Lakes Charles is an important city in the Francophone Acadiana region in Louisiana. The city proper only has a population of about 71,000, but the larger metro area contains over 200,000. The city is near to several bodies of water, including Lake Charles itself, and the Calcasieu River. There are also three Bayous that run through the Lake Charles town site. Lake Charles is a strongly Cajun city. This means that many of the residents are French speaking, although they tend to speak a variety of French that is specific to Louisiana. Cajun French differs in significant ways from other variants of the language.
Lake Charles has close to double the average amount of available apartments when you compare it to statistics for the country at large. As a result, apartment hunting is usually straight forward and simplistic. If you give yourself two months to look before you move in, you should easily find an apartment.
When you apply for your first apartment in Lake Charles, try to offer your landlord a comprehensive rental history for where you've been before. Landlords like to know your background, even if it is as simplistic as the town you graduated high school from if you're moving away from home for the first time.
With a good pair of shoes on your feet, you'll have no trouble touring around the most interesting parts of downtown by foot. The downtown core is small and compact, making it pedestrian friendly. However, if you need to travel much further afield than that, you'll want to have a car with you in town.
The environment that Lake Charles was built on makes for beautiful parkland within the city. Visit Bord Du Lac Park or Drew Park for starters. To see some nature outside of the city, a hike along the Creole Nature Trail is a great place to go. Ryan Street and Common Street are both home to some popular local bars and restaurants, including numerous options that serve down-home, authentic Cajun food.