The state that is famous for bourbon, racing, and chicken; the state that has magnificent natural wonders like Mammoth Cave National Park – Kentucky is one of the most scenic travel destinations in the USA. The state receives more than 70 million visitors per year and is a destination where you can set a journey any time of the year. Spend your vacation being outdoor or indulge in great food and lively music, things to do in Kentucky are abundant and endless. Backpackers or honeymooners, no matter what your purpose of the visit is, this ‘Bluegrass State’ has a plethora of activities to keep you engrossed in the travel spirit. Want an overview of the best things to do in Kentucky? We have a list for you here to choose from.
Top-rated And Most Beautiful Things To Do In Kentucky:
Visit Mammoth Cave National Park:
Seeking mystery during your trip? Visit Mammoth Cave which is the longest cave system in the world. Mammoth Cave National Park encompasses parts of this cave and is a truly fascinating place to visit in Kentucky. A World heritage site and an international Biosphere Reserve, this national park gives you opportunities to indulge in cave tours, surface hiking, canoeing on Green River, horseback riding, and many more activities. Being in the immense cave rooms and exploring the long passageways and canyons – it is a breathtaking experience altogether.
The cave system has more than 400 miles of caves and passageways that have been explored. This cave is not like your usual caves that only feature stalactites, stalagmites, and watery interior. It is all about long and never-ending subterranean passageways and getting awestruck by the enormity of the rooms. There are many tours that operate in the cave of which Historic Tour is the most famous that take you into the cave. It shows you everything, enlightens about the cave’s facts, and goes on for around two hours.
Go For Bourbon Tasting:
This American specialty whiskey is the best tasted when in Kentucky. And Kentucky Bourbon is world-famous for many reasons. First of all, Kentucky’s bourbon production has a long historical association. The state has over 30 distilleries that are open for public tasting. And with this wide array of choices, it can sometimes get very overwhelming to choose that one distillery. Bourbon is a strong component of the state’s culture and heritage.
Some of the most famous distilleries of the state are Bardstown Bourbon Company, Bulleit Distilling Co., Heaven Hill, Lux Row, Buffalo Trace Distillery, and Woodford Reserve. Take the tour of the distilleries, know about the history of this world-famous whiskey, and obviously taste some samples to admire its mellow, sweet, and smoky taste.
Experience The Kentucky Derby:
Kentucky’s largest city Louisville is best known for being the home to Kentucky Derby. If you are in this country during the month of May, set a trip to the Kentucky Derby that always happens annually on the first Saturday of May. This traditional race where Thoroughbreds breed is used, takes place at Churchill Downs and this race is one of the crowning achievements in the fabled Triple Crown.
The race is also famous in the USA as ‘The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports’ or ‘The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports’. Catching this famous horse race live is one of the best things to do in kentucky. In Louisville, a two week celebration is witnessed before the final day of the race where they organise a whole lot of events too. These include a kick-ass fireworks show, different races, fashion shows, WineFest, BeerFest, etc.
Also do not forget to drink Mint Julep, a cocktail, which is the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky’s largest city Louisville is not only about Kentucky Derby. Sitting on the Ohio River along the Indiana Border, Louisville has a lot of museums, and not to miss its huge Bourbon industry.
Take Borbon tasting tours in Louisville and set a trip to the famous Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory which locates along the ‘Museum Row’ in downtown Louisville. Another popular museum on the Museum Row is Kentucky Science Center. In the Poplar Level neighborhood, there is Louisville Zoo that exhibits over 1,700 animals which include exhibits of gorilla and tiger. A visit to the Muhammad Ali Center will show you the great humanistic personality of this champion boxer. A walk across the Big Four Bridge is also a must in Louisville and do not forget to taste the special Louisville-style pizza that comes with a double-layer cheese topping. The city is also famous for its historic district which is the largest historic preservation district in the United States featuring Victorian homes and buildings.
