Fun Things To Do In Kentucky With Kids | Karta

7 Fun Things To Do In Kentucky

Top Destinations Jun 30, 2024

Kentucky is a hidden gem in the heart of America, offering an eclectic mix of attractions that cater to every type of traveler. This state is a melting pot of natural beauty, rich history, vibrant culture, and thrilling adventures. From the rolling hills of the Bluegrass region to the bustling streets of Louisville, Kentucky presents a myriad of experiences that promise to enchant and inspire.

Kentucky
Source: Wyandotte Daily

History buffs will find Kentucky a treasure trove of historical sites and stories. The state is steeped in history, from its pivotal role in the Civil War to its rich bourbon heritage. Visiting the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is an immersive experience, allowing visitors to tour historic distilleries, sample world-renowned spirits, and learn about the centuries-old traditions of bourbon making. The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park offers a glimpse into the early life of one of America’s most revered presidents, making it one of the unique places to visit in Kentucky. 

For those traveling on a budget, there are plenty of free things to do in Kentucky. The state’s numerous parks and nature reserves are free to explore, offering beautiful landscapes and recreational activities. Historic downtown areas in cities like Bardstown and Paducah offer charming streets lined with shops, cafes, and galleries, perfect for a leisurely day out.

Kentucky is truly a diverse travel destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re drawn to its natural wonders, historical sites, cultural attractions, or adventurous activities, this state promises an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags and get ready to discover all the fun things to do in Kentucky, and let this captivating state leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

1. Explore Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park is one of the top destinations for exploring the unique and fascinating landscape of Kentucky. As the world's longest cave system, Mammoth Cave offers an unforgettable adventure that is unmatched by any other. This geological wonder has over 400 miles of explored passageways, making it a prime spot for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Mammoth Cave National Park
Source: TripSavvy

One of the most captivating aspects of Mammoth Cave is its diverse array of tours and activities. Whether you are an experienced spelunker or a casual hiker, the park provides various guided tours tailored to different interests and skill levels. The Historic Tour, for example, takes visitors through some of the most significant parts of the cave, offering insights into its rich history and geological features. For those who crave more adventure, the Wild Cave Tour provides a strenuous experience that involves crawling through tight passageways and navigating rugged terrain, allowing participants to explore the cave in its rawest form.

Spelunking, or cave exploring, is undoubtedly one of the coolest things in Kentucky to do at Mammoth Cave. With the help of experienced guides, visitors can venture into less traveled sections of the cave, discovering hidden chambers and remarkable formations that aren't visible on standard tours. This hands-on activity is perfect for those who love to explore and seek out unique experiences.

 2. Visit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Exploring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is one of the most iconic and delightful experiences one can have in the Bluegrass State. This celebrated journey takes you through the heart of Kentucky, a region synonymous with the production of America's native spirit—bourbon. For those looking for things to do in Kentucky, the Bourbon Trail offers a unique blend of history, culture, and, of course, world-renowned whiskey.

Bourbon Trail
Source: Rialzo

The Bourbon Trail is more than just a tour of distilleries; it's a deep dive into a craft that has been perfected over centuries. Kentucky’s unique climate and limestone-rich water provide ideal conditions for producing some of the finest bourbons in the world. The trail features a range of distilleries, from the largest operations to smaller, craft producers, each with its distinct character and history.

One of the most notable stops is Maker's Mark. This distillery offers a picturesque setting and a rich history dating back to 1953. Visitors can witness the traditional methods used to produce this premium bourbon, from the unique red wax seal to the beautiful grounds that include historic buildings and the iconic barrel storage warehouses. The tasting experience at Maker's Mark is particularly memorable, with visitors getting to sample some of the finest expressions of this beloved brand.

Woodford Reserve is another gem on the trail, located in a picturesque setting in Versailles, Kentucky. This distillery is known for its small-batch production and high-quality bourbon. The tour is an immersive experience, walking you through the beautiful distillery grounds and the meticulous process that goes into every bottle of Woodford Reserve. The tasting here is particularly refined, offering a selection of their finest bourbons in an elegant setting.

 3. Discover Louisville’s Cultural Scene

Louisville, Kentucky, is a city teeming with cultural gems, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the best places in Kentucky. As you plan your adventure, you'll discover a variety of attractions that highlight the city's rich history and vibrant culture.

One of the top attractions is the Louisville Slugger Museum. This iconic site is a haven for baseball enthusiasts and those curious about the sport's history. Walking through the museum, you'll encounter fascinating exhibits that showcase the evolution of baseball bats and the role Louisville Slugger has played in the sport. The museum offers interactive experiences, allowing visitors to hold bats used by legendary players. The giant bat at the entrance is a fun photo opportunity, symbolizing Louisville's deep connection to baseball.

