15 Incredible Trips In Kentucky That Are Bucket List Worthy
When it comes to the best
weekend getaways in Kentucky, there’s an overwhelming number of attractions in the state. Fortunately for locals, there’s no need to break the bank or endure a long plane ride to experience an awesome trip. We’re lucky enough to have places right here in our own state that make for fun and memorable trips, no matter your age or interests. From romantic getaways to family-friendly day trips, there are so many options around the state. Check out these 15 incredible day trips in Kentucky, weekend getaways, and staycations you can take:
1. Take a train ride through the Kentucky countryside.
My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, 602 N 3rd St, Bardstown, KY 40004, USA
We don't have hardly any passenger trains for commuting in Kentucky, so there's a certain novelty about taking a train trip. We have a few options for fun day trips you can take via train, including
My Old Kentucky Dinner Train
(located in Bardstown), which feeds you a gourmet meal on an excursion through the beautiful countryside, or the Big South Fork Scenic Railway (located in Stearns), which takes you deep into the gorge of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation area.
2. Ride this chairlift up for a breathtaking view.
Natural Bridge Sky Lift Inc., 607 Skylift Dr, Slade, KY 40376, USA
The incredible Natural Bridge Skylift typically opens in spring, and it absolutely must go on your bucket list. Located in Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Slade, this chairlift will take you to the top of Natural Bridge. Soak in the stunning views of the surrounding valleys, and explore the hiking trails at the top. You won't regret a visit to the
Natural Bridge Skylift
! Beauty abounds in this natural environment.
3. Descend into the longest cave system known in the world.
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, USA
This stunning subterranean wonder is located in
Mammoth Cave National Park
. There is no shortage of amazing outdoor activities to do here. If caves aren't your thing and you prefer to stay above ground, you're in luck! This site also boasts 84 miles of hiking trails for people of various skill levels, tons of spots for camping, and two rivers to enjoy and explore. This is one of the best day trips in Kentucky.
Take a look at this video by
4. Speaking of caves, paddle through the only underground boat tour in the state.
Lost River Cave, 2818 Nashville Rd, Bowling Green, KY 42101, USA
Lost River Cave, located in Bowling Green, is known as the "shortest, deepest river in the world." It's been recognized by Ripley’s Believe it or Not. The river is only 400 feet long, but is 437 feet deep. In the summer, they offer boat tours of the cave. Swing by
Lost River Cave
and you'll surely walk away with an experience you will never forget.
5. Behold the beauty of the "Niagra of the South."
Cumberland Falls, Kentucky, USA
Cumberland Falls is located in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park near Corbin. This huge waterfall is one of the most popular attractions in the state, and is something that every Kentuckian should see at least once. Cumberland Falls is the only place in the western hemisphere where a moonbow occurs, which means light from a full moon is refracted off of the water of the falls, creating a rainbow in the middle of the night. The only other place in the world where a moonbow regularly occurs is Victoria Falls in Africa. There are other magnificent waterfalls in this state park as well, such as Eagle Falls and Dog Slaughter Falls.
A visit to
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
is always a memorable experience and one of the most incredible Kentucky getaways you can take.
6. Take a mental break at this secluded resort.
Cliffview Resort, 455 Cliffview Rd Suite 101, Campton, KY 41301, USA
Cliffview Resort is a secluded place to relax and unwind in the Red River Gorge area. It makes a great place to simply take an affordable vacation, or host a special event like a wedding or birthday party here for an unforgettable experience for you and your guest. You can even go zip lining right on the property, or make this your home base after a tiring day of exploring the Red River Gorge.
To find out more about this getaway, including what amenities and services they offer, check out our
spotlight on Cliffview Resort.
Prepare to relax, because this charming spot is one of the best "weekend getaways near me" in Kentucky.
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7. Visit the "most beautiful small town in America."
Bardstown is known as the most beautiful small town in America, and it truly makes for the perfect day trip. It's located right in the heart of bourbon country, so visit one of the many distilleries in the area. You can also go for a hike in the beautiful Bernheim Forest, ride the Old Kentucky Dinner Train, or simply just explore this quaint and historic town. Visit the Old Bardstown Village (pictured above) to learn about what life was like 150-200 years ago, or enjoy a meal at the Old Talbott Tavern, which is the oldest bourbon bar in America, and the oldest restaurant in the state.
For more ideas of things to do in Bardstown, check out our
autumn day trip bucket list.
8. Interact with Australian animals.
Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo, 3700 L and North Turnpike Road, at Exit 58, I-65, Horse Cave, KY 42749, USA
When people think about animals in Kentucky, they probably think about horses, not kangaroos. However, at Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo, you can get up close and personal with a variety of different animals. Pet kangaroos, milk a cow, or even hold a snake at this unique zoo in Horse Cave.
Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo
has entertained and educated since 1990, and they've become a cherished part of the community. Your inner child will adore interacting with adorable critters at this fun spot! It's one of the best day trips in Kentucky for families.
