Taking the road trip to Kentucky can bring you some delightful surprises along the way, with its refreshing natural beauty and scenic attractions that will hold your heart captive. It’s a lovely state filled with lakes, rivers, forests, and wildlife that will help you appreciate nature at its best. Here are some notable Kentucky road trip destinations within the state that you can include in your schedule.
Whether it’s for the weekend or a week’s worth of vacation, you can have a relaxing or eventful road trip, whichever you prefer. For extended budget-friendly trips, Kentucky offers many fun and cheap things to do.
Get a quick glimpse into Kentucky’s best road trip destinations through the below slides:
- 1 Cave City – Top Kentucky Road Trip Destinations for Dinosaur Buffs
- 2 The Mega Cavern – 4 million Square Feet Area Of Adventure
- 3 Shaker Village – Explore Traces Of Celibate Community Lifestyle
- 4 Lincoln Heritage Scenic Byway – Top Route For Kentucky Road Trip Destinations
- 5 Red River Gorge Scenic Byway -Adventure, Photography & Nature
- 6 Short Creek – Shortest In The World & Bright Turquoise Hue
- 7 Brewgrass Trail – Take The Brewery & Culinary Trail
- 8 Kentucky Horse Park – Unique Places You Must Visit
- 9 Kentucky Bourbon Trail – Famous 17 Distillery Trail
- 10 Land Between the Lakes National Recreational Area
- 11 Ready to discover what Kentucky has in store?
Cave City – Top Kentucky Road Trip Destinations for Dinosaur Buffs
This spot encompasses a number of Kentucky road trip destinations and therefore tops our charts.
The Cave City is a novel dinosaur-decked exit on your flyby to the interstate. It’s like stepping into the Mesozoic era once you enter the Dinosaur World, where dinosaur statues of every color and size abound.
You can also explore the Mammoth Cave National Park to go spelunking—this park preserves the world’s longest cave system on record at over 400 miles. It has 53,000 acres of lush forest, with miles and miles of cave trail below the ground.
You can also try Funtown Mountain, which is another attraction at Cave City that is reminiscent of the Wild West. If you dare to drive down the backroads, you will find so many roadside sceneries, so keep your eyes peeled on the road!
The Mega Cavern – 4 million Square Feet Area Of Adventure
Speaking of underground attractions, the Mega Cavern in Louisville, Kentucky, was previously a limestone mine that spans the Louisville Zoo and Watterson Expressway. With its elaborate support structure, the Mega Cavern is considered as Kentucky’s largest building. It’s a 4 million square feet area, with the entrance located at 1841 Taylor Avenue.
You can drive your car right into the Mega Cavern. While there, explore the many activities you can do, such as zipline, BMX bike park, tours, storage, Christmas light display, and reception areas for rent. The most amazing fact is that this haven is right under Louisville!
Shaker Village – Explore Traces Of Celibate Community Lifestyle
How about some unique Kentucky road trip destinations? Well, you’ve got it!
The Shakers lived a celibate community lifestyle at the Shaker Village from 1805 throughout the 1920s. Around 500 members of this religious group lived in the Shaker Village about 45 minutes outside Lexington, stretching 3,000 acres.
Today, 34 original structures have been preserved and restored—it’s now Kentucky’s largest National Historic Landmark.
If you’re visiting for the day or planning to stay the night, the restored buildings are a sight to behold and will be your shelter. There are also many artifacts relating to a Shaker’s life, from personal items to quilts, furniture, books, and other personal items. You can also witness modern-day artists and crafting experts create hands-on art like painting and weaving if you’re interested.
Lincoln Heritage Scenic Byway – Top Route For Kentucky Road Trip Destinations
Most people, not only in America but across the globe, know who Abraham Lincoln is, and the Lincoln Heritage Scenic Byway pays homage to his greatness. It’s a 72-mile byway from Hodgenville to Danville, Kentucky, which reveals Lincoln’s formative years and as well as the bourbon county. The drive is only an hour away from Louisville and easily accessible for road trip enthusiasts.
Begin your journey by visiting the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park, where visitors can see exhibits, artifacts, and films telling Lincoln’s story and frontier life. You can also head to the Memorial Building, commemorating 56 steps of his life that lead to a depiction of his birth cabin.
There’s also the Lincoln Museum filled with artifacts and memorabilia of Lincoln’s colorful life, with a spectacular statue of the former president made by Adolph A. Weinman, a renowned New York sculptor. Make a trip to Hodgenville by October to enjoy the Lincoln Look-ALike and Oratorical Contest, plus some games and entertainment in honor of the Lincoln Days.
