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Welcome to Kentucky

From world-class horse racing to folksy, down-South bluegrass music, Kentucky is a land of contrasts. Putting down a few extra dollars on the ponies is as popular a pastime as going to church. Bourbon is one of the state’s most profitable exports, and yet there are entire counties where the sale of alcohol is still prohibited. It shares cultural roots with the American South, but also echoes the ruggedness of America’s pioneering frontier days.

The claim to fame here is the Kentucky Derby, held each year in May. But if you can’t make it for Derby weekend, have no fear. Pencil in some time for a swing through the city of Louisville, where you can visit the Kentucky Derby Museum and take a tour of the legendary Churchill Downs racetrack.

If you find yourself in Lexington, you can visit the Kentucky Horse Park, the only one of its kind in the world. The park’s 1,200 acres are home to a working horse farm, theme park, competition facilities and the International Museum of the Horse.

Other highlights include the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory (where iconic baseball bats are made), Louisville Mega Cavern (home to underground zip-lines) and a slew of tours to distilleries, including Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Woodford Reserve.



If you’re visiting Kentucky during spring, you’ll get to see firsthand why it’s called the Bluegrass State, as pastures all across the state begin to bloom with azure-colored buds. It makes the perfect backdrop for exploring the state by hiking boot, mountain bike, canoe or scenic byway.

One of the most popular outdoor recreation areas is Mammoth Cave National Park, where a 4,000-year-old limestone cave system is ready for subterranean exploration. This is the longest known cave system in the world.

In Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, you can explore more than 80 miles of incredible hiking trails, including the original one marked by Daniel Boone in 1775 as he blazed his pioneering trail through the Lower Appalachians.

Other popular destinations include Natural Bridge State Resort Park near Slade, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park near Corbin, Lost River Cave in Bowling Green and My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown.