If outdoorsy activities are on the agenda, hiking trails of all levels can be found in all parts of the Bluegrass State. Some as close asinside Highland Cemetery
in Ft. Mitchell, and the 2 mile walking path through the Boone County Arboretum
at Central Park in Union or you can head for some heavy-duty hiking at the Red River Gorge
and adjacent Natural Bridge State Park
. Situated in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest
, the gorge features limestone arches, rugged terrain, scenic vistas and looks much the same as it did back when Daniel first paid a visit in the late 1700s. Many of these attractions are the destination of hiking trails, but several are situated near roads and parking areas so if you really are not into hiking, you can still get there. At the Natural Bridge, they offer another attraction to get to the top: an unexpected ski lift. This lift travels the ½ mile up the mountain and drops you off within walking distance of the bridge. It is a scenic way to get to the top, but only recommended for those who are not afraid of heights.
What’s a Kentucky Staycation without some horses? Head down I-75 to Louisville and set your sites on Churchill Downs
. Not only the home to the famous Kentucky Derby
for more than 100 years, Churchill is also home to the Kentucky Derby Museum
. This interactive museum lets you climb into an actual starting gate, see trophies the equally-famous ladies hats from past derbies, and watch the 360-degree high-definition presentation called The Greatest Race, taking viewers through the process of what it takes to win the Kentucky Derby. Don’t forget to sign up for a backside tour of Churchill while you are there. The van-tour gives a fantastic perspective into the world of horse racing. And, of course, if Churchill has live racing going on, go ahead and plunk $2 down on the longshot. Who knows? Your winnings might pay for your lunch.
All of these Staycation tips can be beefed up or scaled back. Pack your lunch and eat at a nearby park or rest area or do a little research and look for a nearby mom and pop restaurant. If you don’t want to spend money on a meal, maybe just a little treat from a locals-favorite bakery or candy store. Kentucky offers a myriad of things to do and places to see. Sometimes the best part of any of these destinations is the journey to get there. Enjoy your travels as well as your companions.