Red River Gorge Scenic Byway -Adventure, Photography & Nature
Nature is overflowing in Kentucky, and you’ll see how much when you take the tour to the Red River Gorge Scenic Byway. It’s a 46-mile drive passing through the mesmerizing Nada Tunnel that leads to the geological area of Gorge. This scenic byway offers a lot of adventure for you, with several spots to take photos, hike, or simply take in the beautiful scenery before you.
You can walk to the Angel Windows or Sky Bridge, which gives you a breathtaking view of the state’s natural attractions. You can also stop and enjoy some water activities down the Red River, or take the car lift to the famous Natural Bridge. The whole ride will make you feel as if you’re being lifted by the wind while witnessing the beauty below you!
Short Creek – Shortest In The World & Bright Turquoise Hue
It may be the shortest in the world, but the Short Creek has a unique charm that you can appreciate. Its water flows from a cave, stretching only about 200 feet before rushing back to another cave. The water is perpetually cold and fresh (around a chilly 52 degrees) all year-round and is usually a bright turquoise hue. When the water is low, you can go exploring in the cave, although you have to be careful when making this excursion.
The creek sits on private property, but the owners allow visitors to come and see the beauty of the place. However, they have not permitted camping, rappelling, or fire-building, so it works best as a few hours’ stop for your Kentucky road trip. You can take lots of photos and share a picnic while you’re here.
Brewgrass Trail – Take The Brewery & Culinary Trail
Kentucky is mainly known for bourbon, but you’d be delighted to know that there are many craft brewing pit stops to make on your journey along with the Bluegrass Region. The Brewgrass Trail features several craft breweries established in the area, all set on giving you the local taste of beer in Lexington.
The Brewgrass Trail is a new culinary trail that you can discover on your Kentucky road trip. There are currently almost twenty places on the trail, which includes breweries and restaurants selling the local products. You can pick up a passport at any of the breweries or stop by the Lexington Visitors Center to get one, and then make the trail and get your passport stamped for the full experience!
Kentucky Horse Park – Unique Places You Must Visit
If you have a fascination for horses, the Kentucky Horse Park will have everything you want to see. This unique stop is a 1,200-acre Bluegrass farmland, which opened in 1978 and is the only park in the world dedicated to a horse’s journey with humans. There are daily equine presentations, horse-drawn tours, three museums, carriage rides, and a whole lot more.
The Kentucky Horse Park also hosts cross-country competitions and steeplechase. Horse enthusiasts flock to the park to witness specialized breed shows, polo, and the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, a four-star rated equestrian event in the US. If you want to devote the day at Lexington’s world-famous horse park, adding it to your road trip route is the way to go.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail – Famous 17 Distillery Trail
Bourbon is a booming industry in Kentucky, and there’s a trail of seventeen distilleries you can follow to learn more about the drink and its ties to the city. More than bourbon tasting, it’s the ultimate road trip to the state that lets you drive by the iconic bluegrass and horse farms as far as your vision allows.
Bourbon is an all-American whiskey containing a grain mixture with not less than 51% corn. It’s a Kentucky specialty, and you can find all the good ones on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
The KBT has been around since 1999 and follows the history and art of bourbon perfection. You can score a passport to make the trail more interesting, getting a stamp from each of the distilleries, and capping off the experience with a good sip of good, old whiskey.
This trail definitely needs to be on your Kentucky road trip destinations itinerary.
Land Between the Lakes National Recreational Area
If you want to escape to nature, the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area will give you an authentic adventure while basking in the glory of Mother Earth.
There are 170 acres of open lands and lush forests, 300 miles of shoreline, 500 trail miles, and 200 miles of pavement that you can drive through to enjoy the spectacular sceneries.
The Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area belongs to the list of Kentucky’s most beautiful spots, which includes several worthy detours like the Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory and Elk and Bison Prairie to get a variety of experience within the area.
You can also choose to spend the night at the campgrounds or find more information at the Working Farm and Living History Museum.
This iconic place is located between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in Tennessee. It’s designated as a ground for environmental education studies and public land management, but it serves the public as an outdoor recreation that nature lovers will adore.
Ready to discover what Kentucky has in store?
Getting to know Kentucky is only a road trip away, and these places will give you a lasting impression of what the state offers. When discovering the extraordinary sights in the Bluegrass State, make sure that the car you’re using can handle the long drives—gas up and check your gauges, because it’s about to be an eventful, scenic ride for you and your loved ones.
Hope our suggestions of Kentucky road trip destinations help you create memories of a lifetime. Book your vacation rental now at RentalTrader.com and have a wonderful experience. For any more queries, fill our web form or give us a call.