Kentucky is one of the most beautiful states in the country. It’s also one of the most underrated, too. The Bluegrass State is full of natural beauty and interesting attractions that make it a must-see for travelers from around the world. From horse racing fans to whiskey aficionados, everyone can find something to love about the welcoming state capital of Frankfort and its surrounding communities. Here are 25 things you need to know about Kentucky before your next vacation:
Go to a Kentucky Derby Festival
The Kentucky Derby Festival is one of the most popular events in the state. It brings thousands of people to Lexington each year to take part in a series of events in and around the city. The festival runs for two weeks in May and draws visitors from all over the world. The festival offers a number of different events and festivals, from parades and concerts to art shows and hockey games. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience the city and the surrounding area with family and friends. The Kentucky Derby is one of the most famous horse racing events in the world and if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of the race from one of the many stands in the city. The race is followed by a week of parties and events, making it a great way to end your trip to Kentucky.
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Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
You can easily find the museum through the 120-foot-tall replica of Babe Ruth’s Louisville Slugger, located right at its entrance.
Here you will learn about the history of some of the most important copper baseball competitions, see the methods by which some of the best quality baseball bats are made and see live preserved bats that were owned by great players or participated in iconic events (e.g. bat used to hit Hank Aaron’s 700th home run).
The museum also has a pitching simulator, 17-ton limestone baseball glove, and batting cages, and on departure, you will receive a mini bat-souvenir as a souvenir of this wonderful experience.
Address: 800 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202, United States
Daniel Boone National Forest
One of the best places to visit in Kentucky, especially if you are a nature lover is Daniel Boone National Forest. The huge area of the park (over 700,000 acres) is an explanation for the diverse terrain passing from sandy cliffs, through the ridges of rivers, to gorges.
Particularly impressive is the Natural Bridge, created by the erosion force of the water, which boasts 65 feet high. The longest trekking route is the Sheltowee Trace, 273 miles long.
Address: 1700 Bypass Rd, London, KY 40744, United States
The Newport Aquarium is a unique attraction that is worth a visit while visiting Kentucky. The aquarium is home to a variety of fishes and other aquatic animals that are native to the Great Lakes region. The aquarium is located right in the middle of the city so you are never more than a few minutes away. Visitors to Newport can also enjoy watching the local fishing boats going out on the Aquaculture Canal. The aquarium is open daily from 10AM-5PM, although the hours may vary during the summer when it is open an extra half an hour later. Admission is $14 for adults and $12 for seniors, children, and military members.
Address: 1 Levee Way, Newport, KY 41071, United States
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
The Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is a place that is worth visiting if you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing weekend retreat. The park is a beautiful place to visit in the fall when the leaves change colors. Visitors can explore the park’s many hiking trails, enjoy the park’s many scenic overlooks, take in a show at the park’s amphitheater, or explore its many historic buildings. The park is also home to the Tennessee River Museum and Nature Center, which is a great place to visit if you’re visiting the area with kids.
Address: 91 Bartlett Park Road, Middlesboro, KY 40965, United States
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park
The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park is a place that is well worth visiting if you’re interested in history. Visitors can learn about the life of Abraham Lincoln, who was elected the 16th President of the United States in 1861. The park is located in the state capital of Springfield, which is a great place to visit in the fall when the city hosts the Illinois State Fair. The fair is home to a number of fun attractions and is a great place to visit with the whole family. The park is open daily from 8AM-5PM. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and free for children under 12 years old.
Address: 2995 Lincoln Farm Rd, Hodgenville, KY 42748, United States
Mammoth Cave National Park
The winding limestone passageways of Mammoth Cave National Park are a must-see attraction for any history buff. The park is home to a number of stunning caves with cave formations and fossils that have been formed over millions of years. Visitors can explore the many cave entrances and formations located throughout the park. Mammoth Cave is also home to several unique museums, including the Explorer’s Museum and the new Museum of Native American Life.
Address: Mammoth Cave, KY 42259, USA
Kentucky Horse Park
The park is located north of Lexington and gives visitors the opportunity to see a functioning horse farm, ride a horse or pony and learn more about animals firsthand.
