An exploration of Kentucky is a journey on which the visitor will encounter all the things they have heard about the state, and discover all the things they haven’t. Kentucky’s many attractions will immerse the traveler in an experience that includes a chance to visit any of the state’s more than 500 horse farms, tour the famous Bourbon Country distilleries, view historic Civil War battlefields, and more.
Discovering Kentucky’s fascinating heritage in agriculture is more fun than you might expect. From vineyards and wine country to river plantations and horse farms, Kentucky has it all. “Pick your own” fruit farms are perfect family outings while the wine country and its antebellum river plantations are relaxing, romantic getaways. And working horse farms offer a glimpse into one of Kentucky’s oldest traditions.
The natural attractions of Kentucky’s scenic geography are always a popular draw. From the mammoth caves and lakes of western Kentucky, to horse and bourbon country’s rolling hills, to the Appalachian Mountains’ scenic beauty in the east, Kentucky is full of breathtaking natural attractions worth experiencing. Visitors will find the longest cave system in the world (367 miles) at Mammoth Cave National Park. “The Land Between the Lakes” features more than 170,000 acres and 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline that offers serenity and relaxation for the outdoor adventurer. Cumberland Falls State Park is the home to spectacular Kentucky waterfalls as well as the famous "moon bow", and don’t miss the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Red River Gorge, or dozens of lakes, preserves, Kentucky hiking trails, and more.
Kentucky takes pride in its local products, and that’s especially true of the state’s bourbon, the only alcohol that is a distinctive product of the United States. In fact, 95 percent of this corn-based, caramel colored, sipping icon is distilled, aged, and bottled right here in the state’s bourbon country. Beyond mere industry, bourbon is a culture, a history and heritage built by generations of Kentuckians from as early as the late 18th century. Today, visitors can experience the culture of Kentucky bourbon country on a trip down the legendary Kentucky Bourbon Trail – through the heart of bourbon country – which stops in on six of the state’s distilleries including Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, and Woodford Reserve.
With its long history and storied traditions, Kentucky is also the perfect place to step back in time and catch a glimpse of an older America. Uncover the customs of the mountainous region of Appalachia or walk historical sites such as American Civil War battlefields. Visit memorials and museums that cover everything from horse racing to music, or explore the fascinating downtowns of Main Street Kentucky cities and towns for fashion, gifts and antiques unique to Kentucky state history. Even view the birthplace of the 16th U.S. president at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park along the Lincoln Heritage Trail.
Part of the state’s history is rooted in horse raising and riding, a fact that is clearly visible to any traveler who witnesses the miles of black and white equestrian fencing along the sprawling bluegrass countryside that leads to the legendary horse racing cathedrals, Keeneland and Churchill Downs racetrack. Visitors should be sure to stop by the famous Kentucky Horse Park, which houses the International Museum of the Horse and even offers a chance to get up close and personal with Kentucky Derby winners of the past at the Hall of Champions.
Music and art, too, have a central place in Kentucky life. The state is the birthplace of bluegrass music and home to dozens of music stars from various genres. Take a ride down the Country Music Highway and discover the birthplaces of music stars like The Judds, Dwight Yoakam, Billy Ray Cyrus, Loretta Lynn, and Ricky Skaggs. And Kentucky is known around the world for its Appalachian folk art and crafts. Visitors can discover the unique Kentucky folk art and crafts of the Appalachian region when they tour the National Quilt Museum of the United States or the Kentucky Center for the Arts.
There’s something for everyone in Kentucky. Whether its viewing Civil War battlefields, visiting international museums and art galleries, experiencing the state’s world-renowned natural attractions, or simply taking in the state’s nightlife and musical culture, there’s no limit to what you can do in Kentucky.