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Red river gorge underground: cave kayaking & boat tours, classic tours.

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Classic Boat Tour

Your journey begins as you descend into the darkness in a custom-built cave boat. With an expert guide at the helm, you'll wind your way through the 100-year-old flooded limestone mine and discover the rich history and hidden secrets of The Gorge Underground.

Adult (Ages 13+) Youth (Ages 3-12)

$30 All Days $25 All Days

  • 20 People Max Group Size

Minimum age for children on this tour is 3. For safety, children under 3 years of age are not able to participate.

tour in kentucky

Classic Kayak Tour

Feeling adventurous? Paddle your way through the mine in a kayak on this unforgettable one-hour tour. Make your way through the darkness as our expert guides lead the way illuminating the unique features of the Gorge Underground.

Adult (Ages 13+) Youth (Ages 5-12)

$55 Mon-Thur, $65 Fri-Sun $55 Mon-Thur, $65 Fri-Sun

  • 12 People Max Group Size

Minimum age for children on this tour is 5. For safety, children under 5 years of age are not able to participate.

Deluxe Tours

tour in kentucky

Crystal Kayak Tour

Prepare to have your mind blown as you explore the Undergound in a deluxe crystal clear kayak! Underwater led lights coupled with these see-through kayaks provide a stunning view of our rainbow trout and the mine's otherwise hidden underwater details.

Adult (Ages 13+) Youth  (Ages 5-12)

$75 Mon-Thur, $85 Fri-Sun $75 Mon-Thur, $85 Fri-Sun

  • 8 People; Can accommodate larger groups on request

tour in kentucky

Crystal Clear Sup Tour

Upgrade to our deluxe 1.5-hour SUP tour and experience the wonders of the cavern in a new (colorful) light. As you navigate the mine surrounded by the glow of your Crystal Clear LED board, our expert guides will reveal the best-kept secrets of the underground.

Join Us for an Unforgettable Adventure!

Gorge Underground cave tours offer a thrilling opportunity to experience a historic mine system near the Red River Gorge. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world as you move through the cool, damp air, listening to the sounds of water dripping and marveling at the stunning rock formations.

Our local guides are experts in the geology and history of the mine system, and they’ll share fascinating stories about the area and the creatures that call it home. You’ll also learn about the delicate balance of the underground ecosystem and the efforts being made to preserve it.

Tours are suitable for all levels of fitness. So whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a first-time explorer, come join us for an adventure you’ll never forget!

tour in kentucky

Got a Group?

Gather up your friends, family, even uncle Gary, or some co-workers and we’re here to show you how adventure is done. Give us a call for special pricing and package offers.

tour in kentucky

Everything for the Perfect Getaway

tour in kentucky

Single-family to large group cabins, hotel rooms, and camping. We’ve got you covered.

tour in kentucky

We have something for everyone; from family activities to high-adrenaline adventures.

tour in kentucky

Grab the gear you need during your stay and fuel up with tasty treats.

tour in kentucky

Snacks to hearty after-hike meals, we’ve got something for every appetite!

We’re Right in the Heart of Red River Gorge

Convenient for groups coming from: Lexington, KY: 1 hr Louisville, KY: 1 hr 59 mins Ashland, NC: 2 hrs 4 mins Cincinatti, OH: 2 hrs 2 mins Nashville, TN: 4 hrs 3 mins

1-844-254-6244

2478 Glen Cairn Road, Rogers, Kentucky 41365

Get Directions

GROUP RETREATS

Visit  RedRiverGorgeVacations.com

tour in kentucky

Bluegrass, KY Tours

Bluegrass, KY: The Kentucky River Rambler

The Kentucky River Rambler

Built in 1888, this section of the Louisville Southern Railroad once carried passengers from Lawrenceburg to Versailles and Lexington. Now you can ride the rails through the picturesque Kentucky countryside with Rail Explorers. Passing the thoroughbred horse farms you may see mares and foals in the fields before descending into deep cuts through the limestone hills. Bring a drink and snack to enjoy at the turnaround area on the cliffs above the Kentucky River gorge. Enjoy the view of the Wild Turkey Distillery and the 1,659 ft long Young's High Bridge soaring 283 ft above the river. All Explorers are fitted with the 'REX Propulsion System' - custom built electric motors that make the journey truly effortless.

Tour duration: 2 hours.

Book a Bluegrass, KY tour now!

Bluegrass, KY: The Kentucky River Sundowner

The Kentucky River Sundowner

Built in 1888, this section of the Louisville Southern Railroad once carried passengers from Lawrenceburg to Versailles and Lexington. Now you can ride the rails through the picturesque Kentucky countryside with Rail Explorers. Passing the thoroughbred horse farms you may see mares and foals in the fields before descending into deep cuts through the limestone hills. Enjoy the River Rambler in the cool of the evening as the sun goes down. Bring a drink and snack to enjoy at the turnaround area on the cliffs above the Kentucky River gorge. Enjoy the view of the Wild Turkey Distillery and the 1,659 ft long Young's High Bridge soaring 283 ft above the river. All Explorers are fitted with the 'REX Propulsion System' - custom built electric motors that make the journey truly effortless.

Bluegrass, KY: Night Lights in Kentucky

Night Lights in Kentucky

Light it UP! Ride the Kentucky River Rambler with an Explorer decked out in colorful LED lights. You'll leave the station around sunset and come back in the dark, where the lights show the way home! Bring a drink and snack to enjoy at the lantern lit turnaround area on the cliffs above the Kentucky River gorge. All Explorers are fitted with the 'REX Propulsion System' - custom built electric motors that make the journey truly effortless.

Bluegrass, KY: Lightning Bug Ride

Lightning Bug Ride

Celebrate the hot Summer nights with this evening schedule of the Kentucky River Rambler. You'll leave the station at dusk - keep an eye out for lightning bugs along the way! Bring a drink and snack to enjoy at the lantern lit turnaround area on the cliffs above the Kentucky River gorge. All Explorers are fitted with the 'REX Propulsion System' - custom built electric motors that make the journey truly effortless. *lightning bugs not guaranteed

Bluegrass, KY: Fireside in Fall

Fireside in Fall

Crisp Fall evenings call for fireside fun. The fire-pits are blazing at the depot and the lantern lit turnaround. BYO S'mores! to enjoy after cruising the Kentucky River Ramble in the Fall. All Explorers are fitted with the 'REX Propulsion System' - custom built electric motors that make the journey truly effortless.

Protect Your Trip »

29 Top Things to Do in Kentucky

Kentucky is synonymous with bourbon, country music and horse racing, but visitors to the Bluegrass State might not expect its quirky museums or impressive natural wonders.

Top things to do in kentucky

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From wandering museums in the city to exploring unique attractions in the countryside, Kentucky offers something for everyone.

Kentucky is generally associated with derbies, whiskey and fried chicken, but there is much more to the Bluegrass State. A sprawling underground cave system, a plunging river gorge, and a stunning waterfall all call the state home, as do Corvettes, an unlikely castle and a museum dedicated to creationism. And while there is certainly a quirky roadside attraction for every taste, many museums and attractions close down for the winter, so travelers should plan their itineraries accordingly.

There is plenty to occupy families and road trippers within Kentucky's state lines, but it's also helpful to know that Cincinnati is just a John A. Roebling suspension bridge away — 83 miles from Lexington, Kentucky, or 100 miles from Louisville, Kentucky .

Whether you're on the hunt for the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail or ready to forge your own path, read on for 29 of the best things to do in Kentucky.

(Note: Some of the following activities, attractions and locations may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. New policies may be in place, including capacity restrictions, reservation requirements or mask mandates. Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State and local tourism boards before traveling.)

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

The prolific Louisville slugger baseball bat began production in Louisville in 1884, and it's still being produced at the site's active factory today. Baseball fans from across the country pilgrimage to this factory tour and museum dedicated to the love of the game. Galleries of memorabilia — including a Babe Ruth bat — await, as well as rotating exhibits, like "The Best Black Baseball Team You've Never Heard Of," to keep things fresh.

General admission is less than $20 (and kids under 5 are free) and includes a factory tour and a mini bat keepsake. Meanwhile, $299 will buy you an exclusive All-Star Experience pass to restricted areas of the factory floor, the bat vault, the archive room with the museum's most prized artifacts and a personalized bat. Take a picture with it outside next to Louisville's iconic Big Bat — at 120 feet tall, it's the world's largest.

Address: 800 W. Main St., Louisville, KY 40202

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

Top things to do in kentucky

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, located in Corbin, Kentucky, is one of the state's most picturesque natural preserves. The park's highlight is Cumberland Falls. On clear nights around a full moon (about five days each month), Cumberland Falls creates a moonbow: a natural phenomenon that refracts light in its water droplets. Roughly 17 miles of hiking trails wind through the park, with many connecting to Daniel Boone National Forest. Both parks are of particular interest to birders, who come seeking species like the Carolina wren or tufted titmouse. Horseback riding is offered daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day and on select weekends in September and October. Families will also enjoy organized gem mining, located just past the gift shop. The park permits fishing with a license and welcomes campers from mid-March through October.

Address: 7351 Highway 90, Corbin, KY 40701

Channel history on an Old Louisville Ghost Tour

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of Louisville Historic Tours

Kentucky was established as the 15th U.S. state in 1792, and it has developed a lot of history during the last 230-plus years. Louisville was the center of Kentucky society during the 1800s, and sordid reminders of booze and tobacco industries pockmark the city and lend the Gothic architecture its spooky stories. Local author David Domine specializes in true crime and the paranormal, and he crafted a 100-minute ghost tour of "America's most haunted neighborhood " to share its fascinating narratives. Recommended by the New York Times, David's ghost stories inform and entertain with the added benefit of getting your steps in. Tours run from March through November.

Address: 1300 S. Fourth St., Louisville, KY 40208

Churchill Downs

Top things to do in kentucky

If you're in Kentucky on the first Saturday in May — even if you're nowhere near Louisville — there will be no avoiding the frenzy that surrounds the Kentucky Derby. Mint juleps, extravagant hats and seersucker suits characterize the iconic horse race, but Churchill Downs is also worth visiting year-round. Where the derby is held, Churchill Downs racetrack provides unparalleled insight into the world of horse racing. Kentucky Derby Museum offers two floors of related exhibits and various tours of the grounds, including experiences that range from meeting jockeys and working with the horses to tasting bourbon.

Tickets to the museum cost less than $20, and children younger than 5 are free; all tour rates include access to the museum. Race day tours make a full-day experience of the nation's most famous horse racetrack. Also, consider a visit to Keeneland, another of Kentucky's finest thoroughbred racecourses and one of the best attractions in Lexington .

Address: 704 Central Ave., Louisville, KY 40208

The Galt House Hotel

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of The Galt House Hotel

Even if you're not booking a stay, it's worth visiting Kentucky's largest hotel, which traces its roots back to the early 19th century. The Galt House , a Trademark Collection Hotel, located in downtown Louisville, was originally a private home owned by Dr. W.C. Galt. The Galt House Hotel opened in 1835, and the original home was absorbed as the hotel's East Tower in 1984. The Galt House Hotel's primary draw is its central location, near Museum Row, the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, the Muhammad Ali Center and more. There are two bourbon bars on-site, plus a spa with bourbon-infused treatments.

Anyone looking for an offbeat and free thing to do can find a hidden installation on the hotel's grounds; near the main entrance, Gallop to Glory is the "Walk of Fame" of jockeys, featuring the handprints and signatures of the winning riders of the Kentucky Derby.

Address: 140 N. Fourth St., Louisville, KY 40202

Tour a modern castle

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of The Kentucky Castle

Appropriately located in the town of Versailles (not to be confused with the French palace ), The Kentucky Castle is a stunning boutique hotel just 10 miles outside Lexington. As you might expect, the castle's origins are a bit strange. The castle began construction in 1969 by a wealthy couple but was not completed due to the couple's divorce six years into the castle's construction. The castle was eventually purchased, though a fire in 2004 delayed renovations. The Kentucky Castle finally opened to the public in 2008 as a bed-and-breakfast called the Castle Post, just shy of 40 years in the making.

Today, curious tourists not staying at the B&B can book a 45-minute tour of the grounds for $25. Events, like murder mystery dinners, are also occasionally held here.

Address: 230 Pisgah Pike, Versailles, KY 40383

National Corvette Museum

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of National Corvette Museum

Head to Bowling Green, Kentucky, the self-proclaimed " Home of America's Sports Car ," to drool over all things Corvette. There will be more cars than you can manage between the exhibits of 'Vettes old and new, which span Chevrolet's automotive achievement since they introduced the Corvette in 1953. A more unexpected installation features heavily damaged Corvettes; in 2014, a massive sinkhole took eight cars about 30 feet down. They say to make lemonade from lemons, and the museum made a permanent exhibit of the cave-in called the Skydome Sinkhole Experience to document the event. An interactive driving game and a massive gift shop are just some of the museum's other added features.

If you're looking to bring home a serious souvenir, you can custom-build your own Corvette — Bowling Green is the only plant in the world that builds them.

Address: 350 Corvette Drive, Bowling Green, KY 42101

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Slavery to Freedom Museum

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of Maysville-Mason County Tourism

In 1833, Harriet Beecher Stowe visited one of her students in Maysville, Kentucky. During the visit, she witnessed a slave auction at a local courthouse, and it was this distressing event that, in part, inspired her to write her classic novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Her former student's family home, the Marshall Key House, now also houses the Harriet Beecher Stowe, Slavery to Freedom Museum. The small house is more than 215 years old and decorated in the style it would have been when Stowe visited. Patrons can also observe artifacts related to the American Civil War and slavery.

Anyone interested in a tour can book one through the Old Washington Visitor Center on Main Street in Maysville. While in Maysville, visitors may want to explore the National Underground Railroad Museum and the Kentucky Gateway Museum for historical collections and temporary exhibits.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Slavery to Freedom Museum was closed for renovations at the time of publication. It is scheduled to reopen in 2023.

Address: 1001 Forest Ave., Maysville, KY 41056

Mammoth Cave National Park

Top things to do in kentucky

Did you know the longest recorded cave system in the world is in Kentucky? Mammoth Cave National Park and its more than 400 miles of recorded caves, located about 40 miles northeast of Bowling Green, is free to visit (cave tours incur an additional fee). Aboveground, the park offers hiking, biking, camping, scenic drives, horseback riding and more.

