Scenic view of Cave Run Lake in Morehead, KY

Kentucky Appalachians

Discover a region where inspiring natural beauty, varied outdoor recreation, rich country music heritage and fascinating folk culture beckons visitors to leave the hustle and bustle behind.

In Eastern Kentucky, the state’s famed bluegrass gently folds into the ruggedly scenic Appalachian Mountains. All around, natural beauty soars across narrow ridge tops, deep canyons, rim rock cliffs, and spectacular spring and fall foliage. Natural areas like Red River Gorge, Carter Caves State Resort Park,  Jenny Wiley State Resort Park and Cave Run Lake lure visitors to enjoy world-class hiking, caving, fishing, paddling, golfing, boating, and traditional Appalachian cooking. 

Kentucky Appalachians Region Map

Signed guitar on display at the Highlands Museum in Kentucky

VIRTUAL EXPERIENCES IN THE Kentucky Appalachians REGION

More Things to Do in the Kentucky Appalachians Region

Travel scenic byways like the Country Music Highway (U.S. 23), honoring the dozens of musical legends born and raised in the region. Stop at Butcher Holler, birthplace of Loretta Lynn, and uncover stories of the area’s rich mining heritage at the Coal Miners’ Museum. Take in a toe-tapping performance at Mountain HomePlace in Paintsville, Paramount Art Center in Ashland and the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum, which hosts live bluegrass every Thursday night. And cultural hubs such as the Kentucky Folk Art Center put the work of imaginative and talented artists and artisans on proud display.

Kentucky Appalachians

Regional Cuisine

A table is filled with traditional foods from the Kentucky Appalachians region

Mountain cooking may not be fancy, but it’s known to nourish the soul. Dishes like soup beans, salmon patties and blackberry jam cake have gained newfound appreciation in recent years, and family-run restaurants offer a spirited taste of the region.

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Explore More Regions of Kentucky

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  • Kentucky Appalachians

    Discover a region where inspiring natural beauty, varied outdoor recreation, rich country music heritage and fascinating folk culture beckons visitors to leave the hustle and bustle behind.

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  • Bluegrass, Blues & BBQ

    As the birthplace of bluegrass, this region draws visitors from around the world to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Come hungry, ’cause Owensboro is also the "BBQ Capital of the World."

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  • Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon & Boone

    In the heart of Horse Country, bluegrass landscapes melt into vibrant cities like Lexington and Berea, offering legendary horse farms, historic distilleries, handmade art, and genuine Southern hospitality.

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  • Bourbon, Horses & History

    The thrill of the Kentucky Derby. The sizzle of Louisville’s culinary scene. The buzz of the Bourbon Capital of the World®. Iconic Kentucky experiences abound in this diverse region.

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  • Caves, Lakes & Corvettes

    Above and below ground, discover some of Kentucky’s most magnificent natural wonders and full-throttle adventures, from Mammoth Cave National Park to the National Corvette Museum.

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  • Daniel Boone Country

    With its dramatic scenery and unbridled adventure, frontiersman Daniel Boone may have had this ruggedly beautiful region in mind when he said "Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place."

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  • Southern Shorelines

    Splash into the region that’s home to the “Houseboat Capital of the World,” Lake Cumberland. You’ll also find bucolic farms and vineyards, Civil War history and all the local fried fish you can eat.

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  • Northern Kentucky River Region

    Just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, the “Top of the South” delights with exciting cities, culinary gems and popular family attractions such as the Ark Encounter and Newport Aquarium.

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  • Western Waterlands

    Home to Kentucky’s two largest lakes and the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, this scenic region also teems with small-town charm and a thriving arts scene in Paducah.

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