by Angie Kay Dilmore
Often, the best gifts are those centered on experiences that create lasting memories. Fortunately for those on YOUR gift list, Southwest Louisiana boasts a wide variety of activities and gift items sure to please even the pickiest friend or family member.
Adventure Point marks a starting point to a fun day spent on the Creole Nature Trail. Known as “Louisiana’s Outback,” this 180-mile designated U.S. Scenic Byway and All-American Road offers trails through marshland to spot wildlife, opportunities for fishing and crabbing, and 26-miles of shoreline to hunt for seashells and build sandcastles.
Craft Beer from Crying Eagle Brewing makes a welcomed gift for the beer lovers in your life. You’ll find six-packs in stories throughout the region or go to the brewery for a growler. They also have a great gift shop for merch.
Coffee makes a great gift for the java junkies on your list. Coffee shops abound in SWLA – try Stellar Beans; Coffee:30; The Village Coffeehouse. Or give a selection of Community Coffee or locally owned Dead Pedal Coffee Company.
Plan a date at Darrell’s for their legendary po’boys or buy your special someone a gift card. The Darrell’s Special is one of their best sellers.
If you’re up for a challenging adventure, plan a visit to an Escape Room at Escape Room Louisiana or Bayou Escape Room, both in Lake Charles.
Find an extensive collection of Fleur-de-Lis artwork/gifts and more at Candice Alexander Art Studio.
Take your kids to Gator Chateau in Jennings to learn about alligators and hold a live baby gator.
Spend an afternoon at Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center. December art exhibits include The Pace Collection (Japanese printing traditions), Flamenco: from Spain to the U.S., and two local art galleries with shopping opportunities. Also in December, experience their annual Christmas card workshop. Admission is free Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Ice Cream! A gift card from Boombox Frozen Pops and Ice Cream will make anyone smile on Christmas morning. Better yet, plan a date and go there together.
Jewelry is a time-honored gift. Find that perfect piece of bling at Navarra’s Jewelry; Legacy Jewelers; Bijoux Fine Jewelers; or Nederland Jewelers.
Kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding are great ways to get up close to nature and experience the beauty of our SWLA bayous. Try Lake Area Adventures or Paddle Up Lake Charles.
Treat your family or date to a tour of area Light Displays. Lake Charles Civic Center, Prien Lake Park, Heritage Square in Sulphur, or Shangri-La Gardens.
Monogrammed Gifts add a personal touch to just about anything. Queen of Threads offers a wide range of monogramming services and gift items.
Nelson’s Donuts reopened in August. Not sure what to give that hard-to-buy-for person on your list? A gift card or a dozen glazed is sure to please anyone!
For the chef or kitchen maven on your list, find specialty Olive Oils and Louisiana-inspired Oven Mitts from Crave Gourmet Baskets and Gifts.
Pamper her with a Pedi or Mani at any of the many nail salons in SWLA. Or if she’s a DIY girl, how about a set of trendy nail polishes like this holiday set from Nailtopia.
While fun and festive, the holidays are often stressful. Give the gift of some Quiet Time in the form of a relaxing massage or spa day. Spa du Lac; Scarborough’s Salon and Day Spa; Golden Nugget Day Spa; Oasis Massage and Day Spa.
Ho ho ho, and a bottle of RUM from Louisiana Spirits in Laccasine makes a great hostess gift. Or plan a tour of their rum distillery.
Winter is Sweater Weather! Plan a girls’ day out and go shopping! Try Julep Boutique; Mimosa Boutique; Bayou Blend Apparel.
For a sweet gift idea, surprise a friend or loved one with holiday Treats from The Bekery; Great Harvest Bread Co.; Sweets and Treats; Cipi’s Cake Box.
Umbrellas are practical gifts, but when they’re extra pretty, you have a winner. Accessory Zone and Expressions offer a variety of brightly colored umbrellas sure to brighten up any rainy day.
Vino! For the wine lover on your list, Hokus Pokus Liquor, Lake Street Liquor, The Cellar at Crave, and The Wine Store have extensive selections of wines.
Water bottles, wall decals, waffle makers, watercolors, welcome mats, woks, workout wear . . . what’s not to like here!
Surprise the kids on your list and instill the joy of music with a Xylophone! Etie’s, a Children’s Shoppe offers several variations of this timeless toy.
For the spirit lovers on your list, give the gift of locally-owned Yellowfin Vodka or plan a tour of their Sulphur distillery.
Visit a ZOO for a fun day out! Try the Alexandria Zoological Park or Zoosiana in Broussard, LA.