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Creole Nature Trail

Cocoa Beach, Florida
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3 posts
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Creole Nature Trail

On a road trip Central FL to West Coast....want to spend a day doing the Creole Nature Trail. Better to stay in Lake Charles or Sulfur? Don't need anything fancy and don't care about casinos or nightlife --- quiet, clean, and comfortable will do. Also pls adivse on some great local food (Cajun!)

Breaux Bridge...
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362 posts
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1. Re: Creole Nature Trail

Hi, sorry I missed this!

For not-too-fancy lodging, especially heading west, I'd choose Sulphur. There are chains with excellent rates there, and it's well located if you do the whole trail. If you end early, it's just 20 miles west of Lake Charles on the interstate, in the right direction.

Food: On the trail, I recommend T-Boy's Cajun Grill--a bar with great food. (tripadvisor.com/…CHECK_RATES_CONT)

In Sulphur, I recommend Hollier's (heard good things) or the Boiling Point (I've eaten at other locations). The first will have a lot of variety, I'm guessing. The second specializes in boiled seafood and would be a good place to get boiled crabs, crawfish, or shrimp. The locations I've been to have a sink right in the dining room because it's a little messy! Can't get much more local than that.

The Nature Trail itself is quiet and unique. The app (iPhone or Droid) is excellent--it will provide you with a narrated tour. I'm from Louisiana but I learned a lot from it and still listen to the segments from time to time. The website is also excellent.

Hampshire, UK
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800 posts
134 reviews
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2. Re: Creole Nature Trail

thanks for this Lisbette, on your recommendation on this post I have downloaded the app to my iPad and it looks fab, it will enhance our Creole Nature trail no end. We did a bird handling day here in the UK a few weeks ago, and I am excited to see the videos of the Turkey Vultures on this trail. Along with loads of other wildlife.

I was going to ask how long it will take to do it, but I guess really it depends on how many stops you make, and what interests you on the way round!

Cadiz, Kentucky
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3. Re: Creole Nature Trail

I wish you'd asked heqwerty, because I'm one who would like to know about how much time we need to allow for that portion of our trip. Can anyone give me an idea?

Houston, Texas
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4. Re: Creole Nature Trail

We lived in Sulphur and Lake Charles for almost 30 years. I'm a little pressed for time at the moment, so I'll put up a detailed post tomorrow.

Rod

Hampshire, UK
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800 posts
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5. Re: Creole Nature Trail

Excellent - love information!! Thanks Rod.

Houston, Texas
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6. Re: Creole Nature Trail

The Creole Nature Trail makes a big loop around Calcasieu Lake (called Big Lake by the locals). For some reason, we've always started in Sulphur, making the loop in a counter-clockwise direction.

http://creolenaturetrail.org/

Mid-priced and low-priced hotels of every major chain are readily available in Sulphur. You can either stay near the LA Hwy 27 exit or near the LA Hwy 108 (also called Industries) exit. There are numerous hotel and restaurant choices at either location.

When heading south from Sulphur on Hwy 27, there are some pretty sections and some no-so-pretty sections, due to industries and oil drilling, until you get to Hackberry. Shortly after passing through Hackberry, you'll enter the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge. I suggest that you stop by the Refuge Headquarters / Visitor Center, a few miles down on your left, to orient yourself and to pick up some free information.

www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/recEdMore.cfm…

About 3.5 miles south of the visitor' center, there's a Wetlands Walkway, which is a 1.5 mile concrete walkway that winds through the marsh. At this time of year, you'll see quite a bit of wildlife and the odds are very good that you'll see alligators. Stay on the trail and DO NOT mess with the alligators.

You may also see alligators crossing the highway and swimming in the canals on the sides of the road.

After leaving the Wetlands Walkway, continue south to Holly Beach, where you'll turn left onto LA Hwy 82, which runs parallel to the beach. Here's a video of Holly Beach, shortly after Hurricane Rita in 2005.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXzeyoZeUVE

Continue east on Hwy 82 and cross the ship channel on the free ferry at Cameron. The only building still standing in Cameron after Hurricane Rita was the courthouse. Cameron Parish was also the site of a tragedy in 1957, when approximately 550 people were killed by Hurricane Audrey.

cclockwood.com/stockimages/hurricanerita.htm

parishofcameron.net/PhotoGallery/…

After leaving Cameron, turn north on Hwy 27 and make your way back to Lake Charles.

If you take the time to stop and view some of the scenery along the trail, including the Wetlands Walkway, I'd allocate most of a day for the trip. You can do it faster, of course, but what would be the point?

Regarding restaurants, Hollier's best days are far behind them, so I would suggest that you skip that one. The Boiling Point has always been good. A far better choice, in my opinion, would be the Steamboat Bills location on Lakeshore Drive in Lake Charles. Their food has been consistently good for many years, whether you prefer boiled or fried. Their boiled shrimp are the best I've ever had in a restaurant.

http://www.steamboatbills.com/

http://www.theboilingpoint.net/

Feel free to hit me with any other questions you may have.

Edited: 11:19 am, July 02, 2012
7. Re: Creole Nature Trail

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Hampshire, UK
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800 posts
134 reviews
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8. Re: Creole Nature Trail

Thanks for that, too late for me, but others may read it.

I downloaded the app to my iPad, but it didn't work properly - only because I had no signal - being from the UK, I'd had to turn off the roaming, so it was guesswork as to when the next fact/info was due.

Saw lots of alligators and pelicans. Fab.

9. Re: Creole Nature Trail

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