail

Often referred to as Louisiana's "Outback," the Creole Nature Trail is a scenic drive showcasing an impressive variety of wildlife and untouched natural beauty. With opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and photographic exploits, this trail offers excursionists a chance to get up close and personal with Mother Nature's spectacular creations.

Mardi Gras Festival

Lake Charles, LA, is famous for hosting the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana. This vibrant festival immerses visitors in a sea of color, music, parades, and eye-catching costumes. It's a true cultural spectacle that showcases the lively spirit and rich tradition of the city.

Charpentier Historic District

Rich in history and remarkable architecture, the Charpentier Historic District spans over 40 blocks. Named after the carpenters who built the unique Victorian-style homes in the late 1800s and early 1900s, this district gives you a direct glance into the city's unique historical evolution over the last century.

Capital building of Lake Charles, LA in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

In Lake Charles, LA, as of 2023, the property tax rates are around 0.86% of the assessed property value. This rate is significantly lower than the national average of 1.07%, making it more affordable for homeowners in this area.

Sales Tax

The combined sales tax rate for Lake Charles, LA, is 10.75% as of 2023, which is higher than the US average rate of around 7.12%. This means consumers in Lake Charles pay more taxes on their purchases compared to the average US resident.

Income Tax

As of 2023, Lake Charles, LA, has a graduated income tax rate ranging from 2% to 6%, which is lower than the federal marginal tax brackets that range from 10% to 37%. This means residents have less income taxes withheld from their salaries compared to those living in states with higher rates.

Housing Market

The housing market in Lake Charles, LA presents unique opportunities for both renters and homebuyers. The city boasts a lower than national average median home price, making it attractive for buyers. Rental rates also tend to be more affordable compared to the larger US market, with a diverse range of properties available. However, the area's vulnerability to extreme weather impacts market stability. It's essential to consider factors like cost of living, personal budget, and potential natural disasters to gauge the actual value of properties in the Lake Charles housing market.

Cost of Living

The current cost of living in Lake Charles, Louisiana, is remarkably lower than the average U.S. city. Housing, being the most significant factor, is considerably more affordable in Lake Charles. The overall cost of living is also driven down by cheaper groceries, healthcare, and transportation. In comparison to other cities, you can expect to stretch your dollar a lot further in Lake Charles, whether you're buying a house or simply shopping for your weekly groceries.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Lake Charles, LA, is characterized by a humid subtropical climate with long, hot and humid summers, coupled with mild winters. It typically receives large amounts of precipitation throughout the year, notably during the summer months. Temperatures range from an average high of 62degF in winter to an average high of 92degF in summer. The city is positioned on the Gulf Coast, making it vulnerable to various natural disasters. It frequently experiences hurricanes and tropical storms. In fact, Lake Charles was severely impacted by Hurricanes Laura and Delta in 2020. The city is also prone to severe thunderstorms and flash floods, particularly in the spring. Tornadoes, although less common, can occur, making severe weather preparedness a vital aspect of living in this vibrant waterfront city.

Typical weather in Lake Charles, LA

Economy & Job Market

Lake Charles, LA has a rich and diverse history, and its economy reflects that richness. The heyday of the oil industry is still very much felt in the present state of Lake Charles' economy with the petrochemical and refinery industry playing a significant role in job creation in the city. Yet with winds of change, Lake Charles has successfully diversified its economy to other sectors. River transportation is another key player, with Lake Charles acting as a major transportation hub with its network of rivers and the mighty Gulf of Mexico at its doorstep. Education, healthcare, and tourism are also robust sectors providing significant employment opportunities to residents. This vibrant mix of old and new makes Lake Charles a truly unique economic landscape.

Now, for those considering a move to Lake Charles, LA, there are some key areas of the economy worth exploring for job opportunities. The employment rate in Lake Charles is generally healthy with a variety of industries to choose from. The petrochemical industry is a strong sector that often seeks trained professionals. Jobs in cleaning, inspection, and maintenance services related to the transportation industry are quite prevalent, tapping into Lake Charles' geographical advantage as a transportation hub. Those interested in education and healthcare would find Lake Charles providing ample opportunities specifically in public schools, colleges and healthcare facilities. Finally, for those with a knack for customer service or hospitality, Lake Charles' thriving tourism sector might just be your calling. Be it beautiful parks, world-class casinos or a bustling Mardi Gras scene, the city has all the ingredients for a booming tourism industry!

Traffic and Transportation

Can we get a "yeehaw" for Lake Charles, Louisiana's transportation scene? First off, you'll love to hear that their average commute times are a breezy 17 minutes, letting you zoom to your destination faster than an alligator down the bayou. Public transportation offers another charming way to get around. Thanks to Lake Charles Transit, you can sit back, relax, and savor the scenic ride across town at a southern drawl pace. And for you high flyers, Lake Charles Regional Airport is ready and waiting. Board a flight with American or United Airlines and you're off - above the clouds and a gumbo pot's throw away from anywhere in the world! Whether you're on the road, the bus, or in the air, transportation in Lake Charles is as sweet as pecan pie!

What is the traffic like in Lake Charles, LA?

Best Neighborhoods in Lake Charles


1. Downtown Lake Charles

Downtown Lake Charles is the heart and soul of the city, bustling with vibrant energy. This neighborhood boasts a range of cultural and entertainment options, from the 1911 Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center to the Lake Charles Little Theatre. Foodies will enjoy the diverse dining scene, while art enthusiasts are sure to appreciate the local murals and sculptures scattered throughout the district. Throw in a dash of lakeside views, and you\'ve got yourself a delightful mix that fully embodies the live-work-play concept!

