If you took a look at the Travel section of USA Today, your eye might be caught by a mention of Lake Charles today.  That's because we were just named as one of the newspaper's Top 10 places to vacation for the winter.  How do you like them apples?

One would assume the article is mostly for Yankees, since it's about places you can go to escape the snow.  Yup, that sounds about right for Lake Charles.

Lake Charles, La.

Celebrate Mardi Gras family-style at this southwestern Louisiana city, where the parades and festivities play up tradition more than titillation. There's also opportunity for beaches, biking, and exploring marshland along the 180-mile Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, says Blair. "The food is so good, and the scenery is just pretty with Spanish moss and big oak trees and swamp land." 800-456-7952; visitlakecharles.org

--USAToday.com's Travel Section

So that's pretty cool.  But what makes it amazing is that we also made the list with the following OTHER places:

  • Hawaii
  • Atlanta, Ga.
  • Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Turks and Caicos
  • Tuscon, Ariz.
  • Puerto Rico
  • Sanibel Island, Fla.
  • Palm Springs, Calif.
  • Carlsbad, Calif.

Say what?  Looks like Mardi Gras pays off in a big way!  So the next time people want to dog on Lake Charles, remind them that it's just as good a place as Los Angeles.