Discover Golf in Southern Indiana

Discover Golf in Southern Indiana

May 6, 2022

Southern Indiana’s lush forests and rolling hills provide the perfect backdrop for a memorable and maybe challenging golf vacation. Some courses continually rank as the best to play in the country and the state and are definite must-adds to your bucket list. With so many courses in the area, there is a course for every level of play.  

The French Lick Springs Hotel is home to three legendary golf courses. The iconic Pete Dye Course has gained national acclaim for its 40-mile panoramic views of the southern Indiana countryside, three man-made lakes, “volcano” bunkers, and a variety of elevation changes. Step back in time and experience golf the way it was meant to be played at the Donald Ross Course. This course was originally built by architect Donald Ross in 1917 it still maintains many of its original elements: 80 bunkers with flat bottoms and deep, gnarly faces, along with square and rectangular-shaped greens. The not to miss nine-hole, Tom Bendelow’s Valley Links gives golfers of all skill levels and ages a fun and challenging place to play and was redesigned with families in mind. After a day on the course, stop by 33 Brickstreet for a delicious meal paired with an ice-cold beer.

📷 Credit: @sultansrun

Designed by Tim Luddy, a disciple of world-renowned architect Pete Dye, Sultan’s Run Golf Club in Jasper focuses on the beauty of southern Indiana. This 18-hole course was remodeled in the 1990s when every hole was either reconstructed or reworked. The rolling hills, wonderful bunkering, and a waterfall behind the 18th green make it one of Indiana’s most scenic layouts.  Lodging and dining are available at the club, offering a retreat steps away from the course. Closeout the day with pizza and a craft beer at Saint Benedict’s Brew Works where Pray. Work.  Brew. is their motto.

With a par of 72, Lucas Oil Golf Course in English provides a challenge for golfers of all experience levels. The Town of English was prone to flooding in the 1930s and the town eventually relocated which paved the way for this course! Described as ‘the hidden gem of the Hoosier State’, the 18-hole course showcases two distinctly different nines where many water elements come into play in addition to old streets, underpasses, and rolling hills. Stay and play amenities are available to allow for a long weekend of golf, as well as a restaurant and clubhouse to make the most out of your visit! Take a side trip to the iconic Overlook Restaurant that is positioned beautifully on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River where you can see for miles.

Otis Park Golf Course is home to over 6,400 yards of rolling hills and challenging slopes and has been recognized as one of the best municipal golf courses in Indiana. Located in Bedford, the 18-hole course is a 6,300 yard, par 73 layout and is both scenic and challenging. The course also offers a driving range, practice greens, lessons, pro shop, and a snack bar. Satisfy your hunger and thirst by heading to Salt Creek Brewery called one of the most unique breweries in the state!

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On the banks of West Boggs Lake, Lake View Golf Course in Loogootee is a relaxing nine-hole course ready for your next game. This rural-set course is publicly owned and ideal for a beautiful backdrop and perfect for a family outing. Whether you’re looking for a new setting to spend a Saturday afternoon, or wanting to step up your game, this course offers a variety of mixed holes and some playing along the banks of West Boggs Lake, offering some of the best views! Make sure someone takes that Instagram-worthy shot as you tee off on the ninth hole – the top of the lake’s dam! Nearby, Stoll’s Lakeview Restaurant serves up authentic Amish food, buffet-style right on West Bogg’s Park.

Country Oaks Golf Club in Montgomery rests on 140-acres of what was once a working farm. It features 6,929 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. The signature white silo is the landmark of the course which stands near the #1 tee and shadows the 18th hole. The original farmhouse is still on the property and is used for events. You will be treated to an enjoyable day on this beautiful course. This course is player-friendly and value-orientated, recommended for the golfer of all skill levels. Bobe’s Pizza is a great way to end the day on the course, offering a wide array of menu items beyond pizza and nice cold drinks!

