Kentucky has got to be one of the most notable states in the U.S. While it is most known for bourbon, horse races, and basketball, you can't deny the beauty of the history and nature that surrounds the state.
Kentucky natives often take for granted the importance of the locations that surround them. These destinations are easily accessible and should be noted a 'must visit' on your next day off.
For those who are travelers and are looking to tour the land of the "Bluegrass state," you won't regret making these KY places your next summer vacation destination.
1. Mammoth Cave National Park
This park is open year-round with guided tours through the world's longest cave system. This cave is filled with tremendous caverns which are super cool to see, but the stories that are told about the cave through the tour make it an even more interesting experience.
Even if you decided to skip out on the cave tour, this national park is filled with other things to do. There are trails for hiking and biking, and they even have areas for various water activities.
Keeneland is beautifully landscaped and located in the horse capital of the world.
While the best time to go is during racing season, I'd still recommend a tour of this famous horseracing arena.
3. Red River Gorge
Red River Gorge is home of the sandstone rock bridge known as the 'Natural Bridge,' and is also the perfect site for a camping experience. At the gorge, you are able to hike, bike, ride, and partake in a variety of other activities.
5. Cumberland Falls
A huge waterfall that falls 60-feet before tumbling over sandstone bedding. It is truly a sight to see.
6. Ark Encounter
Located in Williamstown, KY is the massive, life-size ship made to resemble Noah's Ark. It is 3-stories tall with interactive exhibits to illustrate the biblical tale.
7. Louisville Slugger Baseball Museum
Baseball, also known as America's favorite pastime.
Kentucky, also home of the Lousiville Slugger Baseball Museum and Factory.
8. Lincoln's childhood home
Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th U.S. president. He was an important figure for many reasons, but most remembered for his Emancipation Proclamation speech that helped push toward the end of slavery, and his leadership of our nation through the Civil War.
9. Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs is another thoroughbred racetrack in Kentucky, most famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby. Tours are conducted by the Kentucky Derby Museum.
10. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
Every year, Kentucky loses 50,000 acres due to land development. There are estimated to be over 3 million trees in Bernheim Forest, all of which are protected from development.
Today, Bernheim Forest is over 16,000 acres and will soon be celebrating its 90th "birthday" by revealing a new exhibit entitled "Forest Giants in a Giant Forest." These three massive sculptures, made of recycled wood are expected to withstand for at least 3 years.
11. Berea Pinnacles
A hiking trail with a variety of difficulty levels, and a beautiful view at the end no matter how far you decided to travel.
12. Woodford Reserve Distillery
Kentucky is famous for bourbon. So, why not take a tour of the oldest and smallest distillery in the state?
13. The Kentucky State Capitol
The KY state capitol is located in Frankfort, KY and is open to visitors/tours. Observe the areas where our chamber of the senate and house of representatives come together for the legislative process.
14. My Old Kentucky Home State Park
Stephen Collins Foster wrote the famous composition 'My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night!' which is now known as our state song. Foster's imagery throughout the song was inspired by the house and the land surrounding what was once known as "Federal Hill." It was referred to as "My Old Kentucky Home" once the U.S. entered the Civil War.
Today, you can tour the home that was host to many famous individuals (Stephen Collins Foster, Henry Clay, Aaron Burr, and more) and the inspiration to a monumental tribute to Kentucky history.