Incredible natural wonders, tasty southern cooking, soulful music, and heart-pounding races all have a home in
Kentucky—here’s the best of the best to add to your bucket list.
What’s on your bucket list? Is it something challenging, like climbing a gorge? Is it something unforgettable, like fireworks over the river? Or is it something inexplicable that tugs at your heartstrings, like enjoying a passionate, home-cooked meal?
Believe it or not, you can experience all these things right here in Kentucky, and
Jerry the insurance
super app can show you how. Read on for our top picks in every category, which add up to a bucket list you’ll be proud of!
Compare insurance quotes from 50+ carriers with Jerry in under 45 seconds
The top natural wonders in Kentucky
1. Explore Mammoth Cave
Why: At 400 miles, the world's longest recorded cave system takes you past swooping abysses, glittering mineral formations, and echoing chambers. Return to the surface and you can hike, bike, picnic, camp, and more.
How much? Admission to the park is free; fees vary by
2. Ride the skylift to Natural Bridge
When: From the first weekend of April to the last weekend in October
Why: You won’t want to miss the gorgeous views and awe-inspiring rock formations. Ride the skylift all the way to the park’s namesake natural stone bridge and soak it all in.
How much? One way tickets start at $11, with discounts for children, seniors, and military members
3. See a moonbow at Cumberland Falls
When: Throughout the year on nights of the full moon
Why: On clear nights with a full moon, "the Niagara of the South" produces a stunning phenomenon—a colorful, shining moonbow hanging in the mist of the majestic falls. If that isn't magical, we don't know what is.
4. Climb the Red River Gorge
When: March to April and October to November
How much? Free, but make sure to budget for guides and equipment
The most interesting tours in Kentucky
5. Take a sip on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
When: Year-round; set aside four days to complete the tour
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail pays homage to America’s only native spirit. Visit the historic distilleries that help to create 95% of the world’s supply of bourbon, some of which have been in the business for over two centuries.
6. Get spooked on the Old Louisville Ghost Tour
Where: Historic Louisville, KY
When: Seven days a week, from March to November
Why: Some of the Victorian mansions in “America’s Most Haunted Neighborhood” date back to the 1800s; all of them have housed key figures in the state's biggest industries: tobacco, racing, and bourbon. The 40-square block historic district is covered by
Louisville Historic Tours.
7. Pat a horse at a Thoroughbred Horse Farm
When: Year-round (rates and dates change with the seasons); set aside three hours for completion
Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Farm Tours allow you to get up close and personal with the champions of the racetrack. Unlike other athletes, they'll also allow you to pat their noses and feed them carrots.
How much? $40 for adults, $39 for seniors, and $29 for children
8. Indulge your sweet tooth with Rebecca Ruth Chocolates
When: Monday to Saturday from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM; set aside 30 minutes for the tour
Why: The inventors of Bourbon Balls made sweet, sweet history when they decided to create one of the first women-led business ventures in 1919.
How much? $6 for adults, $4 for children
The best food in Kentucky
9. Take a bite of Hot Brown
When: The English Grill is currently closed; the Cafe is open Tuesday to Friday from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM, with brunch on Saturday and Sunday
Why: A landmark hotel in its own right, its namesake dish is an open-faced turkey sandwich served with bacon and cheesy Mornay sauce. Not quite dinner and not quite breakfast, it was invented for patrons who danced the night away.
How much? $26 for the Original Hot Brown
10. Cut a slice of Derby-Pie
When: 24/7 online shopping
Why: You might find this chocolate-walnut pie on menus throughout the state, but there's only one place to get a slice made with the original, trademarked, secret recipe.
How much? $30 for the Original Chocolate Nut Derby-Pie®
11. Lick your fingers at the Claudia Sanders Dinner House
When: Tuesday to Thursday from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM; Friday to Saturday from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM; Sunday from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Why: Colonel Sanders might have founded a Kentucky-fried empire, but he was a chef first. Located in
the original KFC headquarters, here's your chance to sample classic country cooking and southern hospitality.
How much? $10.99 for two pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, bread, and your choice of side, all made from scratch
12. Savor the BBQ at the Moonlite Inn
When: Check the website for dine-in, carry-out, buffet, and holiday hours
Why: Established in 1963, this "Kentucky tradition" has remained under family management and recently was voted the best in the state by Kentucky Monthly and Kentucky Living.
