Kentucky

Bourbon, horse racing, bluegrass music and scenic natural beauty awaits ...

the bluegrass state

A natural outdoor playground with something for everyone ...
Nestled in the heart of the American South, Kentucky is the birthplace of bluegrass music and KFC, but probably best known for its world-renowned bourbon trail and deep rooted connection to horse breeding and racing. However, it offers so much more.

Start your journey in Louisville, home to the Kentucky Derby, and immerse yourself in the city's bourbon culture visiting historic distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Stroll along the scenic waterfront at Waterfront Park and don't miss exploring the Muhammad Ali Centre and the Louisville Slugger Museum, celebrating the city's storied sports legacy.

Then venture into the Bluegrass Region, where rolling hills define the landscape. Visit Lexington, the "Horse Capital of the World," and visit world-class horse farms, experience the thrill of racing or explore the region's heritage at the birthplace of bluegrass music.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the rugged beauty of Daniel Boone National Forest and majestic Mammoth Cave National Park awaits. View the towering sandstone cliffs of Red River Gorge or embark on an underground adventure through the world's longest known cave system at Mammoth Cave. History buffs will delight in historic sites throughout the state. From the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln to Civil War battlefields at Richmond and Perryville,.

Whether you're sipping bourbon, visiting a horse farm, exploring the great outdoors, or immersing yourself in vibrant city culture, Kentucky invites you to discover the warmth and hospitality that define the Bluegrass State. Start planning your adventure today.

Things to see & do

Browse through our recommended selection of things to see and do in Kentucky. Many of these are included in our suggested itineraries, however, if there is
anything you see that particularly takes your interest, please let us know and we will include it in your holiday package or put you in touch with the right people.

Lexington Thoroughbred Park

Lexington, Kentucky

Charming inner city park that pays homage to the city's equestrian heritage. The park features life-sized bronze statues of thoroughbred horses and jockeys, celebrating the region's renowned horse breeding and racing legacy. Visitors can stroll through the park's pathways, admire the intricate sculptures, and learn about the importance of thoroughbred racing to Lexington's culture.

Woodford Reserve

Versailles, Kentucky 

Nestled in the serene countryside of Versailles, Kentucky, the Woodford Reserve Distillery stands as a testament to bourbon craftsmanship and tradition. Visitors are invited to explore its historic grounds, where copper pot stills and ageing warehouses reveal the artistry behind each batch of bourbon. Guided tours offer insight into the distillation process and the unique flavours that define Woodford Reserve. The distillery's picturesque setting and dedication to quality make it a must-visit destination for bourbon enthusiasts.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

A subterranean wonderland, boasting the world's longest known cave system. Guided tours unveil the awe-inspiring labyrinth of chambers, passages, and unique formations. Above ground, diverse landscapes encompass forests, rivers, and hiking trails. Rich in history and natural beauty, the park offers a captivating blend of underground exploration and outdoor adventure, inviting visitors to discover the hidden marvels that lie beneath the surface and amidst the wilderness.

Horse Farm Tours

Lexington, Kentucky

Horse farm tours in Kentucky offer an intimate look into the state's equestrian heritage. Visitors can experience the majesty of thoroughbred breeding and training at iconic farms. Guided tours provide insights into daily operations, breeding techniques, and the care of these magnificent animals. The tours often include visits to stables, pastures, and foaling areas, giving enthusiasts an up-close encounter with the world of horse racing and the culture that defines the Bluegrass State. Contact Travel USA for more details.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Louisville, Kentucky

Take a renowned journey through the heart of bourbon country, encompassing iconic distilleries across the state. Enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the art of bourbon-making, witnessing the meticulous crafting process and tasting the finest selections. From historic landmarks to modern facilities, each distillery offers a distinctive glimpse into Kentucky's bourbon legacy. This trail is a captivating blend of history, culture, and the world-famous spirit that has come to define the region. Contact Travel USA to help you plan your trail.

