40 Unimaginable Locations to Go to in Kentucky

To be trustworthy, Kentucky wasn’t all the time on my journey radar. Like many individuals unfamiliar with the Bluegrass State, I beforehand had quite a lot of assumptions about it. Nevertheless, the state is far more than meets the attention, and it’s residence to some unbelievable locations. This listing breaks down the perfect, together with great cities, neat cities, stunning parks, distinctive stops, and extra:

Cities & Cities

40. Louisville

As Kentucky’s largest metropolis, Louisville is a hub for practically all the pieces that makes this state particular. You’ll discover numerous venues to see reside bluegrass reveals, race tracks with the nation’s most spectacular horses, and a few superb Southern cooking. Not solely that, however Louisville is bursting with tradition and has a thriving artwork neighborhood.

Listed here are a couple of must-visit spots on this vibrant metropolis:

39. Frankfort Avenue

So far as locations to go in Louisville, this is among the finest to take a look at as quickly as you get into city. Frankfort Avenue, aka “The Avenue,” is an extended hall that connects town’s most hip and occurring neighborhoods. Alongside it, you’ll see native companies galore, from boutiques to galleries to mother ‘n’ pop eating places.

38. Fairmount Falls Park

On the outskirts of Louisville is Fairmount Falls, one of many metropolis’s hidden pure gems. Visiting looks like discovering a Louisville secret that not many different vacationers get to expertise. The waterfall is tucked away within the forest, a couple of mile’s hike from the path entrance.

To get to this beautiful waterfall, you can also make a reservation to entry the park at Jefferson Memorial Forest Welcome Middle. Since solely three vehicles are allowed within the park per day, a reservation practically ensures you’ll have the falls nearly all to your self.

37. Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs is as well-known because it will get with regards to Louisville establishments. The 2 longest repeatedly operating sporting occasions within the US are held at Churchill Downs: the Kentucky Derby and the all-female Kentucky Oaks races. Even in the event you aren’t on the town throughout a kind of, verify the occasions calendar to see what else is occurring on the race observe throughout you go to.

36. Muhammad Ali Middle

The well-known boxer-turned-philanthropist Muhammad Ali is a Louisville native and positively engenders a beneficiant quantity of hometown pleasure. Opened in 2005, the Muhammad Ali Middle is a nonprofit museum that serves to reveal Ali’s six core rules: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality. It’s one of the crucial inspirational museums in Kentucky. Discover extra data right here.

35. Louisville Mega Cavern

Journey seekers is not going to need to miss out on a go to to the Louisville Mega Cavern, the world’s solely underground aerial ropes course. This former Thirties mine website has 17 miles of corridors that you would be able to discover through Historic Tram Tour or strolling tour, on which you’ll study in regards to the historical past and geology of the caverns. This is among the high locations to see in all of Kentucky, not to mention Louisville!

34. Cherokee Park

Do you know that Frederick Regulation Olmsted, who designed NYC’s Central Park, additionally designed Cherokee Park in Louisville? It’s true! His eye for design is obvious within the Park, which options quaint woodlands, open meadows, rolling hills, and trickling streams. That’s proper, you possibly can take pleasure in all of that pure magnificence with out having to depart Louisville’s metropolis limits.

33. Lexington

Picture Credit score: Blue Pedaler

Lexington is Kentucky’s second largest metropolis and is spilling over with historical past, Southern appeal, and distinctive locations to go to. Because the nation’s horse capital, you’ll discover a great deal of alternatives to study in regards to the metropolis’s horse racing and breeding legacy. Not solely that however Lexington is within the coronary heart of bluegrass nation and packs a giant punch with its wealthy bourbon tradition.

Listed here are a few of the finest locations to go to in or close to Lexington:

32. Keeneland Race Monitor

Keeneland is an internationally famend racecourse dedicated to preserving the custom of thoroughbred horse racing. The observe is open to the general public, so that you don’t must attend an precise race to absorb its superbly landscaped gardens and pristine grandstand. The place captures the essence of horse racing tradition and status. This tour features a cease at Keeneland with an professional information.