Still, the park's cave tours showcase the area's interesting history and serve as its primary draw. Enslaved Black Americans mined the caves for saltpeter in the 18th century, and enslaved men and women also developed cave tour routes as Mammoth Cave transitioned into a tourist destination. Following the Civil War, generations of now-free Black guides continued to lead tours.

Today, tours are remarkably accessible, including versions for various levels of mobility and hearing. Routes range from a quarter-mile with a dozen stairs to more than 2 miles with 600 stairs.

Address: One Mammoth Cave Parkway, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259

Vent Haven Museum                                                          

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of Vent Haven Museum

Don't be a dummy — if you're in Fort Mitchell, come check out the world's only museum dedicated to ventriloquism. Vent Haven is the result of a decades-long personal collection of ventriloquist dummies and paraphernalia by W.S. Berger. In operation since 1973, the museum now houses more than a thousand dummies spanning three centuries of use. Special exhibits have included the characters used by Darci Lynne, the 2017 winner of "America's Got Talent."

Tours are by appointment only, customized to visitors' interests and range from 45 minutes to an hour. The museum operates seven days a week, seasonally. Vent Haven Museum is in Kentucky but located just 7 miles from downtown Cincinnati .

Vent Haven Museum was closed for renovations at the time of publication. It is scheduled to reopen in August 2022.

Address: 33 W. Maple Ave., Fort Mitchell, KY 41011

Muhammad Ali Center

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of the Kentucky Department of Tourism

Born Cassius Clay in Louisville in 1942, Muhammad Ali went on to have an iconic career in boxing that eventually earned him the nickname "The Greatest." Most people know him as a charismatic athlete, but Ali donated his time and money to charitable causes throughout his life. In 2005, Ali cofounded Kentucky's Muhammad Ali Center, a multicultural gathering space and nonprofit museum dedicated to the "Six Core Principles" that he lived his life by: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect and spirituality. The exhibits inspire greatness with artifacts, historical footage, multimedia presentations and more.

The Muhammad Ali Center is located along Louisville's renowned Museum Row. Admission ranges from $9 to $14; children under 5 are free.

Address: 144 N. Sixth St., Louisville, KY 40202

Take five at the Big Four Bridge

Top things to do in kentucky

Linking Kentucky and Indiana, the Big Four Bridge straddles the Ohio River with its Kentucky entrance located along the 85-acre Louisville Waterfront Park. The 53-foot-high bridge, originally built in 1895, allowed railroad cars to enter Louisville through 1968, when train traffic was diverted. In 2014, an access ramp was constructed to convert the previously decommissioned train bridge into a mile-long pedestrian space. The reimagined bridge provides walkers and bikers a panoramic view over the Ohio River, and recent travelers say it is especially stunning at sunset. From twilight to 1 a.m., a rainbow of LED lights illuminate the bridge. About 1.5 million visitors are estimated to cross the bridge every year.

Address: 1101 River Road, Louisville, KY 40202

U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum

Top things to do in kentucky

Part roadside attraction, part homage to country music royalty, this museum sits along a gas station exit ramp off U.S. Highway 23, also known as "the country music highway." Highlighting talent from the eastern part of Kentucky, the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum features 14 exhibits spanning country artists who have called the Bluegrass State home, including artists like Loretta Lynn and Chris Stapleton. Keeping the tradition alive, a bluegrass musician takes to the porch steps to play every Thursday night.

The museum costs $4 to enter and is located in Paintsville, Kentucky, more than 100 miles east of Lexington and not very far from the border of West Virginia. If you're traveling toward Louisa, the Kentucky Country Music Museum is yet another collection of local legend paraphernalia — and this time, it's inside of an actual gas station.

Address: 120 Stave Branch, Staffordsville, KY 41256

Harland Sanders Café and Museum

Top things to do in kentucky

Sure, KFCs are found everywhere — even in Egypt with a view of the pyramids . However, the world-famous chain started in Corbin with Colonel Harland Sanders (an honorary title, not a military colonel). The Sanders Café opened in 1937, but the structure was rebuilt after a fire in 1939 and reopened on Independence Day in 1940. Colonel Sanders' "secret" fried chicken recipe was developed on-site, and in 1956 he began to franchise restaurants across the nation. The original cafe remains, now a museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can walk through a model of the motel room, view KFC memorabilia including a Green Lantern and Colonel Sanders crossover comic book and, of course, try some chicken and biscuits in a distinct dining room.

Parts of Harland Sanders Café and Museum were closed for renovations at the time of publication. It is scheduled to reopen in 2022.

Address: 688 U.S. Highway 25 W, Corbin, KY 40701

Creation Museum

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of the Creation Museum

From curators not sold on the Big Bang Theory — the astronomical event, not the comedy series — the Creation Museum is dedicated to "creation science," an explanation of human existence drawn straight from the pages of the Bible. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly half of Kentucky's adult population identifies as evangelical Protestant. In a survey by the same group, 67% of respondents believed humans have always existed in our present form or evolved due to God's design. Regardless of what you think, the Creation Museum offers a unique perspective on the origin of life with more than 140 exhibits.

Admission costs about $45 for adults and $25 for kids ages 11 to 17, while children under 10 are free. A companion exhibit features a life-sized replica of Noah's Ark about 40 miles south.

Address: 2800 Bullittsburg Church Road, Petersburg, KY 41080

Conrad-Caldwell House Museum

Top things to do in kentucky

Timothy Miller | Courtesy of the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum

This house museum with an alliterative name and design — Richardsonian Romanesque — particularly delights fans of HBO's "Gilded Age." The Conrad-Caldwell house, originally constructed in 1895, is a prime example of Louisville's elaborate Victorian architecture. Louisville holds the distinction of having the highest concentration of Victorian homes in the country. Surround yourself with beautiful objects on a tour of the home, which was purchased by William Caldwell in 1908.

Caldwell's firm was responsible for the creation of the giant bat at the Louisville Slugger Museum and the Mickey Mouse ears at Walt Disney World . Self-guided and docent-led tours of the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum cost from $8 to $12 and can be reserved online.

Address: 1402 Saint James Court, Louisville, KY 40208

Dinosaur World

Top things to do in kentucky

With a name like Cave City, Kentucky, maybe it's not all that surprising that visitors will find hundreds of life-size dinosaur figures in the town. While it might seem a little cheesy initially, past travelers to Dinosaur World rave that the colorful statues and interactive "fossil digs" were a huge hit with their kids and more fun than they originally expected. Walking trails and an indoor museum encourage visitors to learn about their ancient ancestors.

Admission costs $15.75 for adults, with discounted rates for children and seniors. For about $6 more, visitors can purchase an Excavation Pass, which allows them to "excavate" shiny rocks, minerals and bones to take home. Unlike prehistoric times, Dinosaur World is a dog-friendly attraction for leash-trained pups. A 5,000-square-foot gift shop might add to the bill, but Dinosaur World encourages families to bring their own food and drink.

Address: 711 Mammoth Cave Road, Cave City, KY 42127

Newport Aquarium

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of Newport Aquarium

Do the words "shark rope bridge" instill fear or excitement? If it's the latter, you're in for a treat at Kentucky's Newport Aquarium. Considered one of the best aquariums in the country, Newport Aquarium is known for its sharks above all else. Walk through a glass tunnel while these sea predators swim above and around you. Or, if you're extra daring, attempt to cross the Shark Bridge, a suspended rope bridge where thrill-seekers can walk inches above the 385,000-gallon shark and fish tank (free with admission). Of course, there's more on display at this lively aquarium, including penguins, crocodiles, stingrays and an exhibit featuring eels that dwell in an old shipwreck.

The museum is located in Newport, Kentucky, and tickets start at $59.99, with discounts available for children and seniors.

Address: 1 Aquarium Way, Newport, KY 41071

Pleasant Hill Shaker Village

Top things to do in kentucky

Shaker is a sect of the Quaker religion, and Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, has the largest restored Shaker community in the United States. Most people might know of them from their sought-after furniture designs, but the Shakers have a fascinating history. The Pleasant Hill Shaker Village began in 1805 and lasted until 1910. Now, just 34 of the original 250 pre-Civil War buildings have been restored, but visitors can immerse themselves in 3,000 acres of craft demonstrations, history exhibits and 40 miles of hiking trails that cross organic gardens and cow pastures.

Pleasant Hill's Shaker Village, about 25 miles southwest of Lexington, Kentucky, is free to visit; however, a $10 donation is suggested for hikers, and admission for tours and exhibits starts at $14.

Address: 3501 Lexington Road, Harrodsburg, KY 40330

Take a gander at the Mother Goose House

Top things to do in kentucky

Is there anything more amusing than a house with a goose on top? We're not talking about Canadian geese — the Mother Goose house in Hazard, Kentucky, features a 15-foot goose structure resting on a round stone home with egg-shaped windows. The avian idea was that of George Stacy, who built the home for him and his wife between 1935 and 1940. Its origins are slightly more grim than its whimsical appearance suggests, with Stacy killing an actual goose to use its bones as a blueprint. The fantastical structure continues to stand today, despite a temporary goose decapitation due to high winds in March 2021. Though its creator has passed on, the home is still occupied 80 years later. Driving along Interstate 476, it's hard to miss.

Address: 2906 N. Main St., Hazard, KY 41701

Cozy up at The National Quilt Museum

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of The National Quilt Museum

Past travelers, who visit from all 50 states and more than 40 countries, generally agree that this textile museum is one of the top attractions in Paducah, Kentucky. The National Quilt Museum describes itself as displaying "the finest quilting and fiber art in the world." With 600 quilts in its collection, the museum offers rotating displays, with thousands more submissions for consideration sent in each year. World-class quilters decide on new additions to the museum based on quality and diversity, and the museum prides itself on a well-rounded contemporary collection.

Visitors note that the museum is artistic and not kitschy, defying expectations of what a quilt museum can be. Tickets to the museum start at $12, with discounts available for seniors and students, while children under 12 are free.

Address: 215 Jefferson St., Paducah, KY 42001

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Top things to do in kentucky

Ponies and chicken aside, the most famous Kentucky offering is its American-style whiskey, known as bourbon. Dozens of working bourbon distilleries are operating in Kentucky today; the state produces 95 percent of the world's bourbon, with more than two aging barrels for every resident, at any given time. It's a $9 billion industry, and travelers can experience it firsthand with a distillery tour — or two, or three. Locations for favorites like Jim Beam and Maker's Mark are sprinkled between Louisville, Lexington and Frankfort, the Kentucky state capital, with one outlier — Green River Distilling — out west in Owensboro, Kentucky. Of course, you can pick and choose your favorite brands to visit, or you can go whole hog by following Kentucky's official Bourbon Trail, a liquid adventure across 18 distilleries lasting an estimated four days.

Sip sweet wine at Purple Toad Winery

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of Purple Toad Winery

If you don't drink the brown stuff, head to Purple Toad Winery, Kentucky's largest winery and a traveler-favorite attraction in Paducah. Visitors to the 25,000-square-foot facility will find a staggering more than 40 types of wine, including seasonal and test varietals in addition to best-selling bottles. Tastings are free and include up to eight wines for oenophiles to enjoy. Sweet wines are Purple Toad Winery's specialty, with inventive combinations like a mango chardonnay and a strawberry jalapeno wine. Wine-tasting is one of the best things to do in Kentucky in November, or throughout the fall, due to cool temperatures and ripe grapes.

Nonalcoholic fruit punch slushies are available for purchase, and pets on a leash are welcome on the grounds.

Address: 4275 Old U.S. Highway 45 S, Paducah, KY 42003

Mary Todd Lincoln House

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of Mary Todd Lincoln House

Head to Lexington to connect with the life of former First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln in her childhood home. The Federal-style house was built in 1806 and designated as a museum in 1977, making it the first historic site dedicated to a first lady. Mary's life was not without complexities, including the assassination of her husband, President Abraham Lincoln. The museum strives to shed light on her whole life, including her years outside the White House. On the museum's website, a 1-mile walking tour guide is available for download, which allows visitors to experience Lexington as the Lincolns might have.

Admission to the museum costs $15 for adults and $6 for children ages 6 through 17, and children 5 and younger are free. The Mary Todd Lincoln House is only open seasonally, mid-March through November, and closed on Sundays.

Address: 578 W. Main St., Lexington, KY 40507

Journey to Germany via MainStrasse Village

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of John Lair

The address might say Covington, Kentucky, but Deutschland inspired this tourist town. MainStrasse (Main Street) Village is a National Historic District and includes examples of 19 th -century homes, businesses and restaurants. The shopping and dining district blends wheat beer with bourbon and polka with Dixieland music for a unique convergence of the American South and Western Europe. MainStrasse is the place to be year-round for festivals and events like Mardi Gras, Oktoberfest (of course) and more offbeat gatherings, like the "World's Longest Yard Sale" in August.

Address: 406 W. 6th St., Convington, KY 41014

Red River Gorge: The Grand Canyon of Kentucky

Top things to do in kentucky

Explorer Daniel Boone first took in the scenery of the Red River Gorge in the 1700s, and tourists today can explore the aptly named Daniel Boone National Forest in several ways. The Red River Gorge is an acclaimed climbing and rappelling destination, but more risk-averse visitors can also hike, kayak or drive along the scenic byway. Hourlong kayak tours take travelers through the Gorge Underground, an unground portion of the canyon system that's easily navigated with a gentle paddle and a headlamp.

Red River Gorge is about 70 miles southeast of Lexington, and those looking to spend the night can reserve a campsite at the nearby Natural Bridge State Resort Park.

Address: 3451 Sky Bridge Road, Stanton, KY 40380

Stretch your legs at the Paducah Riverwalk

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of Paducah CVB

Architectural Digest recognizes historic downtown Paducah, Kentucky, as one of the most beautiful main streets in America. See what the fuss is about as you familiarize yourself with this town by foot; it boasts more historical markers per capita than anywhere else in the state. Paducah sits in the southwestern corner of Kentucky and is separated from Illinois by the Ohio River. Along the Paducah waterfront, pedestrians can enjoy views of the river and (occasionally) the paddle wheel boats that still navigate it.

Past travelers praise the lively floodwall murals and the peaceful waterfront views. If you do get tired of walking, a free trolley regularly runs through historic downtown.

Address: Riverfront at Broadway & Kentucky Ave., Paducah, KY 42001

Catch a Wildcats or Cardinals game

Top things to do in kentucky

Sports are always in season in Kentucky, with college baseball games held February through May and college basketball games October to March. The state's two most prominent sports programs are the University of Kentucky's Wildcats and the University of Louisville's Cardinals. The Wildcats play baseball games at the Joe Craft Center in Lexington, and the Cardinals shoot hoops at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.

