There are more places to visit in Kentucky than bourbon and fried chicken. The state prides itself on its population of over four million people, bustling tourist attractions, and a relatively low cost of living.

Now, that’s not even the best part. Kentucky’s culture is exhilarating, and if you’re looking for adventurous moments, you will find more than a handful in Kentucky.

Certain places can be regarded as the best places to visit in Kentucky, and each one comes with surplus activities that suit all kinds of occasions. Just think of it, wedding anniversary, honeymoons, family trips, or romantic nights out. You can do no wrong visiting this state.

Caves, parks, museums, art galleries, all of these, and more constitute the best places to visit in Kentucky.

Of course, there would be an abundant amount of fried chickens, bourbon, and a host of other Kentucky iconic dishes to keep you company at these locations. Try not to feast too much.

The best places to visit in Kentucky are probably in the hundreds, but here are the top six destinations you should put on your bucket list.

10. Louisville

The city of Louisville

One of the most unique places to visit in Kentucky is Louisville. There’s beautiful, and then there’s Louisville. If you’re a horse lover, the oldest city in Kentucky, Louisville, is the place you’d want to visit in the Bluegrass State.

The city’s history might keep you busy for most of your stay, but if the intrigue of its past gets old, grab a ticket to the Kentucky Derby and get caught up in the excitement of the annual horse race.

For history lovers, the top sites to explore are the museums in downtown Louisville. There you’d find the Frazier History Museum, the Louisville Slugger Museum, and the Muhammad Ali Center.

Oh, that’s not all. There are other museums available. There’s also a science center there with quite a bit of history to share, and there’s the Speed Art Museum with an epic collection of artwork.

Most of the action in Louisville happens on Fourth Street, still downtown. There, you’d find several plush local theatres and restaurants. The trick is to feed your eyes with great entertainment and fill your belly with rich southern dishes.

9. Newport

Huge Aquarium of Newport

Do you like sea life? Well, if you do, then Newport is your next best place to visit in Kentucky. Located in the southern part of Kentucky, Newport is a small city with a gorgeous waterfront. Over there, time seems to hold still.

The city’s number one source of attraction is its aquarium, popularly known as the Newport Aquarium. This bit of wonder is home to different breeds of sharks, penguins, and other fish. You can rightfully call it the shark capital!

When you’re done experiencing the thrill of aquatic creatures, you can dine at the Levee complex, treat yourself to some great entertainment, and end the day’s tour with a walk across Newport Southbank Bridge. The best view of the Ohio River comes from the very top of the bridge, and it’s a sight worth capturing.

8. Cumberland Gap

the cumberland gap

Are you looking for a taste of outdoor beauty? The Cumberland Gap is a sensational treat for the eyes.

If you are in Kentucky and you have time for only one location, Cumberland Gap is the best place in Kentucky to visit.

Why? First, it’s an epic depiction of Mother Nature’s beauty. Second, it’s home to a National Historical Park. Right in the park is the Hensley Settlement.

There are no endings to the historical stories that the village representative there tells about the Appalachian settlement. Other areas of interest in the park worth visiting are the Metal Art Workshop and the Artist Co-op.

 Today, it is a popular tourist destination. There are many things to see and do in Cumberland Gap, including hiking, camping, fishing, and sightseeing.

7. Mammoth Cave National Park

The Cave of Mammoth

Mammoth Cave National Park is one of the most unique places to visit in Kentucky. The park is home to the world’s largest cave system, with more than 400 miles of explored caves. Visitors can explore the caves on guided tours, or hike and camp on the park’s above-ground trails.

Most of the cave’s paths are open to visitors, and there are different levels of tours that show different things, like the dripstone formation.

You can engage in various mesmerizing activities in the national park. There’s a hiking spot with trails for both professionals and amateurs, or you could try fishing and kayaking in the Nolin River and Green River, or take a grand tour through the National Park on horseback.

Mammoth Cave National Park is also a great place to see wildlife, including bison, elk, and white-tailed deer.

