One of the pleasures of travelling is discovering unique places to go for a day trip. Whether it’s just an hour away, or will actually take the whole day, a drive to a nearby attraction can feel like a vacation within a vacation. Or a vacation within a staycation if you’re seeing the sights within a few hours drive from where you live. As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, like our recent post about the Northern Kentucky Back Roads Wine Trail, there are many such almost-hidden gems in the Northern Kentucky region. Here are a few more:
photo: Instagram @stonedoggs
The small town of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky is only 45 minutes away from downtown Cincinnati, so it almost doesn’t qualify as a day trip. But we’re listing it here because as one of Southern Living’s “Best Tiny Towns in the U.S.” you definitely don’t want to miss it! The always Instagrammable General Store is just one of the attractions of Rabbit Hash—there’s also a local winery, Verona Vineyards, an antiques shop, and a great local BBQ spot, The Scalded Hog. Oh, and we almost forgot to mention that the whole town is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s likely you’ll get to meet the mayor when you visit, as long as you’re a dog lover. Yes, the mayor of Rabbit Hash is a dog, and has been since 1998.
Just 15 minutes down the road from Rabbit Hash you’ll find a Kentucky state park that’s not only chock-full of history, it also brims with prehistoric finds—Big Bone Lick State Park, in Florence, KY. As you drive through one of the entrances you’ll note that it’s also known as the “Birthplace of American Vertebrate Paleontology.” Famed explorer Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark, spent weeks on this site, discovering prehistoric bones. So many skeletons of prehistoric animals were discovered here that it was named for their “big bones.” There’s a new museum on-site featuring them, and some big-boned contemporary creatures—American Bison—roam the park. Like all the state parks in Kentucky, it’s also beautiful, perfect for refreshing hikes or camping.
What do you think of when you think of Kentucky? For most people, two things immediately spring to mind—bourbon and race horses. We’ve discussed bourbon and will likely discuss it again, but if you’re interested in getting an up-close view of the horses of Kentucky, Georgetown is the place to go. The Kentucky Horse Park is here, “the only park of its kind in the world.” It’s a working horse farm as well as a competitive venue, educational facility, museum, and even theme park! You can meet thoroughbred legends, learn about the history of horse racing, go horseback riding, see the powerful draft horses in the Big Barn, and more. But that’s not all there is to Georgetown—be sure to visit the charming downtown shops and cafes, and if you’re a craft beer fan, stop by their local brewery, Country Boy.
You can get to Maysville, KY in about an hour’s drive from the Cincinnati area, and like most drives in Kentucky, it’s a beautiful, scenic one-- this time winding along the Ohio river. You’ll pass through lovely Augusta, Kentucky on the way; if you’re a fan of George Clooney and his family, be sure to stop there to check out the Rosemary Clooney museum. Maysville is rich with history and charm. You can tour the National Underground Railroad Museum, take in a variety of artistic works in the local galleries, see a jaw-dropping collection of miniatures at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center, and get your Line Guide stamped for The B-Line. That’s right! Maysville is on the Northern Kentucky bourbon tour, The B-Line. It’s a town steeped in bourbon history—some even state that Maysville is the “birthplace of bourbon.” It’s home to two of the stops on The B-Line: the restaurant Chandler’s on Market and the family owned Old Pogue Distillery.
You can make this last one more of a weekend than a day trip, especially if you love bourbon. Come Find Bourbon is a three-city road trip to show you some of the authentic flavors and and bourbon experiences you can have in the cities of Covington, Frankfort, and Bardstown, Ky. C...ovington, F...rankfort, and B...ardstown-- Come Find Bourbon! Get it? Each city is within a short one-two hour drive of each other, and all three offer mouthwateringly good, bourbon-centered restaurants, some of the best distilleries making the finest bourbons in the Bourbon State, and fun and fascinating local attractions. If you're the kind of traveler who loves road trips, and who loves to find "local secrets" and "hidden gems," Come Find Bourbon is perfect for you. It's also perfect for bourbon connoisseurs, the merely bourbon curious, as well as those who don't drink but would rather experience everything these three charming Kentucky towns have to offer in addition to "America's Native Spirit."
These are just a few of the great day trips you can take in Northern Kentucky. Happy Travels!