9. Take a dip in some of the bluest water you'll find in the state.
Lagrange Quarry, La Grange, KY 40031, USA
Falling Rock Park, also known as the La Grange Quarry, or just simply, "the Quarry," is a beautiful place for a summer day trip. This pristine swimming hole is located in an old rock quarry. You must be at least 18 years old to visit Falling Rock Park, and you must have a flotation device with you. You'll definitely want to spend a few hot summer days relaxing here. Pay a visit to
Falling Rock Park
and prepare to fall in love!
10. Get cozy at this relaxing bed and breakfast.
Snug Hollow Farm Bed and Breakfast, 790 Cr-1221 #8951, Irvine, KY 40336, USA
Snug Hollow Farm Bed and Breakfast, located in Irvine, just might be the coziest bed and breakfast in the state. No matter what time of year it is, a weekend spent here will relax and rejuvenate you. It is located on a beautiful farm in the foothills of the mountains, and the meals are prepared using mostly fresh produce that was grown right there on the farm. If you're interested in learning more about Snug Hollow Farm, perfect for weekend getaways in Kentucky, you'll want to start
planning a visit.
There's no bad time of the year to visit, and you will surely fall in love with the local milieu.
11. Take one of the most beautiful hikes in the state.
Auxier Ridge Trailhead, Tunnel Ridge Rd, Stanton, KY 40380, USA
It's no secret that the Red River Gorge is one of the best places in the state to go hiking. However, if you want to complete what just might be the most beautiful hike in the state, try the Auxier Ridge Loop. What makes this hike so great is that you'll experience all the different types of scenery the Gorge has to offer. During parts of it, you'll be standing on top of a scenic vista, with panoramic views of the surrounding valley. There are interesting rock formations visible, such as Courthouse Rock, Double Arch, and Haystock Rock. Part of the hike also traverses through a lush, green forest, with a stream trickling along next to you.
Every trip to
Auxier Ridge Loop
is full of discovery and wonder!
Take a look at this video by
12. Go back in time at this old village.
Shaker Drive, Shaker Dr, Lexington, KY 40504, USA
Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill is located in Harrodsburg; Kentucky's oldest town. This historic village was built by Shakers in the 1800s, but now it is a 3,000-acre preserve full of history. Out of the 260 structures that once stood at Pleasant Hill, only 34 now remain. However, you can tour these structures and even watch demonstrations to get a better feel for how the Shakers lived their lives.
If you're interested in visiting Shaker Village, check out the
our Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill feature.
History abounds at this fascinating local landmark that's one of the most perfect day trips in Kentucky for families.
13. Visit this charming town surrounded by lakes.
Grand Rivers, KY 42045, USA
If you're looking for a town in Kentucky to visit for a spring or summer vacation, or for one of your weekend getaways, you have to check out Grand Rivers. This charming town is located right near Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, making it a great place to take your boat out, swim, and fish. It's also a short drive to the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, so there's also great hiking and camping in the area. You have to take the time to explore all that
has to offer! Be careful, or you just might fall in love with this enchanting community and its friendly residents. It's one of the best Kentucky getaways!
14. Relax on a beach (yes, they DO exist in Kentucky!)
Green River Lake, Kentucky, USA
You may think you have to go to a coastal state to enjoy relaxing on the beach in the summer. Actually, you only have to drive to Green River Lake. This gorgeous lake has a beach that you can even camp on.
Green River Lake
is one destination you'll want to keep in mind for future getaways. Sunrise and sunset are magical times at Kentucky beaches.
15. Play and camp at this unique campground.
The Falls Campground, 6072 KY-3, Louisa, KY 41230, USA
Falls Campground in Louisa has a wide variety of campsites, making it the perfect place for summer memory-making. The Falls of Blaine Creek are the main attraction at this campground. They form a natural waterslide and boast an excellent swimming hole pool at its base. No visit to
will be forgotten! There's so much to love about this family-friendly spot.
Does anyone have trips to any of these places planned for this year? What other attractions do you consider to be among the best day trips in Kentucky? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Craving more local adventure? Check out these other
incredible day trip destinations in Kentucky. And don’t forget to wear your state pride on your sleeve when you sport one of these incredible items from Wear Your Roots!
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More to Explore
Weekend Getaways In Kentucky
What are the best hidden gem restaurants in Kentucky?
Some of the best
hidden gem restaurants in Kentucky include:
Joe's Drive-Inn & Chicken in Isom
Bread of Life Cafe in Liberty
Blue and White Grill in Hazel
What are the most unique restaurants in Kentucky?
Some of the most unique, fun, and
quirky restaurants in Kentucky are:
Flamingo Row in Paducah
Patti's 1880's Settlement in Grand Rivers
Hog Wild Pig Crazy Bar-BQ in Sparta
Are there any waterfront restaurants in Kentucky?
Yes, there certainly are some
waterfront restaurants in Kentucky like Waterfront Grille and Gathering in Winchester and Riverfront Pizza & Sports Bar in Covington.