Soak In Nature At The Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area:
If you want to spend some time amidst nature during your trip to Kentucky, you have to come to this national park which is commonly known as Big South Fork. The park encompasses 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau and protects the free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries. Apart from natural landforms like natural bridges, river gorges, hoodoos – the park offers you enough scope to indulge in outdoor activities like hiking through mile-long trails, whitewater rafting, camping, and also rock climbing. In this context, let us tell you that, the Big South Fork region contains one of the highest concentrations of natural bridges in the eastern United Staes.
Get Awestruck When You Visit Vent Haven Museum:
We always try to include some quirky places on our list so that, you can know about the other less touristy places that are so unique and worth visiting. And this museum is surely one of such attractions. The off-beat museum houses the world’s largest and only collection of ventriloquism dummies. Have you heard about Edgar John Bergen who was an American actor, comedian, and radio performer? He was most famous for his magnificence in ventriloquism. This museum houses many replicas of figures that were used by him. Plus, you can see over 900 ventriloquist figures that are from twenty countries and many paintings and photographs related to this subject. Paying a visit to this off-the-track museum is surely one of the must and best things to do in Kentucky.
Kentucky’s second-largest city, Lexington is known as the ‘Horse Capital of the World’. This historical town has a lot to offer you to keep you entertained. Here you will visit Ashland: the Henry Clay Estate, Mary Todd Lincoln House, Hunt Morgan House, and the Pope Villa. A visit to Kentucky Horse Park is definitely recommended. There is also a nice share of bourbon distilleries here and also are some breweries. Some of the most popular ones are West Sixth Brewing, Mirror Twin Brewing, and Ethereal Brewing. The town is a food town where you will taste the famous Lexington Salad, pizza, and some most flavorful desserts.
Lexington city is beautiful and so well-maintained and planned. Forbes has ranked Lexington as the 10th best and cleanest city in the world. Visit the city’s numerous parks, green spaces, and also the campus of the University of Kentucky.
Visit Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park:
This national historic site preserves two separate sites in rural Central Kentucky where the nation’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln was born and spent his childhood days. The house is located in Sinking Spring farm where Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin. At this site, the park visitor center is located. In 1911, a memorial building was constructed that houses the Symbolic Birth Cabin that symbolizes that one-room log cabin in which the beloved president was born. The Memorial Building’s 56 steps depict the 56 years of the president’s life after which he was assassinated. Also, the building has 16 windows, 16 rosettes on the ceiling, and 16 fence poles – all signifying Lincoln being the 16th president of the nation.
Visit Kentucky’s First State Park:
Pine Mountain State Resort Park is the state’s first park and visiting this is one of the best things to do in Kentucky if you are an outdoor enthusiast. Each spring, this park hosts the annual Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival which is one of the oldest festivals in Kentucky dating back to 1931.
Visit Newport Aquarium:
Situating in Newport, this massive aquarium houses thousands of marine animals that hail from around the world. With 70 exhibits and 14 galleries – this is one of the best aquariums in the country. You get to see rare white alligators and you can challenge your courage while you walk above the sharks on the world’s first suspended rope Shark Bridge. Visting Newport Aquarium is such a lovely and fun experience for the whole family and is certainly one of the best things to do in Kentucky. It has the country’s most interactive seahorse exhibit featuring 10 species of seahorses, sea dragons, shrimpfish, and pipefish. Don’t miss to meet Sweet Pea, Scooter, Spike, and Sunshine which are the extremely rare shark rays on display in Shark Ray Bay.
Kentucky is best visited in spring and fall. The foothills of Appalachian showcases the best of the fall foliage. Spring makes everything green here. And the state becomes a hotspot of all sorts of festivity. If you want great deals on hotels and flights, winter would be the best bet. There are endless things to do in Kentcky, the ‘Bluegrass State’ and it is a place where you will enjoy your vacation days amidst nature, great hospitality, and so much if vibrancy.