Lexington Horse Farm

Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon & Boone Region

Rolling hills dotted with horse farms are a signature sight in this region, along with the distinct smell of Kentucky bourbon. Several cities and towns are destinations in their own rights, with history, shopping, arts, culture, outdoors and more. Below we’ve highlighted a few of the many towns and attractions in the area to help you plan your next road trip!

Must-See Attractions

Marwari horse hangs head over white fence at Kentucky Horse Park

Kentucky Horse Park

Get up close and personal with horses of all sizes, breeds and disciplines at the Kentucky Horse Park, a 1,200-acre park is a working horse farm that offers an enjoyable, educational experience. Take in a show, wander the grounds to visit horses in the barns, and be sure to stop in at the International Museum of the Horse, which catalogs the history of the horse industry. One newer permanent exhibit, the Black Horsemen of the Kentucky Turf, follows the racing careers of legendary jockeys and trainers; to explore more stories of African American horsemen and horsewomen, visit the new Chronicle of African Americans in the Horse Industry website

Reenactors at Camp Nelson load a cannon

Camp Nelson

Visit Camp Nelson in Nicholasville to learn about and honor soldiers who fought and died in the Civil War. The Camp Nelson National Monument is a former 4,000-acre camp that once housed 300 buildings and fortifications operated by the Union Army. Today, the site remains one of the best-preserved landscapes and archaeological sites associated with Civil War-era U.S. Colored Troops. Located just down the road is the Camp Nelson National Cemetery, the final resting place for thousands of Civil War soldiers. 

Display at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea

Kentucky Artisan Center & Berea

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is open daily year-round and free to visit. The 25,000 square foot center is full of great works of art from artists around Kentucky, showcasing different mediums from pottery, glassworks, sculpture, fiber, basketry, painting, woodworking and more. Nearby is the town of Berea, Kentucky’s Folk Arts & Craft Capital and a Kentucky Trail Town, full of arts, outdoors, history and culture. Explore Berea College’s beautiful campus to find Lincoln Hall, a National Historic Landmark that is a stop on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail

Exterior view of the Kentucky State Capitol building

State Capitol

The State Capitol overlooks the Kentucky River as the waterway ambles to the north making a unique S shape through historic downtown Frankfort. The Capitol is on the National Register of Historic Places and is noted as one of the most impressive in the nation – schedule a tour to take it all in. Then, explore the grounds and find the Floral Clock, located on the West Lawn of the Capitol Grounds. The face of the clock is 34 feet across and planted with thousands of plants that are changed out seasonally.

View of rickhouse tour at Woodford Reserve Distillery

Woodford Reserve Distillery

Explore bourbon, America’s Native Spirit, at one of the state’s oldest and smallest distilleries, Woodford Reserve in Woodford County. Tucked into the countryside alongside famous horse farms is this National Historic Landmark that was originally established in 1812. Tour to see the limestone buildings that have been restored to their original condition and the copper still pots showcasing the distillery’s heritage. Nearby in Frankfort is Buffalo Trace Distillery, the oldest continuously operating distillery in America and a National Historic Landmark. The distillery is fully operational and dedicated to preserving its rich history, offering a variety of complimentary tours and tastings. 

River view of the Kentucky Palisades

Kentucky Palisades

Along the Kentucky River near Harrodsburg are the Kentucky River Palisades, an ecologically and geologically important area with some of the most dramatic cliffs found across the state. Because the Palisades are remote, visitors have a higher likelihood of spotting wildlife in their natural habitat, including bobcats, peregrine falcons and more. Hike, paddle, or cruise the Dixie Belle Riverboat from Shaker Landing to take in breathtaking views of the river and the towering Palisades. Or, zip line through the region on a tour with Boone Creek Outdoors

Beer cheese and vegetables with Ale-8-One bottles

Beer Cheese & Ale-8-One in Winchester

The town of Winchester in Clark County is home to two iconic Kentucky treats – beer cheese and Ale-8-One! Visit the birthplace of beer cheese – a sharp cheddar spread that goes well with crackers, veggies and pretty much anything – and taste the many varieties at 10+ stops on the Beer Cheese Trail. Then, swing by the Ale-8-One Bottling Company to learn about the ginger and citrus flavored soda that’s been deemed “Kentucky’s Official Soft Drink.” Set up an appointment to tour the facility to learn about “Ale-8,” the only soft drink invented in Kentucky that’s still in existence.

Exterior view of the Centre Family Dwelling at Shaker Village

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Stay, play, dine and explore at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, a landmark destination that shares 3,000 acres of discovery in the spirit of the Kentucky Shakers. With 34 original Shaker structures, the site is home to the country’s largest private collection of original 19th century buildings and is the largest National Historic Landmark in Kentucky. Explore hiking trails to find a waterfall, meet local artists and attend a workshop, trail ride, plus enjoy happy hour and live music on the lawn.  

Rider exercises a Thoroughbred horse at Keeneland racecourse

Horse Racing Heritage

Go see a morning workout or horse race at Keeneland, a historic race course and the world’s largest and most prominent Thoroughbred auction house. Racing is offered twice a year, in April and October, while sales are offered throughout the year. Book a tour with Visit Horse Country to explore the homes of champions, see new foals frolic in their pastures and learn about the care and husbandry of Kentucky’s signature athletes. Visit retired stars at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, founded by former Boston Globe film critic Michael Blowen.  

Group Hawktail performs on the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour

WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour

The WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour is a celebration of grassroots, Americana music hosted by folksinger Michael Johnathon that is usually recorded before a live audience at the historic Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center in Lexington then broadcast via radio, television and the internet across the world. Check out past episodes on their YouTube page

Horse hangs head over black fence at Kentucky Horse Park

More information about the region