Linton is home to the Phil Harris Golf Course, located just a few miles outside of the city. This affordable public 18-hole course features 6,013 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71. It’s a great course to brush up your game or to hold a fun scramble. Touted as being a great place to grab a steak, head to Sportsmans Pub

Looking to get a short round in? This is the course for you! Opened in 1958, the Western Hills Country Club features the only nine-hole golf course in Salem. From the longest tees, the course offers 2,842 yards in beautiful southern Indiana. Located just west of the city, the course sits close to some amazing restaurants, or check out the clubhouse to round out your visit.

Top Restaurants in Southern Indiana

Top Restaurants in Southern Indiana

April 21, 2022

Who says you need an urban setting to enjoy great food? Southern Indiana boasts some of the best places to eat in the state.

📷 Credit: @elmaguey.salem

Located on the historic square in Salem, El Maguey serves regionally inspired authentic Mexican Cuisine. With indoor and outdoor seating (featuring a rooftop patio!), this restaurant combines fresh ingredients and family tradition to create an unforgettable dining experience. The festive bar also creates an atmosphere for happy hours and date nights. And while you’re here, check out the Salem Apothecary across the square for a soda fountain treat!

📷 Credit: @travelingshanti

Gasthof Amish Village is a buffet-style family restaurant best known for its authentic Amish recipes prepared and served in a building constructed by Amish carpenters using Indiana oak and poplar timber. The village is also home to a hotel, a beautiful lake, gift shops, and the Chandelier Barn Market. The onsite bakery makes delicious homemade bread, noodles, and not to miss pies, especially the coconut cream pie with the sky-high meringue. While at Gasthof, be sure to explore the vibrant surrounding area.

3. Goosepond Pizza

With its name inspired by the nearby Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, Goosepond Pizza keeps locals coming back for more. The Linton-based restaurant has something for everyone, from pizza, stromboli, salads to appetizers. Be sure to visit the name-inspired wildlife area while you are there. The Visitor Center has a panoramic observation deck and large windows to view the wildlife.

On Huntingburg’s 4th Street, you’ll find Mama T’s Italian Steakhouse bringing homemade food to a historic space. You’ll be dining in a registered Indiana landmark, a building that dates back to 1892 and is still filled with its 19th-century details. The entire menu is made from scratch to ensure a fresh meal every visit. End your evening with a walk down the historic 4th Street to enjoy the more than two dozen locally owned antique and specialty shops and unique eateries downtown.

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📷 Credit: @courtroomsportsgrill

Looking for Cajun food in southern Indiana? Look no further than the Court Room! This Bedford restaurant uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to bring classic, homemade Cajun recipes to the region. Whether you have been to New Orleans or looking for your first taste of Cajun cuisine, Court Room Sports Grill is waiting for your visit. And check out the other shops on the Bedford Square to finish off your meal.

Along the banks of the Ohio River, you’ll find Overlook Restaurant positioned uniquely on a bluff in Leavenworth, where you’ll have a 20-mile panoramic vista scenic river. As you enjoy your meal, watch barges churning up and down the river or the sun setting behind the wooded hills of Indiana. A wide variety of choices are found on the menu and guests 21 and over have a list of beers and wine to choose from. Across town, you’ll find Stephenson’s General Store an old-fashioned general store with nostalgic candy, wooden toys, a deli, novelties, and hand-dipped ice cream.

A little bit of Germany, right here in Southern Indiana! For authentic German food, Schnitzelbank in Jasper is the destination for you! This premier German restaurant is ranked in the top 10 restaurants in the state and after experiencing its atmosphere, you’ll see why. Schnitzelbank offers daily lunch specials, private dining for family or corporate events, and catering as well as a full dinner menu. After your meal, enjoy a walk on the Jasper Riverwalk, a 2.1-mile scenic walking path along the Patoka River.

Located on the banks of West Boggs Lake, Stoll’s Lakeview Restaurant is the place to go for authentic Amish cooking with a view. Their famous fried chicken, roast beef, and baked ham are waiting for you. This restaurant in Loogootee offers a little bit of everything and serves many homemade desserts. Looking to make a family day out of it? Visit nearby West Boggs Lake for, camping, fishing, disc golf and swimming! 

