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Travel with Maddy and Max

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French Lick, Indiana Travel Guide

If you are looking for a sophisticated getaway, look no further than French Lick, Indiana. We were searching for a nearby destination to celebrate my husband’s birthday, and French Lick was the perfect place for a weekend trip, just an hour drive from Bloomington, Indiana. French Lick is a small, charming town located in Southern Indiana with two beautifully restored historic hotels, world-class spas, championship golf, a casino, and so much more. During our visit, we enjoyed relaxing in a beautiful room at West Baden Springs, indulging in amazing food, tasting local wines, and trying our luck at the casino. If you are considering a trip, check out our ultimate French Lick, Indiana travel guide.

West Baden Springs Atrium

History of French Lick

French Lick is renowned for its historic mineral springs that made it famous as a spa town. Dr. Williams Bowles originally built the French Lick Springs Hotel in 1845, attracting guests from all over to experience the “miracle waters” from the natural sulfur springs. In 1850 another health resort opened just a mile up the road, eventually known as West Baden Springs. 

Following a fire in 1901 that destroyed West Baden Springs, owner Lee Sinclair rebuilt the resort with the world's largest free-span dome, stretching 200 feet. Meanwhile, the owner of French Lick Springs bottled and sold “Pluto Water,” the hotel’s branded mineral spring water, until its production ended in 1971 after it was found to have contained traces of Lithium. During its heyday, The French Lick resort and casino hosted a variety of guests from Al Capone to Louis Armstrong. Unfortunately, during the great depression, the French Lick Resort was abandoned and left to disrepair.

In 2005,  Bill and Gayle Cook, along with son Carl, from Bloomington, Indiana became involved in restoration of West Baden Springs Hotel and French Lick Springs Hotel in partnership with the nonprofit preservationist group, Indiana Landmarks. The refurbished French Lick Springs Hotel and its new casino officially opened in November 2006, with restorations on West Baden Springs beginning soon after. Overall, it required about $600 million to restore the resort to its current glory. 

Historic image of West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick Indiana

Photo Credit: West Baden Springs Hotel via

Getting Around French Lick

French Lick is a very small town and easy to navigate. When staying at the French Lick Resorts, take advantage of the free shuttle service that operates 24/7, transporting guests to all resorts, the casino, local restaurants and more. This service is extremely convenient, allowing you to forget about your car and rely on this service for the duration of your stay. There are designated stops at the resorts and casino where you can wait for the shuttle. If dropped off at an off-site location, like a local restaurant or winery, you can call the shuttle service for a pick-up. During our recent stay, despite extremely cold weather, we were able to stay warm while traveling from West Baden Springs Hotel to the French Lick Springs Hotel, the casino, and other various locations.

Another option for travel between hotels is the French Lick Resort Trolley, a 1930 rail car that operates 7 days a week, 365 days a year. However, be aware that in extremely cold temperatures, like during our stay when it was about 3 degrees Fahrenheit, the trolley may not be running.

The beautiful West Baden Springs Hotel and Trolley in French Lick Indiana

Photo Credit: West Baden Springs Hotel via

Where to Stay in French Lick

The French Lick Resort consists of three hotels: West Baden Springs, French Lick Springs, and the Valley Tower. All three hotels offer complimentary valet and self parking, luggage and golf club storage, concierge services, and are pet friendly with advance notice. The children’s center is also available to guests, offering supervised activities including painting, video games, crafts and board games. Bikes and Surrey carts are also available to rent at the KidsFest Lodge.

Stay at the luxury West Baden Springs Hotel with its iconic 200-foot free-span dome atrium, once known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Ideal for a romantic getaway, West Baden offers an elegant charm with modern amenities. Amenities include a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pool, indoor hot tub, and more. During our stay, we enjoyed a room with an atrium view, daily live music in the atrium from 5-9pm, and a king-sized bed that was one of the most comfortable we’ve experienced. The room also featured amazing views of the atrium, a mini bar, Starbucks coffee, and luxurious robes.

The beautiful West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick Indiana

Premium Atrium View King Guest Room