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10 Things To Do in Kentucky This Summer

By Grant Guess |

Summer is underway in the Bluegrass State, so it’s time to get outside and do what Kentuckians do best: Eat fried foods, drink refreshing beverages, hike, canoe, and take in all of the awesomeness the Commonwealth has to offer. When the sun is shining bright on our ‘Ol Kentucky home, we’re going outside!

ice cream trail

Travel the Ice Cream Trail!

Yeah, Bourbon is great, but sometimes you just need something sweet to cool yourself down on a hot Summer day. Hold the phone, did you know there is an Ice Cream Trail in Kentucky? It makes a nice neat loop with pit stops in Lexington, Stanford, Bowling Green, Owensboro, and Louisville. You don't get a trophy at the end, but it's really the the ice cream that matters. Also feel free to stray from the trail. It's just a starting point. 

Where: All over, check out the google map
When: Regular store hours

Black Mountain Off Road Adventure Area

Go Off Roading at Black Mountain Off Road Adventure Area

Do you like to go fast? Well then buckle up, cowboy, because Southeastern Kentucky’s Black Mountain Off Road Area has your name written all over it. Black Mountain, the highest point in Kentucky, is also home to some of the wildest off-roading around. Visit their site to check out rental opportunities. Oh and don't forget the zip-lining, horseback riding, hiking, and canoeing in the area as well. 

Where: Black Mountain, Harlan County 
When: All Summer Long

Grand Canyon of the South

Visit the Grand Canyon of the South at Breaks Interstate Park

Grand Canyon of the South? WTF? Why haven’t I heard of this??? If you found yourself thinking those words in your head while reading the headline above, don’t worry, you’re probably not the only one. Skip the lines of tourists at the other Grand Canyon, and visit this wonder nestled away in the mountains between Virginia and Kentucky. With some incredible hiking and canoe opportunities, don’t miss out on this perfect weekend adventure!

Where: Breaks Interstate Park
When: All Summer Long

Railbird Festival

Listen to Tyler Childers and Brandi Carlile at a Horse Racetrack at Railbird Festival

The only sure bet you're ever gonna get at a racetrack. Keeneland will be host to the first annual Railbird Festival. Now you can gamble, listen to live music, drink bourbon, and watch horses all at once. If that’s not heaven on earth, it’s the closest thing to it.

Where: Keeneland Racecourse, Lexington, kY
When: Saturday & Sunday, August 10th - 11th

Porter Red River Gorge Photo by John Mallery

Experience Some of the Best Sport Climbing in the World at Red River Gorge

It’s no secret anymore - if you want to go rock climbing in the southeast, you go to Red River Gorge. With some of the best sport routes in the world, it’s no wonder it’s consistently rated one of the top 10 places to sport-climb in the world. Be sure to grab a slice of pizza at Miguel's while you're there. You may even run into famous climbing route pioneer Porter Jarrard (pictured above). Although he doesn't quite sport the same hairstyle anymore, he definitely still has those pants. 

Where: Red River Gorge
When: All Summer Long

Kentucky River Tours Buffalo Trace

Canoe the Kentucky River and Paddle up to Buffalo Trace Distillery

Canoe to a distillery?! You had me at HELLO! Once a month, Canoe Kentucky hosts a canoe tour that brings paddlers to shore in the perfect place possible - along the banks of Buffalo Trace Distillery. Spots tend to fill up fast, so if you’re into paddling and bourbon tasting, be sure to book ahead!

Where: Kentucky River & Buffalo Trace Distillery
When: Once Monthly

Rent a Winnebago in the Kentucky Speedway Infield for the Quaker State 400

“Hold my beer!” Should be the anthem of the Quaker State 400 Infield. If you have yet to attend Kentucky’s biggest Nascar event of the year, don’t wait any longer. Rent an rv and snag a parking pass for the weekend. You’ll be in the heart of the track with the rest of the die-hards. You won’t regret it.

Where: Kentucky Speedway (1 Speedway Drive, Sparta, KY 41086)
When: Friday - Sunday, July 11th - 13th

Mammoth Cave

Escape the Summer Heat and Go Spelunking in the World’s Longest Cave System

Did you know that the temperature in the caves stays at around 54 degrees fahrenheit year-round? Grab your hard hat, head lamp, and leave your claustrophobia at home. Mammoth Cave is calling you. If that's not your bag, there is plenty to see and do in Cave City. From Dinosaur World to Kentucky Down Under, this could be the most family-fun weekend of any of the top 10 summer activities.

Where: Mammoth Cave
When: All Summer Long

catfish wrestling

Noodle a River Monster at the Green River Catfish Festival

We were torn between a frog gigging festival and a catfish competition. We chose to go with the catfish, but still encourage you to go gigging with your uncle Eddy. How do you know this festival is going to be the coolest festival of the summer? There’s going to be a FORTNITE TOURNAMENT. Catfish and Fortnite? Has there been a better combination since peanut butter and jelly, or opossum and sweet potatoes? Not just catfish wrestling, but also a terrapin race, fireworks, dinosaur show, power wheels crash up derby, strongman competition, corn hole, music and more...the list goes on!

Where: Morgantown, KY
When: Thursday, July 4th - 6th

Take A Stroll with A Forest Giant

Deep in the Bernheim Arboretum the 3 forest giants roam. Over 12 feet tall with menacing teeth...just kidding, they're adorable. You can hang out with them and take photos, just don't climb on Mama please, she is expecting. Created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, Mama Loumari and her children, Little Nis and Little Elina, are expected to stick around for the next 3 years, so take your time and enjoy the scenery.  

Where: Bernheim Arboretum, Clermont, KY
When: All Summer Long 

As always, be sure to checkout the shop for all your Kentucky needs. 

Hot Kentucky Summer T-shirts


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