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Kentucky

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Travel Guide North America USA Southern United States Kentucky

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Introduction

Kentucky

Kentucky

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Kentucky was founded as a state in 1792 after splitting off from Virginia. The state stretches along the Ohio river to the north and the Appalachian Mountains to the south giving it many distinct areas. Kentucky has many claims to fame. The first being called the Bluegrass State because of its many lawns and pastures. It is also the birthplace of Bluegrass music!

Another claim include horses and horse racing with the apex being the Kentucky Derby. Along with horses is bourbon, which can only be brewed in Kentucky and tobacco growing. If your planing to spend a fair amount time in this beautiful state remember to brush up on your horse and college basketball before sitting down and enjoying a BBQ sandwich.

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Geography

Kentucky is a long state that is kind of fat on the eastern edge that gets skinner the further west it goes. On the northern edge is the Ohio River that gently slopes south until meeting the Mississippi River. Interestingly Kentucky is the only state to have a non-contiguous part as an exclave that is complete surrounded by another state, which is Fulton County in the far west corner of the state. This county can only be accessed by Tennessee. Kentucky borders seven states, from the Midwest and the Southeast. West Virginia lies to the east, Virginia to the southeast, Tennessee to the south, Missouri to the west, Illinois and Indiana to the northwest, and Ohio to the north and northeast. Only Missouri and Tennessee, both of which border eight states, touch more states.
The easter area of Kentucky is dominated by the Cumberland Plateau and the Appalachian Mountains. The rest of the state is a series of plateaus with unique and distinct charms. Many of these areas are dominated by rolling tobacco farms or horse stables that are very pretty.
Kentucky has both the largest artificial lake east of the Mississippi in water volume (Lake Cumberland) and surface area (Kentucky Lake). It is the only U.S. state to be bordered on three sides by rivers—the Mississippi River to the west, the Ohio River to the north, and the Big Sandy River and Tug Fork to the east. Its major internal rivers include the Kentucky River, Tennessee River, Cumberland River, Green River and Licking River.

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Fort Knox, Kentucky

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  • Barbecue is a pulled pork dish served on its own or in a sandwich. Kentucky is home to some of the best BBQ in the country
  • Churchill Downs is the location of the famous Kentucky Derby and can be visited year round.
  • Fort Knox is the location of the United States Bullion Depository and is where federal government keeps most of its gold reserve and other precious objects. It holds around 150 million ounces of gold!
  • Hiking and Camping can be found in the Appalachian Mountains on the eastern edge of the state.
  • Mammoth Cave National Park is more then a giant hole in the ground it is also the sight of an interesting stone age mining operation. The green space around the park is also quite pretty. Just remember it can get cold even during the summer here.

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Events and Festivals

The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is the most famous horse race in North America. This uniquely Kentucky event brings people from the world over but is dominated by southerners. If in the bleachers or the boxes men better have their best suits and women the most marvelous hat ever made. If on the lawn be prepared for extreme drinking and rowdiness. No matter what open your hand and prepare your liver for a Mint Julep.

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Weather

Located within the southeastern interior portion of North America, Kentucky has a climate that can best be described as a humid subtropical climate. Highs and lows of temperature in Kentucky's usual range from daytime summer highs of 31 °C to the winter low of -5 °C. The average precipitation is 1,200 mm a year. Kentucky experiences four seasons, with greater variations in the severity of summer and winter. The highest recorded temperature was 46 °C at Greensburg on July 28, 1930 while the lowest recorded temperature was -38 °C at Shelbyville on January 19, 1994.

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Getting There

By Plane

Although serving Cincinnati, Ohio, the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is the largest airport in Kentucky.
It has flights to/from Toronto, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York, Cancun, Punta Cana, Atlanta, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Paris, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, Fort Myers, Phoenix, San Diego, Detroit, Pittburgh, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Greensboro, Hartford/Springfield, Harrisburg, Memphis, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greenville/Spartanburg]], Houston, Jacksonville, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Omaha, St. Louis, Grand Rapids and Montego Bay.

Louisville International Airport (SDF) has flights to/from Dallas, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Memphis, New York, Minneapolis, Denver, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, St. Louis, Tampa, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Charlotte.

By Train

Two Amtrak trains operate to and from Kentucky:

By Bus

Check Greyhound buses for more information.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

Kentucky has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.

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Drink

Kentucky is considered the home of bourbon. If is possible to visit the several different bourbon breweries across the state. Remember, like champagne, authentic bourbon can only come from Kentucky.

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Sleep

Hotel and Motel Chains

There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:

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References

  1. 1 Mid-2008 estimate, U.S. Census Bureau

Quick Facts

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Capital
Frankfort
Population
4,269,245[1]

Contributors

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This is version 22. Last edited at 2:51 on Feb 10, 14 by MilitaryFlights. 17 articles link to this page.

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