Bourbon, Sports & the Great Outdoors: Discover Elizabethtown, Kentucky

By Hayley Hutson


Welcome to Elizabethtown, aka Etown, where everything is easy, from finding fun outdoor activities to indulging in mouthwatering international cuisine. Whether you’re looking to sip your way through Elizabethtown’s historic downtown or hike one of the many trails in its surrounding parks, you’ll find a wide array of adventures in this charming area. Let’s start exploring!



Outdoor Adventures


From hiking and biking trails to fishing and paddle boarding, Elizabethtown attracts outdoor enthusiasts with its stunning lakes and expansive green spaces. Relax and recharge at Freeman Lake Park, a picturesque retreat and home to a 170-acre lake, sports and recreation activities, water sports and more. Challenge your friends to a match of pickleball, volleyball or tennis. Play a game of disc golf on the 18-hole course. Or, take in the scenic views around the lake by hiking or biking the paved Lakeside Loop and Freeman Lake trails. You’ll find plenty of activities on the lake as well. Rent or bring your own kayak, boat and paddle boat (or board) and take in the sights from the water. Love to fish? Freeman Lake is a prime fishing destination. Cast a line for bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie and rainbow trout.



Hiking in Freeman Lake Park.



At the nearby Elizabethtown Nature Park, tranquility awaits amidst 104 acres of greenery, a network of walking trails that connect to the Freeman Lake Trail system, and several memorials that pay homage to the nation’s military history. Check out the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, a replica of the one in Washington, DC. The Elizabethtown Veteran’s Tribute stands tall in the middle of a star polygon walkway, honoring veterans, both living and deceased, who fought for the country, including POWs, MIAs, and the courageous dogs who fought next to their masters in Vietnam.


Elizabethtown Nature Park



Known as Kentucky’s first urban trail town, Elizabethtown has over 20 trails for hikers at varying skill levels. Hike along Shaw Creek on the Banam Shaw Trail, enjoy views of the town from the overlook on the Briarwood Forest Trail, or journey 8.5 miles on the Buffalo Lake Trail, where a variety of landscapes await – from cliffs, rock formations, gullies and springs. Visit in season to catch a glimpse of wildflowers and migrating birds.



Hiking the trails in Elizabethtown



With all these fun outdoor activities and sports, you might be concerned about packing a ton of gear for your visit to Elizabethtown. Don’t worry! Thanks to the Your Gear is Here Program, you can check out sports equipment with a valid ID. This includes everything from golf clubs to tennis racquets, fishing rods and hourly boat rentals!



Welcome to Bourbon's Backyard


Affectionately known as Bourbon’s Backyard, Elizabethtown is conveniently located within a short drive of many distilleries in nearby Bardstown and Louisville. Of course, you’ll find ample tasting opportunities in town. Situated in a lively section of historic downtown, The Hub stands proudly as the town’s premier Entertainment Destination Center (EDC). Here, visitors and locals can purchase alcohol from approved vendors and stroll through designated areas freely (as long as the beverage is in Hub-approved cups). Take in the sights and enjoy a bourbon straight up or whiskey on the rocks while checking out local spots like Flywheel Brewing or Waters Edge Winery.



A bourbon cocktail



As you explore historic downtown, bourbon connoisseurs must visit Bourbon Barrel Tavern (BBT), where patrons can choose from over 500 bourbons. Sample renowned labels like Pappy Van Winkle, with its velvety texture and notes of caramel and vanilla, or the bold and smoky Buffalo Trace, which offers an authentic taste of Kentucky’s heritage. BBT’s curated selection ensures that every sip tells a story, making it the perfect destination for those seeking an immersive bourbon experience.


Sweeten your adventures with bourbon-infused treats! At The Dreamery, indulge in handmade gelato with a rotating selection of flavors, including bourbon! Be sure to visit Dewster’s Ice Cream for a cup or cone of its delectable Bourbon Ball flavor.


For those looking to enjoy local twists on classic cocktails, J.R. Neighbors serves up creatively named libations that capture the spirit of Elizabethtown, like The Elizabeth, a smoked old-fashioned made with cacao nibs and orange peel-infused bourbon. 



Exciting Attractions


There’s no shortage of fun in Elizabethtown, where you’ll find a range of entertaining activities for all ages. At Heartland Mini Golf, practice your swing on the 18-hole golf course or play yard games like cornhole, ping pong and Jenga. Rather watch than play? Enjoy a whiskey flight from the rooftop bar. Fun for the whole family awaits at Xtreme Arcade. This multifaceted entertainment center boasts axe throwing, indoor mini-golf, arcade games and mini bowling lanes! If more axe throwing is what you’re after, head to Axe Play to hone your skills while sipping a beer for an adrenaline-pumping good time. Throw solo or challenge your friends in teams.



Throwing axes at Axe Play



For a blast from the past, spend an afternoon or evening at 3 Decade Arcade. A haven for game lovers and all things retro, this arcade features an assortment of games, from classic pinball machines to Mortal Kombat. Leaning into the retro vibes, the arcade only takes quarters, so get ready to game like it’s 1985!



Delectable Dining


Thanks to the wide variety of restaurants in town, you won’t go hungry during your trip to Elizabethtown. From hidden gems to international flavors, visitors can eat their way across the globe at spots serving everything from upscale Mexican and authentic Greek to Italian and Asian cuisine. Spice things up at Papi’s Tacos in historic downtown for a taste of Mexico – the Birria Burrito is a must. At Woo Hoo, prepare to be transported to the Mediterranean for classic Greek bites like dolma, baklava and gyros. Foodies seeking fresh sushi are in good hands at Wasabi, a casual fine-dining Asian restaurant with unique rolls like the E-Town stuffed with shrimp tempura and green salad topped with spicy tuna. The flavors of Italy are alive and well at Little Charlies Pizza, where pasta dishes like the chicken francese will transport you to the hills of Tuscany with the luscious, lemony butter sauce.



Enjoying pizza in Elizabethtown.



Of course, you can’t skip the Kentucky classics. Check out Back Home Restaurant for All-American fare and the famous Hot Brown, an open-faced sandwich with turkey and bacon smothered in Mornay sauce.

Related Articles