College sports are a big deal in these parts, and both colleges are known to sell out games. Buy tickets early or opt for a less popular sport when you know you want to catch a game. If you're rooting for the Wildcats, go blue; otherwise, be sure to dress in your best reds for the Cardinals.

Address: 338 Lexington Ave., Lexington, KY 40506 (Joe Craft Center); 1 Arena Plaza, Louisville, KY 40202 (KFC Yum! Center)

Frazier History Museum

Top things to do in kentucky

Courtesy of Frazier History Museum

From the explorations of Lewis and Clark to the largest public collection of toys soldiers in the world, the Frazier History Museum in Louisville provides patrons with an eclectic mix of historical curiosities. Visitors have commented that they particularly enjoy being able to take in the unusual artifacts, like President Theodore Roosevelt's "big stick," while sipping bourbon — for educational purposes only, of course. Temporary exhibits buffer the museum's permanent collection, like "West of Ninth," a photography exhibition that comments on race, and "Border State," which delves into Kentucky's role in the American Civil War.

General admission is $14, with discounted rates available for students, seniors, children and military members.

Address: 829 W. Main St., Louisville, KY 40202

You may also be interested in:

  • The Best Hotels in Kentucky
  • The Best Weekend Getaways in the South
  • The Top Weekend Getaways From Chicago
  • The Top Restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky

Tags: Travel , US Vacations , Southeast Vacations

World's Best Places To Visit

  • # 1 South Island, New Zealand
  • # 4 Bora Bora

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Discover the Best Bourbon Trail Tours in Kentucky

Travel Guides

Explore the unique world of bourbon with these top 13 Kentucky bourbon trail tours. Sip on your favorites and discover Kentucky's distilleries.

Ready to sip your way through the best bourbon trail tours in Kentucky? This in-depth bourbon distillery tour guide will take you through 13 of the best Kentucky bourbon distillery tours like Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Evan Williams, Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam, & many more.

Each distillery offers a unique experience, from the tour of the distillery to the tasting room. With this in-depth bourbon distillery tour guide, you can easily plan your trip and choose the best bourbon trail tours in Kentucky to suit your taste and preferences. Get ready to discover the rich history and distinct flavors of Kentucky’s signature drink!

3 Tips for Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail

1. When you are planning, ask yourself: What is my favorite bourbon brand (or the one I’d like to know more about)?

Once you settle on those favorites, see what other distilleries are located nearby that you might enjoy touring and tasting then reserve those to fill in the rest of the day.

2. RESERVE IN ADVANCE.

As soon as you know that you’re taking this trip, start reserving bourbon distillery tours immediately . The best tours book up fast, particularly on the weekends. On my most recent trip in July of 2023, I had to adjust my trip to a day earlier because so many of the tours I wanted to take were already booked.

That being said, if there’s a distillery tour you would like to take that’s located on “Whiskey Row” in downtown Louisville but you can’t book it online, my advice is to go in person and talk to one of the guides at the reservation desk. They might not be able to get you in on a specialty tour, but they can typically get you a space on the regular tour.

*Also note that most distilleries in July (and for some in December as well) close their fermentation facilities for maintenance, meaning you won’t be able to tour those areas.

3. Base yourself in Louisville in a hotel on or near Whiskey Row.

From here, you can easily walk or Uber / Lyft to 4+ amazing distilleries, which is a great option if the time on your trip is limited. I most recently stayed at Hotel Distil on Whiskey Row, and I would gladly stay there again. It’s an ideal location for walking to all major downtown attractions and distilleries. Plus the Hotel Distil also houses one of Louisville’s best restaurants, Repeal .

Regional Guide to Kentucky’s Distilleries

The Kentucky Bourbon distilleries listed below are grouped within each region and then ranked for their tour and bourbon quality.  The majority of Kentucky’s distilleries are spread throughout the regions of:

  • Loretto, Clermont, & Bardstown
  • Versailles, Lawrenceburg, & Franklin

Due to the distance between these regions and potentially conflicting tour times, it might be difficult to tour 2 to 3 of your favorite bourbon distilleries in one day. So here are my top three tips for planning your bourbon trail trip.

Now, time to talk about Kentucky’s distilleries…

13 Best Bourbon Trail Tours

13 best bourbon trail tours

Table of Contents

Region: louisville bourbon distilleries, “whiskey row”, evan williams experience.

“Civilization begins with distillation.” William Faulkner

Evan williams bourbon glass feature fountain louisville

The  Evan Williams Experience  is located in downtown Louisville on historic “Whiskey Row.”

The seamless tour features state-of-the-art films and interactive elements to relay the history of Evan Williams and the art of distilling bourbon. All tours conclude with a bourbon tasting in one of the upstairs rooms on the recreated street of “Whiskey Row.”

One tasting room is a “speakeasy” that once stood on that site with Prohibition-era replica tables where the bourbon could be hidden inside. An easy lift on the tabletop in front of you reveals the inner compartment that contains pre-filled bourbon glasses.

Although it’s one of the lower-priced bourbons, Evan Williams  is remarkably good in its flavor profile, smoothness, and complexity, and Evan Williams Single Barrel is excellent. Whenever I’ve done a blind bourbon-tasting flight, their Single Barrel always ranks in my top 3.

General Tour Information

  •  Traditional Tour & Tasting: $18

Evan Williams offers several more extensive tours as well as seasonal tasting experiences, so check their website for the most recent offerings.

Old Forester Distillery

“Always carry a flagon of whisky in case of snakebite, and furthermore, always carry a small snake.” – W.C. Fields

Old forester bourbon distillery copper column

The Old Forester Distillery Tour & Visitor Center opened on “Whiskey Row” in the summer of 2018. Although it’s a relative newcomer to Louisville’s historic downtown district, Old Forester is the only bourbon continuously sold by the same company before, during, and after Prohibition.

But that’s not the bourbon’s only claim to historic fame. In 1870, George Garvin Brown ensured his bourbon’s consistent quality by becoming the first distiller to sell the bourbon in a sealed glass bottle.

The general tour is a top-quality experience with one of the most memorable aspects being that you can see the meticulous barrel-making process first-hand.

A worker at old forester hand making a bourbon barrel

It’s one thing to look at a charred American white oak barrel stave, but it’s something else to see (and feel the heat) of that charring in person.

Charring a bourbon barrel at old forester distillery

The Old Forester Distillery tour ends as most tours do in a private room with four bourbons to taste.

Paired with the tasting is Old Forester’s chocolate-dipped bourbon modjeskas, which are marshmallows wrapped in caramel and then dipped in bourbon dark chocolate, topped off with smoked sea salt. If you love them, you can buy a bag in the gift shop which is filled with loads of other great gifts.

If you’re in a hurry and can’t find the time to tour Old Forester, you can pay a visit to George’s Bar which is a cozy cocktail lounge offering cocktails and flights in the visitor center.

  • Old Forester Tour: $32
  • Nothing Better In The Market Tour: $70

Angel’s Envy Distillery Tour

“I wish to live to 150 years old, but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other.” – Ava Gardner

The angel's envy sign outside the bourbon distillery in louisville, kentucky

While I prefer both the Evan Williams Experience and Old Forester Distillery tours over this one, Angel’s Envy is still well worth the visit. The gift shop is large and well-stocked, and the facility is interesting to tour.

The standard tour is exactly that, “standard,” with not a lot of extras to experience, but you will learn the intricate process of making bourbon and why all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.

Angels envy bourbon tasting

What makes Angel’s Envy a standout from other bourbons and ryes on the Bourbon Trail is their emphasis on “finishing” the bourbon.

In addition to meeting the bourbon standard aging process (a minimum of two years in a new charred American oak barrel), Angel’s Envy then places its bourbon in port barrels and its rye in rum barrels to finish, lending each one a more distinctive flavor profile which you’ll explore during the tasting at the end of the tour.

500 E Main St, Louisville, KY 40202

  • The Signature Tour: $25
  • Private Select Tour: $45

Angel’s Envy offers several experiences and classes, so check their website for the most up-to-date offerings.

Michter’s Distillery

“Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak.” – Johnny Carson

Michter's bourbon distillery copper pot stills

Also located on Louisville’s historic “Whiskey Row,” Michter’s Distillery is a great option for those who prefer a tour that doesn’t involve a lot of walking, given that the entire tour takes place in one large room.

Situated across the street from the iconic Louisville Slugger Museum , Michter’s is a smaller facility with limited space, but the tasting is where the tour shines. The guide places an emphasis on tasting notes and the role that smell plays in how we perceive flavors.

801 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202

  • The Discovery Tour: $25
  • The Founder’s Tour: $50
  • The Legacy Tour: $100

The 2nd floor features The Bar at Fort Nelson which is a relaxed space filled with leather club chairs where you can enjoy classic and creative cocktails. Click here for more information on the Bar at Fort Nelson.

Stitzel-Weller Distillery Tour

“It is true that whisky improves with age. The older I get, the more I like it.” Robert Black

The stitzel-weller distillery visitor's center building

The Stitzel-Weller Distillery is only a 20-minute drive from downtown Louisville, making it one of the most convenient and historic outlying distillery stops along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Originally opened on Derby Day in 1935 and reopened to the public in 2014, the Stitzel-Weller Distillery is one of the true cathedrals of the American whiskey industry. 

Bulleit Bourbon (and their Rye) has long been one of my favorite Kentucky bourbons. It’s hard to miss that orange label, tilted just slightly as it curves around the lower half of the bottle. 

In the past few years, I’ve enjoyed the Stitzel-Weller standard tour which guides you around the historic property and buildings, ending with a tasting of these four bourbons in a private tasting room:

  • Bulleit Bourbon
  • Bulleit 10 Year
  • I.W. Harper
  • Blade and Bow

Most recently, I booked their new progressive walking tour which combines the tasting with the tour. I really enjoyed this different take on the standard tour where periodically you pause, pull out the provided glass cairn (which is yours to keep as part of the tour), and sip the various bourbons and whiskeys offered along the way. The setting is also picturesque as you stroll from building to building.

3860 Fitzgerald Road, Louisville, KY 40216

  • The Stitzel-Weller Experience: $25
  • Progressive Walking Tour & Taste: $65

Stitzel-Weller offers a variety of additional classes and experiences, so check their website for the most up-to-date offerings.

Stitzel-Weller is also home to the Garden & Gun Club, located on the 2nd floor of their visitor’s center. Here you can rest your feet while enjoying a light bite and one of their curated cocktails. Click here for the Garden & Gun Club.

Region: Loretto, Clermont, & Bardstown

Maker’s mark distillery.

“Nothing is so musical as the sound of pouring bourbon for the first drink on a Sunday morning. Not Bach or Schubert or any of those masters.” Carson McCullers

The maker's mark bourbon distillery visitor's center

The road to  Maker’s Mark bourbon distillery in Loretto, KY, can be a little confusing. On my first visit here, the route guidance told me that I had arrived, and there was nothing but fields, barns, and a small house or two scattered about. 

To avoid potential confusion and arrive in time for your tour, Maker’s Mark provides these instructions for getting to their distillery from Louisville:

Star Hill Farm is located at 3350 Burks Spring Rd., Loretto, KY, 40037. From Louisville: Driving time: Approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes. 

• Take I-65 South from Louisville to exit #112, Clermont/Bernheim Forest exit. At ramp turn left onto Hwy. 245 South to Bardstown. 

• Take Hwy. 245 to intersection of Hwy. 62, turning right, and continue on Hwy. 62 east for approx. 2 miles. Hwy. 62 runs into Hwy. 150 where you will turn left and continue approx. 2 miles and drive past My Old Kentucky Home State Park. 

• At intersection of Hwy. 150 and 49, turn right onto Hwy. 49 South and follow the brown historical landmark signs to Holy Cross, which will direct you to go left onto Hwy. 49. 

• Follow Hwy. 49 where you will turn left onto Hwy. 52 East into Loretto. Continue on through Loretto. 

• Turn left onto Bill Samuels Jr. Rd. and historic Maker’s Mark® Distillery is straight ahead. 

Regardless of which tour you reserve (they offer a wide variety and actively update them), you’re in for a great experience. Plus, Maker’s Mark is just a beautiful place. The grounds, house, and distillery buildings are picture-perfect. 

Maker's mark bourbon distillery walking path

At the end of each tour, you’ll have an opportunity to taste a selection of their bourbon.  

I’ve had the opportunity to experience 2 of Maker’s Mark Distillery Tours, and if you only have time to tour one of Kentucky’s distilleries, make it this one. It was the hands-down favorite (on currently my 3rd trip) along the Bourbon Trail. 

Glasses of bourbon at the maker's mark tasting room

General Distillery Tour Bourbon Tasting 

  • Maker’s White (which is basically moonshine or “white dog”)
  • Regular Maker’s Mark (the kind you can buy anywhere)
  • Maker’s 46 (which is made by inserting seasoned French Oak staves into the bourbon barrels to add additional rich flavor)
  • Maker’s Cask Strength (bourbon derived from a single barrel and my favorite of the 4).

After the tasting, you’re given a decadent bourbon chocolate to savor before you walk under the Chihuly glass ceiling of the hallway to the Maker’s Mark gift shop. 

If you like, you can dip your own bottle of Maker’s Mark in their iconic red wax or buy an exclusive bottle of the Maker’s Private Select.

Maker's mark 46 bourbon barrel filled with charred oak staves

The distillery address is technically: 3350 Burks Spring Road, Loretto, KY 40037.

GPS will try to take you to the Business Office, but the Historic Distillery is more directly accessed using Bill Samuels Jr Road.    

  • General Distillery Tour: $ 24
  • Behind the Bourbon: $65

Be sure to check the Maker’s Mark website for the most up-to-date tours and experiences.

James B. Beam Distilling Co. (Jim Beam)

“I have never in my life seen a Kentuckian who didn’t have a gun, a pack of cards, and a jug of whiskey.” – Andrew Jackson

White building james beam rick house bourbon

It doesn’t get much more iconic than Jim Beam bourbon . With its instantly recognizable name and its best-selling brands including Booker’s, Knob Creek, Basil Hayden, Old Grandad, and, of course, Jim Beam, the distillery is an impressive one to visit.

Located 30 minutes from Louisville by car, it’s an accessible bourbon trail distillery to visit if you don’t want to drive too far afield. Due to the fermentation tanks, rickhouses, and bottling facility being situated fairly far apart, this tour involves riding a large comfortable bus to a couple of the locations, but it’s a quick trip each time.