31. Ashland: Henry Clay Property

So far as historic locations in Kentucky, that is simply one of the crucial well-known. Henry Clay was one among Kentucky’s most well-known statesmen, and Ashland was his residence in the course of the top of his profession. The Henry Clay Memorial Basis has an attention-grabbing manner of telling the tales of people that lived, labored, and had been enslaved on the Ashland property. This guided tour is an effective way to get essentially the most out of your go to.

30. Kentucky Horse Park

In the event you can’t get sufficient of horse-related sights, Kentucky Horse Park is the last word vacation spot. Not solely does the park have a totally operational horse farm, but it surely additionally homes the Smithsonian Worldwide Museum of the Horse. You can simply spend a day visiting this equine treasure in Lexington.

29. Raven Run Nature Sanctuary

This pristinely preserved nature sanctuary in Lexington is the last word nature lover’s paradise. Throughout 734 acres, there are over 10 miles of trails to take pleasure in. Spend a heat summer season afternoon mountaineering, biking, or picnicking right here. Visiting in fall? The autumn colours in Raven Run Nature Sanctuary are beautiful!

28. Jacobson Park

On 216 acres of land, Jacobson Park contains a big reservoir excellent for kayaking, paddleboarding, or simply hanging out on the grass close to the shore. The park additionally has volleyball courts, a disc golf course, and extra. Of all of the inexperienced areas in Lexington, this one is among the finest for a quiet afternoon in nature.

27. Shaker Village of Nice Hill

Simply 45 minutes outdoors of Lexington is Shaker Village of Nice Hill. Vacationers from everywhere in the world go to Shaker Village annually to get a glimpse into the previous of a society that was capable of thrive off the land.The Shakers had been a spiritual neighborhood that was lively in Nice Hill from 1805 to 1910.

This 3,000-acre landmark is among the most well-preserved websites of Shaker historical past. The nonprofit group Shaker Village has labored exhausting to take care of the 34 authentic historic buildings, a nature protect, and conserved farmland on the positioning. You possibly can even keep in Shaker Village’s inn!

26. Bardstown

As the house of 9 well-known bourbon distilleries, Bardstown is one among Kentucky’s most notable bourbon locations. Not solely that, however the city additionally has the Bardstown Civil Warfare Museum, the fourth-largest such museum within the nation. Additionally it is residence to Kentucky’s “official outside drama” (“The Stephen Foster Story”) and even has a complete exhibit devoted to ladies’s roles within the battle.

Bardstown has a picturesque city sq. and is general a lovely little city to go to. You possibly can e book a complete weekend getaway there, full with loads of bourbon-filled experiences, right here.

25. Frankfort

Recognized to have one of the crucial stunning capitol buildings within the nation, this small capital metropolis deserves a spot in your Kentucky bucket listing. Positioned alongside the Kentucky River between Louisville and Lexington, Frankfort is completely tucked into the inexperienced hills and is surrounded by nature. Right here you’ll discover outside journey, historic relics, and, in fact, loads of bourbon.

24. Bowling Inexperienced

As one among Kentucky’s many bustling school cities, Bowling Inexperienced has a singular combine of latest and previous, historic and revolutionary. You’ll discover venerable neighborhoods full with colonial structure and manicured lawns, in addition to a few of Kentucky’s finest museums. One in every of them is the Nationwide Corvette Museum, which takes guests on a journey by the enduring historical past of America’s sports activities automobile.

Bowling Inexperienced can be the proper launching level for Mammoth Cave Nationwide Park (extra on that later!), so think about staying right here an evening or two throughout your Kentucky journey to profit from this attraction-filled space.

23. Newport

In case you are an American historical past fanatic, you received’t need to miss out on a go to to Newport. This quaint riverside neighborhood was as soon as set to change into what’s now Las Vegas. In actual fact, the city was as soon as residence to many casinos and was frequented by none apart from Frank Sinatra, who carried out there. Even Las Vegas’s nickname, “Sin Metropolis,” was first utilized to Newport earlier than it was given to Las Vegas.

