- Bourbon, Horses & History
- Caves, Lakes & Corvettes
Make an easy detour to must-see attractions like Mammoth Cave National Park and the National Corvette Museum on this major north-south thoroughfare.
Interstate 65 journeys through the heartland of Kentucky, and America. This north-south roadway motors past some of the most iconic attractions in the Commonwealth, such as Mammoth Cave National Park, the National Corvette Museum and the Belle of Louisville, but you’ll want to give yourself the freedom to discover roadside attractions and hidden gems galore – from Dinosaur World to the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a car full of kids, there’s something for everyone on I-65!
Must-Stops on Interstate 65
The Mint Gaming Hall-Kentucky Downs
5629 Nashville Road
Franklin, KY 42134
National Corvette Museum
350 Corvette Dr.
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Mammoth Cave National Park
One Mammoth Cave Pkwy.
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259
711 Mammoth Cave Rd.
Cave City, KY 42127
Historic Wigwam Village No. 2
601 N. Dixie Hwy.
Cave City, KY 42127
Hidden River Cave / American Cave Museum
119 E. Main St.
Horse Cave, KY 42765
Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo
3700 L & N Turnpike Rd.
P.O. Box 10
Horse Cave, KY 42749
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park
2995 Lincoln Farm Rd.
Hodgenville, KY 42748
Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest
2075 Clermont Road
Clermont, KY 40110
James B. Beam Distilling Co
526 Happy Hollow Rd.
Clermont, KY 40110
The Speed Art Museum
2035 S 3rd St
Louisville, KY 40208
Frazier History Museum
829 W. Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Belle of Louisville
401 W. River Rd.
Louisville, KY 40202
If Kentucky’s best ice cream (according to USA Today) isn’t a good enough reason to pull off the highway, what is? That honor belongs to Chaney's Dairy Barn And Restaurant in Bowling Green, which also serves lunch and dinner. While you’re there, tour the farm, meet the Jersey cows responsible for your creamy confection, and let the kids run off some energy on the super-sized playground.
Also in Bowling Green, the Downing Museum At Baker Arboretum showcases the work of the late Joe Downing, one of Kentucky’s most revered contemporary artists. The large collection contains works by other Bluegrass artists as well, and the adjacent Baker Arboretum is a great place to stretch your legs on a peaceful stroll.
Really rev things up at the National Corvette Museum, one of Kentucky’s top tourist attractions. This 115,000-square-foot shrine to “America’s Sports Car” showcases more than 70 Corvette models in period settings – including prototypes, rare finds and mint classics. Step inside the plant where ‘Vettes are made, and climb into the captain’s seat of a Model C6 to test your driving skills at the Corvette Simulator.
If you’d rather have the real thing, head to NCM Motorsports Park, where you can drive GoKarts, your own vehicle or a Corvette at high speeds around the track. Serious car buffs, can also sign up for a VIP package which includes private coaching with a professional driver.
Wow isn’t a big enough word to describe what you’ll experience at Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest recorded cave system in the world. The park entrance is located just 9 miles off I-65, making it an easy day trip or stopover.
Descend into the vast underground caverns, dripping with stalagmites and stalactites, on a ranger-led or self-guided tour. Above ground, explore hiking trails and hit the Green River for water activities ranging from fishing to boating to stand-up paddleboarding. You can also detour through the park to take some of the most scenic drives in the Commonwealth, and stay the night at the park’s lodge or campgrounds to make the most of your time here.
Read More: Visiting Mammoth Cave? Here's Everything You Should See & Do.
The nearby hub of Cave City offers lots of kitschy, old-fashioned fun for families, along with some of Kentucky’s most unique lodging options. Kiddos can’t resist Dinosaur World, where life-size dino replicas lurk around every corner. Let them dig for fossils, run wild on the dino-themed playground and check out real prehistoric artifacts.
If time allows, reserve an overnight stay at Wigwam Village #2. This retro teepee village from the 1930s is another kid favorite, and without a doubt one of the most unique places to stay in Kentucky.
Read More: Cave City: Where Else Can You Play Above Ground & Under It?
More family fun awaits just one exit north at Horse Cave. Explore Kentucky’s very own Outback at Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo, where kids can pet kangaroos, feed colorful exotic birds and learn about sheep at the Woolshed. If you had to skip Mammoth Cave – and even if you didn’t – Mammoth Onyx Cave at Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo offers another opportunity to explore underground.
At Hidden River Cave & American Cave Museum, you can zipline and rappel above ground and explore yet another cave system below ground. This one is home to a subterranean river, which you can cross on the world’s longest swinging bridge. Feeling adventurous? Sign up for an off-trail cave tour, which allows you to crawl through more rugged parts of the cave, a hard hat and headlamp lighting your way.
Around 30 miles north of Cave Country, explore a different chapter of Kentucky’s history at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park. See a reproduction of Lincoln’s single-room birth cabin, housed inside a grand structure known as the original Lincoln Memorial. The park is also home to Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home at Knob Creek, a place the future president remembered fondly for the rest of his life. Nearby at the Lincoln Museum, enjoy galleries of civil war memorabilia, a collection of original Lincoln art, a funeral train exhibit and more.
There are few better places in Kentucky to take a walk than Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Clermont, about 35 minutes north of Hodgenville. Kentucky’s official arboretum, this nature lover’s paradise encompasses 25 square miles of preserved, privately owned forest – the size of the island of Manhattan! Explore 40 miles of trails through diverse landscapes ranging from prairie to forest to swampland. There are so many more activities for all ages, too, including the amazing Forest Giants sculpture installation, a canopy tree walk, an edible garden, and the 600-acre arboretum.
Read More: The Forest Giants in a Giant Forest
Follow up your nature walk with a chaser of bourbon at Jim Beam American Stillhouse, one of Kentucky’s most iconic distilleries. The Beams are known as Kentucky’s “first family” of bourbon, and this destination is overflowing with history. Take a distillery tour, sample spirits and cocktails, and soak it up with a hearty meal at the on-site smokehouse.
You’ve made it to Louisville, the last stop before leaving Kentucky – now it’s just a matter of narrowing down what to see and do.
Families will love the Belle of Louisville, a scenic riverboat ride along the Ohio River. Foodies shouldn’t miss City Taste Tours of Louisville, which offers a foray into Louisville’s sizzling-hot culinary scene. Lovers of art and culture should make a beeline for Flame Run, a glass studio and gallery. The Frazier History Museum displays an eclectic variety of American artifacts, and also serves as the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon TrailⓇ. Get a new perspective on the city as a whole by taking a leisurely stroll or bike ride over the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge, which connects Louisville with Jefferson, Indiana.
Read More: 48 Hours in Louisville: Explore, Eat, Relax