Quite a lot of thought has been put into the design and aesthetics of the tour experience, with the first building of the tour featuring an indoor waterfall illustrating Kentucky’s natural limestone filtration which makes the whiskey taste better.

Jim beam distillery waterfall feature

Towards the end of the distillery tour, you’ll walk the Knob Creek bottling line where you can hand pick and purchase a Single Barrel bottle and customize the warm wax seal with your thumbprint.

Finally, you return to the Visitor’s Center where you’ll be able to taste four of their most popular bourbons before being set loose in their two-story gift shop.

I really enjoyed this tour, and I would happily do it again. Due to the popularity of this bourbon brand, I feel it’s a great place to start, but the tours fill up fast.

568 Happy Hollow Rd. Clermont, KY 40110

  • Bourbon The Beam Way – Distillery Tour & Tasting: $28

Jim Beam Distillery offers several more tasting options and experiences that you can book, so check the website for the most up-to-date listings.

Another great feature of Jim Beam Distillery is their onsite restaurant, The Kitchen Table. Here you can order appetizers, salads, burgers, pizzas, brisket, fried chicken, and even dessert. The large cocktail bar in the center shakes and stirs up some great bourbon cocktails, or just order your favorite bourbon to sip neat.

If you’d like to make a reservation for The Kitchen Table, it’s available on Resy.

Whiskey sour at jim beam

Willett Distillery

“There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” Raymond Chandler

The pot still at willett bourbon distillery

Located about 30 minutes from Maker’s Mark is the  Willett Distillery , perched on top of a hill overlooking the green valleys of Bardstown, KY.

One of the most recognizable aspects of Willett bourbon is their striking pot still bottle design.

Bottle of willett bourbon on a barrel

This rustic family-owned distillery is beautiful and well-maintained from its photo-filled visitor waiting area to the final tasting room.

Because Willett Distillery functions on a smaller scale, only 1 tour experience is offered at this time, so if touring Willett Distillery is at the top of your wishlist, reserve early. They accept bookings 90 days in advance.

1869 Loretto Road, Bardstown, KY 40004.

  • Distillery Production Tour with Tasting: $25

Willett Distillery also features “The Bar at Willett” where you can order up-scale small plates alongside classic and inventive cocktails. Reservations are required, so click this link if you’re interested in reserving The Bar at Willett.

Heaven Hill Distillery

“Whiskey is liquid sunshine” George Bernard Shaw

Wall of bourbon barrels on shelves at heaven hill distillery visitor center

An official member of Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, Heaven Hill Distillery is also located in Bardstown near the Willett Distillery. 

While their gift shop and visitor center are top-notch with self-guided exhibits and an informative film in their 1935 Distillery Theatre, the actual general tour is not that exciting or enticing, especially when compared to the quality of tours offered by Maker’s Mark & Jim Beam. 

Heaven Hill might not be a familiar name to you, but most likely, you’ve heard of some of their bourbon brands:

  • Rittenhouse Rye
  • Elijah Craig
  • Evan Williams

While the website calls it a bourbon trail “tour,” it’s actually an informed tasting inside a room with a guide. You won’t be walking through rickhouses or seeing yellow bubbling mash unless you pay more for their “Bottled & Bond Tour & Tasting” for $35.

If you’re looking to sample more varieties of bourbon while giving your feet a rest from touring distilleries, or if you’re looking for a more “indoor” experience, Heaven Hill is a great option. 

1311 Gilkey Run, Rd, Bardstown, KY 40004

  • Magic of the Mashbill: $18
  • Whiskey Connoisseur Experience: $25
  • Bottled-in-Bond Tour and Tasting: $35

Heaven Hill also offers a bar experience on the 2nd floor of the visitor’s center called Five Brothers Bar which features bourbon flights and cocktails.

Dining Tip: Eat Lunch in Historic Bardstown

Talbott tavern in bardstown kentucky

In between touring the many Kentucky distilleries along the bourbon trail, you’re going to want some lunch or dinner, and Bardstown has a lot to offer. 

Perfect for lunch or dinner,  Talbott Tavern , built in 1779, is a site steeped in history.

“The Talbott Tavern is a uniquely well-crafted early American stone building and as a young boy Abraham Lincoln and his family stayed here. .. There are noticeable bullet holes in the now faded paintings where legend Jesse James shot them.” | Dry Stone Masonry Institute of America

In keeping with the theme of the bourbon trail, Talbott Tavern offers a customized flight where you choose your tasting made up of the wide variety of bourbon and rye they serve sourced from the surrounding distilleries. 

Another great option is the Scout & Scholar Brewing Company offering classic pub food and plenty of beer on tap if you’re looking for a break from all that bourbon. But if you’re not, they also offer Private Select Bourbon flights to expand your tasting profile.

Region: Versailles, Lawrenceburg, Franklin

Woodford reserve distillery.

“A good gulp of hot whiskey at bedtime—it’s not very scientific, but it helps.” Alexander Fleming (Inventor of Penicillin)

Woodford reserve bourbon pot stills

The Woodford Reserve tour is charming in every aspect—from the old barrel railway used to move the freshly filled barrels to the rickhouse to the on-site bottling facility and visitor/tasting center. This tour was one of the most memorable I have ever been on over the years I’ve been touring Kentucky’s distilleries along the bourbon trail.

Bourbon barrels inside the woodford reserve distillery

The Woodford tour ends, as all do, with the bourbon tasting. The tasting room is located on the other side of the fireplace wall of the visitor center, with a rectangular bar facing the fire. The guide stands in the middle, offering tasting note tips.

The see through fireplace inside the stone wall of the woodford reserve distillery visitor's center

We were able to taste the  regular Woodford Reserve  and the Cask Strength  (or dessert bourbon as they call it) combined with a chocolate bourbon truffle. 

7785 McCracken Pike, Versailles, KY 40383

  • Woodford Reserve’s Path To Flavor Tour: $32

Woodford Reserve offers several additional tours and specialty experiences, so click the link below to see their current offerings.

Four Roses Distillery

“Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation.” Haruki Murakami

Four roses bourbon distillery entrance sign

Situated on top of a breezy hill is the most romantic of the Kentucky distilleries along the Bourbon Trail:  Four Roses .

Established in 1888 originally on “Whiskey Row” by Paul Jones, a Louisville businessman, the Four Roses label is rooted in the story of his proposal to a Southern belle named Mary. After courting her for a number of years, Jones asked Mary to respond to his “final” marriage proposal by wearing a corsage of four red roses to a cotillion dance.  This time she accepted and entered the ballroom wearing the corsage.

While Four Roses bourbon is smooth and the distillery, with its Spanish Mission style architecture, has a unique and interesting story from 1888 to the present, the tour itself can still use some work. It’s more of a “Cliff’s Notes” brief summary version of how they make their bourbon.

Their bottling facility is located at a different location as well, so that element of the process can’t be witnessed on-site. If you have the time, you can take your distillery tour ticket stub and visit the bottling facility for free if you’re interested.

You will be given four bourbons to taste:  The Standard Yellow Lable Four Roses, The Small Batch, Single Barrel, and The Cask Strength.

Four roses bourbon tasting with four glasses

Before or after your tour, browse the large gift shop fittingly accented throughout with roses or you can enjoy a cocktail or bourbon tasting in Bar 1888.

1224 Bonds Mill Road, Lawrenceburg, KY 40342

  • Distillery Legacy Tour: $22

Four Roses Distillery offers several additional tasting experiences as well as seasonal offerings, so check their website for the most up-to-date tours.

Buffalo Trace Distillery

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” Mark Twain

Green grass field leading to buffalo trace distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery is a juggernaut in the world of bourbon.

Consider the brands they make; in addition to the standard Buffalo Trace Bourbon, they are also responsible for crafting Eagle Rare, Blanton’s (John Wick’s bourbon of choice), Pappy Van Winkle, E.H. Taylor, Stagg, Sazerac Rye, and Weller to name a few.   

What sets Buffalo Trace Distillery even further apart from the competition is that they never charge for their tours. They are always complementary. That being said, you still have to reserve in advance, particularly if you want to go on a specialty experience like: The Buffalo Trace Hard Hat Tour .

Even if you’re not overly into bourbon, the grounds are beautiful, not to mention they have one of the largest and most interesting gift shops of the distilleries along the bourbon trail. The tours are also highly detailed and informative.

That being said, the bourbon tasting experience at the end of the tour leaves a little to be desired. Due to limited quantities, Buffalo Trace only offers a few brands for tasting and purchasing in the Visitor Center. 

113 Great Buffalo Trace, Franklin County, Frankfort, KY 40601

  • All Buffalo Trace tours are complimentary including tours for large groups or tours that require reservations.
  • The Trace Tour
  • The Hard Hat Tour
  • The Expansion Tour
  • Old Taylor Tour

Additional Tours are available focusing on the gardens and historic landmarks, so check their website for current offerings.

Wild Turkey Distillery

“There’s no app for a bourbon buzz on a warm day in a cool, dark bar. The world will always want a drink.” Gillian Flynn

Vaulted cathedral hallway at wild turkey bourbon distillery visitor's center

The  Wild Turkey Tour  is as industrial as it gets. Not that it makes the tour less interesting, but I prefer the smaller distilleries along the Bourbon Trail as opposed to the mass conglomerate operations. 

The tour lasts about one hour, and you get to see where they make the bourbon as well as where they bottle the various vodka brands that they own. An impressive operation, to say the least. 

The Visitor Center is a fun place to look around and learn a bit more about the history of the distillery location and the origin of the name. Currently, Wild Turkey is closed to visitors and tours as they refresh the visitor’s center, so I’m looking forward to see what updates they have in store.

1417 Versailles Rd, Lawrenceburg, KY 40342

Final Thoughts

“My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky.” William Faulkner

Every year, I look forward to visiting more distilleries along Kentucky’s bourbon trail so check back for updates.

The next two bourbon trail distilleries on my hit list include:

  • Bulleit Distilling Company Visitor Experience
  • Castle & Key Distillery

While I did a tour and tasting of Bulleit when it was located at the Stitzel-Weller facility, I have yet to visit their new Visitor Center experience that opened in 2019 in Shelbyville, KY. Click here for more information.

And finally, the distillery that is currently intriguing me the most is Castle & Key, which I saw from a distance when I was driving to Lexington. It actually looks like a castle, and in addition to their distillery and grounds tours, they offer a rotating calendar of events. Click here for more information.

Everyone’s taste is unique and preferences differ, but hopefully, this guide helps you discover your go-to bourbon as you forge your own path along Kentucky’s bourbon trail.

If you’re planning on staying in Louisville, then be sure to check out the Go-To Louisville KY Guide for Best Hotels, Attractions, & Dining .

Exterior of hotel distil in louisville, kentucky at night

Leave a Comment

7 thoughts on “discover the best bourbon trail tours in kentucky”.

You’re welcome, and I’m glad you found the information helpful. Enjoy your trip this summer!

Thank you for posting all of the information with tour prices and your opinion. I am looking forward to visiting Kentucky this summer 2023.

Hi Terri, I would recommend checking out the Pegasus Kentucky Bourbon Trail Tour Packages. They are rated really well and offer several packages to choose from with a driver to take you to the distillery region of your choice for the tours. My personal favorite region is the South / Bardstown Distilleries which includes Maker’s Mark (my favorite tour).

https://www.takepegasusdistilled.com/distillery-packages

Hope this helps!

I want to find a package tour that goes to several distilleries/breweries, one inclusive price, and transportation. Is there such a thing?

I would recommend checking out the Pegasus Kentucky Bourbon Trail Tour Packages. They are rated really well and offer several packages to choose from with a driver to take you to the distillery region of your choice for the tours. My personal favorite region is the South / Bardstown Distilleries which includes Maker’s Mark (my favorite tour).

Here is the link: https://www.takepegasusdistilled.com/distillery-packages

If you’re staying in Louisville, The Brown Hotel is my favorite, but there are lots of great hotels along 3rd street between W Broadway and the Riverwalk which put you right in the middle of Louisville’s downtown scene where you can walk to restaurants and other attractions.

Hope these suggestions help, and I hope you have a great trip!

Want to schedule a tour for three and set up a driver to visit 2 top rated distillery’s Also will need accommodations for 2 nites. .any suggestions.

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the post. I’ll be sure to check out your site as well!

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16 Must-visit Kentucky Distilleries

These Kentucky distilleries offer tours, tastings, and more for the ultimate trip through Bourbon Country.

Elizabeth Rhodes is a special projects editor at Travel + Leisure , covering everything from luxury hotels to theme parks to must-pack travel products. Originally from South Carolina, Elizabeth moved to New York City from London, where she started her career as a travel blogger and writer.

tour in kentucky

Most of the world's bourbon comes from Kentucky. All of the big bourbon names are here: Jim Beam, Woodford Reserve, Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey. The state's natural environment and weather are perfect for growing corn, an essential ingredient in bourbon, and distilling, so when spirit-savvy European immigrants settled in Kentucky in the 1700s, it was a match made in whiskey heaven.

Now, hundreds of years later, people can visit the state to experience the top Kentucky distilleries — some which have been crafting spirits for generations — including those along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail , a route with 42 distilleries offering tastings and tours.

Kentucky distillery tours, tastings, and experiences show visitors how spirits are made. Tour-goers walk away with a better grasp on the process, a more refined palate, and probably a few bottles to take home. Those looking for a well-rounded whiskey experience should start their journey at the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center in Louisville. Here, visitors can learn more about bourbon history and plot their distillery stops.

Make Louisville your home base for a multiday trip along the trail — the city is home to its own Urban Bourbon Trail . The bars on it serve at least 60 kinds of bourbon and have trained staff who can answer questions, so you're sure to leave Kentucky with a new appreciation for the brown spirit.

Here are 16 Kentucky distilleries all bourbon fans should visit — and don't worry, some even offer gin or vodka for those hoping for variety.

Wild Turkey, Lawrenceburg

With an award-winning visitor center designed with the traditional silhouette of a Kentucky tobacco barn, a tasting room that looks out over the Kentucky River, and a gift shop selling souvenirs and Wild Turkey bourbon (of course), this is the perfect place to learn how the famous brand's spirits are made. You might even spot Hall of Fame distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell hard at work.

Bulleit Distilling Co., Shelbyville

Bulleit Distilling Co. opened its distillery to visitors in 2017, making it a relatively new addition to the Kentucky distillery scene, but the bourbon made here is based on family tradition dating back to the 1800s. A "high-rye recipe" sets the spirit apart from others in Kentucky Bourbon Country. Stop at the Shelbyville distillery to give it a taste and learn about the brand's history through an interactive, multisensory experience.

