Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State and the home of the Kentucky Derby. However, beyond lush fields and champion horses, Kentucky's rich history and heritage, vibrant arts and crafts community, and diverse natural landscapes await you and your family. Whether you're a fan of culture, world-class sporting events, or historical attractions, the friendly people of Kentucky will welcome you with open arms.
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Family Vacation in Kentucky: Top Accommodations
The Best Destinations for Family Vacations in Kentucky
Pack up the family and head to the beautiful Bluegrass State of Kentucky for the intriguing combination of bustling city life and breath-taking natural beauty that is Kentucky. Whether you want action and excitement or an escape to a friendly rural retreat, there's a destination here for everyone.
This vibrant metropolitan area is probably Kentucky's most recognized major city, home to million-dollar horse farms, world-class bourbon, and the University of Kentucky. The famous Kentucky Wildcats play basketball in UK's Rupp Arena from November through May, a memorable experience for the entire family. Take a tour of a horse farm and get up close and personal with elegant and highly-trained thoroughbred horses. Race fans will want to catch an evening of racing at the beautifully landscaped and historic Keeneland Racetrack.
2. Mammoth Cave National Park
One of Kentucky's famous natural wonders, take your family down into these spectacular and ancient caverns, where your guide will point out the features of the world's longest known cave. Nearby is Dinosaur World Kentucky, where your little T-Rex fans can dig for fossils, pan for minerals, and learn about the giant ancient Kentucky residents in the indoor museum. If exploring Mammoth Cave makes you want more underground adventures, visit Diamond Caverns, a World Heritage Site featuring colorful displays of sparkling cave formations.
Just south of Lexington lies Berea, home of historic Berea College and a vast community of artists and craft artisans. The public is invited to watch artists at work, creating everything from paintings to puppets, glass figures to fine woven cloth. Take home a small piece of your Berea experience with a piece of Kentucky craftsmanship to call your own. Environmentalists and conservationists find Berea and the college community a welcoming place, maintaining the beautiful grounds of the John B. Stephenson Memorial Forest State Nature Preserve and Anglin Falls as a haven for locals and visitors alike. Folk music lovers will enjoy the weekly contra dancing and "jammin' on the porch."
4. Eastern Kentucky
This region of Kentucky is the ideal destination for those who want to explore the countryside and rural communities of this picturesque state. This is the area where the Appalachian Mountains embrace the landscape and country folk cherish their heritage. Visit Mount Sterling to sample famous Ruth Hunt Candy, then drive over to Ashland to spend an afternoon at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center. Remember to keep an eye out for local roadside produce stands for the best tomatoes and rhubarb you'll ever taste.
Best Places to Stay for Family Vacation in Kentucky
Things to Do During Your Family Vacation in Kentucky
Whichever region you choose as your vacation home base, everything in Kentucky is within a day's drive. Check out these activities and attractions waiting for your family to join in the fun.
1. Pioneer Playhouse
Located near the charming small city of Danville, Pioneer Playhouse is a state historic landmark and a summer treat for both locals and visitors. The outdoor theatre and dining area are built from reclaimed and recycled materials from two hundred years of Kentucky history, and the shows are performed by talented actors both professional and local. Enjoy a pre-show dinner with downhome Kentucky favorites like fried chicken and green-bean casserole, then take in a show under the sparkling summer night sky.
2. Churchill Downs
For horse lovers, a trip to Kentucky wouldn't be complete without a visit to Churchill Downs, Louisville's historic home to the Run for the Roses, the Kentucky Derby. The world's best thoroughbreds have circled the track for well over one hundred years, and the city of Louisville turns out in style for the annual event in May. At other times, the track holds regular horse races, as well as fascinating guided tours, dining options, and a monthly Family Adventure Day.
3. Abe Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park
Bring your family to honor one of the heroes of American culture, our sixteenth president Abraham Lincoln. Located in his birthplace of Hodgenville, Kentucky, the site includes a memorial hall, a replica log cabin, and a fascinating film at the visitor's center, all surrounded by immaculately tended grounds.
Recommended Accommodations for Family Vacation in Kentucky
Family Vacations in Kentucky Inspiration
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