From horse racing to bourbon distilleries to miles of wilderness areas, there are plenty of reasons to visit the Bluegrass State. Outdoor adventurers can explore the world’s longest cave system of Mammoth Cave National Park. Horse lovers will love riding through beautiful horse trails of the Daniel Boone National Forest or visiting one of the many horse farms throughout the state.
One of the more famous Kentucky attractions, the Kentucky Derby, delights visitors of all ages. The well known horse race takes place in one day, but it spawns numerous events throughout the month like the Thunder Over Louisville annual fireworks festival or The Great Steamboat Race along the Ohio River.
With 95% of the world’s bourbon produced in Kentucky, foodies can enjoy eating and drinking their way through the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which features restaurants offering up Bourbon-inspired fare.
Whether it’s good food, family fun, or natural beauty, the Bluegrass State has it all.
Best Places to Visit in Kentucky
The state capital and Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville is best known for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby.
Churchill Downs: This racetrack is home to the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks.
Louisville Slugger Museum: This museum and factory located in Kentucky’s “Museum Row” showcases the story of Slugger bats and its role in baseball history.
Louisville Mega Cavern: This former limestone mine is now an entertainment center, which includes an underground zipline, bike park and tram tour.
Cities in Kentucky
Lexington: Visit the Kentucky Horse Park and its International Museum of the Horse in Kentucky’s second largest city.
Newport: A revitalized downtown and a riverfront area featuring views of the Cincinnati skyline are just a couple of reasons to visit this historic town.
Bowling Green: This southern city is known for cars and caves, from the National Corvette Museum and the Beech Bend Raceway to the seven-mile Lost River Cave.
Paducah: This historic, river city was founded in 1827 by William Clark of Lewis & Clark.
Kentucky State and National Parks
Mammoth Cave National Park: This national park features the world’s longest cave at over 400 miles.
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park: This historical park consists of two farm sites in LaRue County where Abraham Lincoln was born and spent his early childhood.
Daniel Boone National Forest: Named after the explorer Daniel Boone, the 706,000 acre forest features camping, water-based recreation amongst its many lakes and rivers, and rock climbing.
Natural Bridge State Park: This state park, which is located along the Middle Fork of the Red River, features a great, natural sandstone arch that spans 78 feet and stands 65 feet high.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park: Located along the border between Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee, the Cumberland Gap is a natural break in the Appalachian Mountains.
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area: This 170,000 acre playground offers great camping between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake in Kentucky and Tennessee
Popular Tourist Attractions
Horse Farm Tours in Kentucky
With 450 horse farms throughout the state, visitors can take guided tours to learn about different horse breeds, horse racing, and the day-to-day life of caretakers.
Windy Meadows Horse Farm: The farm owner wrote a children’s book “The Tails of Windy Meadows” so that younger horse lovers can see a working horse farm through the eyes of the animals.
WinStar Farm: Tour one of the leading thoroughbred racing, stallion and breeding operations located in Versailles, Kentucky.
Jonabell Farm: This 800-acre farm is home to the U.S.’s Darley thoroughbred stallions.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail:
Take a few days to learn about and enjoy “America’s Native Spirit” at some of the country’s most famous bourbon distilleries, including: Jim Beam; Maker’s Mark; Bulleit; Woodford Reserve; and Wild Turkey.