Tips for Black Travel Groups Exploring Kentucky

Traveling by yourself is fun, but I’ve had some of my best, and most educational, travel experiences in a group of like-minded people who are interested in experiencing new areas and understanding how history shaped those places. 

 

Of course, it’s not always easy traveling in a group. Disparate interests can pull people in different ways, and depending on the size of your group, it can be difficult to make reservations or stay together. But with a little advance planning and preparation, group travel can be a rewarding adventure. 

 

Kentucky is an ideal location for group travel, especially for Black travel groups looking for a mix of heritage, entertainment, dining and fun. Before you fully plan your group travel, check on the latest COVID regulations – some locations have not fully transitioned back into hosting large groups – and determine the size of your party, as many group rates for museums and other locations begin at 15 people. So, as you make your plans, check out these tips for Black travel groups who want to explore Kentucky:

 

Zip, sip and savor

 

The Urban Bourbon Trail is one of Louisville’s coolest attractions, a collection of local bars and restaurants who specialize in one of the state’s greatest exports – Bourbon. On the trail, your group can taste the spirit in a variety of drinks, try Bourbon-infused food and take a picture with artwork of Tom Bullock, a bartender and the first Black man to publish a cocktail book. Check out Bourbon City Cruisers’ Cocktail Cruise, in which groups of six can roll through the trail in a tricked-out tuk tuk for a three-hour tour. 

 

Walk freedom’s trail

 

Groups looking to travel around Northern Kentucky can explore Black history through the Covington Black History Tour, a walking path that touches on several important events and individuals whose achievements have been honored in the city’s art and architecture. None may be more important than the Carneal House, which has long rumored to be part of the network of homes in the area used for the Underground Railroad. Just across the river, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center shares the stories of freedom’s heroes both then and now.

 

Float like a butterfly

 

The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville is an amazing experience for both sports fans and history buffs, as the boxing legend’s life covered so much ground both in the athletic arena and the Civil Rights movement. The museum offers special guided tour experience for small groups that includes a welcome, an in-depth introduction to Ali’s life and legacy and a guided tour of the exhibitions found at the museum. This includes the new “Truth Be Told” exhibit that details the policies linked to systematic racism in America from the 1600s to today.

 

Hit the road

 

Black history isn’t just found in the major cities of Kentucky. Small locales throughout the state saw Black residents fight for civil rights, make impacts on their communities and establish important family and faith landmarks that have often been overlooked. If your group is up for a drive, Danville and Boyle County have put together the Forgotten Landmarks tour, which identifies 55 landmarks in the county that are key to the Black experience, from churches to schools to baseball fields. 

 

Make a capital connection

 

Visiting the state capital of Frankfort can give groups a chance to touch on history, education and government. First, take the Historical Frankfort Tour, a fully guided boat cruise along Kentucky River in which you’ll learn the fascinating and complex history of the city. Then, swing by Kentucky State University, whose founding date of 1886 makes it the oldest historically black college in the state. Finally, try to land a tour of the Kentucky State Capitol building. Free guided tours are available during the week, and you can try to reach out to the members of the Black Legislative Caucus to see democracy in action. 

 

Written by Elliott Smith

January 17, 2022