Since Newport is so near Cincinnati, Ohio, you possibly can take a sundown cruise to see the Cincinnati skyline from Newport.

22. London

This one is for all of the cyclists on the market! London is one among Kentucky’s designated “path cities,” due to its entry to street biking, mountain biking, and mountaineering trails. It’s subsequent to Daniel Boone Nationwide Forest, so nature lovers discover London the proper place to remain whereas they discover close by parks, trails, and forests.

21. Paducah

Generally known as “The Quilt Metropolis,” Paducah is America’s quilt-making capital. In actual fact, UNESCO dubbed Paducah a Metropolis of Crafts and Folks Artwork in 2013. You possibly can find out about this legacy on the Nationwide Quilt Museum.

As quickly as you arrive in Paducah, you’ll understand that this small city is something however bizarre. The customer’s middle is housed in a restored 1860s mansion, which really units the stage for a historic journey. Benefit from the city’s peace and quiet with a stroll alongside the river and a stroll by city to see the historic buildings.

20. Owensboro

Owensboro is a small metropolis packed stuffed with all of the issues that make Kentucky nice. It has a few of the state’s finest barbecue joints, bluegrass music venues, and artwork museums.

Try the Owensboro Museum of High quality Artwork, the place you’ll discover a sculpture park and folks artwork relationship again to the fifteenth century.

Owensboro is known for its mutton barbeque, so in the event you’re a meat eater you shouldn’t depart city with out making an attempt it at both Outdated Hickory Bar-B-Que or Ole South Bar-B-Q.

19. Worldwide Bluegrass Music Museum

No journey to Owensboro is full with out a cease on the Worldwide Bluegrass Music Museum. We’re itemizing this place all by itself as a result of it’s simply one of many high sights within the state. Even in the event you’re new to bluegrass music, this museum is certain to maintain you entertained all day lengthy with its interactive reveals and nuggets of historical past all through. You’ll see quite a lot of neat classic devices, study in regards to the style’s most influential musicians, and see the evolution of the style through the years.

Get your tickets right here.

18. Stanton

That is the last word vacation spot for journey seekers in Kentucky. Stanton is the proper launching level for mountaineering and biking trails, with direct entry to the Pink River Gorge Byway. The Pink River Gorge has over 100 stone arches and several other waterfalls, together with the picturesque Nada Tunnel. It additionally has a singular panorama that’s ready to be explored.

Nationwide Parks, State Parks, and Extra

17. Mammoth Cave Nationwide Park

Mammoth Cave Nationwide Park is among the most beloved locations in Kentucky. This superb pure surprise is residence to the longest recorded cave system on this planet, at over 400 miles explored and mapped. Cave excursions are a wonderful technique to get acquainted with a few of the park’s most notable caves.

Not solely is the park adored for its pure magnificence, but it surely additionally holds many tales from the individuals who used to reside there, from the unique settlements of Native Individuals to colonial settlers to the African Individuals who had been an important guides and explorers of the caves within the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

16. Daniel Boone Nationwide Forest

Chances are you’ll acknowledge the title Daniel Boone in the event you’re into outdoorsman historical past. This large forest spans greater than two million acres and affords over 600 miles of trails to discover. Sandstone cliffs are excellent for mountaineering, and the abundance of rivers and lakes creates the proper surroundings for individuals who take pleasure in getting out on the water. Though most of the trails had been initially meant just for mountaineering, mountain biking is feasible in lots of places. Backpackers and different campers will benefit from the many forest campgrounds.

15. Cumberland Hole Nationwide Historic Park

The mountainous surroundings at Cumberland Hole Nationwide Historic Park is simply one of many many causes to pay a go to. Past the gorgeous views from hidden overlooks, you’ll discover epic sandstone formations, plentiful underground caverns, and loads of plant and animal life in every single place.