James B. Beam Distilling Co., Clermont

Jim Beam is one of the most recognizable names in Kentucky bourbon, which makes the James B. Beam Distilling Co. a must-experience for many. The distillery is located in Clermont, where the first Jim Beam was distilled in the late 18th century. Guests can take a tour, dine on Kentucky burgoo and hot honey fried chicken in The Kitchen Table Restaurant, and sample its signature cocktails at the bar.

Maker's Mark Distillery, Loretto

An iconic brand known for its red wax-dipped bottles, the Maker's Mark Distillery in Loretto is a National Historic Landmark. It also claims to be the largest distillery in the world and the first in Kentucky's Bourbon Country. On tours, guests can learn about the history of the brand, dating back to the 1950s, its makers, and its centuries-old recipe. You can even Make Your Mark by hand-dipping a bottle to take home in the classic red wax at the DIY dipping station.

Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles

Visit Woodford Reserve's historic distillery in Versailles for tours and tastings in a beautiful pastoral environment speckled with pre-Prohibition warehouses and made serene by trickling Glenn’s Creek. Another National Historic Landmark, the distillery is where Woodford Reserve says the "art of making fine bourbon first took place" in 1812.

Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort

This family-owned distillery has traditions dating back to the late 1700s. Now a National Historic Landmark, Buffalo Trace Distillery welcomes whiskey drinkers to sip and learn about the history of bourbon production on a tour. It's not all about the brown beverage here, either: Buffalo Trace also makes some tasty vodkas and refreshing sodas.

Four Roses Distillery, Lawrenceburg

Take a tour or enjoy a guided tasting at this Lawrenceburg distillery . Built in 1910, the unique Spanish mission-style facility is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so you can enjoy a history lesson while learning about Four Roses' unique recipes. After your tour, you can sit down with a seasonal cocktail at Bar 1888 (fun fact: 1888 was the year "Four Roses" became trademarked).

Angel's Envy Distillery, Louisville

Located on Louisville's Whiskey Row, this distillery offers unique tours and tasting experiences. The Bottle Your Own Single Barrel option, for example, gives visitors the chance to bring home a bottle they filled themselves. Besides tours, you can also take courses here, including a fun Manhattan or rye cocktail-making class that puts you behind the bar.

Castle & Key Distillery, Frankfort

Often regarded as one of the best distilleries in the country, Castle & Key offers tours and tastings in the Old Taylor Distillery in Frankfort. The Castle itself stands as the main attraction, but the grounds also include a sunken garden and beautiful springhouse. Exploring the property is as fun as tasting the bourbon in a cocktail from Counter 17. And if you tire of bourbon (hey, it happens), then try a Castle & Key-distilled gin or vodka instead.

Bardstown Bourbon Company, Bardstown

This innovative distillery , located on 100 acres in a small town south of Louisville, offers experiences ranging from blind tastings and blending demonstrations to food pairings and mixology classes. There's also an on-site restaurant with boozy milkshakes, poutine, chicharrónes, and bourbon-spiked bread pudding.

Green River Distilling Co., Owensboro

Learn how whiskey goes from grain to barrel, partake in a custom called barrel "thieving" (tasting bourbon straight from the barrel), or sit with the experts at Green River Distilling Co. while you sip. The distillery is in Owensboro, just across the Ohio River from Indiana. Without a tour, you'll still have a great experience sampling a flight at the cocktail lounge.

Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience, Bardstown

Founded in 1935, Heaven Hill Distillery maintains more than a million barrels aging in 60 warehouses across Kentucky for a portfolio of brands. Go for a tour at Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience, in the maker's birthplace of Bardstown, for a behind-the-scenes look at its production process, stroll through the on-site museum, and enjoy a tasting at the Five Brothers Bar.

James E. Pepper Distillery, Lexington

Named for the Kentucky colonel and third-generation distiller who advocated for his family's whiskey recipe in the 1800s, the James E. Pepper Distillery reopened in 2018 after being dormant for half a century. Now at the heart of the Lexington Distillery District, it welcomes bourbon lovers in for tastings and a casual history lesson on the distillery, the family, its ties to horse racing, and how the American Revolution played a role in Pepper-made bourbon.

Limestone Branch Distillery, Lebanon

Keeping family bourbon and moonshine recipes alive for more than 200 years, Limestone Branch is run by a couple of seventh-generation distillers. The Lebanon location is a tranquil place to visit for an old-fashioned tour and a cocktail of the highest quality from the Minor's Lounge on site. It's particularly worthwhile if you also have an interest in gin, as the clear spirit is produced here, too.

Old Forester Distilling Co., Louisville

Take a tour of Old Forester 's Whiskey Row facility to learn how the 1870-founded brand ferments, distills, matures, and bottles its bourbon. Per usual, each tour ends with a tasting. However, if you miss out — this place gets busy and books tours months in advance — you'll still walk away with a higher whiskey IQ after trying the bourbon varieties at George's Bar.

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company, Louisville

Housed in a former tobacco warehouse at the end of Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville, Kentucky Peerless is really into making rye whiskey, but it also does bourbon. A visit to the distillery can be enhanced by a guided tasting, distillery tour, or private VIP Heritage Experience. A bonus to your visit: meeting the distillery cat, aptly named Rye.

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14 Best Distilleries To Visit Along Kentucky's Bourbon Trail

Oak barrels at a distillery

There may not be another drink more mysterious than bourbon. It's known for caramel, vanilla, and oak notes, yet each bottle is unique, carrying different tastes, aromas, and surprising finishes. The amber-colored whiskey has been around since the 1700s when settlers in Kentucky (mainly Scottish, Irish, and German) realized they had the perfect soil for growing grains that would eventually be distilled as bourbon, according to History.com . Today, Kentucky still reigns as the number one producer of bourbon, claiming 95% of all bourbon distilleries. 

It seems Kentucky was destined for the job. It isn't just the soil that makes the land perfect. Fred Minnick, author of "Whiskey Women" and "Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker" tells History.com  that the water plays a big factor because of how the natural limestone works to filter out minerals. That's right — even the water is perfect. All of that is to say if you love bourbon, Kentucky's Bourbon Trail is the place to be. With 37 distilleries, there is truly nowhere else on earth where you will find more bourbon within a 250-mile radius. Feel free to visit them all, but if you find it tough to choose, read on as we look at the best distilleries to visit along Kentucky's Bourbon Trail. Pack your bags and get started.

Evan Williams

According to Explore Kentucky History , Evan Williams is said to be the first commercial distillery in Kentucky. Evan Williams himself came to Louisville, Kentucky from Wales in 1780. You'll find a historical marker (#2445) in his honor in Louisville. Just three years later, after realizing he'd settled in a land where the soil and water were perfect for distilling bourbon, he opened a distillery. 

The brand's website  explains that its bourbon, named after Evan Williams himself, is aged even longer than required by law, creating a Kentucky Straight Bourbon with bold character. As the first distillery in Kentucky, placed along the banks of the Ohio River way back in 1783, Evan Williams is proud to still be delivering one of the smoothest bourbons for novices and connoisseurs alike to enjoy. Today, Evan Williams bourbon is distilled at Heaven Hill Distillery, and you can enjoy the Evan Williams experience in downtown Louisville where they offer tours, tastings, and a fun speakeasy area as well (via Bourbon Trail Tours ).

Angel's Envy

If anything, you've got to visit Angel's Envy to hear the story of such a fantastic name. During the aging process of bourbon, some alcohol evaporates. It's said that the missing bourbon is the "angel's share," per Vine Pair , hence what's left is the angel's envy. You'll notice that Angel's Envy has a beautifully shaped bottle that is inspired by Angel's wings. Angel's Envy distillery is one of the youngest on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, as it began in only 2011. Today, you'll find the distillery in downtown Louisville, as the first full-production distillery to open its doors in that city. 

If you are looking for one of the smoothest bourbons in the world , you'll be in the right place at Angel's Envy. The distillery is known for bending rules in a good way, such as using second-barrel finishing techniques, which are usually only seen in the making of Scotch. Gentleman Ranter's explains that Angel's ages its bourbon in charred American oak barrels for up to six years and in the last few months it is moved to port wine casks, creating a drink that is ridiculously smooth and easy to sip.

According to Michter's , George Washington bought bottles of their bourbon straight from the distillery back during the Revolutionary War to keep his men warm through the long winter at Valley Forge. If President Washington visited, you probably should as well. Michter's began its journey in Pennsylvania back in 1753. It was founded by a Swiss Mennonite farmer named John Shenk.

It wasn't until the 1990s that Michter's found its home in Kentucky, after a long history of dealing with issues such as prohibition, bankruptcy, and the near disappearance of the Michter name. This delightful and sometimes hard-to-find bourbon owes its rareness to barrels that are toasted before they are charred, which helps to expose deeper layers of the interior of the barrels, offering greater levels of flavor to the bourbon, per Cocktails and Bars . You can visit Michter's distillery along the Bourbon Trail in Louisville, right across from the Louisville Slugger Museum.

Old Forester

In case you haven't noticed, most bourbon is steeped in history and heritage, and that's one of the reasons bourbon drinkers love it. Old Forester doesn't disappoint in this area. The founder, George Garvin Brown of Munfordville, Kentucky, created the first bottle of Forester in 1870, according to the brand's website . After purchasing the Mattingly Distillery, George created the first double-barreled bourbon, called "Very Old Fine Whisky," in 1910. A fire shut down production, so the whisky was all dumped, and although it was ready to bottle, he decided to put it all into second barrels. The stories just get better. In the 1940s, during World War II, the Old Forester distillery converted the entire production line so they could produce industrial-grade alcohol. This was done to help out the troops and the entire war effort. You just have to love bourbon stories. 

A fun tidbit about Old Forester is that it is the only bourbon that has remained in the same company before, during, and after prohibition. Tour Old Forester and hear all the great stories about George Garvin Brown on Whiskey Row in Louisville, Kentucky.

Everything you need to know about Bulleit bourbon is summed up by the distillers on its website , which reads "Our aging philosophy is simple: We wait until our bourbon is ready." Simple, yet essential words that describe a bourbon known for its extra spice and smoothness. Bulleit's claim to fame is their higher use of rye in the mash.

As with many bourbons, the story starts out a bit sad but has a happy ending. The Rum Howler Blog writes that Augustus Bulleit, the creator of Bulleit bourbon back in 1830, disappeared while transporting the bourbon across the country, and Bulleit bourbon disappeared as well for over 100 years. Thankfully, generations later, Thomas E. Bulleit, Jr. said enough is enough and brought Bulleit bourbon back to life. According to Bourbonr , it's not a whiskey that is difficult to run across. You'll see it in most bars and liquor stores; however, as a common shelf bourbon, it gives novices and connoisseurs a unique taste, unlike some of the others on the shelf. Check out Bulleit bourbon at the Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

Ready for a little romance? Four Roses has you covered. It starts with a tempting beauty and ends with a "yes" to a proposal. According to Four Roses Bourbon , Paul Jones, Jr. fell in love with a Southern belle and had to have her. In the most romantic gesture ever, he wrote a letter to her, asking for her hand in marriage. To top his amorous proposal, she replied by writing that she would wear a rose corsage to the grand ball they would both be attending if her answer were "yes." And, you guessed it — she wore four roses. Jones was certainly relieved to not be humiliated with a "no" and we are all relieved he continued to make fine bourbon, aptly naming it Four Roses.

Four Roses is known for the fact that it has 10 different bourbon recipes, and each has its own notes. This is done by creating different yeast strains and separate mash bills. The distillery is as gorgeous as the romantic rose label and can be toured along the Kentucky Bourbon trail in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

Woodford Reserve

If you drink bourbon, you've heard of Woodford Reserve. It's one of the most popular bourbons out there. And although the price point is a decent one at around $50 a bottle, Woodford Reserve is considered a premium bourbon. 

According to The Spirits Educator , the story of Woodford Reserve begins in the cute little Kentucky town of Versailles. There, a man named Elijah Pepper began to distill corn into whiskey in 1797. His son would then take over in 1835 and hire a Scottish scientist to help with the distilling process. That scientist, Dr. James C. Crow, is credited with inventing the sour mash that is still used in bourbon fermenting today. After a few more changes in hand, the distillery would eventually end up with Brown-Forman in 1994 and the bourbon was named Woodford after the county in which it resides.

The distillery, which is along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, is considered one of the most beautiful ones to see. Woodford Reserve's website  explains that they offer several different tour options and you should aim to book them a few months in advance because they sell out.

The history of Jim Beam began with the American dream and some corn. The Boehm family hailed from Germany and arrived in America in 1740 when the country was still 13 colonies. Fast forward 48 years and the family not only moved to Kentucky to take advantage of government incentives that were offered for farming corn, but they also Americanized their name as many immigrants did back then, to Beam (via JimBeam.com ). 

Whiskey, namely rye whiskey, was already popular by then, but Jacob Beam made the decision to start using up excess corn and turned it into a mash for distilling. Their bourbon whiskey was born and folks all over loved Jim Beam. He sold his first barrel in 1795, and the story continues today. By the way, Kentucky already had 2,000 distilleries by the early 1800s, so selling a barrel of a new one you've made was no easy task.

Bourbon law says you must age the whiskey at least two years for it to be considered bourbon. However, Jim Beam is known for its four-year aging process to bring bourbon fans a satisfyingly smooth spirit. Seeing the Jim Beam distillery is seeing a business that began two centuries ago. You'll find them in Clermont, Kentucky where they offer tours and Kentucky hospitality.

Maker's Mark

Maker's Mark begins with Bill Samuels, Sr., who is quoted as saying he wanted a bourbon "that won't blow my ears off," per the brand's website . And that's what happened, but let's back it up a little first. Bill's family already had a bourbon recipe that was 170 years old. He decided to experiment with it, determined to create a bourbon that wouldn't blow his ears off and he, well ... set the drapes on fire, along with the ancient family recipe, while doing so. Thankfully, Bill had spunk and he continued on. He wisely used bread making to experiment with grains and soon he'd find the secret that would make Maker's Mark stand out amongst the bourbon crowd — red winter wheat instead of rye. Brilliant.

It's the red winter wheat that gives Maker's its sweet notes, making it an excellent bourbon in cocktails like the Old Fashioned , and also perfect for sipping neat so you can enjoy Maker's Mark's delicately sweet notes.

