Kentucky’s Summer Wonders: Your Unmissable Bucket List of Things to Do


Key Takeaways 

  • Kentucky handles the perfect balance of urban and rural charm. 
  • Discover the magnificent architecture of the Kentucky State Capital. 
  • For breathtaking stone arches and outdoor sports, visit Red River Gorge. 
  • Don’t miss out on the thrilling experience of horse racing home to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Down. 
  • Explore the majestic Cumberland Falls and all the recreational activities it has to offer.

Known as The Bluegrass State, Kentucky delivers a beautiful combination of green landscapes, mountains, and rivers alongside a thriving metropolitan area. Therefore, it’s an idealistic location for travelers who enjoy the best of both worlds. 

This beautiful state is often associated with fried chicken, horse racing, and whiskey, but it offers vacation-makers, locals, and those passing through, so much more. 

If you’re looking for some of the most noteworthy days out and trips while visiting it, look no further. We’ve compiled a short list of unmissable things to do. 

Do You Know?
In 2021, tourism in Kentucky bought $808 million in state and local taxes. 

The State Capitol 

The Kentucky State Capitol is located in Frankfort and is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most beautiful capitols. 

Designed by Frank Mills Andrews, its architecture is grand and opulent. One of its most beloved features is the expansive marble staircase and other staircases throughout the building. 

The experience of walking up these stairs is truly luxurious, transporting you to a different world. You can even take a guided tour of the capitol building and marvel at the Opera Garnier-inspired designs inside. 

While visiting, you can also explore the First Lady Doll Collection.

The Red River Gorge

 Red River Gorge

The state boasts the stunning Red River Gorge as one of its top destinations for sightseeing. This location is situated within the Daniel Boone National Forest, renowned for its breathtaking natural stone arches. 

The Red River Gorge attracts tourists and rock climbers with its sandstone cliffs and distinctive rock formations. 

Besides its visual appeal, the area is an official national geological area. Visitors to the Red River Gorge can engage in various activities such as hunting or trapping animals, hiking, canoeing, and enjoying a picnic. 

For an awe-inspiring experience, make sure to visit the Sky Bridge.

Do You Know?
Approximately, 664 historic and prehistoric archeological sites, some of which date back to 12,000 years, can be found in Red River Gorge. 

Churchill Downs  

For those who are fond of horse racing and enjoy placing a few wagers, visiting Churchill Downs should be on your agenda. Located in Louisville, this renowned venue is home to the Kentucky Derby, one of the state’s most prestigious and well-known events.

Attending this American grade I stakes race run is an exhilarating experience that should not be missed, particularly if you find yourself in Louisville on the first Sunday in May. 

Gambling enthusiasts who are looking to place bets or simply want to witness the excitement of thoroughbred horse racing, Kentucky betting apps will be live in late September for your wagering needs, making available the Kentucky Derby offers for 2024.

Interesting Fact
Kentucky is where President Abraham Lincoln was born.

It is profound to remember that even if you arrive during the off-season, there is no need to worry as you can still explore the grounds and take a tour. 

Churchill Downs is home to the Kentucky Derby Museum, an on-site attraction that provides visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the event’s rich history. Since its establishment in 1875, the museum has curated an impressive collection of artifacts, including items once owned by legendary horse trainers. 

Moreover, it offers educational exhibits on its breeding and training, while an adjacent cemetery is a tribute to past champions. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of horse racing and experience its allure firsthand.

Cumberland Falls  

Cumberland Falls

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park can be found within the breathtaking Daniel Boone National Forest, making it one of Kentucky’s most exquisite vacation destinations. Encompassing an impressive 1,657 acres, the park offers an array of exceptional amenities, including a campground with 50 sites, a riverside restaurant, a lodge, and a visitor’s center. 

During your visit to the park, explore the magnificent Cumberland Falls, which towers an impressive 68 feet in height. Don’t miss out on the equally remarkable Eagle Falls, which stands an amazing 44 feet tall. 

With plenty of activities to choose from, such as white-water rafting, hiking, fishing, biking, horseback riding, and even the chance to witness a moonbow, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. 

Besides, the park hosts various exciting events throughout the year, providing even more reasons to plan your visit accordingly. 

The Overnight Canoe Adventures, Kentucky Hills Craft Festival, Native American Weekend, and Nature Photography Weekend are just some fantastic events to look forward to.

Honorable Mentions  

  • Visit the Harland Sanders Café and Museum in Corbin 
  • Get adventurous at the Louisville Mega Cavern 
  • Sports fans shouldn’t miss the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory 
  • Horse racing enthusiasts can head to Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington 
  • History buffs will love the Ashland Henry Clay Estate 
  • Visit Breaks Interstate Park, the unofficial “Grand Canyon” of the South. 
  • Embrace nature at The Natural Bridge in Slade

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