How much? $19.59 for a beef, mutton, and pork platter
The best shopping in Kentucky
13. Scratch your itch for bargains at the Awesome Flea Market
When: Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, year-round
Why: Sure, it might be self-proclaimed, but “The Most Awesome Flea Market in the World” boasts over 500 vendors whose wares are browsed by 5,000 visitors every week.
14. Find something handmade in Berea
15. Save at The Outlet Shoppes
When: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM; Sunday from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Why: The only outlet shopping center in Kentucky might not have much competition, but if it did, it’d still be a top pick. Save 25 to 60% on over 90 designer names like Coach, Banana Republic, Nike, North Face, Kate Spade, Under Armour, and more.
16. Bring home a little Taste of Kentucky
Where: A Taste of Kentucky, Louisville, KY
When: Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM; Saturday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM; Sunday from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Why: Dedicated to showcasing specialties of the state, their goods include bourbon, Derby-themed items, arts, crafts, foods, preserves, gifts, and—of course—the Original Derby-Pie.
Cultural highlights of Kentucky
17. Get behind the wheel of a Corvette
When: Monday to Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Why: You didn’t think we’d forget the hometown of the
‘Vette, did you? The museum is home to all things past, present, and future to do with America’s sports car. You can tour the factory, see the hall of fame, take a stroll down nostalgia lane, and even pilot a C6 in a virtual race!
How much? $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, $13 for youths
18. Put your name on a Louisville Slugger
When: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Why: Marvel at the 120-foot Big Bat sculpture, take a swing with Babe Ruth’s bat, and see how the factory makes its signature products before
personalizing your very own slugger.
How much? Full-length bats start at $59.99
19. Sing along at a Bluegrass music festival
Why: It’s acoustic, it’s blues, it’s jazz, it’s European, it’s African-American, it’s Methodist/Holiness/Baptist and truly Appalachian—one thing is for sure, bluegrass “has a high and lonesome sound.” Appreciation for the bluegrass genre runs wide, which is why you can take your pick from the
many music festivals around the state.
How much? Most festivals are free
20. Get quilting at Paducah
Why: One of only nine UNESCO Creative Cities in the US, Paducah is known for hosting galleries, shops, and festivals centered around the vibrant fabric arts. It’s also the home of
The National Quilt Museum.
How much? $12 for adults, $11 for seniors, $5 for students at The National Quilt Museum
Four steps to an iconic Kentucky Derby experience
21. Feel the Thunder Over Louisville
When: April 2023, 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Why: The month-long Kentucky Derby festival kicks off with a bang: the largest annual fireworks display in the nation! The very first show to air in 1988 featured 20,000 multi-colored balloons, a live stage, fireworks, and about 10,000 attendees—it’s only grown bigger from there.
22. Buy a fancy hat for the Derby
When: Some fashionistas plan their outfits as early as December
Why: If you want to turn heads (and hats) at the Kentucky Derby, you’ll need to go big, bigger, and then even bigger than that. Check out the
KDF Fashion Show and
past Derby fashion icons for inspiration.
How much? A custom hat can cost up to $1,000
23. Visit the Kentucky Derby Museum
When: Hours vary per season; see
website for details
Why: Dating back to 1875, the Kentucky Derby is the longest continuously-running sporting event in the nation. The Museum preserves the heritage of the “most exciting two minutes in sports” through walking tours, films, exhibits, and a resident thoroughbred!
How much? Fees vary per tour; see
schedule for details
24. Play the odds at the Kentucky Derby
Why: If you’re wearing a fancy hat, sipping a
mint julep, and watching thoroughbreds race down the track at the Derby, you can say you’ve had the definitive
Kentucky Derby experience.
How much? Varies per event and seating; see
website for details
The best car insurance in Kentucky
The best car insurance for you is tailored to your vehicle and your needs—
Jerry gets it! Whether you’re visiting Kentucky or a permanent resident, we can help match you with an affordable policy.
Check out how easy it is to get free, competitive car insurance quotes on your smartphone! Just enter your information, and in 45 seconds, you’ll see rates from some of the top insurance companies across the country.
Plus, our team of expert customer service agents can help you decide based on your driving history and coverage priorities. We'll let you know when you have coverage options that fit within your price range, helping you save money while maintaining quality protection.
Jerry was helpful every step of the way. They saved me over $100 a month for insurance in Kentucky.” —Jim F.
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