We can't end without discussing the dripping red wax that seals the bottle. It's purely decorative and was designed by one of the first women in the bourbon industry, Margie Samuels, whose name resides in the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. The red wax makes Maker's Mark stand out on the shelves and consumers can't help but be curious. Visit Maker's Mark in Loretto, Kentucky along the Bourbon Trail. 

Heaven Hill

Prohibition ended and the Shapira family got busy making bourbon. Heaven Hill Brands writes that the family was taking quite a risk. The Great Depression was at its peak, the family had no whiskey at the time, and no brand of their own. Today, something people often don't realize about Heaven Hill is that it's the largest, independent, family-owned distillery in the world today, making 19 different bourbons and whiskeys, including Evan Williams and Elijah Craig. The distillery makes a whopping 1,300 barrels a day. Hard work and a dream pay off.

Heaven Hill Distillery explains that the business began in Bardstown, Kentucky by a gentleman named William Heavenhill. The name was misspelled one time as "Heaven Hill" while filling out official paperwork as the business was being formed. It would have cost $10 to fix it, so the separated words of the name remained.

One of the Shapira brothers, Max, was once quoted as saying, "When you're in the business of making products that you can't sell for four years or longer, it takes patience and perseverance" (via Heaven Hill Distillery ). It certainly does. Eventually, the Jim Beam family entered the picture and helped make Heaven Hill the world-renowned distillery it is today. You can visit this amazing place in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

Willet Distillery is one of the last truly family-owned distilleries in Kentucky. They are very proud of it and believe so highly in their family-owned business that they regularly turn down investors. At one point, the distillery closed because of the financial pressures that came in the 1980s when clear spirits, such as vodka, were king. Fast forward to 1984, when the Kulsveen couple purchased the property from the Willets and brought the Willet Distillery back to life. From there, Willet would become seriously premium. It's one of the most expensive bourbons in the world , with some bottles selling for $4,000.

Willet is known for its willingness to share things, such as its mash bill, with the public. Most distilleries keep those numbers a secret. Because of the past history of Willet, especially having to close the doors at one time, Drew Kulsveen was quoted in Whisky Magazine as saying that customer tastes dictate their business. If people have a change of taste, we have to protect ourselves." That's why they are now seeking the distilling of other spirits as well. Visit the Willet Distillery, rich in history, in Bardstown, Kentucky.

Wild Turkey

It took three different stories to merge and bring us the beloved American bourbon called Wild Turkey, according to The Whiskey Jug . It includes the Ripy family who began a distillery called Old Moore in 1850. Then the story continues with a change in name to Austin Nichols, since the Ripys merged with that distillery, and finally, in 1940 we see the first bottle that's named Wild Turkey, which Austin Nichols came up with while hunting turkeys. By the way, in 2016, Matthew McConaughey became the creative director for the distillery.

Wild Turkey prides itself in using only non-GMO corn in their mash bill (which is kept quite secretive). Bourbon Obsessed points out that Wild Turkey is a classic bourbon, delivering those bourbon notes you'd expect while also hitting your nose and palate with a surprising spiciness.

The distillery is located in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and offers plenty of tours for Kentucky Bourbon Trail visitors. Wild Turkey writes that its new visitors' site is something to see, and it has even received several awards.

Green River

Along the bourbon trail, you'll find craft distilleries, which are smaller distilleries that are motivated by innovation and creativity, obeying the laws of bourbon production, of course, but also looking for new ways to make it even better. When it comes to innovation today, Green River Distillery is at the forefront. 

Green River believes in doing things correctly because bourbon is bourbon. Master distiller at Green River Distillery, Jacob Call explains that making good bourbon doesn't require a magic bullet. There are certain processes that have to be followed and the right ingredients have to be used. On the other hand, the distillery also believes in shaking up the bourbon world by trying new things, such as aging bourbon in unique barrels. Green River is currently experimenting with wine and rum barrels. 

If that isn't enticing enough, all of Green River Distillery's corn is locally sourced, often within just a few miles of the distillery. On top of that, they give 1% of their sales to environmental causes. It's not just a distillery in Kentucky. It's a part of Kentucky and cares about the environment. Visit this innovative craft distillery along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in Owensboro, Kentucky.

Castle and Key

The distillery, Old Taylor, which once housed the infamous bourbon Colonel G.H. Taylor, was left abandoned until Castle and Key purchased the property and restored it into something beautiful, according to Sipping History . It was Will Arvin, in 2012, who visited the grounds of the old distillery and found roofs caving in, weeds growing wild, and, all in all, a historical place that was falling apart. He fell in love and the site for Castle and Key was born. Castle and Key is another new craft distillery, but the building and grounds that house it are full of rich history. Thanks to the restoration, tours are now happening again, and visitors hear not only the new Castle and Key story but the stories of Old Taylor as well. 

Castle and Key writes that quality is of the utmost importance to the distillery. After all, it's practically on hallowed ground. The distillery make this promise clear by encouraging customers to let them know how they feel about the bourbon and their experiences. Although this craft distillery is along the bourbon trail, Castle and Key offers more than bourbon. It also distills gin, vodka, and rye whiskey. There's something for everyone. Visit Castle and Key in Frankfort, Kentucky. 

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Very insightful tour and our guide was exceptionally knowledgeable...beautiful farm with magnificent horses. We learned a lot about racing and stallions beyond what we expected. Loved it!

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Coolmore at Ashford Stud

We had a great time on the tour visiting with the stallions! Our guide was plesant and provided the group with many interesting facts about the farm. A must see for racing fans to see the stallions up close.

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Gainesway Farm

Absolutely fabulous horse farm. Beauty everywhere. Great guided tour. TAPIT—need I say anymore.

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Hagyard Equine Medical Institute

Well organized and knowledgeable staff. The tour was excellent and the technology is top notch. Very informative especially after a 30 year absence from the horse industry.

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Hallway Feeds

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Secretariat Center

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Spendthrift Farm

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Spy Coast Farm

Lisa was a great guide. There was a lot of different things to see at Spy Coast, rehab, riders working horses, jumping, stallions, mares with foals, and even more.

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New Vocations

It was wonderful to hear the “story” of New Vocations. The passion, mission and vision show a true dedication to these amazing horses.

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Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital

The staff was so friendly! We learned a lot on the driving tour and enjoyed seeing where everything takes place. I would definitely come back!

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Airdrie Stud

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Lane’s End Farm

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These 6 Road Trips In Kentucky Will Lead You To Places You'll Never Forget

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Jenn Shockley

I am somewhat a cliche'. I grew up running around barefoot on a farm in Kentucky. I love writing, art, sunshine, all animals and my incredibly patient husband, who tolerates my "crazy animal lady" side.

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Here in Kentucky, the wanderlust is real. Luckily, there are endless opportunities for unforgettable road trips in Kentucky! Why? Well, for starters, Kentucky is an absolutely beautiful state, brimming with forestry, rivers, lakes, wildlife, and an abundance of natural wonders, both natural and manmade. There’s a ton of history here, too, allowing for some of the best historical day trips in the country. So gas up the car and get ready to make some sweet, road trip memories in Kentucky!

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Each one of the above road trips in Kentucky will leave you with a new feel for the true beauty of The Bluegrass State. The scenic beauty you pass will be unforgettable, and the parks and other attractions are scrapbook-worthy experiences. There are countless serene drives and attractions like these all across the Bluegrass State — what is your favorite spot to go for a road trip in Kentucky?

For more unforgettable road trips in Kentucky, definitely check out these bucket-list worthy adventures !

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Unforgettable road trips in kentucky.

What's the most beautiful place in Kentucky?

While the above unforgettable road trips in Kentucky certainly lead to the state's most spectacular wonders, the award for "most beautiful place in Kentucky" would have to go to Red River Gorge. Located within the state’s Daniel Boone National Forest, Red River Gorge is the Holy Grail of outdoor recreation and adventure. And the adventures begin before arriving at the park itself. The 900-foot Nada Tunnel, known as the "Gateway to Red River Gorge," is former a railroad tunnel that offers a shortcut to the park. Red River Gorge is renowned for its outdoor recreation, offering next-level hiking, kayaking, fishing, climbing, and camping.  The park draws upwards of 750,000 visitors each year, from seasoned outdoor enthusiasts to neophyte nature lovers. There's truly something for everyone at Red River Gorge. The Gorge is perhaps best-known for its incredible hiking trails, offering drop-dead gorgeous views of waterfalls, canyons, caverns, and other splendid natural features. Red River Gorge truly is a bucket list-worthy adventure in The Bluegrass State. 

What are some scenic drives in Kentucky?

One of Kentucky’s favorite pastimes is an afternoon drive on a scenic back road . The Bluegrass State is full of these gems, some connect small towns, while others surround the perimeter of a natural wonder. No matter what type of scenery you prefer, you’ll find it on one of the very best scenic drives in Kentucky. One of our favorites is Mammoth Cave Parkway. In Mammoth Cave, Kentucky HWY 70 becomes Mammoth Cave Parkway and makes for an absolutely splendid scenic afternoon drive. But to add a little adventure to your drive, try out the tiny Green River Ferry. You can access it from the Parkway and it's free to use.

What are the best road trips in Kentucky?

If you're partial to waterfalls, this scenic road trip through a portion of the Bluegrass takes you to 6 of the best waterfalls in Kentucky. Some of them can be seen with just a few steps from your car, while others require a bit of hiking. But all of these stunning areas of Kentucky are worth a visit and you can turn this loop into an unforgettable weekend road trip. Fans of the macabre, meanwhile, will love our haunted road trip , which takes travelers to some of the absolute creepiest places in Kentucky.

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Kentucky Bourbon Tours

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Tour the Kentucky Bourbon Trail with our signature itineraries, Thursday through Sunday. These tour itineraries are designed to maximize your time at each distillery and along the trail for a 1-day bourbon tour.

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THURSDAY BOURBON TOUR

— Rabbit Hole, Buffalo Trace, Bulleit — This Thursday bourbon tour includes guided transportation, 3 distillery stops for tours and tastings. Distilleries include: a tour & tasting and tasting at Rabbit Hole, a local lunch, a premium tasting at Buffalo Trace, and bourbon tour and tasting at Bulleit Bourbon.

Departs from the Omni Hotel in Downtown Louisville Departs at 8:45 a.m. | Returns at 6:15 p.m. $179

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FRIDAY BOURBON TOUR

— Woodford Reserve, J. Mattingly, Angel’s Envy — This Friday bourbon tour includes guided transportation, 3 distillery stops for tours and tastings, and a local lunch. Guests will enjoy a tour and tasting at Woodford Reserve, a tasting at J. Mattingly, and a tour and tasting at Angel’s Envy.

Departs from the Omni Hotel in Downtown Louisville Departs at 7:30 a.m. | Returns at 4:15 p.m. $199

tour in kentucky

— Lux Row, Heaven Hill, James B. Beam — This Friday bourbon tour includes guided transportation, 3 distillery stops for tours and tastings, and a local lunch. Guests will enjoy a tour and tasting at Lux Row, a Connoisseur tasting at Heaven Hill, and a tour with tastings at James B. Beam Distilling Co..

Departs from the Omni Hotel in Downtown Louisville Departs at 8:15 a.m. | Returns at 5:00 p.m. $199

tour in kentucky

SATURDAY BOURBON TOUR

— Maker’s Mark, Heaven Hill, Bardstown Bourbon Co. — This Saturday bourbon tour includes guided transportation, 3 distillery stops for tours and tastings, and a local lunch. Guests will enjoy a tour and tasting at Bardstown Bourbon Co., a Connoisseur tasting at Heaven Hill, and a tour with tastings at Maker’s Mark distillery.

Departs from the Omni Hotel in Downtown Louisville Depart at 8:15 a.m. | Returns at 5:30 p.m. $199

tour in kentucky

— Stitzel-Weller, Angel’s Envy, KY Artisan/Jefferson’s Reserve — This Saturday bourbon tour includes guided transportation, 3 distillery stops for tours and tastings, and a local lunch. Guests will start the day with a tasting at Stitzel-Weller, enjoy a tour and tasting at Angel’s Envy after lunch, and a tour and tasting at KY Artisan/Jefferson’s Reserve.

Departs from the Omni Hotel in Downtown Louisville Depart at 9:15 a.m. | Returns at 5:30 p.m. $199

tour in kentucky

SUNDAY BOURBON TOUR

— Local Brunch, Kentucky Artisan/Jefferson’s Reserve, Buffalo Trace — Your Sunday brunch experience includes guided transportation, a local brunch that includes 1 breakfast cocktail at The Cafe in Louisville, a tour with tastings at KY Artisan/Jefferson’s Reserve and a tasting at Buffalo Trace distillery.

Departs from the Omni Hotel in Downtown Louisville Departs at 10:15 a.m. | Returns at 5:45 p.m. $179

Embark on the iconic Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and discover why it’s an enduring favorite among bourbon enthusiasts worldwide

Seamless coordination.

Welcome to Bourbon Tours, where we whisk you away on an immersive journey through Bourbon Country. From the vibrant streets of Louisville to the serene landscapes of Kentucky, our guides ensure a seamless experience from start to finish. Sit back, relax, and indulge in local culinary delights as we handle every detail, ensuring your bourbon tour is nothing short of unforgettable.

Dive Into Bourbon Tradition

The Bourbon Trail™ Passport & Field Guide is your essential companion, featuring all 18 KBT® distilleries and 23 KBT Craft Tour distilleries. Don’t forget to secure your tour bookings in advance to ensure availability and entrust your transportation needs to our trusted partners for a stress-free experience.

Elevate Your Experience

We understand that every journey is unique. That’s why we offer customizable experiences tailored to your preferences. From exclusive tastings to behind-the-scenes access, let us elevate your bourbon trail adventure with our VIP Bourbon Trail Tours and Transportation services, ensuring exceptional service and luxury vehicles every step of the way.

Tailor Your Own Bourbon Trail Experience

For those craving a deeper exploration, our Multi-Day Bourbon Tour packages offer the flexibility to craft your own bourbon trail itinerary. Whether it’s a two-day or three-day adventure, our Experience Coordinators work closely with you to personalize your tour. Select your favorite distilleries, and indulge in unique experiences like mixology classes and bourbon-infused culinary delights. The possibilities are endless, promising a bespoke journey tailored to your interests and schedule.

CONTACT AN EXPERIENCE COORDINATOR

Explore The Kentucky Distilleries

Nearly 100 different bourbon and whiskey brands are produced in Kentucky. The Bluegrass State is home to more barrels of bourbon than people and proudly creates 95% of the world’s bourbon. Learn more about the distilleries that make up the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, the Urban Bourbon Trail® and the greater Bourbon Country.

