The Kentucky Derby might be the most well-known jewel in the state’s crown of must-see tourist opportunities, but there is also an abundance of other sightseeing tours and activities that can be just as exciting as the well-publicized and historic Triple Crown race. From land to water to air, the Bluegrass State is known internationally for its fine bourbons, Southern cuisine, musical culture, and much more. Take in all of the sights of the state with these 10 amazing tours!
If you want a great way to learn more about the Bluegrass State and the culture behind it, what better way than to partake in a customized tour that gives you first-hand experience? Mint Julep Experiences based in Louisville can help take you there. Armed with the knowledge that your specific tour is being handled by professional guides who can create half-day or full-day tours of distilleries, landmarks, horse farms, restaurants, and more will give you the peace of mind that you’re not going to miss key facts that will make your time memorable. Part of your tour can be a special behind-the-scenes experience where you can meet culinary wizards and other people who understand or have a great influence on Kentucky legends and traditions.
See Louisville the way it was meant to be seen…by water. Set sail on the beautiful and historic steamboat, the Belle of Louisville, docked on the Ohio River in downtown Louisville. Cruises for up to 650 people are available between April and October or a regular schedule and between November and March on a limited basis. Don’t think that sitting is all there is to do aboard this water bound time machine. There’s a concession stand and bar, a dance floor, and stage where you’ll get to choose the cruise that’s best for you: a lunch or dinner cruise, daytime or stargazing, historic, or musical. Reservations are highly recommended.
Want to see the beautiful Red River Gorge from an entirely new perspective? This one-of-a-kind tour will have you zipping through the tree tops, literally! You can go as high as you like from 330 feet to spectacular 1,900 feet with tours that are between two and three hours long. A great adventure for families, class reunions, church youth groups, and co-workers, you’ll zip through the trees at speeds up to 55 mph but don’t worry. All tours have safety precautions and there are fitness requirements that will help ensure that your adventure is safe and fun. Because of the popularity of this tour, reservations are highly recommended.
Moonshine Tours & Tastings are scheduled every day at Casey Jones Distillery located in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. If you want to sample pure corn and cane sugar crafted moonshine, this is the real deal signature spirit that will rock your world. Coming in at 46 percent alcohol and 92 proof, you can also try varieties with apple, grape, and peach among others. Using an authentic (and secret) recipe that’s been in the family since the days of Prohibition, you’ll get a first-hand look at the equipment and method used to make this the moonshine capital of the world.
One of the things that makes Kentucky famous around the world is the amazing number of thoroughbred horses that come from here. If you want to see and experience the unique sights and sounds of a premier horse farm, Calumet farm in Lexington is the place to be. Tours are three hours long, and take you right to the heart of horse country by van and by foot. You’ll tour Keeneland Race Course where some of the world’s most expensive horse auctions happen. You’ll see actual places where movies about famous horses Seabiscuit, Secretariat, and Dreamer were filmed. Tour guides are knowledgeable and friendly and very proud of the state’s heritage.
If you’re a foodie and you want a down and dirty tour that includes a variety of down home Kentucky eats and what’s popular, the Madison Avenue Food Tour is the tour for you. Scheduled through Riverside Food & Culture Tours in Covington, this walking tour begins at the Hotel Covington and moves on to five privately owned restaurants including a local brewery. You’ll get to taste the old and the new with foods that include the popular Kentucky Hot Brown all the way to the Chinese restaurant that has the highest ranking on social media in the city. Children are welcome at a reduced rate, and the tour is a little over one mile.
Mammoth Cave National Park is located in the central part of Kentucky and includes several areas that are open to the public for discovery. Take a tour underground and see stalactites and stalagmites, lost rivers, caves where outlaws hid and where diamonds were found. All underground tours and trails are safe and well-lighted and are up to an hour in length. There’s even a boat tour nearby that offers stunning and never-before-seen rock formations. Mammoth Cave is one of the largest and most extensive series of caves and underground tunnels that stretch over 400 miles.
Anyone can take a boat, walking, or driving tour to see the city, but have you ever thought about taking a view from the air? Classic Biplane Tours in Louisville, Kentucky, will send you back in an open-air cockpit and show you the city as it looked in years gone by. This tour company has been providing this unique and adrenalin-rushing adventure for over 14 years with great success. Anyone aged two to 90 can take the flight, and safety is a prime concern. In case of bad weather, your flight will be rescheduled for a better time. Don’t forget to take your camera so you can get photos from an entirely different perspective.
Located near the historic train station known as the L&N Depot that was built in 1925 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, you can step aboard a trip to the past. With a dedicated mission to provide historic railroad cars so the public will understand the cultural and economic influence the railroad had in the area, the Historic RailPark and Train Museum Tour operates every day.
Henry Clay played an important role in Kentucky’s history as a lawyer and American statesman. His beautiful and majestic home, Ashland, is representative of the grandeur and charm of antebellum and post-Civil War days. Located in Lexington, the Federalist style mansion has 18 rooms, all of which can be toured, and there’s an optional grounds tour of the gardens which is worth taking. Everything is family-friendly, so bring the children. There’s a gift shop and café on premise after the 1-3-hour tour.