Louisville Slugger Museum
Source: Omni Hotel

The Muhammad Ali Center is another highlight that you cannot miss. Dedicated to the life and legacy of the legendary boxer and humanitarian, this center provides an inspiring journey through Ali's incredible career and his impact on civil rights and global humanitarian efforts. The exhibits are designed to be engaging and thought-provoking, reflecting Ali's philosophy and the principles he championed. Visitors can explore multimedia presentations, artifacts, and interactive displays that celebrate Ali's achievements both in and out of the ring.

For those fascinated by horse racing, the Kentucky Derby Museum is an essential stop. Located at the historic Churchill Downs, this museum offers a comprehensive look at the history and excitement of the Kentucky Derby, one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. The exhibits cover everything from the breeding and training of thoroughbreds to the fashion and traditions associated with Derby Day. A visit to the museum includes a tour of Churchill Downs, providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse of this iconic venue.

4. Experience Horse Country in Lexington

Lexington, Kentucky, offers a unique experience for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the heart of horse country. Renowned for its pivotal role in horse breeding and racing, Lexington is a destination that should be on every traveler's list of things to do in Kentucky. The city's rich equestrian culture is woven into its very fabric, making it one of the best places in Kentucky to visit for horse enthusiasts and curious tourists alike.

Horse Country in Lexington
Source: Lexington

Lexington's significance in the horse breeding and racing industry cannot be overstated. The region's fertile soil, mild climate, and rolling pastures create the perfect environment for raising thoroughbreds. This has led to Lexington becoming a global leader in horse breeding, earning the title of the "Horse Capital of the World." Visitors can witness the majesty of these magnificent animals and learn about the meticulous care and training that goes into preparing them for the racetrack.

One of the top attractions in Lexington is the Kentucky Horse Park, a sprawling 1,224-acre park dedicated to celebrating the history and culture of horses. This park is not just a tourist attraction but a working horse farm and educational theme park. Visitors can explore the park's various museums, including the International Museum of the Horse, which offers a comprehensive look at the history of horses and their impact on human civilization. The park also hosts numerous equestrian events and competitions throughout the year, providing a thrilling experience for attendees.

Another must-visit destination in Lexington is the Keeneland Race Course. Known for its picturesque setting and historic charm, Keeneland offers a quintessential horse racing experience. The racecourse is famous for its biannual race meets in April and October, drawing crowds from all over the world. Even if you're not visiting during race season, Keeneland offers guided tours that provide a behind-the-scenes look at the racecourse's operations, including the sales pavilion where some of the world's most valuable thoroughbreds are auctioned.

5. Enjoy Outdoor Adventures in Red River Gorge

Red River Gorge is a gem tucked away in the heart of Kentucky, known for its breathtaking natural beauty and a plethora of outdoor adventures. This stunning area, part of the Daniel Boone National Forest, offers an escape into nature like no other, making it one of the best places in Kentucky to visit. With its rugged cliffs, lush forests, and meandering rivers, Red River Gorge is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to explore unique things to do in Kentucky.

Red River Gorge 
Source: Hutch Ford

Hiking in Red River Gorge is a must for anyone visiting this cool place in Kentucky. The gorge boasts a variety of trails that cater to all skill levels, from easy walks to challenging hikes. One of the most popular hikes is the Sky Bridge Trail, which leads to a natural sandstone arch offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The Rough Trail is another favorite, winding through dense forests and alongside sparkling streams, providing hikers with a true wilderness experience. Hiking here is one of the top things to do in Kentucky, offering both adventure and tranquility amidst nature’s splendor.

For those seeking a bit more adrenaline, rock climbing in Red River Gorge is unparalleled. The area is renowned for its climbing routes, attracting climbers from all over the world. With over 1,500 routes, climbers of all levels can find challenges that suit their skills. The rock formations, made of high-quality sandstone, offer excellent grip and diverse climbing experiences. Whether you’re a seasoned climber or a beginner, the thrill of scaling these impressive cliffs is an unforgettable experience and a highlight of fun things to do in Kentucky.

6. Step Back in Time at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Stepping back in time at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill offers an immersive journey into a bygone era, making it one of the most unique places to visit in Kentucky. Located in the heart of the Bluegrass State, this meticulously preserved historical site provides an unparalleled glimpse into the life and traditions of the Shaker community that once thrived here. For those seeking cool places in Kentucky to visit, the Shaker Village stands out not only for its historical significance but also for its engaging activities and serene atmosphere.

Shaker Village
Source: Shaker Village

The Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is renowned for its rich history. Founded in 1805, it was once the third-largest Shaker community in the United States. The Shakers, known for their simple, communal living and innovative craftsmanship, left behind a legacy that continues to fascinate visitors. The village, now a living museum, spans 3,000 acres and features 34 original buildings, each offering a window into the Shaker way of life. The beautifully restored structures and meticulously maintained grounds make it one of the best places in Kentucky for history enthusiasts.

