French Lick is the ultimate spot in Indiana for laid back, Midwestern luxury with a fun, outdoor kick. It’s also the place to learn about the state’s rich history and how the city was a hot spot for health seekers a century ago. But what can you do in French Lick right now? From animal encounters to four-legged trips through the woods to great dining, here are things to do in French Lick right now.
Things to Do in French Lick Right Now
For our second visit to French Lick, Molly and I wanted to really get outdoors and learn about what makes the city so much fun for visitors. With West Baden Springs as our home base, it was an ideal lodging to come and go as we wished.
Here are my picks for French Lick hot spots and must-see attractions.
Take a Trail Ride
French Lick Resort Stables, located at French Lick Resort, was a happy find for us on this trip. We’re not super capable on horseback, but the stable hands made us feel comfortable during our ride through the woods and even choose the right horses to ride based on our personality.
We rode first thing in the morning, which is my idea of a perfect way to start the day. Of course, the stables are open uch longer, so please check the website to lock down a date and time.
Take An Elephant Safari
As a huge animal welfare supporter, I can attest to Wilstem Wildlife Park’s elephant safari and the kindness the elephants were given during our visit. We climbed on the back of a big truck (aka, open air safari vehicle) and headed to the huge pasture where they roamed for 30 minutes.
And if that wasn’t enough, we were able to hop off the truck and feed both elephants as well as talk to them. The encounter was super intimate (my dream!) and I’m not kidding, the elephants were calm and happy.
Take a Self-Guided French Lick Springs Walking Tour
While Molly and I were waiting for dinner at French Lick Springs Hotel on our first night, we headed out to the back of the property and took a self-guided walking tour of the springs and surrounding gardens.
Filled with numbered plaques to highlight important locations, I loved learning about Pluto Spring and why it had to be capped off (I won’t spoil the fun for you!)
Snuggle Up to Some Otters
Another awesome encounter at Wilstem, its otter encounter is with three baby Asian Small Clawed otters. For 30 minutes we watched the cuties run, play, eat (we got to feed them!), and spend time swirling in the water.
Editor’s note: These baby otters are so well taken care of, it’s highly obvious to me. Their encounter spot is not where they live but only for the sake of the encounter.
Taste Test Local Wine
French Lick Winery is the go-to place to taste test local wine. Since 1998, the winery has been bottling both sweet and dry wines at affordable prices.
You have your choice of either enjoying a bottle or glass in the tasting room or getting one to go.
Get Some Local History in West Baden
West Baden Springs Hotel is another great spot for a self-guided walking tour, for sure. When you mosey around the property, you’ll learn about the bicycle and horse racing track that’s now a pretty pasture for deer, spy the three springs locations, and walk through the gorgeous sunken garden (keep an eye out for the spitting turtles!).
Drive Through Exotic Animals
Honestly, this post is not sponsored by Wilstem Wildlife Park, but there’s so much to do there, each deserved its own accolade.
If you’re not into an up close animal encounter, trying the Drive-Thru Safari may be right up your street. You’ll stay in the car the entire time and slowly drive up and down a hill to see over 50 species of animals.
If you do want to see the animals closer, feed cups may be purchased for an additional charge.
Drive a Surrey
Driving a surrey bike is always a fun way to see pretty views, so head over to French Lick Springs hotel and rent one. You can rent 2,4, or 6-peddler styles (the more, the merrier, right?) and choose how many hours you’d like to ride.
See a Giraffe Up Close
And last, but definitely not least, at Wilstem Wildlife, if you love giraffes, a giraffe encounter is a great way to spend the afternoon. Offering a chance to see two male giraffes, we learned about them while feeding and getting our photo taken.
The giraffes looked calm and settled – and they were super curious!
Where to Eat in French Lick
From pop-in restaurants to fine dining, here are my picks for French Lick dining:
1875: The Steakhouse – A true event, it’s fine dining with a classy atmosphere at French lick Springs Hotel. Known for its steaks (of course!), if you’re not a meat eater, it’s no problem. And if you want a true desert show, go for the Bananas Foster made right at your table.
Sinclair’s – Perfect for breakfast at West Baden Springs Hotel, I loved the atmosphere as it’s a combination of upscale with a laid back kick, so feel free to dress up or down. If you’re not a big eater, there’s a good light bites menu. But if you like hearty dishes in the morning, try the signature biscuits and gravy.
Superburger – In Paoli, Superbuger is a no frills kind of restaurant and, trust me, I’m not complaining about it. With both booths and tables, there’s a giant menu to choose from and the prices are very affordable.
33 Brick Street – This is the restaurant to go to if you love bar-style meals and basketball. Paying homage to Larry Bird (it’s his hometown!) ,the menu has everything from soup, salad, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and really good cheesecake.
Burton’s Farm House – A cool brunch and lunch spot, Burton’s is known for its chicken and waffles and hash brown casserole. And if you want to start the day off with a kick, try a signature Bloody Mary loaded with bacon, pickles, lime – you name it!