Kentucky is a state that has something more than just exciting horse races and bourbon. If you look closely, you’ll be able to see unique attractions on Bluegrass State. There’s an abundance of things to do and sights to see, whether you’re traveling alone, with friends, or on a romantic vacation.
From state parks, swimming pools and tennis courts, horseback riding, marinas to multi-purpose trails and golf courses, Kentucky has it all. Experience the known attractions alongside the ones that offer a fresh way to have fun. Here are some of the best things to do in Kentucky:
1. Tour the Bourbon Trail
When in Rome, why not do as the Romans do? In Kentucky, the first stop is usually the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. It’s quite the sight for those living in the city- soft, lush rolling hills, with an opportunity to see the Kentucky Derby Hall of Fame when you chance upon the Kentucky Horse Park. Walk down the hallowed grounds of the Churchill Downs tracks, or get right into the action with a trip down to Keeneland.
2. Explore the Mammoth Cave
It’s a fitting name for the mother of all natural caves. The Mammoth Cave is a sprawling, giant National Park encompassing all 53,000 acres of park land right at the borders of Cave City. The longest cave system of the world is sheer grandeur. You get to see more than 400 mapped trails and more than 4,000 known passages. The Mammoth Cave also holds the distinction of being one of the oldest North American tourist sites. Visitors have been in awe of the subterranean depths for two hundred years! Nowadays, Mammoth Cave is enjoying half a million visitors per year and given the title of International Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site.
Nature enthusiasts will have a field day when arriving on the Mammoth Cave. You can literally walk anywhere for miles, or opt for a more convenient experience via horseback or mountain bike. You can choose from the levels of trail difficulty available, which vary in length and trail type. Campers will also find something here- there’s backcountry camping for the adventurous individuals, and 3 nature campsites to choose from. If you’re the type that can’t live without modern conveniences, then head on over to the Mammoth Cave Hotel for a more luxurious stay.
3. Travel Back in Time
Hark back to prehistoric periods, to the time when dinosaurs roamed the planet. The Dinosaur World Kentucky is an excellent facility that can accommodate large groups and tourists of all sizes. You’ll be taken to a magical time travel to see the dinosaurs in their most natural environment.
Step inside the Dinosaur World Kentucky and view the 150 life-sized reptiles “living” within the vicinity. There are outdoor signs that provide helpful information as you move along the exhibits. There’s also a playground for the kids, a movie cave, a mammoth garden, a boneyard, fossil digging activities and a formal museum. The playground is a veritable paradise for the young ones, which include swings, feature slides and dino-themed fun. Dogs are welcome to stay!
4. Visit the Land of Lincoln
Did you know that President Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky? Now you know; the next logical thing to do is visit his birthplace and soak in a few facts and history. The small cabin on which the great president lived in may surprise you, because it’s much more smaller as what we might be accustomed to. The visitor center shows an introductory video presentation. See how the family drew their daily water in the nearby spring. Abe Lincoln’s childhood home is located at Knob Creek. At the side, you can also take a quick detour and visit the nearby national park for a taste of the Ranger Program or eat at a cozy picnic area.
5. Discover Baseball’s Greats
Looking for a truly unique, family-friendly activity in the state of Kentucky? Then you have to go to the Louisville Slugger Museum. The place is also a factory that churns out baseball bats on a daily basis. Guests can tour the facility and see how these baseball bats are made. After the tour, you can take home a miniaturized version of an authentic Kentucky bat!
There’s more to see. Make sure to visit the area where you can see all the memorabilia on display of Joe DiMaggio and his 56-hit streak game. Watch a short film titled “Heart of the Game”, and marvel at the realistic sculptures of baseball greats such as Derek Jeter, Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. Children and those young at heart can scale the giant Glove Sculpture. If you have the time, then you might as well bask in the glory in a game at the Louisville Slugger Field.
6. Visit the Niagara of the South
Is there such a thing as a Niagara of the South? You bet. Cumberland Falls, which is located right at the heart of Cumberland Falls State Park, is a giant of a waterfall. The natural wonder is over 125 feet in width and 68 feet in length. See it with a full moonlight and you can see a rare occurrence called a “moonbow“. There’s quite a number of things you can do at the Cumberland Falls. Take your pick on the 17-mile trail, a swim at the refreshing pool, or dine outdoors on the many playgrounds and picnic areas scattered around the national park. Fish, ride on a horse or play a round of tennis in the many facilities. A rafting trip is available for the nature warriors.
7. Enter My Old Kentucky Home
Federal Hill Mansion, aka My Old Kentucky Home should be in every itinerary for people who are going to Kentucky. How did this monument acquire its curious name? It was the infamous ballad of Stephen Foster, which became Kentucky’s state song. The mansion was originally the abode of Stephen Foster’s uncle. After your tour of the Federal Hill, you can explore other activities that My Old Kentucky Home State Park has to offer. Camping, bird-watching, playing tennis or shopping for local crafts are just some of the things you can do here.
Don’t forget to drop by the Western Theater to see the Civil War Museum. Splurge a bit and go on a scenic ride on the Kentucky Dinner Train while enjoying delicious Kentucky fare.