Kentucky Tourism
Back to Family Friendly Itineraries

Kentucky Appalachians

Head to the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky for an authentic adventure

The Kentucky Appalachian region is a treasure of Appalachian arts, history, crafts and music in a hometown atmosphere. Here you’ll find the famous U.S. 23 – Country Music Highway which pays tribute to the numerous country music stars with their origins in Eastern Kentucky and their musical talent which reflects the Appalachian history, art and traditions that creates this authentic place. Due to its mountainous terrain, inviting landscape and adventurous spirit . . . this region provides your family with experiences that are truly country and completely Kentucky!

DAY 1 of your Family Fun Adventure

Everyone in your family is sure to agree the best start to any vacation is chocolate. The Ruth Hunt Candy Company in Mt. Sterling has been in the chocolate business since 1921 and they are the official candy maker of the Kentucky Derby and the famous “Blue Monday” cream candy bar. For date/time of operation and delicious details regarding their chocolate tours, visit their website http://www.ruthhuntcandy.com/defaultt.html or call (800) 927-0302.

Estimated drive time between the Ruth Hunt Candy Company and Red River Appalachian Zip Line Tours is 40 minutes.

If you are traveling with tweens and teens, the best way to follow a sugar rush is an adrenaline rush at the Red River Appalachian Zip Line Tours in Frenchburg. This three-hour fast and fun adventure offers thrill seekers, ages six and up, the unique opportunity to zip along the treetops of Eastern Kentucky. Be sure to note this attraction is only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations are required via their website http://www.redriverziplines.com/Home.html. Also, be sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions section for additional details regarding appropriate attire, age, weight and health requirements, release forms and cost information. For more detailed information call (937) 304-1492.

Estimated drive time between the Red River Appalachian Zip Line Tour and Cave Tours is 25 minutes.

Carter Cave State Resort ParkYour next Family Fun Travel destination is the Cascade Cave Tour, Glimpse of Cascade Cave Tour or the X-Cave Tour at Carter Cave State Resort Park in Olive Hill. The Cascade Cave Tour is ¾ mile and lasts 75 minutes. It will fill your heart with wonder and adventure. Set your sights on the Lake Room, and the geologic diversity of the Cathedral Room. Entice yourself with the majestic 30-feet high underground waterfall. This tour is open to all ages; however, it does last 75 minutes and includes 225 stair steps.

The Glimpse of Cascade Cave Tour is a leisurely ¼ mile guided stroll through a portion of Cascade Cave providing an excellent look at the natural wonder of Dance Hall Cavern and the Dragon’s Lair, where, if you look up, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. This cave tour is open to all ages; however, it does last 30 minutes and includes 53 stair steps.

The X-Cave Tour has two vertical joint passages that meander through a large layer of limestone, putting you up-close to beautiful cave formations. This ¼ mile guided tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and includes 75 stair steps through narrow passages and some stooping.

For specific details on all three Carter Cave State Park tours including dates/times of operation, admission, departure times, appropriate cave touring attire, go to http://parks.ky.gov/%21userfiles/carter-caves/pdf/cc-june18-aug12-tours-2012.pdf or call (606) 286-4411.

If you would like additional information on Carter Cave State Park including lodging, camping, horseback riding, golf, miniature golf, swimming and playgrounds, go to http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/carter-caves/default.aspx

Estimated drive time between the Carter Cave State Park Tours and Highlands Museum and Discovery Center is 50 minutes.

Highlands Museum and Discovery CenterYour final destination for the day is the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center in lovely downtown Ashland where interactive exhibits, educational and innovative programs, both cultural and historical celebrate the past, explore the present and enrich the future. For dates/hours of operation and admission information, visit their website at http://highlandsmuseum.com/ or by call (606) 329-8888. Make lodging reservations at the hotel of your choice in the Ashland http://www.visitashlandky.com/ or Paintsville http://www.visitpaintsvilleky.com/accommodations.html area.

Estimated drive time between Highlands Museum and Discovery Center and Loretta Lynn’s Homeplace is 90 minutes.

DAY 2 of your Family Fun Adventure

Loretta Lynn's HomeplaceToday’s adventure starts at Kentucky’s Only One Loretta Lynn’s Homeplace “Butcher Holler” This destination truly captures the essence of U.S. 23 – Country Music Highway as Loretta Lynn’s birthplace is nestled between two fog-shrouded mountains up a “holler” just two miles southeast of the coal mining camp of Van Lear. For dates/hours of operation, admission and detailed driving directions, visit their website http://www.visitpaintsvilleky.com/attractions_ButcherHollow.html or call Webb’s General Store at (606) 789-3397.

Estimated drive time between Loretta Lynn’s Homeplace and East Kentucky Science Center is 20 minutes.

Your next destination includes star watching (actual stars not country stars) at the East Kentucky Science Center located on the campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Prestonsburg. They will take you to the stars or even the edge of space and time with one of their many planetarium shows. This is a great family fun destination; whereas, even the exhibit hall has fun educational opportunities. Enjoy rock music? Be sure to check out their awesome laser light shows. For dates/times of operation and admission information, visit their website http://www.bigsandy.kctcs.edu/EKSC or call (606) 889-8260.

Estimated drive time between East Kentucky Science Center and Jenny Wiley State Resort Park is 10 minutes.

Jenny Wiley State Resort ParkIf you are traveling with toddlers and tikes, your next destination is Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonsburg which offers lodging, swimming, camping, biking, birding, canoeing, golf, a nature center, outdoor theater and a playground. For more information, check out their website http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/jenny-wiley/things_to_do.aspx or call (800) 325-0142.

Estimated drive time between Jenny Wiley State Resort Park and Hatfield and McCoy Feud Guided Tour is 45 minutes.

Based upon the highly successful “Hatfields and McCoys” mini-series on the History Channel there is overwhelming interest in this long-lasting feud. If you are looking to truly experience history firsthand then the Hatfield and McCoy Driving Tour in Pike County provides the perfect opportunity to participate in a guided tour that brings history alive. For more information on the Hatfield-McCoy Feud Guided Tour schedule, visit their website http://www.tourpikecounty.com/index.php?page=hatfields-and-mccoys or contact Pike County Tourism CVB at (800) 844-7453. Tour schedule is subject to change. Tours leave out from the Pike County Tourism Office in the Hampton Inn at 831 Hambley Blvd.in Pikeville and reservations are recommended.

Make lodging reservations at the hotel of your choice in Prestonsburg http://www.prestonsburgky.org/accommodations.htm or Pikeville http://www.tourpikecounty.com/index.php?page=accomodations-2 area.

DAY 3 of your Family Fun Adventure

Estimated drive time between Hatfield-McCoy Feud Guided Tour and Russell Fork Whitewater Rafting is 45 minutes.

If you are traveling to the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky with tweens and teens, you may want to make your next destination Russell Fork Whitewater Rafting in Elkhorn City. The Russell Fork cuts a 1,600 foot gorge through the mountains into Elkhorn City and is rated Class IV – Class VI rapids. For detailed information and water levels, visit their website http://www.tourpikecounty.com/index.php?page=whitewater-rafting or call (800) 844-7453.