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Places to Visit in Kentucky

Kentucky Travel Map

Thoroughbreds in race courses, tunes of bluegrass music, and taste of bourbon are synonymous with a state of offbeat landmarks and natural diversity – Kentucky.

Absorb the unbridled spirit and unabated energy that runs wild in ‘The Bluegrass State.’ From the mysterious caves to intriguing mountain peaks, Kentucky offers a soul-stirring travel experience. Shaped by the Mississippi River in the West and fenced by Cumberland mountains in the East, there is truly nothing like Kentucky!

Kentucky Travel Destinations

Mammoth Cave National Park – Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system in the world and the second oldest tourist attraction in the United States. Spanning across an area of 52,830 acres, this national park is acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and a Biosphere reserve. It has more than 400 miles of explored underground trails. On the tours, visitors can feast their eyes on the twisting labyrinth of limestone caves, natural springs, shining crystals, and stalactite formations. The park offers ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

Museums – National Corvette Museum exhibits over 70 Corvettes, including mint classics, showcased in periodic settings. The one-mile walk around the Chevrolet Corvette Plant usually lasts an hour. The Creation Museum brings evolution to life with its representation of biblical events. Wonders of Creation, Garden of Eden, Natural Selection, and Last Adam Theater are the highlights of this museum. Kentucky Science Center, Kentucky Music Hall of Fame & Museum, and Louisville Slugger Museum also attract large number of history buffs.

Old Louisville – It is an architecturally and historically exuberant district in central Louisville. Many of the buildings depict the Victorian-era styles of Romanesque, Beaux-Arts, Queen Anne, and Italianate architecture. Relive the past on the walking and sightseeing tours as the neighborhood features the largest collection of pedestrian-only streets in the US.

Amusement Parks – Beech Bend Park has over 40 rides, 500 camping sites with amenities, racing tracks, restaurants, and a water park. Kentucky Kingdom has roller coasters, water sports, and kids zone. Thunder Run, T3, Enterprise, Big Surf, Adventure River, and FearFall are some of the most popular rides for family fun.

Kentucky Horse Park – This theme park is spread over an area of 1,200 acres. The Man o’ War statue rests on a pedestal near the main entrance. The park setting allows a chance to get close to nearly 50 breeds of horses. This park sports competition facilities, working farm exhibits, resort campgrounds, and space for recreational activities as well.

Buffalo Trace Distillery – Situated on the banks of the Kentucky River, this distillery has been producing bourbon whiskey with the same process for more than 200 years. The Trace, The Hard Hat, Bourbon Barrel, and The Post Prohibition are the distinct tours offered to visitors.

Newport Aquarium – This aquarium is home to denizens of the deep: sharks, shark rays, penguins, alligators, and jellyfishes. Sections like Acrylic tunnels, Amazon, Gator Alley, Shark Central, and Coral Reef are favorites among visitors. They can either pet sharks or watch the feeding shows.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park, Kentucky State Capitol, The Kentucky Center, Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Iroquois Park, St. Joseph Proto Cathedral, Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville Zoo, and Churchill Downs are other prominent tourist attractions in Kentucky.

Things to Do in Kentucky

Lakes and Rivers – Kentuckians are not bothered by the lack of beaches as the state has more miles of flowing water than any other lower states. Find pleasure in cruises and boat tours and seek adventures while paddling on whitewater. Kentucky Lake – the largest man-made lake in state – and Lake Barkley are recreational hubs for trout and white bass fishing. You can admire the gorgeous scenery while boating, water-skiing, canoeing, and swimming. Cabins, lake houses, motels, and resort lodging are widely available near the lakes.

Parks and Recreation – An incredible destination for nature lovers, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park has more than 80 miles of hiking and camping trails. With vistas of abundant wildlife, bizarre rock formations, and blooming wildflowers, the park is a paradise for photographers. It facilitates opportunities for caving, mountain biking, and trekking.

Outdoor Thrills – The Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (LBL) is a perfect background for outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and golfing. The Daniel Boone National Forest, spanning over 706,000 acres, is ideal for scenic driving, geocaching, target shooting, and rock climbing.

Nightlife – With establishments like karaoke bars, comedy clubs, and other hangouts for relaxation, Lexington is more than just a cultural town. Here, you can catch a Kentucky Wildcats game at the Rupp Arena or watch a Broadway show at the Lexington Opera House. There is never a dearth of Bourbon bars in Louisville, Bowling Green, and Covington.

Festivals – To get an insight into Kentucky’s unique culture, do not miss out on some of the most celebrated events in the state such as: Kentucky Derby Festival, Kentucky Bourbon Festival, St. James Court Art Show, Kentucky State Fair, and Clarkson Honeyfest.

Airports in Kentucky

Following are the major international airports in Kentucky –

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
Louisville International Airport (SDF)
Blue Grass Airport (LEX)

Kentucky Location

Kentucky is a landlocked state in the eastern US. It is bordered by West Virginia in the East, Virginia in the southeast, Tennessee in the South, Missouri in the West, Illinois and Indiana in the northwest, and Ohio in the North and northeast. The northern and western borders are formed by Ohio River and Mississippi River respectively.

How to Reach Kentucky?

By Air – Louisville International Airport – the gateway to Kentucky – is served by Southwest, United Express, Frontier, Delta, and American airlines. It is well connected by domestic flights to Atlanta, Chicago, and Charlotte. Moreover, Blue Grass Airport in Lexington is another option for air travel.

By Train – Cardinal and City of New Orleans are two Amtrak passenger trains passing through the state.

By Road – The state is accessible by Interstate Highways (I-24, I-64, I-65, I-71, I-75, and I-275) and U.S. Highways (US 23, US 25, US 27, US 62, US 127, US 150, and US 460). Lextran is a public bus system in Lexington and Transit Authority of River City (TARC) operates in Louisville. Also, Greyhound and Megabus have several bus stops in major cities of the state.

Facts about Kentucky

• It was the 15th state to enter the union on June 1, 1792.
• Its name comes from the Iroquoian word ‘Kentahten,’ meaning “Land of Tomorrow.”
• The state capital is Frankfort and the state motto is “United we stand, divided we fall.”
• Black Mountain, with an elevation of 1,263 m, is the highest peak.
• Cumberland Falls, also known as the “Niagara of the South,” is the only waterfall in the Northern Hemisphere to display a moonbow – a lunar rainbow.
• The first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant owned and operated by Colonel Sanders is located in Corbin.
• The Kentucky Derby, which takes place every year since 1875, is the oldest continuously held horse race in the US.
• ‘Thunder over Louisville’ is the largest annual fireworks display in North America.
• Fort Knox (The United States Bullion Depository) holds the largest gold reserve in the world.
• Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone, Bill Monroe, Muhammad Ali, Diane Sawyer, and Johnny Depp are some of the famous Kentuckians.