Daniel Boone National Forest - Red River Gorge

Winchester, Kentucky

A nature lover's paradise and home to the stunning Red River Gorge. The gorge showcases towering sandstone cliffs, natural arches, and lush woodlands, creating a haven for rock climbers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts. With abundant trails, waterfalls, and scenic vistas, this wilderness area offers diverse recreational opportunities. The Red River Gorge's rugged beauty and serene landscapes make it an ideal destination for exploration and appreciation of nature's wonders.

Lost River Cave

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Embark on Lost River Cave's historic underground boat tour and experience the hidden subterranean world of Kentucky like never before. This unique adventure begins with a scenic walk through a lush valley before boarding a boat to glide through the mesmerising underground river. Knowledgeable guides provide fascinating insights into the cave’s past and its natural wonders along the way.

International Bluegrass Hall of Fame

Owensboro, Kentucky

Dynamic institution that celebrates the rich heritage of bluegrass music through engaging exhibits, interactive displays, and a deep exploration of bluegrass pioneers and artists. From instruments to personal stories, visitors can delve into the genre's roots and evolution. The museum serves as a hub for enthusiasts to appreciate the distinctive sounds and history of bluegrass, fostering a deeper connection to this iconic American musical tradition.

Buffalo Trace Distillery

Frankfort, Kentucky

Buffalo Trace Distillery is a revered icon in the world of bourbon. With a history dating back to the 18th century, it boasts a rich heritage and a commitment to craftsmanship. Guided tours lead visitors through its historic grounds, showcasing the distillation process and aging warehouses. As one of the oldest continually operating distilleries in the United States, Buffalo Trace offers a captivating glimpse into the legacy of bourbon production.

Kentucky Horse Park

Lexington, Kentucky

Located in the heart of the "Horse Capital of the World", this mecca for equine enthusiasts showcases the state's deep equestrian heritage through captivating exhibits, engaging shows, and interactive displays. Visitors can marvel at various horse breeds, learn about racing history, and witness stunning equestrian demonstrations. With its commitment to education and celebration of all things horse-related, the Kentucky Horse Park offers an immersive experience into the world of horses and their significant role in Kentucky's culture.

Belle of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

Step aboard the iconic Belle of Louisville, the only remaining authentic steamboat from the great American packet boat era and embark on a nostalgic journey along the scenic Ohio River. Passengers can soak in picturesque views of Louisville's skyline and waterfront while enjoying live entertainment and delicious cuisine - a delightful blend of history and relaxation. Whether it's a leisurely daytime excursion or a romantic evening dinner cruise, the Belle of Louisville promises an unforgettable experience steeped in the charm of yesteryears.

Louisville Slugger Museum

Louisville, Kentucky

The Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville stands as a tribute to baseball's history and craftsmanship. Home to the iconic Louisville Slugger baseball bat, the museum offers a captivating journey through the sport's evolution and the production of these legendary bats. Interactive exhibits, historic artefacts, and a chance to hold a real Louisville Slugger bat create an engaging experience for baseball fans of all ages, celebrating the game's heritage and the players who wielded these iconic bats.

James B Beam Distillery

Clermont, Kentucky

The 'Jim Beam' Distillery is one of the highlights of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, offering immersive tours into the world of bourbon craftsmanship. With a legacy that spans more than two centuries, the distillery provides insights into the art of distillation, aging, and the iconic Beam family. Visitors can explore historic warehouses, witness the bourbon-making process, and enjoy tastings amidst the scenic surroundings. This experience captures the essence of bourbon culture and the traditions that have made Jim Beam a household name.

Muhammed Ali Center

Louisville, Kentucky

Celebrating the life and legacy of the legendary boxer and humanitarian, Muhammad Ali - aka The Louisville Lip! It showcases his remarkable journey through immersive exhibits, multimedia displays, and personal artifacts. Beyond his boxing prowess, the centre highlights Ali's dedication to social justice, equality, and global impact. This inspiring space invites visitors to explore his values, challenges, and triumphs, leaving a lasting impression of his enduring influence on the world.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park

Slade, Kentucky

Nestled in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest, Natural Bridge State Resort Park showcases the awe-inspiring beauty of its namesake sandstone arch. Visitors can explore hiking trails, enjoy scenic overlooks, and partake in recreational activities such as rock climbing and birdwatching. For a bird's-eye view of the park's splendour, guests can also take a thrilling ride on the sky lift, offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape.