The inhabitants of the farm live in themed bars – the Kids Barn (for smaller animals), the Mounted Police Barn; the Breeds Barn, the Hall of Champions; y (which is home to retired horses – champions of racing), and the Big Barn.
The park also houses four distinct museums related to the history, lifestyle, and achievements of horses.
Address: 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, Kentucky 40511
Muhammad Ali Center
The Muhammad Ali Center is a must-visit tourist attraction that is worth visiting while in Kentucky. The center is home to a museum documenting the life of the famous boxer, who was born in Louisville. The center is also home to a cultural center that hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals. The center also hosts a large mural that was painted by artist David Adculus that features images from different cultures throughout the world.
Address: 144 N 6th St, Louisville, KY 40202, United States
The Kentucky Derby Museum
There’s no way one of the biggest events in Kentucky doesn’t have a museum dedicated to it. The Kentucky Derby Museum traces the history of the famous derby, dating back to 1875, and a special place is given to the most famous horses that participated in the competitions.
Be sure to take a few minutes for the short movie called The Greatest Race, which you can watch on a 360-degree screen. Among the artifacts of the museum, you will find items of some of the most famous coaches.
The museum has its own restaurant, so you can stop for a quick lunch or afternoon rest and coffee.
Address: 704 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208, United States
Lost River Cave
This incredible cave is home to a vibrant ecosystem of bats, salamanders, and Lewisia, a rare flower found nowhere else in the world. Lost River Cave is home to the largest colony of Lewisia in the world. Lost River Cave is home to the largest colony of Lewisia in the world. The cave’s absolute must see attraction is the Rain Water Falls room. This room is home to a beautiful waterfall. You can also see some bats while you’re in the cave. There are several tours that you can take to learn more about the cave and the bat population that calls it home.
Address: 2818 Nashville Rd, Bowling Green, KY 42101, United States
Louisville Mega Cavern
JIf you are an avid fan of adventure sports, Kentucky’s Mega Cavern is the place for you. This adventure sports facility is home to the longest, vertical adventure course in the world. At 2,100 feet long, the course offers incredible views of the Big Bluegrass State. The course offers rappelling, high ropes, climbing, and more. You can even get married at the facility.
- Mega Zip Line Tour
- Walking Tour
- Mega Quest
- Mega Bike Tour
- Mega Tram
Address: 1841 Taylor Ave, Louisville, KY 40213, United States
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
The waterfalls at The Cumberland Falls State Resort Park are nicknamed “Niagara of the South” and this is no accident. The waterfalls from a height of 68 feet, forming the only “moonbow” in the Western Hemisphere.
In the park, you can enjoy a peaceful walk among the trees on one of the 17 hiking trails, camping, rafting, or bird-watching. To enjoy a quiet lunch and delicious food, the park has its own restaurant.
Thints to do in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
- Gift Shop
- Gem Mining
- Horseback Riding
Address: 7351 Highway 90 Corbin, KY 40701
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
Shaker Village is a charming historic town located in the Bluegrass State. The town was built in 1812 as a way for the Shakers to practice their communal living. Today the village is a National Historic Landmark and perfect for a weekend getaway. The Shakers were a sect of Quakers who believed that each person had a role in society and that everyone should be able to contribute something to the greater good. Shaker Village is a National Historic Landmark and perfect for a weekend getaway. The Shakers were a sect of Quakers who believed that each person had a role in society and that everyone should be able to contribute something to the greater good. The village is filled with boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries.
Address: 3501 Lexington Rd, Harrodsburg, KY 40330, United States
Great American Dollhouse Museum, Danville
More than 200 Kentucky miniatures, organized in three sections, are housed in the Great American Dollhouse Museum, Danville. The largest of them is dedicated to important moments and personalities in American history.
The second exhibition is called Cooper Hollow and recreates in detail a city from 1910.
The third exhibition will take you to the world of magic and fantasy, elves and witches.
Address: 344 Swope Dr, Danville, KY 40422, United States
Visit a Civil War Battlefield
If you’re visiting Kentucky in the fall or spring, you’ll want to make sure you visit a Civil War Battlefield. Kentucky has a bunch of gorgeous Civil War battlefields to visit including Shiloh National Military Park in Shiloh, Tennessee. You can also visit the renowned Meade, Stones River, and Chickamauga battlefields in the state. Another great option is the Battle of Perryville, a lesser known but important battle in the war. No matter when you visit a Civil War Battlefield in Kentucky, you will get an incredible sense of the state’s rich Civil War history.
