French Lick, Indiana: A Hidden Gem for Adventure and Relaxation
Nestled in the heart of southern Indiana, French Lick offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and exciting activities. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or a peaceful retreat, this charming town has something for everyone. Here are some of the top things to do in French Lick.
- Explore the Historic French Lick Resort: Step back in time and indulge in the grandeur of the historic French Lick Resort. This iconic landmark boasts stunning architecture and luxurious amenities. Take a guided tour to learn about its fascinating history or pamper yourself with a spa treatment. Don’t miss your chance to try your luck at the casino, where you can test your skills at various games.
- Visit West Baden Springs Hotel: Just a stone’s throw away from French Lick Resort lies another architectural marvel, the West Baden Springs Hotel. Marvel at its breathtaking dome and enjoy a leisurely stroll through its lush gardens. Immerse yourself in the opulence of this restored gem while sipping on a refreshing beverage at their elegant bar.
- Embrace Outdoor Adventures: French Lick is surrounded by picturesque landscapes that are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore Patoka Lake State Park, where you can go boating, fishing, or simply enjoy a relaxing picnic by the water’s edge. Hike through scenic trails that wind through Hoosier National Forest and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty.
- Tee Off at Championship Golf Courses: Golf enthusiasts will be delighted by the championship golf courses available in French Lick. Challenge yourself on renowned courses like The Donald Ross Course or The Pete Dye Course, both designed to provide an unforgettable golfing experience amidst stunning scenery.
- Discover History at French Lick/West Baden Museum: Dive into the rich history of this region at the French Lick/West Baden Museum. Learn about the area’s fascinating past, including its famous mineral springs and the impact of the railway on its development. The museum showcases artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that offer a glimpse into French Lick’s vibrant history.
- Indulge in Local Cuisine: Treat your taste buds to the flavors of French Lick by dining at one of its many local restaurants. From farm-to-table eateries to cozy cafes, you’ll find a variety of culinary delights to satisfy your cravings. Don’t forget to try the famous Indiana tenderloin sandwich for a true taste of the region.
- Enjoy Family-Friendly Fun at Big Splash Adventure: If you’re traveling with children, make sure to visit Big Splash Adventure, an indoor water park that guarantees hours of fun for all ages. With thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, and splash zones, it’s the perfect place to cool off and create lasting memories.
French Lick, Indiana offers a delightful blend of history, natural beauty, and recreational activities that will captivate visitors of all ages. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, this hidden gem has something for everyone. Plan your trip today and discover all that French Lick has to offer!
Exploring French Lick Indiana: 9 FAQs on Attractions, Dining, Outdoor Activities, and More
- What attractions are there to do in French Lick Indiana?
- Where can I find the best restaurants in French Lick Indiana?
- What outdoor activities can I do in French Lick Indiana?
- Is there a casino in French Lick Indiana?
- Are there any golf courses near French Lick Indiana?
- What is the history of French Lick Indiana?
- Are there any family-friendly activities or events in French Lick Indiana?
- Is there a winery or vineyard near French Lick Indiana?
- Are there any nearby state parks or national forests near French Lick Indiana?
What attractions are there to do in French Lick Indiana?
French Lick, Indiana, is home to a variety of attractions that cater to different interests. Here are some of the top attractions you can enjoy in French Lick:
- French Lick Scenic Railway: Climb aboard a historic train and embark on a scenic journey through the picturesque countryside. Enjoy breathtaking views as you wind through valleys and forests, learning about the area’s history along the way.
- Indiana Railway Museum: Delve deeper into the region’s railway history at the Indiana Railway Museum. Explore vintage locomotives and railcars, and even take part in special themed train rides that offer a unique experience for visitors of all ages.
- French Lick Winery: Wine enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the French Lick Winery. Take a tour of the vineyard and winery, learn about their winemaking process, and indulge in wine tastings showcasing their award-winning wines.
- Wilstem Wildlife Park: Animal lovers should not miss Wilstem Wildlife Park, where you can get up close and personal with fascinating creatures. From elephant encounters to giraffe feedings, this park offers unique opportunities to interact with wildlife.
- The Donald Ross Course: Golf aficionados will be thrilled to play a round at The Donald Ross Course, an acclaimed championship golf course known for its challenging layout and beautiful scenery. Enjoy a day on the greens surrounded by rolling hills and lush landscapes.
