National Parks in Kentucky

Explore vast caves, mountain peaks and more.

From breathtaking views at Cumberland Gap to the unique labyrinths of Mammoth Cave, adventure abounds in Kentucky's national parks.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace

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Lexington Herald-Leader

National Historic Park, Hodgenville, KY

See where the name Lincoln Logs came from by visiting the birthplace of the 16th president of the United States of America. The country's first memorial to Abraham Lincoln, built with donations from young and old, houses the symbolic look-a-like cabin representing his birthplace. Plan an educational field trip to Hodgenville, KY >>

Big South Fork

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Danita Delimont

National River & Recreation Area, Oneida, KY and TN

Looking to go fishing, hiking, camping, paddling horseback riding or stargazing? You can do all of those at Big South Fork. Pack your gear and plan a trip >>

Cumberland Gap

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Kenneth Murray

National Historic Park, Middlesboro, KY and TN, VA

Discover the great outdoors in the 24,000 acres of mountainous landscape at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Learn about cave tours, nearby attractions and other available activities >>

Fort Donelson

National Battlefield, Dover, KY and TN

Fort Donelson was the site of one of the many Union victories of the Civil War. See the battlefield and cemetery and learn more about the 1862 events of the battle and how the Union victory led to Ulysses S. Grant's subsequent success. Plan your visit >>

Mammoth Cave

National Park, Mammoth Cave, KY

With more than 400 miles of vast caves explored, the aptly-named Mammoth Cave is the world's longest known cave system. Take a ranger-led tour >>

Trail of Tears

National Historic Trail, KY and AL, AR, GA, IL, MO, NC, OK, TN

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Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby

The locals in Louisville, Kentucky, take their sports seriously. Thousands of people converge on Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby to see 3-year-old Thoroughbreds race. The annual competition, held on the first Saturday in May, ends the 2-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. We can’t forget about the college basketball buzz around the city about 2012 NCAA Basketball Champs University of Kentucky Wildcats, the only team with the most all-time wins in the history of college basketball. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Pegasus Parade

Pegasus Parade

The Pegasus Parade is the Kentucky Derby Festival’s longest running event. Marching bands, floats, notable celebs and locals -- as well as inflatable characters, including the Pegasus -- are some of the reasons why this is a popular must-see event for both locals and visitors. The Great Steamboat Race and Thunder Over Louisville are also a couple not-to-be-missed events. 960 1280

David Kidd  

Proof of Main

Proof of Main

Proof on Main, located inside the 21c Museum Hotel, is a must-see stop when visiting Louisville. Esquire Magazine called the restaurant “a favorite for locals and visitors alike.” The restaurant supports local farming by using locally-grown ingredients in its menu items. And at the restaurant’s bar, pull up a barstool and enjoy sampling more than 50 types of Kentucky bourbon. The restaurant compliments its culinary artistry by featuring rotating contemporary art exhibitions, curated by 21c Museum. 960 1280

Edsel Little, Flickr  

Lynn’s Paradise Café

Lynn’s Paradise Café

Lynn’s Paradise Café serves American food with a Southern twist. The walnut-crusted chicken, fried-green tomato BLT, World Famous Bloody Mary and mint julep are a couple items on the menu. Bourbons Bistro, Limestone, The Comfy Cow, Mark’s Feed Store, Jack Fry’s Restaurant and Toast on Market are few other places we’d recommend you try when visiting the Derby City. 960 1280

Katherine Wheeler, Flickr  

Muhammad Ali Center

Muhammad Ali Center

Boxing great Muhammad Ali was born and raised in Louisville. The philanthropist and social activist, and his wife Lonnie, started the Ali center as a way to honor the sports legend, and to educate the public by hosting numerous special events. Other must-see Louisville attractions include the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, Louisville Zoo, Frazier International History Museum, or take a stroll down the city’s Riverwalk. 960 1280

Local Louisville, Flickr  

Germantown Neighborhood

Germantown Neighborhood

Louisville is made up of a mix of different neighborhoods, including Highlands, Jeffersontown, Old Louisville, NuLu, Middleton, Crescent Hill and Lyndon. Germantown (pictured) -- settled by German immigrants in the 1870s -- is slowly transitioning to a younger, more educated demographic. In this neighborhood, it’s not uncommon to find renovated homes complete with gardens, bee hives and backyard chickens. 960 1280

Southern Foodways Alliance, Flickr  

The Seelbach Hilton Hotel

The Seelbach Hilton Hotel

Take a step back in time, and stay at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel. Built in 1905 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Seelbach Hotel’s grand ambiance inspired author F. Scott’s Fitzgerald to use the hotel as a backdrop for Tom and Daisy’s wedding in his novel, “The Great Gatsby.” For other options on where to stay, try The Galt House, Camberley Brown, 21c Museum Hotel, Central Park Bed and Breakfast or the Rocking Horse Manor Bed and Breakfast. 960 1280

Local Louisville, Flickr  

Embassy Suites Louisville

Embassy Suites Louisville

If you’re visiting Louisville on a budget, we suggest you stay at the Embassy Suites Louisville (pictured), Fairfield Inn and Suites Louisville North or the Louisville Marriott Downtown. 960 1280

Embassy Suites  

Downtown Louisville

Downtown Louisville

Downtown Louisville is the largest central business district in Kentucky, and it’s the oldest neighborhood in Louisville. The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville Glassworks, Louisville Slugger Field, Waterfront Park, Riverfront Plaza, KFC Yum! Center and Early Time Distillery are a few attractions travelers can visit in this neighborhood. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Belle of Louisville

Belle of Louisville

Take a ride on the Belle of Louisville, the oldest operating steamboat on the Mississippi River waterway system. Built in 1914, the Belle and the more modern paddle-wheeler, Spirit of Jefferson, carry passengers along the Ohio River for 2-hours, ranging in price from $8 to $16 per person. 960 1280

Daniele Lobo, Flickr  

Bike Louisville

Bike Louisville

Hop on a bike and explore Louisville, thanks to the Bike Louisville program. A local and visitor can rent a bike and enjoy some of the city’s paths, including Riverwalk Trail or Levee Trail. There are also metro paths that are more suitable for bikers. Check out the Bike Louisville website for more information. 960 1280

rmburnes, Flickr  

Downtown Louisville
Downtown Louisville

Downtown Louisville

Welcome to Louisville, Kentucky! The city was named after King Louis XVI of France when it was established in 1778. Today it has become quite the city. Here's the downtown skyline with the Convention Center. 960 1280

iStock  

Union Station

Union Station

Union Station in downtown Louisville is a historic railroad station that now acts as the offices for the Transit Authority of River City (TARC). TARC runs buses and trolleys in Louisville. 960 1280

iStock  

Louisville

Louisville

One of the things you'll find in Louisville is beautiful homes. This charming home in the Clarksville neighborhood of greater Louisville is a great example. The Old Louisville neighborhood near downtown is the largest Victorian neighborhood in America. 960 1280

iStock  

Louisville is a nice combination of old and new. Here's a new view of the city skyline showing a mix of old and new buildings. 960 1280

iStock  

When visiting Louisville check out Farmington, an 18th century antibelllum colonial home built from a design by Thomas Jefferson. He signed the town's first charter in 1780. 960 1280

iStock  

Clock Tower

Clock Tower

Standing tall is one of the famous Clock Towers in the city of Louisville. 960 1280

iStock  

Downtown Louisville has an interesting skyline including office highrises like these. 960 1280

iStock  

Louisville's nationally-acclaimed parks system includes parks like Cherokee Park designed by famed architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City. 960 1280

iStock  

Louisville skyline

Louisville skyline

The beauty of the city is even more apparent as the sun goes down. 960 1280

iStock  

Belle of Louisville

Belle of Louisville

Built in 1914, the Belle of Louisville is the oldest operating Mississippi-style sternwheeler steamboat in existence today. Visitors can take a dinner or lunch cruise on it. 960 1280

Dan Previte on Flickr  

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

The Louisville Slugger baseball bat was made by Andrew "Bud" Hillerich in his father's woodworking shop in Louisville in 1884. The brand name "Louisville Slugger" was first used in 1893. The museum has a huge 120 ft high bat outside. 960 1280

