• Sun. May 19th, 2024

Packing Bags For The Derby: What Not To Miss In Kentucky

Byzestful Grace

Apr 27, 2024

Are you traveling to Kentucky for the 150th Run for the Roses? You are a lucky person. This is one of the greatest horse races in the world full of thrills and an incredible vibe that promises a trip of a lifetime.

But even though the Kentucky Derby is the focus for most people, Kentucky still has plenty of other tourist spots that are worth the visit. So, if you are planning a trip to Kentucky, a pro tip is to schedule your travel plan to arrive at least 3 days before the race and stay 3 days after the race.

That way you’ll get to explore more about the history of the Bluegrass state, visit some of the local tours, and learn more about horse racing and bourbon.

That’s why we’ve decided to make a list of things that you shouldn’t miss on your next trip to Kentucky.

Packing Essentials

Before we dive into the must-see attractions, we have to be prepared. Packing your essentials and preparing for a trip to Kentucky can make or break your entire experience. Here is what to consider packing:

  • Comfortable shoes – You’ll be on your legs most of the time, so choose comfort over style
  • Lightweight clothing in layers – Traveling to Kentucky in May means sunny weather, but it can change suddenly so be prepared.
  • Sunscreen and a hat – You’ll need something to protect you from the sun.
  • Travel guide or a map of Kentucky with all the attractions circled out.

Churchill Downs Museum

This is a good starting spot since you’ll be watching the Kentucky Derby race. The Kentucky Derby Museum is one of the biggest and oldest horse museums in the world. Here you can learn more about the sport, its history, and all the greatest athletes we’ve seen competing in the Kentucky Derby.

It’s best if you visit the Churchill Downs Museum before the race, that way you’ll have some knowledge about the race, such as the past winners which you can consult in TwinSpires.com.

Daniel Boone National Forest

This is an expansive forest named after the legendary pioneer Daniel Boone, and it bursts with rugged beauty and diverse ecosystems. You have to explore many different things like waterfalls, and hidden caves like the Mammoth Cave System, and there is no shortage of natural wonders to discover.

Plus, you have the Red River Gorge, with towering sandstone cliffs, incredible rock formations, and many hiking trails for a true outdoor paradise.

So, if you love camping, hiking, fishing or just being outdoors, this is the best place to go to. 

Kentucky Horse Park

Since you are already there for a horse race, let’s go a step further and immerse yourself in the world of equine excellence at the Kentucky Horse Park, a must-visit destination for horse enthusiasts. 

Explore interactive exhibits, watch captivating horse shows, and learn about the history and heritage of Kentucky’s horse industry. Don’t forget to visit the Hall of Champions and meet retired racehorses, including past Derby winners.TwinSpires.comExplore interactive exhibits, watch captivating horse shows, and learn about the history and heritage of Kentucky’s horse industry. Don’t forget to visit the Hall of Champions and meet retired racehorses, including past Derby winners.

Bourbon Trail

What is Kentucky most known for apart from the biggest horse race in the world? Yes, Bourbon. If you like to explore the history of Bourbon, how it’s made, and why the world’s best bourbon comes from Kentucky, you have to go to the Bourbon Trail.

There are some iconic distilleries such as Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace, and Maker’s Mark. You’ll learn more about this spirit, go on a tasting journey, and find out more about how it’s made. 

This is Kentucky’s finest spirit, which is why it is also the main ingredient in the Mint Julep, which is the official cocktail for the Kentucky Derby.

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

A visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is an unforgettable experience for baseball aficionados. Join a guided tour to see how bats are made, marvel at the biggest bat in the world, and discover the significance of the Louisville Slugger brand to baseball. A customized little bat may be held as a special memento of your trip.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park

Visit the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park to learn about the beginnings of the 16th President of the United States’ extraordinary life. 

Discover the memorial building containing historical items, explore the symbolic cabin signifying Lincoln’s lowly origins, and gain knowledge of Lincoln’s legacy through ranger-led events and educational displays.

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Travel back in time to the 19th century at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, a preserved Shaker community showcasing their simple yet innovative way of life. 

Wander through restored buildings, participate in hands-on workshops, and admire the craftsmanship of Shaker furniture and artifacts. The serene surroundings and cultural immersion offer a unique glimpse into Kentucky’s past.

Insider Tips

  • Local Cuisine: Indulge in Kentucky’s culinary delights, from savory hot browns to indulgent bourbon-infused dishes. Don’t miss trying the regional favorite, fried chicken, at renowned eateries like Claudia Sanders Dinner House or The Eagle.
  • Outdoor Adventures: Take advantage of Kentucky’s outdoor beauty by embarking on hiking trails in Red River Gorge or enjoying water sports at Lake Cumberland.
  • Festivals and Events: Check out local festivals and events happening during your visit, such as the Kentucky Bourbon Festival or the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum’s concerts.