- French Lick West Baden Museum: Immerse yourself in local history at the French Lick West Baden Museum. Discover exhibits that showcase the town’s past, including its mineral springs era, famous visitors, and significant events that shaped its development.
- Indoor Water Parks: Beat the heat or enjoy year-round fun at one of French Lick’s indoor water parks. Big Splash Adventure offers thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, and splash zones suitable for all ages.
- Patoka Lake: Just a short drive from French Lick, Patoka Lake is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking in this scenic reservoir surrounded by forests and wildlife.
- French Lick Casino: Test your luck at the French Lick Casino, where you can find a wide range of gaming options. Whether you prefer slot machines or table games, this casino offers entertainment for those seeking a little excitement.
- Hoosier National Forest: Explore the natural beauty of Hoosier National Forest, which spans over 200,000 acres near French Lick. Hike through trails, go camping, or enjoy a picnic amidst stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife.
With its rich history, natural beauty, and recreational offerings, French Lick provides a diverse range of attractions to suit every visitor’s interests. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this charming Indiana town.
Where can I find the best restaurants in French Lick Indiana?
When it comes to finding the best restaurants in French Lick, Indiana, you’re in for a treat. Here are a few popular establishments that locals and visitors rave about:
- 1875: The Steakhouse – Located within the historic French Lick Springs Hotel, this upscale steakhouse offers a refined dining experience. Indulge in perfectly cooked steaks, fresh seafood, and an extensive wine list while enjoying elegant surroundings.
- Sinclair’s Restaurant – Another fantastic option within the French Lick Springs Hotel is Sinclair’s Restaurant. This fine dining establishment features a menu that highlights locally sourced ingredients and offers a variety of delectable dishes to please every palate.
- The Legend of French Lick – Nestled in a charming bed and breakfast, The Legend of French Lick offers an intimate dining experience with a focus on farm-to-table cuisine. Their menu showcases seasonal flavors and creative dishes prepared with passion.
- German Café – For those seeking authentic German cuisine, the German Café is a must-visit spot. This cozy restaurant serves up traditional German fare like bratwurst, schnitzel, sauerbraten, and more. Be sure to save room for their homemade desserts!
- Pluto’s Pizzeria – If you’re in the mood for pizza, Pluto’s Pizzeria is a local favorite. Their hand-tossed pizzas are made with fresh ingredients and baked to perfection. With a variety of toppings and specialty pies to choose from, there’s something for everyone.
- Ballard’s Bar & Grill – Located at the French Lick Resort Casino, Ballard’s Bar & Grill offers casual dining with an extensive menu featuring American classics like burgers, sandwiches, salads, and more. Enjoy your meal while taking in views of the casino floor.
- Power Plant Bar & Grill – Situated inside the West Baden Springs Hotel, Power Plant Bar & Grill combines delicious food with stunning views. Their menu features a range of options, from burgers and sandwiches to seafood and pasta dishes.
These are just a few of the top dining establishments in French Lick, Indiana. Whether you’re looking for fine dining, casual eats, or international flavors, you’ll find a variety of excellent options to satisfy your culinary cravings in this charming town.
What outdoor activities can I do in French Lick Indiana?
French Lick, Indiana is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with its stunning natural landscapes and abundance of recreational opportunities. Here are some of the top outdoor activities you can enjoy in French Lick:
- Hiking and Nature Trails: Immerse yourself in the beauty of Hoosier National Forest, located near French Lick. With miles of scenic trails, you can explore the forest’s diverse ecosystems, spot wildlife, and enjoy breathtaking views. The Hemlock Cliffs Trail and the Two Lakes Loop Trail are popular options for hikers of all skill levels.
- Boating and Fishing at Patoka Lake: Just a short drive from French Lick, Patoka Lake offers a wide range of water activities. Rent a boat or kayak to explore the lake’s calm waters, go fishing for bass or catfish, or simply relax on the shoreline with a picnic.
- Horseback Riding: Saddle up and embark on a horseback riding adventure through the picturesque countryside surrounding French Lick. Several local stables offer guided trail rides suitable for riders of all experience levels.
- Golfing: French Lick is home to world-class golf courses that blend natural beauty with challenging fairways. Tee off at The Donald Ross Course or The Pete Dye Course, both known for their stunning views and impeccable design.
- Zip-lining and Adventure Parks: For thrill-seekers, French Lick boasts zip-lining courses that allow you to soar through the treetops while taking in panoramic views of the surrounding area. Additionally, adventure parks offer activities like rock climbing walls, ropes courses, and more.