EXPLORE DISTILLERIES

Martin Tours

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December 17-21, 2024 $1209 per person

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If you have questions regarding our pre-planned tours or would like to inquire about a customized school group tour, please complete and submit the form below or call us at 1-866-346-TOUR (8687).

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Let us plan a tour exclusively for your Group! Churches, Schools, Banks, Garden Clubs, Senior Centers, Retirement Clubs, Homemaker Clubs, Hospital Employee Clubs.

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Factory Tours

Celebrating american imagination and industry, 16 tours in kentucky.

What does 'Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey' mean? Tour the house where it all began

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The staff at Oxmoor Farm wants to welcome you into the 233-year-old home the same way that five generations of the Bullitt family might have.

Guests are offered a cocktail from the family’s serving set, a pour of bourbon from the house's private line, and even a comfy seat on their furniture. It’s an unusual approach for an 18th-century home tour, but unlike some of its still-standing peers in Louisville, this hidden gem operated as a private residence into the early 21st century. This is a home, not a museum.

The historic estate is offering a new bourbon experience highlighting the Bullitt family’s influence over Kentucky’s spirits industry. The Bullitts — not to be confused with Diageo’s Bulleit Bourbon — never had a revered family mash-bill and there’s never been any evidence a still operated on their land.

They were attorneys, not distillers.

Even so, they’re responsible for four precious words in the industry that appear on bar and retail shelves worldwide: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

The Bullitt family was more known for the work it did in the insurance industry, explained Tim Knittel, a bourbon industry consultant with Distilled Living, who’s helped create the experiential tour. Researchers have been going through the Bullitt family's papers for more than 20 years, but only recently recognized the family's bourbon legacy.

“The work they did for the distilling industry completely changed everything,” Knittel explained. “This is the home of protecting bourbon whiskey, and what we’ve found in the last few months is incredibly exciting.”

Standing in the room where Kentucky bourbon began

Two weeks before the tours formally began on June 11, I took the ever-crowded Shelbyville Road to Oxmoor Lane and drove a half mile along the west side of Oxmoor Center to a driveway that led to an arguably forgotten slice of Louisville. It’s so close to the mall you can still hear traffic and undeveloped enough that a doe darted in front of my car as I approached the house.

The Bullitt homestead was originally 1,000 acres and so far out in the countryside, it wasn’t included in the city’s earliest directories. The area has steadily developed since the mall opened in 1971, but the remaining 80 acres are protected through a preservation easement with the Kentucky Heritage Council.

The tour begins in the back gardens. The original six-room house from 1791 still exists within the center of the modern estate. An addition was built onto the front of the house in 1829, and wings were added to both sides in the early 1900s. Knittel gestured to the original home’s chimney, which was constructed with bricks from celebrated stone mason, builder, and, yes famed distiller, Evan Williams.

The five generations of Bullitts ran in the same circles as some of the most influential people of their eras. As we migrated inside, Knittel explained that Oxmoor was a meeting place for the original authors of the Kentucky Constitution and that the home's first owner, Alexander Bullitt, helped write it.

“You're standing in the space where some of the work was done to create Kentucky,” Knittel said.

As we stepped out of the modest house and into the 1829 addition, Knittel jumped ahead a generation and told the story of how in 1862 a group of marauders dressed in both Union and Confederate uniforms stormed the front of the house. One of them put a gun to Alexander's son, William Christian Bullitt's, head and said that if he didn't surrender the family’s horses to them, they’d put a bullet in his head.

William Christian, essentially, told them to pull the trigger.

“The leader of the marauders pulled the gun away from his head and saved him in that moment,” Knittel recounted. “And if he had not done that right here in 1862, and the trigger had been pulled, we may not have bourbon as we know it today.”

Why? Because of everything William Christian's family line contributed to bourbon after the fact.

We’ll get to that in a second, though. After a story like that, Knittel suggested we pause for a drink.

Suing the United States government over American Prohibition

Rosser Lomax, the mastermind behind the estate’s cocktail program, led me into the dining room, where he served a light refreshing punch with black tea, bourbon, lemon, and spices. This would have been something the Bullitts might have offered guests in the 19th century, he explained. Lomax drew on family records and historical context to build the cocktail menu.

While we sipped, Lomax and I chatted a bit about the definition and evolution of bourbon in the 1800s, which helped set the stage for the next conversation about legislation.

Glass in hand, we walked into the early 20th-century part of the home.

At the turn of the century, a group of rogue whiskey makers known as rectifiers were putting additives in spirits. Some were harmless, like prune juice, but others like arsenic could be deadly. The Bottled in Bond Act passed in 1897, and William Christian’s son, Thomas Walker Bullitt, was instrumental in creating that law, Knittel explained. This established a set of standards for bourbon and other aged spirits. He also likely contributed to the creation of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906, which prohibited the sale of misbranded food and drugs.

Then came the Taft Decision of 1909, when President William Howard Taft had to determine whether flavored spirits qualified as whiskey. This is where the term "straight whiskey" originates. The decision states that if whiskey had any additives besides water, it would be called “blended whiskey.” There's a letter in Bullitt family records from Taft congratulating William Marshall Bullitt, Thomas Walker's son, on his contributions to that outcome.

From there, Taft appointed William Marshall to Solicitor General. This is humorous, because just seven years later, William Marshall sued the federal government on behalf of Kentucky’s distillers, during the onset of American Prohibition. Kentucky distillers had paid taxes on their whiskey barrels, and now they couldn’t sell them.

That didn’t work, of course. Prohibition ended up devastating Kentucky’s bourbon industry.

“He actually helped distillers in Kentucky navigate the lead-up to prohibition,” Knittel said of William Marshall. “Once we understood there was no getting around it, he helped preserve the industry across Prohibition, and then help them reopen.”

Another amusing thing I learned on this tour was Oxmoor Farm was one of the last places in Kentucky during American Prohibition where you could have a completely legal drink of fine bourbon. When the Bullitt family realized the dry spell was about to transpire, they bought enough bourbon from Kentucky distilleries to bottle their own label “Oxmoor Kentucky Whiskey Private Stock.”

Under those laws, they couldn’t sell it or even transport it, but they could drink it and share it.

And in a very full-circle way, this nods to how the estate is interacting with the bourbon industry in the modern world.

This house still has secrets to tell

The final stop on the tour was a small bar located in a stunning neoclassical-style library. The ceilings were carved from Italian plaster and floors were designed to look like the Palace of Versailles . This space was once home to 250 first editions of books, including Issac Newton’s "Principia Mathematica," with the author’s handwritten notes in the margins, and a copy of the "Theory of Relativity" that Albert Einstein signed for Marshall Bullitt in 1939.

Those were donated to the University of Louisville’s rare books collections in the mid-20th century.

In the library, Lomax offered me a pour of Oxmoor Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Volume III, sourced from two modern Kentucky bourbon distilleries. They call it Volume III because decades after American Prohibition, the family bottled a second line sometime in the 1960s. The intention is to produce other volumes as well, through Oxmoor Bourbon Company, which is a for-profit business owned by the nonprofit Oxmoor Farm Foundation that oversees the property. The proceeds from the company go toward supporting the historic mission of the foundation.

And while my hosts welcomed informal conversation throughout the experience, now that the official tour was over, Lomax, Knittel and Shirley Harmon, the curator and historian at Oxmoor Farm, and I had a chance to talk more freely.

Harmon explained the property only stopped being a home because the final Bullitt to inherit it, Tommy, never had any biological children. He died in 1991 and willed the property to a trust. His wife continued to live in the house until she passed in 2005.

“He wanted it to be able to be used in some way to educate Kentuckians,” Harmon said.

Over the past two decades, the foundation has explored a variety of ways to do that.

The Bullitt family enslaved people from 1792 to 1862, and researchers have been working with several of their descendants as well as archeologists to tell that story through different programming. Once the archaeological digs are complete, they intend to create exhibits on the formerly enslaved people’s dwellings that still stand on the grounds. Three descendants are serving on the advisory committee for that project.

The house formally opened for historical tours in 2019, and launched a concert series known as "Evenings of Note."

And the foundation is still uncovering more about the property and the family every day. The Bullitt family papers are one of the largest collections at the Filson Historical Society , spanning 185 cubic feet. When Harmon first began working with the papers in 1999, bourbon was in a lull. She wasn’t watching for that connection, and now that she’s searching for it she’s seeing so many links, she didn’t see before.

The Bullitt family's is intricately intertwined with three centuries of Kentucky history. And the house still has plenty of secrets to share.

“I always tell people to think back to the (18th century) room you first walked into, and now you're standing in this very opulent, Gilded Age room,” Harmon said. “We've walked through three centuries of American history, and we have not left this house. We're under the same roof.”

Features columnist Maggie Menderski writes about what makes Louisville, Southern Indiana and Kentucky unique, wonderful, and occasionally, a little weird. Sometimes she writes about bourbon, too. If you've got something in your family, your town or even your closet that fits that description — she wants to hear from you. Say hello at [email protected]. Follow along on Instagram @MaggieMenderski.

Want to go?

WHAT: Oxmoor Bourbon Company's Origins Tour and Tasting

WHERE: Oxmoor Farm, 720 Oxmoor Lane, Louisville

COST : $42, plus fees and taxes

RESERVATIONS: Oxmoor Farm is currently accepting tour reservations for June, July and August. Tours are by appointment. To book visit oxmoorbourbon.com .

ISCO named title sponsor of Kentucky’s ISCO Championship

A general view of the ninth green during the final round at Keene Trace Golf Club on July 16, 2023 in United States. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

A general view of the ninth green during the final round at Keene Trace Golf Club on July 16, 2023 in United States. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Kentucky-based ISCO Industries agrees to multi-year deal to host FedExCup event

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida – The PGA TOUR announced Wednesday that ISCO Industries, a total piping solutions provider, will assume title sponsorship through 2027 of the ISCO Championship, which will be played at Champions at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky, July 8-14.

“As a proud company based in the Bluegrass State, ISCO Industries has stepped up to further elevate the ISCO Championship in the Kentucky community," said PGA TOUR Chief Competitions Officer Tyler Dennis. "The PGA TOUR and DP World Tour look forward to introducing ISCO to its players and fans at the ISCO Championship later this year."

Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, ISCO Industries is a total piping solutions supplier with more than 35 facilities in the United States and Canada. ISCO offers custom high-density polyethylene (HDPE) fabrication and sells a wide variety of HDPE piping materials and solutions for various applications worldwide.

"We are incredibly proud to step forward as the title sponsor of Kentucky's sole PGA TOUR event,” said ISCO CEO Jimmy Kirchdorfer. “This partnership embodies our commitment to excellence and community engagement. As a Kentucky-based company with deep roots in the region, we are thrilled to support this event and contribute to the growth of golf in our home state. We look forward to an exciting tournament and extending our Kentucky hospitality to players and visitors from around the world."

The ISCO Championship debuted on the PGA TOUR in 2015 and has been played at Champions at Keene Trace Golf Club since 2018. As part of the Strategic Alliance between the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour, the ISCO Championship features a field of 156 players including 50 players from the DP World Tour with the winner receiving benefits on each Tour.

All four rounds of the ISCO Championship will be televised on Golf Channel. The tournament will carry a purse of $4 million and award 300 FedExCup points to the champion. In 2023, rookie Vincent Norrman claimed his first PGA TOUR victory after winning in a playoff over Nathan Kimsey, a DP World Tour player making his first career PGA TOUR start. Previous winners of the ISCO Championship include Trey Mullinax, Seamus Power, Jim Herman, Troy Merritt, Grayson Murray, Aaron Baddeley and Scott Piercy.

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PGA Tour inks new sponsorship deal for Kentucky event held in July

The PGA Tour has finalized another sponsorship change, as the Barbasol Championship will have a new identity.

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PGA Tour, Jay Monahan

Say farewell to the Barbasol shaving can tee box markers.

The PGA Tour has found a replacement for its annual Kentucky golf tournament.

Reports suggest the Tour and Louisville-based ISCO Industries inked a four-year contract to become the title sponsor, per Sports Business Journal’s Josh Carpenter.

The @PGATOUR has a new title sponsor for its Kentucky event, with Louisville-based ISCO Industries signing on through 2027. The ISCO Championship is July 11-14, opposite the Genesis Scottish Open: https://t.co/nYtruHThIW — Josh Carpenter (@JoshACarpenter) June 5, 2024

Barbasol has held this position since 2018, and their contract expired in 2023. This year, the tournament is in Nicholasville, Ky., July 11-14. It is the opposite field event for the co-sanctioned PGA and DP World Tour, the Genesis Scottish Open.

Reports stated that no financial terms were disclosed to the public. However, sources suggested this annual event brings in $8 to 10 million.

This tournament was the final event without a sponsor for the 2024 season.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is not done negotiating sponsorship deals, though. Multiple title sponsors have likely pulled out in the last couple of years due to the demand for more money and this massive divide between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour .

Last December, the PGA Tour saw Wells Fargo pull out of its contract after being the title sponsor for the Charlotte stop for 22 years. Farmers Insurance is also not expected to renew its deal with the PGA Tour for its tournament at Torrey Pines, which expires in 2026.

More sponsorship changes may follow as golf’s landscape continues to transform.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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PGA Tour bids farewell to Barbasol as Kentucky cup to have a new title sponsor

A ccording to the Sports Business Journal, the PGA Tour 's has ended its nine year partnership with the sponsor, Barbasol which will have repercussions on the iconic Barbasol Championship. Having debuted in 2015, the tournament holds great significance in the state of Kentucky.

Having moved the tournament's location to Keene Trace Golf Club in 2018, the Barbasol Championship was the first PGA Tour event to be held in the state of Kentucky since the 1959 Kentucky Derby Open. The tournament, however, will continue under the new sponsor's name.

The ISCO Championship will now be a part of the PGA Tour season, beginning this July 11–14, along with the new sponsor, the ISCO Industry. The 2024 ISCO Championship will be held opposite the DP World Tour 's Genesis Scottish Open. The deal signed with the new title sponsor has been reportedly locked until 2027.

Speaking on the new partnership with the piping solutions company, the PGA Tour's Chief Competitions Officer, Tyler Dennis, had this to say:

" As a proud company based in the Bluegrass State, ISCO Industries has stepped up to further elevate the ISCO Championship in the Kentucky community. The PGA TOUR and DP World Tour look forward to introducing ISCO to its players and fans at the ISCO Championship later this year."

