Also known as the ‘Bluegrass State’, Kentucky is a state made up of surprising contradictions. You could be laying a bet at the Kentucky Derby or sipping on some barrel-aged bourbon in one county, only to find that, in the next one you visit, horse racing’s off limits and the strongest things served in a bar is lemonade! Thankfully, to make up for any confusion, vacations in Kentucky will introduce you to a state of stunning spectacle, from the towering city-blocks in Louisville to the subterranean wonders offered-up by the Mammoth Cave National Park.
The self-governing city of Newport is a fantastic place to start if you’ve never been on Kentucky vacations before. In addition to a vibrant riverfront, which hosts festivals throughout the year, the city is home to the Newport Aquarium. Whether you’re travelling with the family or as a couple, this visitors center is well worth setting some time aside to discover. With more than 70 exhibits, you can see everything from graceful jellyfish and curious rays, to mischievous penguins and intimidating sharks.
When it comes to horses, there’s no more equine-centric state than Kentucky. With world-class race tracks almost everywhere you go, and the annual Kentucky Derby in Louisville, there are opportunities for horse-lovers to see some of the world’s finest steeds at work. Those vacationing with kids should pay a visit to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, a theme park devoted entirely to horses. In addition to seeing horses working on the nearby farm, youngsters can see old-fashioned jousting in action and even soak up the excitement of a rodeo.
Mammoth Park is a fascinating day out. The largest cave system in the world, it offers an underground trip back in time. Daily cave tours will see you explore chambers and caves with names, such as Dismal Hollow, Frozen Niagara, and the Rotunda Room. However, the attractions aren’t confined to below ground; up above you’ll find horseback riding and walking trails, the Green River, and even the Mammoth Cave Baptist Church.
Those who prefer their Kentucky package vacations to involve the wide-open spaces that the state is so famous for, should head for the Red River Gorge - a system of stunning canyons where the scenery is breath-taking. You’ll find soaring, sandstone cliffs and magical-looking natural arches, surrounded by the lush vegetation of the Daniel Boone Magical Forest. The Gorge even has its own wedding vacation packages for those who want to turn a weekend getaway into something truly special.
Gearheads might like to make their way to the city of Bowling Green, which is where you’ll find the National Corvette Museum. In addition to Corvettes that you’ll know from the past, there are also prototypes that were never seen on the highways. To see motors in action, take a road trip to the Beech Bend Raceway and watch a drag-race.
The city of London is the place to experience Southern hospitality, in all its welcoming warmth. You won’t find Buckingham Palace and the Queen in this particular version of London, but you will find fabulous stores and restaurants, making it the perfect spot for a family vacation. History buffs can hunt out Camp Wildcat, which was an important battlefield during the Civil War. Follow the Ohio River north and you’ll find the city of Florence. While it might be on the small side, this city is stuffed with attractions, from the liquid temptations of the Boone County Distilling Company to the reflective peace offered by the Veterans’ Memorial Park.
For low humidity and heat that won’t send you scurrying for the shade, book your Kentucky vacation in the spring or fall. These months offer temperatures between 60°F and 70°F, which are perfect or sightseeing.