There’s a wealth of historical past to uncover right here. This superb nationwide historic park is residence to the Hensley Settlement, which provides guests a time-warping have a look at a twentieth century mountain neighborhood settlement. The Wilderness Street Path will take you on an equally thrilling journey within the footsteps of Native Individuals, early settlers, and Civil Warfare troopers.

14. Land Between the Lakes Nationwide Recreation Space

As one of many largest areas of undeveloped forest in the US, the Land Between the Lakes Nationwide Recreation Space is about as rugged because it will get. Stretching over 170,000 acres of forests and wetlands, there’s loads of nature to admire right here. There are 300 miles of pure shoreline, providing alternatives to camp, picnic, hike, and bike.

Along with 500 miles of trails all through the park to take pleasure in, you possibly can go to the Woodlands Nature Station, Elk & Bison Prairie, Homeplace 1850s Working Farm, or Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory for genuine instructional experiences.

Land Between the Lakes can be the best place for a street journey, with unbelievable scenic drives and walks.

13. Cumberland Falls State Park

If you wish to see one thing practically as majestic as Niagara Falls with out leaving the South, ensure so as to add Cumberland Falls State Park to your Kentucky itinerary. It will get its nickname, “the Niagara of the South,” as a result of 68-foot tall and 125-foot huge waterfall. One of many coolest issues about this waterfall, in addition to its immense measurement, is that it’s one of many few locations on this planet the place you possibly can see a moonbow, aka a lunar rainbow. If the sky is obvious on the evening of a full moon, you may be capable to see one in every of of its magnificent glory.

Along with the plain go to to the falls, Cumberland Falls State Park is overflowing with adventurous issues to do (see what I did there?). Go birding within the park, rafting on the Cumberland River, tenting at one of many 50 campsites, or mountaineering on 17 miles of trails. You possibly can even strive your hand at gem mining.

12. Breaks Interstate Park

Positioned proper on the Kentucky-Virginia state border is the severely underrated Breaks Interstate Park. Spanning 3,500 acres of greenwood lands stuffed with mountainous surroundings, that is one among solely two interstate parks within the nation. This beautiful pure space has the most important canyon east of the Mississippi River, which spans 5 miles and is 1,650 toes deep, incomes its nickname “the Grand Canyon of the South.”

Breaks Interstate Park is a haven for rock climbers, campers, and hikers alike. Regardless of the way you select to benefit from the park, you’re definitely in for a deal with.

11. Huge South Fork Nationwide River

Huge South Fork Nationwide River is also known as a large outside playground, and for good motive. This 125,000-acre recreation space options rugged gorges and pristine forests, together with quite a few streams and, in fact, the thunderous Huge South Fork of the Cumberland River.

Out of doors actions on the Huge South Fork Nationwide River embrace mountaineering by forests and gorges, horseback driving, mountaineering sandstone cliffs, and paddling and swimming in crystal-clear waters. This recreation space can be a great place to camp and backpack.

10. The Pinnacles of Berea

In 2019, Outdoors Journal named the Pinnacles of Berea hike the #1 hike in Kentucky. If that isn’t sufficient to spark your curiosity, guests who take pleasure in peace and quiet love this hike due to its sparse crowds and unbelievable views of the Daniel Boone Nationwide Forest.

This stellar hike is straightforward to get to from Berea, Kentucky, and is even a fantastic spot to remain when you go to Pink River Gorge and different massive close by sights. Having such an superior hike just like the Pinnacles Hike is simply the cherry on high.

9. My Outdated Kentucky Residence State Park

This can be a state park not like every other. You in all probability affiliate state parks with mountaineering trails and the nice outside, however a few of this park’s finest characteristic are literally indoors. It’s residence to the property of US Sen. John Rowan, which holds 2 hundred years of tales, from duels to horse racing to household fortunes and all the pieces in between. You possibly can tour the mansion and listen to guides sing a particular track on each tour.