Thai Lotus in Southern Indiana is THE go-to place for authentic Thai food. Thai Lotus in Salem uses only the freshest and top-quality ingredients and is a family-owned restaurant across three generations. With lunch specials and a wide selection on its dinner menu, Thai Lotus is the perfect place for those who love Thai food or are looking to try it for the first time! And across town, visit Six Scoops for nearby ice cream offering 28 hand-dipped flavors!

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📷 Credit: @sassyconfetti

Looking for a fine dining option?  The French Lick Springs Hotel’s signature restaurant 1875: The Steakhouse is the answer. Enjoy an elegant atmosphere with an open kitchen, overlooking scenic gardens, and the iconic Pluto Spring gazebo. Known for their 100% premium aged Midwest, corn-fed Angus beef, 1875: The Steakhouse offers choice cuts that are aged to be tender and full of flavor.  The Steakhouse also offers vegetarian options as well.  Check out everything else there is to do in the area to extend your stay

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Southern Indiana

5 Things You Didn't Know About Southern Indiana

March 25, 2022

Think you know southern Indiana? Think again! There’s more to our region than the beautiful natural scenery. Learn about our rich history and see what secrets our counties hold.

1. Tomato juice was invented here

Tomato juice was first served as a beverage in 1917 by Chef Louis Perin at the French Lick Springs Hotel in Orange County when he ran out of orange juice and needed a quick substitute. His combination of squeezed tomatoes, sugar, and his special sauce became an instant success as Chicago businessmen spread the word about the tomato juice cocktail. If you' like to experience a Bloody Mary in the place tomato juice originated, plan a trip to the French Lick Resort and pay a visit to 1875: The Steakhouse. Brimming with the flavors of peppercorn, Tabasco, Worcestershire, and tomato added to black pepper vodka, this is one drink you will relish from beginning to end.

2. Bedford is the 'Limestone Capital of the World'

Located in Lawrence County, the city of Bedford is known as the ‘limestone capital of the world’ and is surrounded by limestone quarries. Indiana limestone is a geological formation primarily quarried in south-central Indiana between Bloomington and Bedford. It has been called the best-quarried limestone in the United States, and nearly 2.7 million cubic feet of Indiana Limestone is extracted each year! Many prominent public buildings in the United States, including the Empire State Building and several buildings in Washington D.C., feature Indiana limestone in their exteriors. When you visit Bedford, be sure to visit Half Moon Limestone to pick up your own piece of Indiana limestone as a souvenir!

3. NBA Star Larry Bird is from Southern Indiana

In 49 states it’s just basketball… but in Indiana, it’s much more. Nicknamed "the Hick from French Lick", NBA Star Larry Bird was born in West Baden Springs. Bird played for Springs Valley High School and averaged 31 points, 21 rebounds, and 4 assists as a senior becoming the school's all-time scoring leader. Check out 33 Brickstreet for dinner to see some of his sports memorabilia, or Bear Hollow Wood Carvers to see a life-sized wood carving of Bird himself! (And while you’re there, get a sweet treat at French Licks right next door!)

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4. A League of Their Own was Filmed Here

Built in 1894 and renovated in the early 1990s, League Stadium in Huntingburg has been home to a variety of baseball teams. Most famously, the stadium served as the home field for the Rockford Peaches in the hit motion picture, “A League of Their Own”, featuring Tom Hanks and Madonna. Original advertisements from the film remain along the outfield fence. Today, the stadium is home to the Dubois County Bombers and you can catch a game this summer! And while you’re in town, check out Huntingburg’s quaint Main Street featuring one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants to finish off your day! 

5. We are home to a large Amish population

Indiana is home to the third-largest Amish population in the United States, making the Hoosier State one of the best places to visit for a taste of Amish life and culture. Daviess County is home to the fourth-largest Amish settlement in the state and the seventh-largest overall in the United States and is known for its friendliness and authentic experience awaiting visitors. You can take a guided tour through the rural landscapes, shop for handmade quilts, crafts, and furniture, share the road with a clip-clopping horse and buggy, attend the weekly Friday night auction at Dinky’s Auction Center, and settle in for a delicious family-style Amish dinner at Gashtof Amish Village. They happily welcome guests to the area but take note, all Amish businesses are closed on Sundays. 

