The Bluegrass State is a beautiful place to live and is far more interesting than other states give us credit for. In order to highlight the unique sites, history and feel of our great state, we’ve created a list of some unforgettable tours in Kentucky. The following tours feature aspects of the Bluegrass that everyone should know or experience at some point in their life.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
11. International Bluegrass Music Museum at 117 Davies Street in Owensboro
This is the place to go and find all things Bluegrass Music. They have shows, but also loads of memorabilia, including clothing, instruments, records, video, photographs and more. The Bluegrass sound is the heartbeat of our state from the Appalachians to the Ohio River.
10. Bleu Plate Tours in Lexington
Food for thought. Take a tour of the food of Kentucky with Bleu Plate Tours in Lexington. They will take you around the city and to restaurants that offer the best cuisine in Kentucky. Experience what southern cooking and customer service is all about and leave with a delicious taste of Kentucky instilled in your memory. For more information and scheduling contact 800-979-3370.
9. Ghosts of Old Louisville Tour
This tour through the most haunted neighborhood in America was inspired by David Domine’s Ghosts of Old Louisville and Phantoms of Old Louisville, which were best sellers. The tour guide will provide historically accurate facts about some of the amazing Victorian architecture in the area. There are other tours available of the homes as well, and even B&Bs in the area to stay in. For more information call 502-718-2764.
8. Kentucky Bourbon Tour
When most people think of Kentucky, they think of bourbon and horse racing. You can understand why by taking the Kentucky bourbon tour. There are several different legs to this tour and you get to experience samples, see how bourbon is made, including the secrets used in each unique distillery and get a little taste or three. Travel through Louisville, Lexington, Danville, Lebanon, Pembroke, Bowling Green and more and enter a variety of distilleries including Makers Mark, Four Roses, Jim Beam and more. For additional information and to schedule a tour call 502-875-9351.
7. My Old Kentucky Home at 668 Loretto Road in Bardstown
A beautiful mansion sits in this immaculately kept state park, along with a museum and a theater. The musical play, “The Stephen Foster Story” is performed at the theater. You can tour the grounds and gardens, the mansion, and watch a play. If you like to camp, you are in luck, as there are campgrounds available for nature enthusiasts. For more information you can call 502-348-3502.
6. Kentucky Derby Museum at 704 Central Avenue in Louisville
On the historic Churchill Downs property, you will also find the museum. You will see all things Derby and horse racing oriented within these walls. There are images of past champions, jockeys, silks, saddles and other memorabilia. Even if you have aren’t a fan of the Kentucky Derby, the museum offers a great way to become familiar with a proud part of Kentucky’s equestrian history without the hassle of the crowds. For more information call 502-637-1111.
5. Waverly Hills Sanatorium at 4400 Paralee Lane in Louisville
Waverly Hills Sanatorium
This property has been a tuberculosis hospital, mental hospital and a geriatric facility, all of which did not end very well. There are quite a few bodies buried in the cemetery, and probably a few unmarked as well. You can tour the facility and hear historical facts about the tragedies that occurred there over the decades. There are rumors they plan on turning it into a hotel in the future. For more information and to schedule a tour call 502-933-2142.
4. Kentucky Coal Mining Museum at 231 Main Street in Benham
Though it isn’t as widely promoted, coal is another thing that helped put Kentucky on the map. The hard working miners risked their lives daily to dig out coal and provide warmth for residents all across our great country. Pike County was once the biggest supplier of coal in the world. The image is of a mining town instead of the museum, as it shows the conditions miners survived in. Check out the history of the miners and the land they mined at the museum. For more information and touring information, contact 606-848-1530.
3. Mammoth Cave at 1 Mammoth Cave Parkway in Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave was discovered by settlers on accident, but Natives found it and utilized for decades prior. Initially, the cave was utilized for its valued Salt Peter during the war. As the war ended, the depth and amazing natural architecture of the cave system was mapped out by slaves, including Stephen Bishop. More than 400 miles have been mapped so far, and along with that, much more was discovered. Mummies, Native artifects, and skeletons have been found within the cave, and several people passed on discovering that. The first tourists would sometimes smoke their names into the limestone ceiling with the torches they used for light. These markings can still be done today during the caves. For more information call 270-758-2180.
2. Newport Gangster Tour at 56 E 5th Street in Newport
Newport was Sin City long before Vegas took the title. Located on the mighty Ohio River, Newport made a perfect spot for the mob to set up shop, with drinking and gambling. During prohibition, you could always find a good time in Newport, right down to secret passages and hidden rooms used by the OGs. For more information and touring schedules call 859-951-8560.
1. Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Farm Tours in Lexington
Schedule a guided tour through some of Kentucky’s most beautiful horse farms via this grand tour. You will see the gorgeous rolling hills and lush pastures, along with some amazing equestrians. You can even go for a ride, depending on which leg of the tour you are on. For more information call 859-260-8687.
If you are looking for ways to get in touch with some of our Bluegrass roots, these unforgettable tours in Kentucky will give you a glimpse of history. We have an abundance of beautifully preserved pieces of our history available to the public. What attractions would you like to see added?