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory  

Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs

Since 1875, Churchill Downs has been the home of the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Horse and Rider

Horse and Rider

Known for their ties to the world of horse racing, you often find interesting art on the streets of Louisville. 960 1280

Jon Hurd on Flickr  

Louisville Ballet Building

Louisville Ballet Building

The Louisville Ballet Building was designed by architects Bravura Corporation. The 2.2 million dollar building houses administrative offices and two reherseal studios. 960 1280

Stephen Cox on Flickr  

Louisville Slugger Field

Louisville Slugger Field

The Louisville Slugger Field is home to the Louisville Bats, an AAA minor league affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Built in 2000 it holds 13,000 fans. 960 1280

kla4067 on Flickr  

Patriots Peace Memorial

Patriots Peace Memorial

Built in 2002, the Patriots Peace Memorial honors fallen patriots from all the branches of military. Each time a new fallen patriot is inscribed, a brick is removed from the wall and replaced with a personalized etched glass. 960 1280

The Pug Father on Flickr  

Waverly Hills

Waverly Hills

The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is said to be one of the most haunted places in the world. It started as a place for tuberculosis patients and later became a facility for the elderly. Both Ghost Adventures and Paranormal Challenge have visited the facility. 960 1280

  

Mint Julep Theater

Mint Julep Theater

Held on the eve before the Derby, the Mint Jubilee is a party, concert and dinner to benefit organizations who do cancer research. In 2011 it was held at the Louisville Palace theater. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Louisville Zoo

Louisville Zoo

The Louisville Zoo has over 1300 animals including this hippo. The zoo's motto is "To better the bond between the people and our planet." 960 1280

Holly Higgins on Flickr  

Louisville  19 Photos

The GAC in Perryville, KY
The GAC in Perryville, KY

The GAC in Perryville, KY

Zak films a Civil War reenactment outside of the Dye House in Perryville, KY. The house is known for being infused with sinister energy. 960 1280

  

Dye House in Perryville, KY

Dye House in Perryville, KY

A Civil War reenactment soldier stands in full uniform on the porch of the Dye House. 960 1280

  

The H.P. Bottom House

The H.P. Bottom House

The H.P. Bottom House sits in the middle of Perryville Battlefield. The property that this historic house sits on saw one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. 960 1280

  

The H.P. Bottom House

The H.P. Bottom House

The H.P. Bottom House is filled with period furniture and knick-knacks so visitors can see how the house would have looked in 1862. 960 1280

  

H.P. Bottom House

H.P. Bottom House

Since it sat right in the center of a battlefield, it should come as no surprise that there are bullet holes in the walls of the H.P. Bottom House. 960 1280

  

H.P. Bottom House

H.P. Bottom House

The bedrooms of the H.P. Bottom House served as a makeshift hospital for about 6 months following the Battle of Perryville. 960 1280

  

Dye House in Perryville, KY

Dye House in Perryville, KY

Nick and Zak film on the porch of the Dye House, which served as the headquarters for the Confederate Army General Simon B. Buckner, as well as a hospital after the battle. 960 1280

  

Dye House in Perryville, KY

Dye House in Perryville, KY

The crumbling interior of the Dye House, which is believed to be more than 200 years old. 960 1280

  

Perryville, KY

Perryville, KY

A "bloody" shirt from a Civil War reenactment hangs on a branch. 960 1280

  

Perryville, KY

Perryville, KY

The beautiful rolling landscape of Perryville, KY. 960 1280

  

Dye House in Perryville, KY

Dye House in Perryville, KY

Nick poses with the owners of the Dye House. 960 1280

  

H.P. Bottom House

H.P. Bottom House

Old photographs document the history of the H.P. Bottom House. 960 1280

  

Commemorate the 15,000 Cherokee people who the government forcefully displaced from their native homes in Georgia, Alabama and Tennesse to live in what is now Oklahoma. As you walk parts of 5,043-mile-long trail, read stories of struggle, hardship and survival and reflect on the somber event in America's history. Pick which paths to take >>

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Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Hot springs have been enjoyed by bathers for centuries.