Horse Farms

8. Solar Valley Horse Farm

This traditional horse farm’s slogan is “On the Crossroad of Bourbon & Horses.” It makes a neat connection between horses and bourbon by its ties to bourbon pioneer Elijah Pepper. One of the simplest ways to expertise Solar Valley is on a guided tour, which leads visitors by the farm to witness the internal workings of an award-winning thoroughbred horse farm nursery.

7. Hermitage Farm

Hermitage Farm is greater than only a horse farm and nursery. Past operating a famend thoroughbred operation, the farm additionally prides itself on its sustainable and natural agriculture. You possibly can even get a style of Heritage Farm’s farm-fresh produce at its Barn8 Farm Restaurant.

Within the temper for some bourbon? You are able to do a bourbon tasting that includes merchandise from any of the distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon path.

This farm affords a really well-rounded view of Kentucky’s wealthy agricultural tradition and historical past. Select from quite a lot of excursions and tastings at Hermitage Farm to get essentially the most out of your go to.

6. Claiborne Farm

This one is for the historical past buffs on the market. Claiborne Farm is among the most iconic thoroughbred horse farms in Kentucky, finest recognized for being the ultimate resting place of one of the crucial well-known horses in historical past, Secretariat.

Claiborne Farm affords historic excursions of the on-site services, taking visitors on a journey by the farm’s origin story up till current day with a have a look at how the working farm takes care of the gorgeous beauties that reside there.

Distinctive Stops

5. The Pete Treehouse

This fully off-grid treehouse was a part of Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters and is now one of many coolest Airbnbs you’ll discover in Kentucky. Pete Nelson is the mastermind behind the development of the treehouse, which is tucked away in nature about 1.5 hours from Lexington. The place is stuffed with considerate touches, together with a fireplace pit and balcony.

After watching Kristin’s treehouse journey, you’re in all probability getting enthusiastic about staying in a treehouse, so don’t miss out on this one whenever you go to Kentucky!

4. Harland Sanders Café and Museum

These days, you’ll find a KFC in nearly any nation on this planet. Have you ever puzzled about how it began, although? On the Harland Sanders Café and Museum in Corbin, you’ll be capable to see the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Hen at Colonel Sanders’ authentic restaurant.

Not solely are you able to truly dine on the Harland Sanders Café and Museum, however you possibly can then tour the constructing and see all types of artifacts and memorabilia from the well-known restaurateur’s legacy.

3. Vent Haven Museum

Within the small city of Fort Mitchell is the world’s solely museum devoted to ventriloquism: the Vent Haven Museum. That is by far one of many strangest locations I’ve ever seen whereas researching a vacation spot, and now it has been bumped up fairly excessive on my bucket listing.

The museum has over 700 dolls, that includes some which have been on TV and in films, all from the private assortment of William Shakespeare Berger. In the event you’re a fan of bizarre museums and occur to be driving by Fort Mitchell, you’ll positively need to make a pit cease right here.

2. Historic Diamond Caverns

Positioned proper subsequent to Mammoth Cave Nationwide Park, this distinctive attraction is a must-visit when you’re within the space. Its cathedral-like caverns characteristic cascades of naturally colourful calcite and different mind-blowing formations. Guided excursions can be found and are the proper technique to see the beautiful caverns and find out about their attention-grabbing historical past.

1. Kentucky Kingdom

I’m a giant fan of curler coasters, so I can’t skip out on including Kentucky Kingdom to this listing. This theme park could also be small in comparison with megaparks like Six Flags and Disney World, but it surely’s a captivating homegrown spot that locals adore. There are 5 curler coasters, a 5-D cinema, and loads of different enjoyable sights to take pleasure in.

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As you possibly can see, Kentucky is stuffed with quirky surprises and plentiful pure magnificence. There are many superb locations simply ready to be found by vacationers who’re new to the state and in addition by locals trying to study extra about what there’s to do close to them!

Are you a Kentucky native? Which locations did we miss this time? Tell us the place your secret spots are!

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