Indoor Water Park, Arcade, and Santa's Workshop in Picturesque French Lick
In winter, snowfall often blankets the 75 wooded acres on which Big Splash Adventure sits, creating a picturesque scene fit for a Christmas card. But at the family-friendly resort's indoor water park, things stay strictly tropical all year round. The 40,000-square-foot aquatic facility is the centerpiece of the fun-filled resort, but you can also play laser tag and mini golf here, or head to nearby Beechwood Mansion to sip hot cocoa in Santa's workshop.
Back at the water park, glass walls let in ample sunlight illuminating colorful tube slides that twist and turn high above a lazy river fringed with tropical plants and faux boulders. A giant parakeet statue oversees the kids' area, which keeps tykes on their toes with a teetering splash bucket and a pirate-themed obstacle course. Grownups, meanwhile, can relax in a 25-person hot tub heated to a balmy 100 degrees.
For a taste of the North Pole, Santa's Magical Workshop at Beechwood Mansion offers a slew of holiday-themed activities. Kids can craft their own ornaments, take a ride on Santa's train, and help decorate a big gingerbread house. After a day of adventure, Big Splash and Double Splash guest rooms make for a comfy spot to unwind in front of a flat-screen TV. A piping-hot breakfast awaits in the morning.
French Lick, Indiana: Charming Resort Town with Sprawling State Forest and Rich History
Far south in Indiana, near the Kentucky border, the small town of French Lick boasts a unique landscape that helped shape its evolution into a resort town. Roughly two centuries ago, visitors flocked to French Lick and the neighboring West Baden Springs to bathe in the area's naturally therapeutic waters, which left several salt licks in the surrounding soil. The former French trading post is still popular with tourists today, less for the springs than the 200,000-acre Hoosier National Forest. The forest puts on a dazzling show in the fall, when golden poplars, orange maples, and a host of wildflowers burst into color. Come winter, you can take a day trip east to Paoli Peaks Ski Resort to go tubing down a 700-foot slide, snowboarding in one of two terrain parks, or downhill skiing on the evergreen-lined trails.
You don't have to venture far to get a taste of French Lick's rich history, which earned the town a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. At the Indiana Railway Museum, climb aboard a vintage locomotive that goes chugging through the forest. Elsewhere, daily tours venture into the century-old West Baden Springs Hotel, a National Historic Landmark with 200-foot domed ceilings adorned with frescoes.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.