Kentucky may be the best of America's hidden-in-plain-sight secrets, packed with iconic wonders and chock-full of treasures that appeal to kids of all ages. Toddlers through teens will love an up-close and personal visit with legendary race horses and exploring the cracks and crevices of Mammoth Cave, while history comes alive for school-aged children and preteens as they trace the humble beginnings of Abraham Lincoln or travel back in time to the glory days of baseball. After a visit to historic Shaker Village, kids of any age will surely remark first on the lack of electronics, but then engage wholeheartedly in the simple pleasures of another time. A vacation to Kentucky will be an unforgettable journey to a treasure-filled state.
Kentucky is at its best in the spring and fall, when flowering plants are blooming, the leaves are changing, and the temperatures are at their most moderate. Winter can bring snow (but more likely ice) to the state, and summers tend to be hot and humid. If possible, plan a fall or spring visit -- that's also the prime time to take in the thoroughbred action in Lexington and Louisville.
Kentucky has a mostly moderate climate throughout the year, although it can be humid much of the summer and winter months, with abundant rainfall year-round. April and May bring sunny, warm (but not hot) temperatures and low humidity, with highs in Lexington and Louisville ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s; summer months bring humidity and temperatures into the high 80s and 90s; fall colors herald crisp temperatures, with highs in the low 60s; while during the winter, temperatures average in the low to mid 40s for the highs.
Lexington and Louisville are both served by major regional airports: Bluegrass in Lexington (LEX) and Standiford Field in Louisville (SDF). Depending on the particular itinerary, fly into either one to begin a trip; cave country is within a two-hour drive of both cities, while the cities themselves are about a 90 minute drive from each other.
A car is a must for exploring this region of Kentucky; public transportation is limited to bus service in each city, with no rapid transit or train service. Louisville is a bit more walkable, with its major attractions (the Ohio River, Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, and the Explorium) all situated within walking distance of each other. Given the nature of Lexington's thoroughbred industry, all equine-related sites are a drive from downtown.
The Kentucky Department of Tourism website has links and information about each of the state's regions; visitlex is the website for visitors to Lexington; gotolouisville is the source for Louisville information.
Both the Lexington and Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureaus offer attraction and hotel packages on their websites.
Daniel Boone and his wife, Rebecca, may or may not be buried in the historic Frankfort Cemetery. The debate still lingers over whether Boone himself is in that grave or if his final resting spot is in Missouri.
The world's largest fireworks display is Thunder Over Louisville, the opening ceremony for the Kentucky Derby Festival in April.
Thomas Edison introduced his light bulb to the world in Louisville, at the Southern Exposition in 1883.
The giant Louisville Slugger bat outside the factory and museum in Louisville is made completely of wood, stands 120 feet high, and weighs 68,000 pounds. But it is completely hollow, and could hold 30,000 gallons of liquid.
Kentucky is the birth state of both Abraham Lincoln, President of the Union, and Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy; the two were born less than one hundred miles and one year apart.
Bluegrass is not really blue, it is green; in the spring bluegrass produces bluish purple buds that give a blue hue to the grass.
Mammoth Cave National Park has a wide variety of camping facilities, from pull-through slots to back country campsites; most campsites require a fee but the back country sites do not (a permit is required).