- Cycling: Explore French Lick and its surroundings on two wheels by renting bicycles or bringing your own. Ride along scenic country roads or tackle mountain bike trails for an exhilarating experience.
- Wildlife Viewing: Take advantage of the abundant wildlife in the area by going birdwatching or wildlife spotting. Visit the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area, where you can observe migratory birds and other native species in their natural habitat.
- Camping: Experience the great outdoors by camping in one of the nearby campgrounds or RV parks. Enjoy a night under the stars, gather around a campfire, and reconnect with nature.
French Lick, Indiana offers a wealth of outdoor activities that cater to various interests and skill levels. Whether you prefer leisurely pursuits or adrenaline-pumping adventures, you’ll find plenty to keep you engaged in this scenic destination.
Is there a casino in French Lick Indiana?
Yes, there is a casino in French Lick, Indiana. The French Lick Resort features a casino where visitors can try their luck at various games. The casino offers a range of slot machines, table games, and poker rooms for guests to enjoy. Whether you’re an experienced gambler or just looking for some entertainment, the casino at French Lick Resort provides a thrilling gaming experience in the heart of Indiana.
Are there any golf courses near French Lick Indiana?
Absolutely! French Lick, Indiana is known for its exceptional golf courses. Here are a few notable ones in the area:
- The Pete Dye Course: Located at the French Lick Resort, The Pete Dye Course is a championship-level golf course that offers a challenging and scenic experience. With rolling fairways, dramatic elevation changes, and stunning panoramic views, this course is a must-play for avid golfers.
- The Donald Ross Course: Also situated at the French Lick Resort, The Donald Ross Course is a classic layout that has been restored to its original glory. Designed by renowned architect Donald Ross, this course provides a traditional golfing experience with strategically placed bunkers and undulating greens.
- Sultan’s Run Golf Club: Just a short drive from French Lick, Sultan’s Run Golf Club in Jasper offers an 18-hole championship course that caters to all skill levels. Surrounded by picturesque natural landscapes, this course features tree-lined fairways, water hazards, and well-manicured greens.
- Christmas Lake Golf Course: Located in Santa Claus, Indiana (approximately 30 minutes from French Lick), Christmas Lake Golf Course offers a scenic and challenging 18-hole layout. This course boasts beautiful lake views, tree-lined fairways, and well-maintained greens.
These are just a few examples of the exceptional golf courses near French Lick, Indiana. Whether you’re an experienced golfer or just starting out, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the game amidst the beautiful landscapes of southern Indiana.
What is the history of French Lick Indiana?
The history of French Lick, Indiana is rich and fascinating, dating back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Miami and Delaware tribes. The French were the first Europeans to explore the region in the late 17th century, hence the name “French Lick.”
The town gained prominence in the 19th century due to its mineral springs, which were believed to have healing properties. People flocked to French Lick to experience the therapeutic benefits of these natural springs. The popularity of the mineral springs led to the development of grand hotels and resorts in the area, attracting visitors from all over.
During this time, French Lick became a popular vacation destination for wealthy and influential individuals. The luxurious French Lick Springs Hotel and West Baden Springs Hotel were built, featuring stunning architecture and lavish amenities. These hotels became renowned for their opulence and attracted notable guests such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Al Capone.
In addition to its reputation as a health resort, French Lick also played a significant role in early 20th-century basketball history. In 1907, a local high school basketball team from French Lick won the state championship—an achievement that put Indiana on the map as a basketball powerhouse.
Over time, French Lick faced economic challenges with changing tourism trends and declining interest in mineral springs. However, efforts were made to revitalize the area in recent decades. The historic hotels underwent extensive restoration projects and have regained their former glory.
Today, French Lick is known for its thriving tourism industry that combines history with modern attractions. Visitors can explore museums showcasing the town’s past or indulge in luxurious spa experiences at the revitalized resorts. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities such as boating on Patoka Lake or exploring nearby national forests.
French Lick’s rich history continues to be celebrated through various events and festivals that highlight its unique heritage. It remains an enchanting destination that offers a glimpse into its storied past while providing memorable experiences for visitors from near and far.
Are there any family-friendly activities or events in French Lick Indiana?
Absolutely! French Lick, Indiana offers a range of family-friendly activities and events that are perfect for creating lasting memories with your loved ones. Here are a few highlights:
- Wilstem Wildlife Park: Located just outside of French Lick, Wilstem Wildlife Park is a must-visit destination for animal lovers. Get up close and personal with elephants, giraffes, kangaroos, and other exotic animals. Enjoy hands-on encounters, educational programs, and even the opportunity to feed these magnificent creatures.