2. Prien Lake Park

If you\'re in love with the great outdoors and the calm that comes with it, then Prien Lake Park is the neighborhood for you. It\'s a haven of wide-open spaces, famous for the picturesque Prien Lake. Here, families and individuals alike can enjoy remarkable sunset views, picnics, boating, and the occasional concerts by the water. The park is also a stone\'s throw away from enticing shopping and food establishments, making it a perfectly balanced neighborhood for a tranquil yet practical lifestyle.

3. Garden District

This aptly named neighborhood is celebrated for its lush green lawns and beautiful houses, some dating back to the turn of the 19th century. Garden District offers a warm sense of community, while being peppered with trendy cafes and bakeries, contributing to its charming, somewhat retro vibe. This is a neighborhood where people wave hello down tree-lined streets, yet are a quick drive to the conveniences and energy of the city.

4. Margaret Place Historic District

Relive the old-world charm in the Margaret Place Historic District. This neighborhood features an array of stunning architecture, from Tudor Revivals to Greek and Colonial Revivals. Look beyond the lovely houses, and you\'ll discover a tight-knit community with regular neighborhood events like holiday home tours and porch parties. If you\'re the type who appreciates history coupled with a small-town feel, look no further.

5. University Place

Located near McNeese State University, this neighborhood is likely the liveliest of them all. Overflowing with young energy, University Place offers a variety of apartment complexes and single-family homes to fit student-budgets and tastes. With a variety of trendy eateries, pubs, bookstores, and a sports complex, this neighborhood carries an exciting, upbeat atmosphere that is hard to resist.

In conclusion, Lake Charles has a range of vibrant neighborhoods. While Downtown offers the best of city life, Prien Lake Park delivers serene natural beauty, the Garden District charms with its greenery and retro feel, and Margaret Place Historic District enthralls with its historic architecture. Meanwhile, University Place teems with an energetic, young vibe. Wherever you choose to settle, Lake Charles promises an enjoyable life brimming with Louisiana charm!

' Best neighborhoods in Lake Charles, LA image

Things to Do


Welcome to Lake Charles, Louisiana's playground! With its rich history, culture, great food, and a dynamic blend of old and new attractions, Lake Charles is the perfect place to call home. Here are seven top things to do to experience the heart and soul of Lake Charles.

1. Tour the Historic Charpentier District

Step into the past with a tour through the Historic Charpentier District. This charming neighborhood is a showcase of Victorian architecture with nearly 400 structures dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Pick up a brochure for a self-guided tour, or hire a professional guide for a more immersive experience.

2. Revel at the Mardi Gras Museum

You cannot live in Louisiana without experiencing Mardi Gras, and a great place to start is the Mardi Gras Museum. This museum houses the most extensive collection of Mardi Gras costumes in the South. From flamboyant feathered headdresses to beautifully beaded gowns, you'll be transported into the world of celebration and spectacle.

3. Go Alligator Watching at the Creole Nature Trail

Want to meet some real Louisianans? Head straight to the Creole Nature Trail, also known as "Louisiana's Outback". With its marshes, bayous, beaches, and wildlife, you are almost guaranteed to see these sly reptiles in their natural habitat. The trail also offers excellent birdwatching and fishing spots.

4. Visit the USS Orleck Naval Museum

An experience steeped in historical importance and of courageous sailor tales, the USS Orleck Naval Museum is a must-visit. Decommissioned in 1982, USS Orleck now hosts exhibits, tours, and even laser tag games! It's like stepping onto a floating slice of history and a world of adventure all in one.

5. Enjoy Farm-to-Table Dining at 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar

For a true taste of Lake Charles, visit 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar. This authentic farm-to-table dining experience presents a menu boasting of locally-sourced produce, fresh-gathered seafood and meats, all paired perfectly with an extensive wine list. The cuisine is a delightful mix of Southern classics and modern gastronomic innovations.

6. Explore the Grosse Savanne Eco-Tours

Ready for a hidden gem? Check out Grosse Savanne Eco-Tours. This relatively unknown but highly reviewed attraction offers guided tours through 50,000 acres of agricultural lands, wetlands, and coastal prairies. It's a nature-lover's paradise with an abundance of local flora and fauna.

7. Experience Local Culture at the Black Heritage Festival

One for the culture enthusiast, the Black Heritage Festival is a unique and somewhat unknown event showcasing local black culture through music, food, fashion, and art. This annual event celebrates the culture amidst a backdrop of togetherness and a deep sense of community spirit.

These are only a taste of what Lake Charles, Louisiana has to offer. From exploring local history and culture, enjoying great cuisines, to frolicking with nature, there's something for everyone in this vibrant city. So, get out there and start your new adventure!

' Things to do in Lake Charles, LA?

Find Movers for Your Lake Charles Relocation

As you contemplate your transition to the charming allure of Lake Charles, let Great Guys Moving ease your path by connecting you with top-quality, affordable moving services. Leveraging years of industry relations, we proudly provide access to the finest, fully licensed and insured moving companies prepared to take on your Lake Charles move. By simply sharing the essentials of your move, we swiftly link you with movers ready to provide quotes for your unique needs. Delight in the simplicity of getting a free moving quote with just a few clicks. Let us be your partner in this exciting new chapter. Start your moving journey with Great Guys Moving today.

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