6. London

dinosaur in london kentucky

Not England’s London. Just an odd town in Kentucky.

Ever wondered where Kentucky Fried Chicken sprouted from? It started in Kentucky’s London, and that is still a cause for celebration to this day.

We can’t leave out the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken from the list.

The town holds an annual World Chicken festival sometime in the fall.

In case you’ve wished to bite into a mouth-watering piece of Kentucky’s chicken fried in the world’s biggest skillet, do well to take a trip to London next fall.

London has a lot to offer outside the festival. For a bit of the civil war history, Campbell Wildcat BattleField is a site to visit. One of the first engagements by Kentucky troops during the civil war happened there.

The Levi Jackson Wilderness Road Park is another site that holds some exciting tales of history.

5. Red River Gorge

Red River with trees

Lovers of hardcore adventures would find a Red River Gorge experience fulfilling.

The red river gorge is a gorgeous outdoor attraction engulfed by the Daniel Boone National Forest.

It’s been there for ages, and it still offers many thrills for rock climbers and hikers.

The awe-inspiring part of Red Gorge is its natural bridge. Now, that’s a beauty you want to see. The sandstone cliffs in this place are quite a sight too.

It’s easy to lose track of time just wandering the rocky plains of the gorge or birdwatching.

If you’d like to explore the gorge from underneath, step into the Gorge Underground. A kayaking tour through the underground waters would give you a different and yet immersive view of the gorge’s natural element. Every tour of the site, above or underground, is supervised by well-trained tour guides.

4. Bowling Green

Statue with garden

The city is known as the Motor City because it is where Chevrolet produced the Corvette 40 years ago. The National Corvette should be your first point of call when you enter the bowling green city. There are also many parks where you can visit and enjoy your time in the city. Fountain Square, the Barren River Imaginative Museum of Science, and Aviation Heritage Park are some of the places you can check out.

Bowling Green is also a great place to visit for its history and culture.

3. Big South Fork National River

river with rock

There are plenty of reasons to visit Kentucky, but one of the most unique and interesting places to explore is the Big South Fork National River. This national park is in the middle of the Appalachians and has beautiful views, great hiking trails, and a lot of history.

The Big South Fork National River was established in 1974 to protect the natural beauty of the area and provide recreational opportunities for visitors. The Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries are both included in the nearly 125,000-acre park. The river itself is known for its whitewater rapids, which makes it a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing.

But there’s more to this national park than just waterfalls and rivers. The hiking trails are some of the best in Kentucky, with options ranging from easy walks to strenuous hikes. There are also plenty of historical sites to explore, including an old coal mine that operated until 1962.

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy nature, get some exercise, and learn about American history, then be sure to add the Big South Fork National River to your list of places to visit in Kentucky.

2. Paducah

street of Paducah

When it comes to unique places to visit in Kentucky, Paducah is definitely at the top of the list. This small town has a lot to offer visitors, from its rich history to its vibrant arts scene.

Paducah was first settled by Native Americans over 10,000 years ago and was later founded as a city in 1827. Since then, it has been an important stop on the Ohio River, serving as a major shipping port. The city also played an important role during the Civil War, serving as a Union army base.

Today, Paducah is known for its thriving arts community. The city is home to several art galleries and museums, as well as The Great American Dollhouse Museum. There are also many festivals and events that celebrate the arts that happen all through the year.

One of the events you cannot afford to miss when you travel to Paducah is the international quilt exhibition, which is held at the National Quilt Museum.

If you’re looking for a unique place to visit in Kentucky, Paducah is definitely worth checking out!

1. Lexington

The place of Lexington

Lexington is one of the biggest cities in Kentucky. The city has been a spot for thoroughbred racing for more than two centuries. The city hosts music festivals every year. Musicians from every part of the world usually visit the city to entertain fun-seekers. There’s something for everyone in Louisville. And if you’re a fan of bourbon, you’ll definitely want to check out some of the city’s many distilleries. So whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, be sure to add Louisville to your list of places to visit in Kentucky.