- French Lick Scenic Railway: Hop aboard the French Lick Scenic Railway for a delightful journey through the picturesque countryside. This vintage train ride offers stunning views while providing an enjoyable experience for the whole family. Keep an eye out for special themed excursions like the Polar Express during the holiday season.
- Springs Valley Recreation Area: If you’re looking to spend some quality time in nature, head to Springs Valley Recreation Area. This beautiful park offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and fishing opportunities in a serene setting. Explore the outdoors together and enjoy the tranquility of this scenic spot.
- Family Fun Night at French Lick Resort: The French Lick Resort hosts regular Family Fun Nights filled with games, activities, and entertainment suitable for all ages. From face painting to live music performances, these evenings provide a chance for families to bond and have fun together.
- Indoor Water Park at Big Splash Adventure: Beat the heat or enjoy some water-filled fun regardless of the weather at Big Splash Adventure’s indoor water park. With thrilling slides, lazy rivers, splash zones, and even a retractable roof for sunny days, this water park guarantees hours of excitement for everyone in the family.
- Seasonal Festivals and Events: Keep an eye on the local event calendar as French Lick hosts various family-friendly festivals throughout the year. From Fourth of July celebrations to holiday parades and craft fairs, there’s always something happening that the whole family can enjoy.
French Lick, Indiana goes above and beyond to cater to families, ensuring that everyone, from the youngest to the oldest members, can find activities and events that suit their interests. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable family adventure in French Lick!
Is there a winery or vineyard near French Lick Indiana?
Yes, there is a winery near French Lick, Indiana. Just a short drive away, you’ll find the delightful French Lick Winery. Located in West Baden Springs, this family-owned winery offers a charming setting and a range of award-winning wines.
French Lick Winery is known for its dedication to producing high-quality wines from locally grown grapes. They offer a variety of reds, whites, and blushes to suit every preference. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply looking to enjoy a glass with friends, their knowledgeable staff will guide you through their selection and help you find the perfect wine to delight your taste buds.
In addition to their impressive wine offerings, French Lick Winery also hosts events and tastings throughout the year. From wine pairing dinners to live music performances, there’s always something happening at this vibrant establishment.
If you’re interested in learning more about the winemaking process, they also offer vineyard tours where you can explore the beautiful vineyards and gain insights into the art of winemaking.
So, if you’re visiting French Lick and have an appreciation for fine wines, be sure to add French Lick Winery to your itinerary. It’s an excellent opportunity to savor delicious local wines while enjoying the scenic beauty of southern Indiana.
Are there any nearby state parks or national forests near French Lick Indiana?
Yes, there are several state parks and national forests near French Lick, Indiana, offering nature enthusiasts ample opportunities for outdoor exploration. Here are a few notable ones:
- Hoosier National Forest: Located just northeast of French Lick, Hoosier National Forest covers over 200,000 acres of scenic woodlands. It offers a wide range of recreational activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, bird-watching, and horseback riding. With its diverse ecosystems and numerous trails, the forest is a haven for nature lovers.
- Patoka Lake State Park: Situated approximately 15 miles southeast of French Lick, Patoka Lake State Park is a popular destination for water-based activities. The park surrounds the picturesque Patoka Lake and offers opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, and kayaking. Additionally, visitors can explore the park’s hiking trails or enjoy a picnic with stunning lake views.
- Spring Mill State Park: Located about 30 miles northwest of French Lick, Spring Mill State Park is known for its rich history and natural beauty. The park features a restored pioneer village that showcases life in the early 1800s. Visitors can explore the historic gristmill and pioneer cabins or take a boat tour through the underground Twin Caves. The park also offers hiking trails and opportunities for camping.
- McCormick’s Creek State Park: Situated around 40 miles northeast of French Lick, McCormick’s Creek State Park is Indiana’s first state park and boasts beautiful limestone canyons carved by McCormick’s Creek. Visitors can hike through scenic trails that lead to waterfalls and interesting geological formations. The park also offers camping facilities along with opportunities for swimming and fishing.
These nearby state parks and national forests provide an abundance of outdoor activities and breathtaking natural scenery to complement your visit to French Lick, Indiana. Whether you’re seeking adventure or simply looking to immerse yourself in nature, these destinations are well worth exploring.