Visit a Amish Community
The Amish are a fascinating group of people who travel from community to community, selling handmade goods and providing groceries. If you have time, visit one of Kentucky’s Amish communities to learn more about the culture. Travel to the Eastern Kentucky’s Blue Grass Valley, the most populated Amish community in the state. There are also the Amish communities in the Greater Cincinnati area in Northern Kentucky. Make sure to visit the Lancaster County Amish Settlement, the oldest and largest Amish community in the state.
Visit the Mammoth Cave National Park
Explore one of the most impressive cave systems in the world and home to thousands of stalagmites and stalactites. If you have time, visit two of the entrances to the cave System, the Explorer’s entrance and the Bat Cave entrance. You can also visit the Lewis River Entrance and the Bank Cave entrance. The park is also home to some of the rarest animals in the world, including the endangered Indiana bat and endangered Puerto Rican cave swift.
Not only is caving pretty cool, but it is also a great way to spend some time outdoors with friends. If you want to try something new, go caving in Kentucky. Caves are filled with waterfalls, narrow passages, and grottos. Caving in Kentucky is an adventure and you will be surprised at what you can see. Many of the caves in Kentucky are filled with great natural formations and have a very old and mysterious feeling. You can go caving in Kentucky both in the Bluegrass and in the Pennyroyal region.
Spend the Day at the Louisville Zoo
The Louisville Zoo is a great family friendly zoo, perfect for spring and summer visits. The zoo is home to everything from elephants and polar bears to flamingos and orangutans. The zoo is right next to the famous Louisville Slugger Baseball Museum, great for baseball fans! The zoo is also home to a large collection of exotic animals, including elephants, tigers, and giraffes. The Louisville Zoo is great for kids and adults of all ages and is a great place to spend the day with the whole family.
Go Bowling & Enjoy a Game of Pool or Shuffleboard
If you are visiting Kentucky in the fall or winter, you can go bowling or enjoy a game of pool or shuffleboard. Bowling is a great indoor activity that can be enjoyed at many places in the state. You can go bowling in Louisville, Lexington, or Louisville’s surrounding towns. Shrewsbury, Richmond, and Covington are also great locations for bowling.
Pool and shuffleboard are two outdoor activities that are perfect for the warmer months. Both of these activities can be enjoyed in Louisville, Lexington, or smaller towns. Louisville’s outdoor pool is an outdoor attraction that you should check out in the summer months.
Check Out an Outdoor Folk Music Festival
There are many great outdoor folk music festivals throughout the state. The biggest and most popular of these festivals is the Kentucky Bluegrass Music Festival. With four days of music and camping, this festival is a great experience for anyone visiting the state. Other great folk music festivals in the state include the Bardstown Bourbon Festival in Louisville, the Barleycorn Music Hall in Owensboro, and the Loretto Festival near Glasgow. If you are traveling to a folk music festival, be sure to bring a big bottle of bourbon for the group!
Spend Time at a Waterpark – There Are Some Amazing Ones In The State!
The state is home to some of the best water parks in the country. If you are visiting in the summertime, be sure to visit Blue Gorge Park in Perryville, Wild Waves in Owensboro, or Wild Waves Whitewater Adventure in Louisville. Blue Gorge Park is a water park that has a great deal of history, including a giant dinosaur. Wild Waves is one of the newest parks in the state, recently opening in 2017. Wild Waves has a great array of attractions, including a tube slide, a children’s play area, and a large wave pool.
What are some fun things to do in Kentucky?
Kentucky offers a variety of fun activities for visitors. The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington is a great place to learn about the state's equestrian history, as well as see some of the world's best horses. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a great way to explore the state's distilleries and sample some of the world's best whiskeys. For outdoor activities, visitors can explore Red River Gorge for some of the best hiking in the state. For history buffs, a visit to the Kentucky Military History Museum in Frankfort is a must. And for a unique experience, visitors can take a tour of Mammoth Cave National Park, the world's longest known cave system.