The Gorge Underground

Rogers, Kentucky

The Gorge Underground offers a unique adventure beneath the earth's surface. Visitors can paddle their way through this flooded mine in a kayak or experience the cavern as a passenger on a cave boat tour through a labyrinth of subterranean passages, discovering captivating rock formations and underground waterways. This underground experience provides a thrilling opportunity to explore the hidden wonders of Kentucky's geology.

Maker's Mark Distillery

Loretto, Kentucky

Another popular stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Known for its distinctive red wax-dipped bottles, the distillery offers guided tours that unveil the meticulous bourbon-making process. Visitors can witness the craftsmanship, explore ageing warehouses, and learn about the brand's history. With a serene countryside backdrop, the Maker's Mark Distillery provides an authentic glimpse into the artistry and traditions that define Kentucky's bourbon culture.

National Corvette Museum

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Bowling Green is the only place in the world where corvettes are manufactured making the National Corvette Museum a paradise for car enthusiasts. Enjoy a wonderful collection of this iconic American sports car, spanning different eras, from classic to contemporary and enjoy the exhibits and engaging experiences showcasing the car's history, design, and innovation. The museum also offers insights into Corvette's racing legacy, making it a must-visit destination for those passionate about automotive excellence.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park

Hodgenville, Kentucky

The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park honours the 16th U.S. President's humble beginnings. It features a symbolic log cabin within a neoclassical memorial building, showcasing his legacy and the values he embodied. Visitors can learn about Lincoln's early life, his rise to prominence, and his enduring impact on the nation. The park offers a reflective journey into history, paying tribute to one of America's most revered leaders.

Churchill Downs & Kentucky Derby Museum

Louisville, Kentucky

World-famous horse-racing venue offering an immersive experience into the thrilling world of horse racing. Churchill Downs is the iconic venue for the annual running of the renowned Kentucky Derby, while the museum provides an in-depth look into the race's history, showcasing jockeys, trainers, and the evolution of the event. From interactive exhibits to behind-the-scenes insights, visitors can grasp the excitement and tradition of this celebrated sport.

Wild Turkey Distillery

Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

This popular stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail embodies the spirit of American whiskey-making. Established in the mid-19th century, it has become synonymous with quality bourbon and rye. Guided tours invite visitors to explore its scenic grounds and witness the traditional methods of distillation. From the iconic Wild Turkey brand to its picturesque Kentucky River backdrop, the distillery offers an immersive experience that celebrates the time-honoured craft of producing exceptional spirits.

Ark Encounter

Williamstown, Kentucky

A grand-scale representation of Noah's Ark, blending educational content with entertainment. This immense timber structure delivers an engaging experience, showcasing the biblical account of the Ark and its animal inhabitants. With its exhibits, displays, and interactive elements, it offers visitors a deeper understanding of the story's historical and religious significance. The Ark Encounter is designed to encourage contemplation and discovery of this legendary saga.

KFC Sanders Cafe & Museum

Corbin, Kentucky

The KFC Sanders Cafe & Museum serves as a homage to Colonel Harland Sanders, the originator of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Situated in the very restaurant where the iconic secret recipe originated, the museum displays a collection of memorabilia and artifacts from the inception of KFC. Stop off for a bite to eat and view exhibits that chronicle the Colonel's life story, the development of the KFC brand, and the worldwide influence of his renowned fried chicken recipe. A must-visit destination for any KFC lovers.

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Not quite what you're looking for?

Our packages and featured 'things to see and do' have been created to excite, inspire and inform Kiwi travellers about what we recommend they do when travelling to the USA. All of these can be personalised to your individual needs and preferences. Contact us to discuss your requirements so we can work together to create the perfect adventure for you.
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