A family looks into the penguin exhibit at Newport Aquarium in the Northern Kentucky River Region

Interstate 71

  • Bourbon, Horses & History
  • Northern Kentucky River Region
100 miles

Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly side trip, a day at the races or a quaint place to stay the night, there are many Kentucky gems along Interstate 71.

You can get a little bit of everything Kentucky has to offer along Interstate 71, which journeys from the urban center of Louisville through the picturesque Northern Kentucky River Region and showcases towns nestled along the Ohio River. Dive into adventures that will satisfy everyone from bourbon lovers to adrenaline junkies. Explore historic Main Streets, mingle with horses in Kentucky’s Farm Tour Capital, take in a race at Kentucky Speedway or tour one of the nation’s top-ranked aquariums in Newport. Along the way, stop for delicious home cooking and rest your head at inns and lodges that offer genuine Southern hospitality.

Must-Stops on Interstate 71

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience Photo

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience

528 W. Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202

Louisville MEGA Cavern & MEGA Zips Photo

Louisville MEGA Cavern

1841 Taylor Ave.
Louisville, KY 40280

Our Best Restaurant Photo

Our Best Restaurant

5728 Smithfield Road
Smithfield, KY 40068

Oldham Farm Tours Information Photo

Oldham Farm Tours Information

204 S. First Street
La Grange, KY 40031

Historic La Grange Main Street Shopping District - Trains Photo

Historic La Grange Main Street Shopping District - Trains

127 E. Main Street
La Grange, KY 40031

Blue Wing Landing Inn & Event Center Photo

Blue Wing Landing Inn & Event Center

3249 Browns Bottom Road
Owenton, KY 40359

General Butler State Resort Park Photo

General Butler State Resort Park

1608 Hwy. 227
Carrollton, KY 41008

Kentucky Speedway Photo

Kentucky Speedway

1 Speedway Drive
Sparta, KY 41086

Creation Museum Photo

Creation Museum

2800 Bullittsburg Church Rd.
Petersburg, KY 41080

Newport Aquarium Photo

Newport Aquarium

1 Levee Way
Newport, KY 41011

Louisville

There’s enough to see and do in the Derby City to fill an entire vacation. But if you’re just passing through, we’ve got a few must-stop suggestions. Get a taste of Kentucky’s signature spirit at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, a key stopping point on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and the Urban Bourbon Experiences. Here you can sip a variety of bourbons and take a distillery tour of this famous fixture of Louisville’s Whiskey Row.

You’ll have to go underground to see one of Louisville’s most amazing sights. If you’ve got a need for speed, embark on a true adventure at Louisville MEGA Cavern & MEGA Zips. This one-of-a-kind attraction is set deep below the city in a massive limestone cavern, which is home to six fully underground ziplines, challenge bridges and other activities that will get your heart racing with excitement.

Smithfield

Just outside Louisville, you’ll find good country cooking and a local, family-friendly atmosphere at Our Best Restaurant. This local institution since 1990 serves up everything from fried green tomatoes to homemade meatloaf to country ham, plus salads, sandwiches and more to keep you fueled for your drive.

Crestwood

Oldham County is known as the Farm Tour Capital of Kentucky, with 14 farms featuring educational tours, horse shows and more. You’ll even find buffalo, alpacas and botanical gardens in this pastoral wonderland. Learn about all the sites at Oldham Farm Tours Welcome Center.

La Grange

You’ve never seen a sight quite like the one in downtown La Grange, where freight trains run right down the center of Main Street. In the middle of it all, the Historic La Grange Main Street Shopping District is home to a unique collection of local shops, eateries and art galleries, with plenty of character to go around.

Owenton

If you need a place to stay the night on your journey, you won’t find anywhere more quaint and welcoming than the Blue Wing Landing Inn & Event Center. Perched on the Kentucky River, the Greek Revival home has been transformed from a peach plantation into a cozy inn. Enjoy hiking, birding, fishing and swimming, or simply kick up your feet and enjoy the country life.

Carrollton

General Butler State Resort Park is a jewel of the Kentucky State Parks system. Hiking, biking, paddling and mini-golf are great ways to stretch your legs from driving, but the main attraction here is the hilltop Butler Lodge; with rich woodwork and soaring windows looking out onto the sweeping Ohio River Valley, the lodge offers 53 handsome guest rooms and a lounge where you can sip Kentucky bourbons and moonshines.

Sparta

Fans of NASCAR will know the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta as one of the roughest tracks in racing, and many legendary racers have proved their mettle here – including Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Kentucky natives Darrell and Michael Waltrip. See if there’s a race scheduled during your visit, and reserve your spot at one of seven campgrounds. 

Petersburg

The Creation Museum in Boone County has become a mecca for travelers seeking a greater understanding of biblical history. This 75,000-square-foot museum pulls out all the stops to bring events depicted in the Bible to life, with a planetarium, botanical gardens and amazing animatronic displays that were developed by a former Universal Studios designer.

Newport

The last stop in Kentucky before crossing the Ohio River into Cincinnati, Ohio, is the city of Newport, where you’ll find vibrant dining, nightlife and attractions for the whole family at places like Newport on the Levee. One such attraction is the Newport Aquarium, which has been ranked as one of the top aquariums in the U.S. See everything from rare shark rays to penguins, as well as dive shows, feedings and touch tanks that will give the little ones all the feels. 

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