One of the coolest things in Kentucky is witnessing the traditional crafts and farm activities at the Shaker Village. Skilled artisans demonstrate Shaker craftsmanship, from woodworking and broom-making to weaving and spinning. These demonstrations provide a hands-on understanding of the Shakers' self-sufficient lifestyle and their commitment to quality and precision.  

7. Relax at Lake Cumberland

Lake Cumberland is one of the best places in Kentucky, a true gem for those seeking adventure and relaxation alike. This expansive lake, created by the damming of the Cumberland River, boasts over 1,200 miles of shoreline, making it a premier destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those simply looking to unwind in a picturesque setting.

Boating is a favorite pastime at Lake Cumberland, and with good reason. The lake's vast expanse provides ample space for all types of watercraft, from speedboats to leisurely pontoon boats. Visitors can easily rent boats from one of the many marinas dotting the shoreline. For those who prefer a more luxurious experience, houseboat rentals are available, offering a unique way to explore the lake and enjoy all the comforts of home while floating on serene waters.

Lake Cumberland
Source: Major League Fishing

Fishing at Lake Cumberland is another popular activity, drawing anglers from all over the region. The lake is teeming with various species, including bass, crappie, catfish, and trout, making it a prime spot for both novice and experienced fishermen. The annual fishing tournaments held here are a testament to the lake's reputation as one of the top fishing destinations in Kentucky.

Camping around Lake Cumberland offers an immersive experience into the natural beauty of the area. Numerous campgrounds provide a range of options, from primitive sites for the hardcore camper to fully-equipped spots with RV hookups. 

Conclusion

Kentucky offers an array of experiences that cater to every traveler's interests, making it a must-visit destination. The Bluegrass State boasts a variety of attractions that are as diverse as they are captivating. From the rolling hills of horse country to the bustling streets of Louisville, there's no shortage of things to do in Kentucky. It's a state that seamlessly blends natural beauty with rich cultural heritage, providing visitors with endless opportunities for adventure and exploration.

One of the best places in Kentucky is Mammoth Cave National Park, home to the world's longest cave system.  Bourbon enthusiasts will find their paradise along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail - and for travelers on a budget, there are plenty of cheap things to do in Kentucky. The state is filled with free attractions that provide enriching experiences without breaking the bank. The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park offers a glimpse into the early life of one of America's greatest presidents, while the scenic beauty of Red River Gorge is perfect for hiking and rock climbing.  

University Of Linkedin
Source: Linkedin

Families will find plenty of fun things to do in Kentucky with kids. The Newport Aquarium, located near Cincinnati, Ohio, is a fantastic place to see marine life up close. The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington offers interactive exhibits and horse shows that delight visitors of all ages. These attractions ensure that both young and old can have fun in Kentucky.

In conclusion, Kentucky is a treasure trove of diverse experiences that cater to all types of travelers. Its unique attractions, from natural wonders to cultural landmarks, make it a top destination for anyone looking to explore new places. The state offers a mix of fun, adventure, and history, ensuring that every visit is filled with memorable moments. Whether you're a nature lover, history buff, or bourbon aficionado, Kentucky has something special waiting for you. So, pack your bags and get ready to discover the many things to do in Kentucky – a state that promises an unforgettable journey.

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FAQ

1. What does Kentucky look like?

Kentucky is a state of diverse landscapes, from rolling bluegrass fields and horse farms to lush forests and stunning river valleys. The Appalachian Mountains in the east offer rugged beauty, while the western region features expansive lakes and wetlands, perfect for family adventures.

2. What is the weather like in Kentucky throughout the year?

Kentucky experiences a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are warm and humid, ideal for outdoor activities. Winters are mild with occasional snowfall. Spring brings vibrant blooms and mild temperatures, while fall offers crisp air and beautiful foliage, perfect for exploring with kids.

3. What are the best routes to explore Kentucky?

Interstate 75 and Interstate 65 are major highways that provide access to many of Kentucky’s attractions. For scenic drives, the Bluegrass Parkway and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail offer picturesque views and family-friendly stops, showcasing the state’s natural beauty and rich heritage.

4. What activities can we do in Kentucky with kids in March?

March in Kentucky is perfect for visiting the Louisville Zoo, exploring Mammoth Cave National Park, or attending the Lexington St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Spring festivals and blooming gardens make it a great time for family outings and discovering the state’s natural wonders.

5. What activities can we do in Kentucky with kids in November?

In November, families can enjoy the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo, explore the Kentucky Horse Park, or visit the Newport Aquarium. The cooler weather is ideal for hiking in Red River Gorge and participating in Thanksgiving-themed events across the state.

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Emily Carter

With over 10 years of experience, Emily is a seasoned expert in planning bespoke tours across the United States and Canada, with a specialization in eco-tourism and adventure travel.