Skip Navigation

Kentucky

Photo © SNEC

Travel Guide North America USA Southern United States Kentucky

edit

Introduction

Kentucky

Kentucky

© All Rights Reserved davidv33

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.

Top

edit

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.

Top

edit

Regions

  • Bluegrass Region - Horses and bourbon sum up this region; the gently rolling hills are the heart of the thoroughbred industry and many distilleries can be found along its streams.
  • Caves and Lakes - A karst region containing the largest cave system in the world; its hub is Bowling Green
  • Daniel Boone Country - This rugged landscape is dominated by the Daniel Boone National Forest and it was here that the Wilderness Road was cut enabling the first wave of settlers to enter the state through the Cumberland Gap.
  • Kentucky Appalachians - A rugged and rural portion of the state.
  • Kentucky Derby Region - This region, centered around Kentucky's largest city, Louisville is also world-famous for its bourbon distilleries
  • Northern Ohio River Region - An emerging economic power in Kentucky: The cities of Covington, Florence, Independence, and Newport are among the fastest growing in the state
  • Southern Lakes - Containing many man-made lakes, this rural region offers many opportunities for recreation
  • Western Coal Fields - This area of alternating ridges and valleys was mined extensively in the years after WWII, but many of the mined lands were turned into wildlife management areas and the region has become a draw for sportsmen; Owensboro is its largest city
  • Western Waterlands - A mostly flat area of the state that lies within the floodplains of four major rivers, this region contains the state's largest agricultural operations as well as the recreational areas around Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley

Top

edit

Cities

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park is a United States National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kentucky's Caves and Lakes region. It preserves the world's longest known cave system, with over 392 miles of caves. The park was established in 1941 and currently draws nearly two million visitors annually. Mammoth Cave National Park is home to over 70 threatened, endangered or state listed species. More than 130 species are regular inhabitants of the caves. These species are divided almost equally among three classes of cave life: obligate cave dwellers known as troglobites, facultative species which can complete their life cycle in or out of caves (troglophiles), and those that use caves for refuge (trogloxenes). The Park has cave species and biotic cave communities that are among the most diverse in the world. Because of its diverse array of landscapes and habitats, the Park contains an extraordinary 1,300 species of plants.

Other Sights and Activities

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Fort Knox, Kentucky

© All Rights Reserved vegasmike6

  • 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.
  • Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
  • Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
  • Daniel Boone National Forest
  • Kentucky Bourbon Trail
  • Kentucky Lake
  • Kentucky State Parks
  • Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
  • Lake Barkley

Top

edit

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.

Top

edit

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.

Top

edit

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 Car

Kentucky is accessible by five Interstates:

  • I-71 and I-75 both enter the state from the north at Cincinnati. The two roads split in the Kentucky suburbs, with I-71 going to its southern end in Louisville and I-75 to Lexington, continuing past Richmond, Berea, and London.
  • I-64 runs from Ashland in the east to Louisville in the west, passing by Lexington and Frankfort on the way.
  • I-65 enters the state from Indiana and runs from Louisville to Bowling Green, continuing to the Tennessee state line.
  • I-24 from Paducah to Hopkinsville and the Fort Campbell area.

In addition, Kentucky is connected to many U.S. Highways:

  • US 27 runs from Covington south to Somerset.
  • US 127, also from Covington, runs through Frankfort, Danville and the Lake Cumberland area.
  • US 150 offers a connection between Louisville and I-75 between Lexington and Tennessee.
  • US 23 (Country Music Highway) connects Ashland with Virginia south of Pikeville.
  • US 60 bisects the state from the Mississippi River to Ashland, passing through Paducah, Henderson, Owensboro and Louisville before following I-64 the rest of its route.
  • US 68 begins just east of Paducah, running as largely an east-west route through Hopkinsville, Bowling Green and Glasgow. A short distance past Glasgow, the road takes a sharp turn to the northeast toward Campbellsville, Harrodsburg, Lexington and Maysville.

By Bus

Check Greyhound buses for more information.

Top

edit

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.

Top

edit

Eat

Kentucky's cuisine is similar to traditional southern cooking, although in some areas of the state it can blend Southern and Midwestern.

Kentucky has invented several dishes; most notably the Kentucky Hot Brown and beer cheese. The Hot Brown was developed at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. The dish is usually layered in this order: toasted bread, turkey, bacon, tomatoes and topped with mornay sauce. Beer cheese is a cheese spread that originated in Central Kentucky near Winchester. While there are conflicting stories on where beer cheese originated, Johnny Allman's, a restaurant on the Kentucky River (present-day site of Hall's on the River) is generally credited with inventing the dip. Colonel Harland Sanders began Kentucky Fried Chicken in Corbin. Today, visitors can see where the restaurant got its start.

Top

edit

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.

Ale-8-One, known colloquially as Ale-8, is a regional fruity/ginger-flavored soft drink. It is bottled in the Central Kentucky city of Winchester and distributed only within the state and neighboring portions of Indiana and Ohio.

Top

edit

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:

Top

References

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

Quick Facts

[edit]

Capital
Frankfort
Population
4,269,245[1]

Kentucky Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Kentucky

This is version 26. Last edited at 8:01 on Apr 22, 16 by Utrecht. 25 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License