For many living outside the Midwest, French Lick is probably thought of as a rural, tiny town in the middle of nowhere Indiana. And they would be right. However, the town is more charming than one might expect. The French Lick Springs Hotel has everything families need for a fabulous vacation, including world class golf, superb dining, family centric activities, and even luxury spa services. The French Lick Springs Hotel began in 1845 as a destination for those seeking relaxation and relief from the local mineral springs and today continues to offer families the perfect escape.
We visited the French Lick Springs Hotel on a road trip through Indiana. We were pleasantly surprised by the amenities, friendly staff, and history of the property and its sister hotel, the West Baden Springs.
Visitors to either property can use the amenities of both, so essentially guests are staying on an expansive space with multiple swimming pools, restaurants, spas, and a casino. We found there was plenty to see and do during our three days at the property, but felt there were still areas we didn’t have a chance to explore.
What Works for Families
The French Lick Springs Hotel is walking distance to downtown French Lick and its shops and restaurants. It also provides access to West Baden Springs via a trolley. Everything a family could need from food to amenities can be found on property or within walking distance.
The hotel has two pool areas, indoor and outdoor. Both are a comfortable size with plenty of lounge chairs and shaded areas. Guests also have use of the pools at West Baden Springs, where there is an indoor and outdoor pool as well. Our kids enjoyed trying them all!
Family Friendly Activities
The resort has a bowling alley and arcade in the basement of the hotel, which my kids insisted on doing from the first minute they learned about it. We did play a fun game together (there is a charge by the hour or # of games, and shoe rental), and the kids loved it.
The property has 3 golf courses so if your family likes to play, it’s a great way to spend the day. They also have foot golf which is golf using a soccer ball with golf rules and etiquette. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to try it, but the kids are saying it’s the top of their list for our next trip.
We also went horseback riding at the stables at West Baden Springs. It was a beautiful ride through the nearby forest with a wonderful guide who pointed out wildlife and interesting sights along the way.
What Doesn’t Work for Families
Kids club and bike rentals
The French Lick Springs Hotel had a lot of activities for kids from creative art tables to video games. But my kids complained it was dark inside and the staff was inattentive (despite being well staffed). They also had bikes for rent, but unfortunately, they were old and rusty. There was only one child size bike, which my son said was very uncomfortable, so we had to make do with what they had for a short bike ride through the property. It was a shame, too, because the bike and walking paths are lovely.
Room was a bit tight for a family of 5
We had a room with two queen beds, and they brought in a roll away. Since the hotel was built long ago, it was not built for a family of five. It was a tight squeeze, but we just folded up the roll away during the day, to give us more room. The good news, we didn’t spend a lot of time in our room because there was so much to do in French Lick.
Want to see a room? Click on the video below:
The Spa at French Lick features 28 treatment rooms and they have an extensive menu of services available. I did not have time to enjoy any of the offerings, but they have a special Pluto Mineral Bath that is one of their signature experiences.
The fitness facility at French Lick Springs Hotel is beautiful. I don’t think I can remember seeing one with so many cardio machines, weight machines, and free weights. It’s extremely spacious as well.
Some of the things I didn’t mention above that can also be found at the resort include: tennis, basketball, historic tours, carriage rides, a playground, and different group activities organized seasonally. Since the hotel shares amenities with West Baden Springs there really is double the fun!
Depending on the time of year, rates can vary from around $150 per night to over $200 per night. It is variable on weekends as well, and whether or not a package is booked. Sometimes a discount is given for long term stays, so that is something to consider.
There are plenty of dining options for families. Between the two hotels, choose from 14 places to grab a bite to eat. These range from casual to elegant, and we didn’t have a chance to try them all. Here’s what dining options are available at French Lick Springs:
1875: The Steakhouse: This is the hotel’s signature restaurant with a more formal atmosphere overlooking the gardens. Obviously, it serves steak, but there is also soup, salad, chicken, and pasta on the menu.
Power Plant Grill: This is a fun place to grab a cocktail and enjoy live music. The kids loved the large electrical switchboard on one wall that once powered the French Lick Hotel. This place is perfect for burgers, salads, and sandwiches, and on weekends they have live music.
Spring No. 8 Deli: Located right next to the pool area, this restaurant serves some great grab-and-go items like wraps and nachos. The kids loved the hot dogs here, and we loved the convenience of having it near the pool when we needed a quick drink!
The Grand Colonnade: This is where they serve the breakfast buffet, and it happens to also be where FDR received the nomination to run for President in 1931. Guests 5 and under dine for free; those aged 6 to 12 dine at half price with an adult. We were never hungry enough to eat all the food they had laid out, but there was a lot to choose from!
Pluto’s Pizzeria: Downstairs next to the bowling alley (Pluto’s Alley) is a pizzeria that makes homemade pizza, calzones, and other Italian specialties. We were never down there when it was open, but if you take the kids bowling, know that this is a nearby option for food.
French Lick Mercantile: Just off the lobby, this is a good option for a quick snack, small breakfast, or cup of coffee. We found they had some great little breakfast sandwiches when we were in a hurry to get out the door.
Food is also available at any of the restaurants in the West Baden Springs hotel, at the golf courses, the casino, or through room service as well.
The French Lick Springs Hotel isn’t very far from Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, St. Louis, or Nashville, but it feels like a world away. Our family enjoyed the time we spent on property and our children are already making plans for a return visit. We didn’t know what to expect from this historic hotel, but it definitely exceeded our expectations!
Looking for more Traveling Mom articles like this one? Check out: 5 Not to Miss Family Experiences in Indianapolis or 5 Fun Things to Do in Nashville, Tennessee.