Welcome to the State of Kentucky
Discover incredible one-of-a-kind attractions, learn about our unique culture, and absorb the unabated energy that can be seen, heard and felt in everything from metropolitan nightlife to outdoor adventures for all ages. Visit Kentucky and experience the unbridled spirit that runs wild in the Bluegrass State.
The words “horses” and “Kentucky” go together almost as readily as sunshine and blue skies. Bourbon, “America’s native spirit,” is Kentucky’s most famous export to the world. Come see for yourself how these two iconic products epitomize Kentucky’s unbridled spirit: and how the cultures surrounding these icons combine to influence our growing culinary heritage. From mint juleps served in silver cups on Derby Day to bourbon pairings with great food, the passion for excellence shines through. Kentucky’s menu has formed from a variety of cultures and traditions that have been here for centuries including Native American, English, Irish, Scots-Irish, German and African-American. Add to that Amish, Asian, and Latin cultures and you’re left with a wonderful combination of food types and traditions to temp your palate and whet your appetite.
Our urban centers of Louisville, Lexington and the Northern Kentucky area south of Cincinnati offer a varied selection of great food and world renowned entertainment like: the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Louisville’s Actors Theatre; Lexington’s Brewmaster Trail; or Northern Kentucky’s Houfbraus House and Newport on the Levee. All three areas are served by major airports and offer the urban amenities you may be seeking.
If you are looking for more of an escape, Kentucky is the place to do it. Whether you are looking to make a splash with boating on your next family trip, or guide your way through a trail blazing adventure, there is an experience waiting for you. Canoeing, kayaking and rafting opportunities are available at any level and the beautiful scenery displays the wonders of Kentucky. For those eager to cast a line while on the water, fishing opportunities are bountiful throughout the state. Kentucky is an angler’s paradise with lake and river fishing options that hold a wide variety of species to pursue. Two of the largest man-made lakes in the country, Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, offer a great destination for the eager fisherman. These vast lakes are also a great spot for summer boating, skiing and tubing-the ideal summer vacation! Interested in getting back your land legs? Trek through the trails that spread across the state, including the Sheltowee Trace National Recreational Trail, which is the state’s longest trail and stretches over 260 miles through the Daniel Boone National Forest. Horse trails are also available – after all, you are in Kentucky!
Kentucky is the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali and, the father of Bluegrass music, Bill Monroe. And, of course, Colonel Sanders perfected his secret recipe for fried chicken and launched his global empire in the southeastern Kentucky town of Corbin. Visit the sites and museums dedicated to these influential Americans.
There’s only one Kentucky, and it’s waiting for you to discover!
Don’t leave without tasting…
The legendary Hot Brown sandwich at J. Graham’s restaurant at The Brown Hotel in Louisville is a meal in itself with turkey, bacon, tomato and a Mornay sauce to die for. Many other restaurants in the state offer this great sandwich, but the original was created at the Brown Hotel.
Put these events on your calendar
- On the first Saturday in May, the world is watching Louisville and the Kentucky Derby
- The spring and autumn meetings at Keeneland Race Course, a beautiful, historic track
- The last weekend in September for the Jerusalem Ridge bluegrass festival in Rosine, the birthplace of Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass
- September brings the Kentucky Bourbon Festival.
You might be surprised by…
The longest cave system in the world – Mammoth Cave – has more than 350 miles of explored underground trails.
- When you stand on top of Pinnacle Peak at Cumberland Gap in Middlesboro, you look out over Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky
- The view from the top of Natural Bridge in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
- Muhammad Ali Center (Louisville)
- Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory (Louisville), where you can order a personalised baseball bat
- National Quilt Museum (Paducah)
- National Corvette Museum (Bowling Green)
- International Bluegrass Music Museum (Owensboro)
- Kentucky Music Hall of Fame & Museum (Renfro Valley)
- Rosemary Clooney House Museum (Augusta)
Classic road trip
Take U.S. 68 from Lexington to Maysville on the Ohio River. Drive through horse country, stop at Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park and enjoy touring Old Washington and Maysville, stops on the Underground Railroad. Dine in Maysville and don’t miss the miniature collection at the Gateway Museum.
The Cave City/Horse Cave area is noted for its kitschy attractions. Visit Dinosaur World, the Wax Museum, Guntown Mountain, Mike’s Rock Shop and Kentucky Down Under.
Bourbon distillery tours, including tastings for $5 or less (and many are free).
History happened here
- President Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, now the site of a National Historical Park.
- Big Bone Lick is a unique state park by any standard. Here the prehistoric past is enshrined, containing the remains of some of America’s early animal inhabitants.
For first-time visitors...
Get up close and personal with horses at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. And sign up for a tour of the beautiful Thoroughbred horse farms in the Bluegrass Region.