Discover Kentucky’s vast landscapes, rich history and infectious energy fueled by bluegrass music – and bourbon, of course.
Kentucky is a state rich in history, culture, natural beauty and, most famously, bourbon. The popular spirit is no-doubt ingrained into the very fabric of Kentucky, but it’s far from all this great Southern state has to offer. From adventuring across rolling green hills and the breathtaking Red River Gorge area to immersing yourself in the region’s musical heritage at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum, there are no wrong turns here in Kentucky, where all roads lead back to bourbon.
Spirited History and Heritage
Kentucky produces more than 95% of the world’s bourbon and has been an epicenter for bourbon culture for centuries. The state is home to massive limestone deposits beneath the surface which help filter the water that will eventually become bourbon. It’s this unique geographical feature that creates the unparalleled quality and taste of Kentucky Bourbon. The state’s bourbon roots run deep and are on full display at places like Revival Vintage Bottle Shop. Located in Covington just south of the Ohio River, the shop houses seemingly endless shelves filled with vintage bottles of bourbon. Chat up a friendly face behind the bar for a spirited primer on the state’s love affair with bourbon, then head about two hours southwest for a tour and tasting at the legendary Jim Beam Distillery. After your tour, explore the charming and historical sights of nearby Bardstown, including the iconic Court Square and My Old Kentucky Home State Park. Ready for some more bourbon? Enjoy your next taste of it in the form of a chocolate Bourbon Ball during a tour of Rebecca Ruth Chocolates in the state’s capital of Frankfort.
An impressive selection of aged bourbons at Revival Vintage Bottle Shop in Covington
Unexpected Outdoor Adventures
No road trip through Kentucky would be complete without making time to explore its beautiful and serene natural landscapes. Before you set a course for outdoor adventure, make a pit stop in Danville for a tour and tasting at the rustic and scenic Wilderness Trail Distillery. After, head about 158 kilometers east to hike, bike and zipline your way through and above the picturesque Red River Gorge. While you’re in the area, don’t miss the opportunity to go cave kayaking by flashlight at The Gorge Underground. This truly unique experience will have you paddling your way through a 100-year-old flooded limestone mine, with a knowledgeable tour guide at the helm. At the end of the day, choose from dozens of cozy lodging options in the area like cabins, resorts and even thoughtfully outfitted treehouses.
An underground excursion in illuminated kayaks at The Gorge Underground
Where Music and Bourbon Collide
Like bourbon, music – from rock to bluegrass and everything in between –is at the heart of all things Kentucky. Catch a live show and experience the connection between songs and spirits at The Burl in the lively city of Lexington. The town’s Distillery District is brimming with theaters featuring local and national acts, as well as shops, restaurants and talented street performers around every corner. Looking for more opportunities to enjoy Kentucky’s unique fusion of music and bourbon? Just over an hour southwest of Lexington is the impressive Log Still Distillery. In addition to its outstanding bourbon and 12-acre fishing lake, the distillery is also home to a 2,000-seat outdoor amphitheater hosting an ever-rotating lineup of bands and musicians. Before your trip through Kentucky comes to an end, be sure to visit the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum for a glimpse into the state’s deep connection to roots music.
Catching a live show at The Burl, a storied music venue in Lexington
Fly into Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). Rent a car to explore the state at your leisure.
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