French Lick is a relatively small town in the South of Indiana. It owes its ambiguous name to two nearby springs, the Big Spring and Salt Spring, which were frequented by early French explorers and settlers. Here are some things to do in French Lick Indiana.
Marvel at French Lick West Baden Springs Hotel
One of the first things to do in French Lick, Indiana, is visiting the West Baden Springs Hotel. This historic hotel was once known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” for its massive 200-foot domed structure. It opened in 1902 as a luxury resort and spa, hosting presidents, gangsters, artists and sports legends. The West Baden Springs Hotel eventually became part of a casino that closed in 2005. However, it has since been restored to much of its original splendor and is now managed by French Lick Resort Casino. Today, it’s a luxurious resort with plenty of amenities for guests to enjoy
Soak in the Mineral Springs
French Lick is known for its healing mineral springs. These springs have had a long history of use by Native Americans for their healing properties. Around the early 1900s they were used as a health resort where people came to “take the cure” for ailments such as arthritis or other joint problems or even just digestive issues. Soak in the waters at one of the local spa resorts, or take a dip in the natural springs at the Big Spring State Park. The rich and famous at the time such as Gary Cooper would come here too when they needed a break from Hollywood!
Patoka Lake Nature Center
The Patoka Lake Nature Center is on the west side of French Lick, in the middle of Patoka National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a peaceful place to see birds, butterflies and other wildlife. You can hike one of the trails or take a self-guided tour around the center. The 25-mile boardwalk trail winds through a marsh and swamp area filled with plants and animals you won’t see anywhere else in Indiana. The 1-mile loop trail is more strenuous, climbing up to an overlook for beautiful views of the lake. There are also special programs for kids and adults at the nature center throughout the year. Check their calendar for upcoming events!
See a Show at the French Lick Springs Resort
French Lick Resort is a spa, golf resort and casino. It has three restaurants as well as an outdoor pool and indoor pool. There is a fitness center on the premises and a spa. Of course, there is also a golf course and bowling alley on the property. The resort offers live entertainment throughout the year. Catch a concert, comedy show, or magic act during your stay.
Hoosier National Forest.
Take a leisurely drive down one of the many scenic byways and enjoy the stunning views of the 200 thousand acre Hoosier National forest. If you love the great outdoors, the Hoosier National Forest is one of those places you must put on your list of things to do in French Lick, Indiana. It’s filled with a number of things to do including fishing and hunting, hiking, camping and horseback riding. Anything that can be done in the woods can be done here. The only thing it doesn’t have is swimming. There are parking areas located close enough to all roadways leading into it that provide easy access.
Explore the Big Splash Adventure
This indoor water park is perfect for a day of family fun. Splash around in the pools and slides, or take a ride down the lazy river. The Big Splash Adventure indoor water park is one of the most popular things to do in French Lick, Indiana for kids. Kids will love playing in 42,000 square feet of indoor waterpark fun at Big Splash Adventure. Big Splash Adventure has lots of other things for kids to do too, such as go-karts, laser tag, an arcade, miniature golf and batting cages. There are even options for dining and a hotel on site.
Visit the Wilstem Ranch
If you want to get up close and personal with exotic animals, then check out Wilstem Ranch’s animal encounter tours. During your visit, you’ll have an opportunity to feed a giraffe or get a selfie with an elephant. You’ll also learn about each animal’s habitat, care and conservation efforts. As part of each tour, you’ll also enjoy a private gondola ride around the ranch! While you take a tour of the ranch, you can also sign up for a horseback riding lesson.
Visit the French Lick Scenic Railway
The French Lick Scenic Railway is a train ride that takes you through a 2-hour scenic journey of the countryside, including the Hoosier National Forest. The train departs from the French Lick Station and rides are offered on select dates in the spring, summer and fall. Passengers will enjoy this tour of the countryside and learn about the area’s history. Sit back and relax as you take in the sights and sounds of nature. Taking this railway ride is one of those things to do in French Lick Indiana that you simply must add to your itinerary.
- First Miralcle Winery. This small batch urban winery offers tours, tastings, and special events throughout the year. Sample some of the local wines, and take home a bottle (or two!) of your favorite vintage.
- Patoka Lake Winery. The winery has a variety of red and white wines, as well as a selection of fruit wines. Patoka Lake also has a tasting room where you can sample their products.
- French Lick Winery. This winery is one of the top producers of wine in the state and it offers a variety of wines for you to taste as well as delicious food pairings. Known for its amazing views, this winery is a great place for you to spend some time with your friends or just enjoy a nice afternoon.
Play a Round of golf at the Pete Dye Course
This world-renowned golf course offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Designed by world-renowned golf course architect Pete Dye, this course features rolling hills, doglegs, and water hazards that make it a true test of golf. The Pete Dye Golf Course has hosted numerous prestigious tournaments, including the PGA Championship, and is a favorite of golfers from all over the world. You can test your skills on the challenging 18-hole course, or take a lesson from one of the pro golfers on staff.
Things to Do in French Lick Indiana
So, there you have it: things to do in French Lick Indiana with fun for all ages! If you are looking for a vacation destination that offers both family-friendly activities and the excitement of a casino, French Lick is the perfect place. Happy travels, Folks!
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