PGA Tour to lose more sponsors

The report, dated June 5, 2024, not only reveals the PGA Tour's end with its nine year-long title sponsor, Barbasol, but also suggests that it is heading towards losing more sponsors.

After facing financial battles since the emergence of the Saudi based LIV Golf League, the report says that Farmers Insurance will also soon pull out of the PGA Tour. It has been learned that they will not renew their contract after its expiration in 2026.

Additionally, in December 2023, Wells Fargo announced the end of its 22 year long partnership with the Tour. After a five year extension signed in 2019, the final Wells Fargo Championship was played this year.

The Sports Business Journal report states that Truist Financial Corporation, will replace Wells Fargo as the title sponsor starting 2025. It was also suggested that the RBC, a title sponsor of the RBC Canadian Open since 2008 and RBC Heritage since 2012, is not keen on renewing its contract with the PGA Tour.

Speaking on the matter, star player, Webb Simpson told Golf Monthly earlier this year, that several of the PGA Tour's sponsors are "starting to feel the financial pressure."

" The amount of money we're playing for is astonishing considering how many people watch our sport... The model is broken at the purse sizes we've been going the last year. And the sponsors are starting to feel it. Sponsors are pulling out. Wells Fargo, Farmers, there will probably be a couple more this year I would think, maybe one or two more," he said.

PGA Tour bids farewell to Barbasol as Kentucky cup to have a new title sponsor

Cyndi Lauper sets four California shows as she plans to kick off farewell tour this fall

Cyndi Lauper in a pale blue bob, large earrings and a black suit with white ruffle trim on the sleeve

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Girls just wanna tour: Cyndi Lauper is embarking on her three-month farewell tour this fall, the pop-music legend announced Monday.

The “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time” hitmaker, who is the subject of a new Paramount+ documentary, will kick off her final tour at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Oct. 18. Per Monday’s announcement , the 23-date tour will hit major cities across the U.S., including her hometown of New York City with a Madison Square Garden show Oct. 30. The tour will run through Dec. 5, when the Grammy winner plays the last show in Chicago.

Pop & Hiss

Pop music review: Cyndi Lauper just wants to have fun

This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links.

Nov. 6, 2011

Before that, the 70-year-old will make her way up and down California, playing the Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl in San Diego on Nov. 20, the brand new Intuit Dome in Inglewood on Nov. 23, the Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert on Nov. 24 and the Chase Center in San Francisco on Nov. 26.

Tickets will be available this week, starting with an artist presale beginning Tuesday.

The general ticket sale begins Friday, according to concert giant and tour promoter Live Nation . Special guests joining Lauper on tour will be announced at a later date. The singer also will be hitting the festival circuit this summer with appearances at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Glastonbury Festival also in the U.K. and Rock in Rio in Brazil before embarking on her tour.

The Brooklyn-born pop icon, the first woman in history to have four top-five singles from a debut album, reached the pinnacle of pop music in the 1980s with her spirited anthem “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” off her first album, “She’s So Unusual,” which helped her earn a best new artist Grammy Award.

Cyndi Lauper sees herself in Billie Eilish and Lizzo: They’re ‘not about being an object’

Cyndi Lauper brings her Home for the Holidays benefit to L.A. for the first time Dec. 10, with special guests from Marilyn Manson to Billy Porter.

Dec. 9, 2019

The “True Colors” singer’s tour announcement landed the day before her documentary, “Let the Canary Sing,” begins streaming on Paramount+. The feature-length film, which premiered at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival , was directed by Emmy Award winner Alison Ellwood and explores the singer’s life and career.

“Over the years I’ve been asked to do a documentary about my life and work, but it never felt like the right time,” Lauper said last month . “Until now. When I first met Alison Ellwood, I knew right away I could trust her to tell my story honestly, which was incredibly important to me, and she succeeded in that.”

To celebrate the tour and film, Lauper will be honored Tuesday with an imprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, where a private screening of the film and Q&A will follow that evening.

Over the weekend, the Emmy and Tony Award-winning artist joined West Hollywood’s annual Pride Parade as the celebration’s Lifetime Ally Icon honoree. The award recognized Lauper for her years of advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ+ rights, social justice and women’s issues.

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‘Completely heartsick’ Jennifer Lopez cancels summer tour to spend time with family

May 31, 2024

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tour in kentucky

Nardine Saad covers breaking entertainment news, trending culture topics, celebrities and their kin for the Fast Break Desk at the Los Angeles Times. She joined The Times in 2010 as a MetPro trainee and has reported from homicide scenes, flooded canyons, red carpet premieres and award shows.

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IMAGES

  1. Top 20 Kentucky Attractions Not To Be Missed

    tour in kentucky

  2. 21 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Kentucky

    tour in kentucky

  3. Visit the Kentucky Horse Park for These 3 Amazing Reasons

    tour in kentucky

  4. Kentucky Adventure Tour

    tour in kentucky

  5. Incredible Day in Kentucky on the Kentucky Adventure Tour

    tour in kentucky

  6. Top Tourist Attractions in Louisville: Kentucky Travel Guide

    tour in kentucky

VIDEO

  1. PGA TOUR Kentucky Championship Media Day on ABC36

  2. Guest segment: Volunteers needed for PGA Tour Kentucky Championship 052324

  3. 2024 PGA TOUR Kentucky Championship on ABC36

  4. Tour Of Kentucky Part 1

  5. BassMaster Kentucky Lake

  6. Kentucky Adventure Tour Invitational Recap: Ohio Wrecking Crew Edition

COMMENTS

  1. Red River Gorge Underground: Cave Kayaking & Boat Tours

    Your journey begins as you descend into the darkness in a custom-built cave boat. With an expert guide at the helm, you'll wind your way through the 100-year-old flooded limestone mine and discover the rich history and hidden secrets of The Gorge Underground. Adult (Ages 13+) Youth (Ages 3-12) $25 All Days. $20 All Days.

  2. THE 10 BEST Kentucky Tours & Excursions

    1. Bourbon Tour (03) : Buffalo Trace, Woodford, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Other. Experience a unique sightseeing tour and/or Taste to 03 traditional bourbon distilleries (Kentucky there are more than 20…. 2. Old Louisville Ghost Tour as Recommended by The New York Times @ 4th and Ormsby.

  3. Rail tours running in Bluegrass, KY

    BYO S'mores! to enjoy after cruising the Kentucky River Ramble in the Fall. All Explorers are fitted with the 'REX Propulsion System' - custom built electric motors that make the journey truly effortless. Tour duration: 2 hours. Book a Bluegrass, KY tour now! Morning tours with coffee, brunch tours with mimosas, sunset hot chocolate tours, or ...

  4. THE TOP 10 Kentucky Tours & Excursions (UPDATED 2024)

    The best tours in Kentucky according to Viator travelers are: Bourbon Tour (03) : Buffalo Trace, Woodford, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Other. Old Louisville Ghost Tour as Recommended by The New York Times @ 4th and Ormsby. Half-Day Thoroughbred Horse Farm Tour in Kentucky.

  5. 29 Top Things to Do in Kentucky

    Pleasant Hill's Shaker Village, about 25 miles southwest of Lexington, Kentucky, is free to visit; however, a $10 donation is suggested for hikers, and admission for tours and exhibits starts at $14.

  6. Discover Kentucky Unforgettable Experiences Await

    Explore the beauty of Kentucky. From outdoor adventures to cultural wonders, discover unforgettable experiences in the Bluegrass State. Start your journey now!

  7. THE 10 BEST Kentucky Bus Tours (with Prices)

    1. Bourbon Tour (03) : Buffalo Trace, Woodford, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Other. 159. 4WD Tours. 6-12 hours. Experience a unique sightseeing tour and/or Taste to 03 traditional bourbon distilleries (Kentucky there are more than 20…. from. $260. $239.

  8. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Kentucky

    Serene hiking trails through diverse terrains in a picturesque park, coupled with a unique cave boat tour, butterfly habitat, and engaging activities like gem mining and ziplining. 2023. 5. Keeneland. 2,940. Horse Tracks. Historic racetrack with guided tours, showcasing lush grounds and the chance to observe horses and jockeys up close.

  9. Discover the Best Bourbon Trail Tours in Kentucky

    This in-depth bourbon distillery tour guide will take you through 13 of the best Kentucky bourbon distillery tours like Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Evan Williams, Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam, & many more. Each distillery offers a unique experience, from the tour of the distillery to the tasting room.

  10. The BEST Kentucky Tours and Things to Do in 2024

    The best tours to do in Kentucky with kids are: Cincinnati: Sunset Sightseeing Cruise on the Ohio River. Bowling Green: National Corvette Museum Admission. From Lexington: Kentucky Horse Farms Tour. Cincinnati: Reds Hall of Fame and Museum Entry Ticket. Bowling Green: Riverview at Hobson Grove Historic House.

  11. Kentucky Bourbon Trail Tours & Bourbon Country Experiences

    Tour Bourbon Country's dozens of bourbon distilleries big and small, old and new, traditional and innovative. Mint Julep Experiences' Bourbon Trail Tours give you an immersive experience with Kentucky's best bourbon distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and beyond. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® began in 1999 and has since ...

  12. Home

    Handcrafted bourbon adventures. Use our interactive maps to explore your way through the birthplace of Bourbon.

  13. 16 Best Kentucky Distilleries

    16 Must-visit Kentucky Distilleries. These Kentucky distilleries offer tours, tastings, and more for the ultimate trip through Bourbon Country. Most of the world's bourbon comes from Kentucky. All ...

  14. 14 Best Distilleries To Visit Along Kentucky's Bourbon Trail

    The distillery is located in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and offers plenty of tours for Kentucky Bourbon Trail visitors. Wild Turkey writes that its new visitors' site is something to see, and it has ...

  15. Visitor's Guide

    There is an easy way to get our free visitor guides and brochures. Click on the link below to view Kentucky's 2024 free online travel guide full of great travel ideas useful for building trip itineraries. Virtually flip through the pages and find lots of useful information about things to see and do in Kentucky. View the Interactive Guide Online.

  16. Visit Horse Country

    Lane's End Farm. The beauty of the farm, the fantastic tour, and of course seeing and petting the amazing animals. Our tour guide was super knowledgeable and friendly. It was a true Kentucky only experience. Diane - Check out the tour they attended! Horse Country Touring Locations.

  17. 6 Unforgettable Road Trips In Kentucky You'll Want to Take

    So gas up the car and get ready to make some sweet, road trip memories in Kentucky! 1. Bourbon Tour My Old Kentucky Home. There are several different bourbon trails to enjoy in Kentucky including Versailles, Bardstown, Louisville, Lexington, and Clermont, just to name a few.

  18. THE 10 BEST Kentucky Bus Tours (w/Prices)

    The best Bus Tours in Kentucky according to Viator travelers are: Half-Day Thoroughbred Horse Farm Tour in Kentucky. Bourbon Tour (03) : Buffalo Trace, Woodford, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Other. Unique Horse Farm Tours with Insider Access to Private Farms. Groups: Makers Mark OR Buffalo Trace OR Woodford or Others.

  19. Kentucky Bourbon Trail Tours with Customized Itineraries

    This Friday bourbon tour includes guided transportation, 3 distillery stops for tours and tastings, and a local lunch. Guests will enjoy a tour and tasting at Woodford Reserve, a tasting at J. Mattingly, and a tour and tasting at Angel's Envy. Departs from the Omni Hotel in Downtown Louisville. Departs at 7:30 a.m. | Returns at 4:15 p.m.

  20. Martin Tours

    Welcome To Martin Tours. Martin Tours has been providing affordable group and educational bus tours out of Kentucky since 1988. We are a fast-growing, family-owned business with small-town values. We provide a wide variety of pre-planned, worry-free tours, or we can customize a tour for your group. We have many schools throughout Kentucky who ...

  21. Jefferson Tours and Charters

    Jefferson Tours and Charters is the best tour bus company in Kentucky. We make it our goal to make sure you enjoy your charter bus vacations like you didn't know was possible. Our first-class drivers and staff take special care of all our wonderful travelers. Don't delay your trip any longer - book your bus tour with Jefferson Tours and ...

  22. Kentucky

    Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. Georgetown, KY. From 1990 through 2002, over 300,000 people have toured the facilities at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. Visitors have come from as far away as Australia, and from all over the United States, but most of the visitors are Kentuckians.

  23. Home

    Donate to the Charlie Miller Butterfly Habitat. Lost River Cave's historic underground boat tour is a great eco-adventure for all ages. Come enjoy our hiking trails, activities, and charming gift shop located just an hour north of Nashville in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Open all year.

  24. What does 'Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey' mean? Tour Oxmoor Farm

    WHAT: Oxmoor Bourbon Company's Origins Tour and Tasting. WHERE: Oxmoor Farm, 720 Oxmoor Lane, Louisville. COST: $42, plus fees and taxes. RESERVATIONS: Oxmoor Farm is currently accepting tour ...

  25. ISCO named title sponsor of Kentucky's ISCO Championship

    The ISCO Championship debuted on the PGA TOUR in 2015 and has been played at Champions at Keene Trace Golf Club since 2018. As part of the Strategic Alliance between the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour ...

  26. FREE Kentucky State Fair concert lineup announced, 2024 tickets ...

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Music is a highlight for the annual Kentucky State Fair, and organizers have released their list of free concerts for the fair, which runs Aug. 15 - 25, 2024.

  27. PGA Tour lands new title sponsor for Kentucky tournament

    The PGA Tour has a new title sponsor for its Kentucky event, with piping solutions provider ISCO Industries taking over the spot formerly held by Barbasol. ISCO is signing a four-year contract for the ISCO Championship, held in Nicholasville, Ky., July 11-14. The tournament is played opposite the Genesis Scottish Open, an event co-sanctioned by ...

  28. PGA Tour signs big new sponsorship deal for Kentucky tournament

    The @PGATOUR has a new title sponsor for its Kentucky event, with Louisville-based ISCO Industries signing on through 2027. Barbasol has held this position since 2018, and their contract expired ...

  29. PGA Tour bids farewell to Barbasol as Kentucky cup to have a new ...

    Having moved the tournament's location to Keene Trace Golf Club in 2018, the Barbasol Championship was the first PGA Tour event to be held in the state of Kentucky since the 1959 Kentucky Derby Open.

  30. Cyndi Lauper sets Girls Just Wanna Have Fun farewell tour

    Cyndi Lauper sets four California shows as she plans to kick off farewell tour this fall. Cyndi Lauper, who stars in the new documentary "Let the Canary Sing," will embark on a 23-date ...