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Brave Winter with Outdoor Adventures In & Around the Resort

December 16, 2021
French Lick Stables

Just because we’re moving into the thick of winter, doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up indoors this season.

Whether it’s these balmy December days we’ve been enjoying thus far, or the chillier weather that’s bound to find us eventually, there’s still plenty to do outdoors at French Lick Resort. Plan ahead, dress warm (maybe even bring the golf clubs), and get outdoors to make the most of a wintertime visit.

Golf Courses

Our Pete Dye and Donald Ross Courses are closed until the spring, but our 9-hole Valley Links Course is always in season — weather permitting, of course. The golf shop and course are open year-round to resort guests as well as the public.

Weather Gauge: As long as the temperature is above freezing (32 degrees) and there’s no frost on the course, you can get out and play. Yesterday’s mid-60s temps brought out about two dozen golfers, so you might even have a little company on the course. It’s always best to call ahead, since rain often accompanies those warm winter days. (812-936-8042)

Valley Links Golf Course

Plan Ahead: Coming back this spring or summer to play the Ross or Dye Course? Those golf shops will be closed for the season at the end of December, but you can always book future Dye or Ross tee times at Valley Links.

Indoor Alternative: If it’s too bad outside and you’re really feeling the itch to get some swings in, Valley Links features a heated indoor hitting bay. (Open 10am - 4pm daily; 30-minute or 60-minute sessions available; call 812-936-8042 for reservations.)

Foot Golf

Our new 14-hole FootGolf “Short Course” at Valley Links will become the primary FootGolf course in 2022 — giving our FootGolfers and Valley Links golfers more of a dedicated space of their own.

Weather Gauge: Generally speaking, if it’s in the 30s and up, FootGolf is a go. You don’t need reservations for the 14-hole course, so this is a great activity to do on the fly if the conditions are agreeable. And since you move around quite a bit playing FootGolf, you might not notice the chill too much.

Take a Hike While You’re at It: The hiking trails (which originate at Valley Links) are open year-round as well. Just stop in the Valley Links shop to sign in before you head out.


kids petting pony

The Stables

Winter’s actually a great season to ride up at The Stables. Unlike us humans, horses are actually happier in chillier weather — not quite as jumpy with no mosquitoes and horseflies to deal with. And with the leaves gone, it’s easier to spot deer and other wildlife during your ride through the woods. Just make sure to dress for the weather, especially if you take a longer ride.

Weather Gauge: As a general rule, you can get out and ride when it’s 30 degrees and above. Of course that’s dependent on weather, and the Stables staff checks trail conditions daily to ensure they’re clear of ice and snow. The best time for a winter ride? Shoot for 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. — maybe do a late lunch at Power Plant Bar & Grill or Ballard’s in the Atrium, followed by a horseback ride.

Pony Rides: Even when it’s too cold to ride outside, pony rides for kids can be accommodated in the indoor barn. You can still see the goats and chickens throughout the winter, too. (The donkeys moved to their winter home and will be back in the spring.)

horse drawn carriage

Carriage Rides:
 Get yours planned soon — New Year’s Eve is the final day this winter for regularly scheduled carriage rides. After that, you can still plan a carriage ride for a special occasion by appointment (weather permitting). In February, you can expect to see carriage rides back for a few days around Valentine’s season.


clay shooting

Sporting Clays

Skeet shooting is the new favorite activity at the resort, and one you may not even realize we offer. It’s also offered year-round at our 75-acre shooting range adjacent to The Stables.

Weather Gauge: If you’re willing to brave the cold, we’re willing to take you out on the range. We’ve had shooters go out before with temperatures in the 20s. Rain would make it a no-go, obviously, but we’ve had shooters go out with snow on the ground — and even when snow is falling.

Plan Ahead: Reservations are required, and can be made by calling (812) 788-2575. The range is open daily starting at 9 a.m., and the last time slot is at 2 p.m. to finish up before darkness falls. You’ll be out for an hour or more, so be prepared to dress warm.






bears at wildlife park
Wilstem Wildlife Park: If you can bear the cold, the VIP Grizzly Bear Encounter is a must-do item on the bucket list. It’s the only outdoor animal encounter offered through the winter at Wilstem Wildlife Park. There’s still plenty to see indoors at Wilstem, including the giraffes and sloths. And, their Drive-Thru Safari can always be enjoyed from the comfort of your car.


Paoli Peaks: This mild weather means Paoli Peaks has not yet set an opening date for the season. So stay tuned, skiers and snow tubers. There’s plenty of winter left, so put a pin in this for when winter truly invades.

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