Top Spring Break Activities in Southern Indiana

Top Spring Break Activities in Southern Indiana

March 8, 2022

As we say goodbye to winter, it’s time to start planning that spring break trip! ‘Discover’ attractions, both indoors and out, that are fun for your whole family. No matter your budget, your perfect southern Indiana getaway is waiting for you.

Nestled among the hills of the Hoosier National Forest in French Lick are two AAA Four-Diamond nationally historic hotels, the French Lick Springs Hotel and West Baden Springs Hotel! Explore the grounds aboard a surrey cart or take in the sights along five scenic miles of hiking trails. Kids (ages 6-12) can enjoy organized activities at Kids Fest during the afternoon, while mom and dad pursue more grown-up leisure, like retail therapy at The Promenade of Shoppes, a round of golf at the 9-hole Valley Links, or 18-hole, legendary Donald Ross Course Hotel (opening March 18), or a indulge in a luxurious spa treatment. If you’re feeling lucky, try your chances in the Vegas-style casino or take a historic hotel tour featuring tales of famous guests. Gather the family and enjoy a trip on the iconic trolley, horse-drawn surrey ride, bowling at Pluto's Alley, or an adventure one of the hiking, biking, or horse trails across the resort. And don't forget your four-legged companions! French Lick Resort offers designated pet-friendly rooms at each hotel.

Make the most of your family time together at Big Splash Adventure, French Lick's indoor water park with a retractable roof. You’ll create unforgettable memories zipping down the Jolly Roger Jetty water slide, plunging down Pirate's Plunder and into the famous "toilet bowl", splashing and playing basketball in the Lost Treasure Lagoon, or simply relaxing on the Lost River. With over 40,000 square feet; there are so many fun things to do in the water park. Your family getaway will be "splashtastic".

Nearby, Shotz Miniature Golf and Lazer Tag offers family-friendly competition with its one-of-a-kind facility that features a beautiful outdoor 18-hole course, indoor lazer tag, a nine-hole indoor miniature cosmic golf course, and more!

3. Caves

Did you know southern Indiana is home to several breathtaking, natural caves? Bring out your inner explorer at Marengo Cave, a National Natural Landmark! The cave is packed with formations that will leave you speechless. Two easy, well-lit walking tours are offered daily. Feeling more adventurous? You can take a guided cave exploring trip, where the only light is your headlamp as you crouch, crawl and scramble through a variety of passages. Visitors can also stay the night at the cave's creek-side campgrounds or stay in one of the rustic, modern cabins.

Looking to explore a cave by boat? Starting March 16, your family can explore Bluespring Caverns, America’s longest navigable underground river, in custom electric boats. The hour-long boat tour allows you to explore and experience the majestic underground. Passages and watercourses are illuminated by the pocket of light that follows your tour boat through the darkness, and you might even catch a glimpse of cave creatures, like cavefish or bats.

4. Nature

Interested in wildlife? In Greene County, Goose Pond is the place to be to see migratory birds. Marsh Madness Sandhill Crane Festival celebrates the spring migration of sandhill cranes, whooping cranes, and numerous waterfowl to the Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, a 9000-acre wetland complex south of Linton.

Hoping to get your adrenaline pumping this spring? Named after the Redbird Coal Mine, Redbird State Recreation Area is approximately 1,400 acres of former surface and underground coal mine land. This off-road park of 4x4 and ATV trails consist of steep inclines, rocky terrain, deep ruts, and some messy mud bogs. The trails are marked for difficulty, heavily patrolled and can get quite muddy in wet weather! All vehicle types are welcome, and visitors pay an entrance/vehicle fee.

