In a state this enchanting, it could be almost impossible to see and do everything during one lifetime. If you’re a true Kentuckian, you know that these 14 things are definitely some of the most important.
1. Walk across Natural Bridge.
If you've ever walked across this natural wonder, you know that the immense size of this 78-foot span is impossible to understand until you see it in person. The bridge is located at the Natural Bridge State Resort in Slade. It's near the Red River Gorge Geologic Area and Daniel Boone National Forest, so you'll pretty much be surrounded by some of Kentucky's most immense beauty.
2. Cruise on the Belle of Louisville
This lovingly restored steamboat was originally built in 1914. She's had a few bumps and bruises over the last few years, but recently celebrated her 100th anniversary and is still available for tours on the Louisville and Ohio rivers.
3. Marvel at Cumberland Falls.
Cumberland Falls (also called Little Niagara), is truly enchanting. The thundering falls are 68 feet talls and 125 feet wide. For the closest view, head for the observation deck.
4. Visit the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park.
America's 16th President was born right here in a humble little cabin. Now, the first monument to this great man stands in a historic park named for him.
5. Eat some Western Kentucky-style BBQ.
There's nothing like a meal of BBQ mutton, and some Kentucky restaurants really know how to do it up right - chopped mutton, lamb ribs, pork ribs and some tasty sides. Pictured is Old Hickory Bar-B-Que in Owendsboro.
6. Descend into Mammoth Cave.
Visit Mammoth Cave National Park and take a tour of the cave. You'll just see a tiny portion of this cave - it's the longest cave system in the world, with 405 miles of passageways (and that's just what's been surveyed). You'll see vast chambers full of stalactites, stalagmites and even bats. Find Mammoth Cave National Park near Bowling Green.
7. Place a bet a Churchill Downs.
This iconic Kentucky place has been open since 1875 and has hosted the Kentucky Derby ever since. Take your seat along with 170,000 other Kentuckians and cheer on your favorite horse.
8. Participate in Kentucky Derby festivities.
Speaking of Churchill Downs, you really must visit at least once for the Derby. Wear a fancy hat, drink a mint julep, run a marathon or 10k and attend at least a few Derby parties.
9. Tour a bourbon distillery.
Every true Kentuckian tries bourbon at least once. To really know your bourbon, you've got to tour one of our fine distilleries. Pictured is Buffalo Trace, located in Frankfort.
10. Eat a hot brown.
Ideally, you'll do this at the Brown Hotel in Louisville for a true Kentucky experience.
11. Waterski on Lake Cumberland.
Really, any of Kentucky's fabulous lakes will work. Grab your friends and family, a picnic and cooler, then go waterskiing, tubing, fishing or just boating all afternoon.
12. Visit the State Capitol.
The current State Capitol was completed in 1909 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Take a tour of this historic, important place in Frankfort.
13. Drink an Ale-8.
Buy 'em by the case and drink more than one! Of course, you'll consume one of these gingery wonders alongside some tasty beer cheese (or some other Kentucky culinary wonder).
14. Drive Old Frankfort Pike.
Deemed "One of the 10 Best Scenic Drives in the U.S.," this old, historic byway is a must-see for all Kentuckians. Along its 16.9 miles, you'll pass through some of the state's most beautiful bluegrass country, through canopies of oak, maples and dogwoods, and see some of the thoroughbred farms for which Kentucky is famous.