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5. Hiking/Camping

Winter has kept us inside these past few months, but it’s time to get back out and explore. Southern Indiana is home to some of the most beautiful and scenic state forests and parks – perfect for camping, hiking, and enjoying the great outdoors. Our eight counties are home to several Indiana State Parks, state recreational areas, forests, fish and wildlife areas and even National Forests – and you won’t go wrong with any of them.

Martin State Forest is over 7,000 acres of forestland and is ready to host your spring break trip! Many recreational activities to choose from give you and your family the opportunity to find something that everyone will love. And just a few miles up the road you can discover Jug Rock – the only freestanding table rock formation east of the Mississippi!  

Travel back in time to the early 1800s, as you explore Spring Mill State Park in Lawrence County, a restored pioneer village with grist and sawmill. During your stay, enjoy family-friendly outdoor recreational activities, like hiking and fishing. Rent one of nearly 200 electric campsites, bike wooded trails up to 2.5 miles in length, or hike them on foot. Picnic areas and playgrounds are available for outdoor enjoyment.  

6. Wilstem Wildlife Park

Wilstem Wildlife Park is full of fun! Nestled on 1,100 acres in the heart of Southern Indiana, the park is home to animal encounters, ziplines, horseback riding, and a drive-thru safari that features over 50 species of animals. Meet and bathe elephants (resuming March 12), pet otters, feed giraffes, and learn all about grizzlies during these unique one-of-a-kind animal experiences. Make your experience even more memorable by booking one of the cabins on the property.

Wilstem was featured in USA Today as one of the Top 10 places in America to interact with big animals!

Top 5 Winter Activities in Southern Indiana

Top 5 Winter Activities in Southern Indiana

February 8, 2022

With eight counties to ‘Discover’, southern Indiana is home to many recreational activities, both indoor and outdoor to enjoy during these Midwest winter months. It may be overwhelming to decide which activities to spend your time on, so check out our list for some recommendations! These top 5 adventures offer a little something for everyone: 

Paoli Peaks is southern Indiana’s premier destination for skiing, snowboarding and tubing. Their beginner terrain, winter clothing rental, and ski school offer the perfect package to start a passion that lasts a lifetime. Several nearby accommodations allow for a multiple-day stay, and the on-site Day Lodge offers dining to keep you fueled throughout your visit. Be sure to visit their website for more information, hours, and COVID-19 policies while you plan your visit!

2. Take a Hike!

📷 Credit: @tia_ann

The beautiful, hilly terrain of southern Indiana creates breathtaking views and adventures in each of our counties. From winter landscapes at Spring Mills State Park to exploring the U.S. National Landmark at Marengo Caves, southern Indiana has hiking opportunities for adventurers of all ages and difficulty levels. Patoka Lake is offering a Full Moon Hike on Feb. 18 - learn more and register today!

3. Visit a Museum

Established in 2007, the French Lick West Baden Museum opened to tell the stories of the two towns as a pop-up museum. The museum gained a permanent home in downtown French Lick in 2014. From the world’s largest circus diorama to history on casinos and basketball, this museum has something for everyone! Check out their website for hours and more information, and plan to explore the rest of downtown while you’re here!

4. Sip the day away at a Brewery or Winery

Looking for a relaxing, indoor winter date idea? Southern Indiana has many breweries and wineries for you to visit for happy hour or a Saturday afternoon! Feed Store Beer Co. in Bloomfield offers a large selection of beer and brings in local food trucks and vendors for its customers. For those of you that prefer wine, Huckleberry Hill Winery and Vineyard, also in Bloomfield, carries more than 30 different wines. The tasting room is open during winery hours and has several options for you to choose from!

5. Take in an Art Exhibit

The Jasper Arts Center and Thyen-Clark Cultural Center offer some of the finest entertainment, cultural, and educational venues in southern Indiana. The facility at the Jasper Arts Center draws worldwide talent and experiences to an intimate setting, and the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center features over 63,000 square feet of cultural enrichment in the heart of downtown Jasper. Check out the calendar of events to explore the current exhibits or purchase tickets for an upcoming event!