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Seeking advice for summer Kentucky trip

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209 posts
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Seeking advice for summer Kentucky trip

Hi. We are considering a trip this summer to Kentucky and seek some advice.

We are a family of three; our daughter will be 9-years old when we travel this summer. We are nature lovers and would want to include time to visit both Mammoth Cave National Park and Cumberland Falls State Park during our trip to Kentucky. We would be driving to Kentucky from the Charlotte, NC, area.

While in the Mammoth Cave area, we are considering Cave City, Glasgow or Park City as our base. Any suggestions or advice on which area we should choose?

We'd like to take a couple of cave tours, explore the National Park, and walk the trail to see Cedar Sink. We're considering one of the half-day canoe trips on the Green River offered by Green River Canoeing as well.

While visiting Cumberland Falls, we'd like to see the falls of course and maybe plan our visit around a moonbow time. We're looking for other activities and must-see sights around Cumberland Falls.

How much time should should we spend in both areas? How many days/nights do you suggest in each area? We think the Mammoth Cave and Cumberland Falls areas are about 2 1/2 hours apart. Is this about right?

Are there any other Kentucky spots we shouldn't miss during our trip? We'd certainly be willing to drive to a third "hub" if needed. Are there any cities we shouldn't miss? We aren't interested in the horse-racing industry, so that would be off our list. Sorry. :-)

Thank you in advance for all you help and suggestions!

Jennifer in NC

Lexington, KY
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1. Re: Seeking advice for summer Kentucky trip

You might want to consider staying at Barren River State Park lodge, south of Glasgow, when you are visiting Mammoth Cave. It is nicer than Mammoth Cave Hotel, and only about half an hour from the national park. There are several motels along I-65 in Cave City and Horse Cave, if you want to stay in a more commercialized area.

You are right that the drive to Cumberland Falls is about two and a half hours from Mammoth Cave. It is an easy drive on the Nunn Cumberland Parkway. Again, you have a choice of a state park lodge at Cumberland Falls or motels along the interstate in Corbin and London. There is also a state park lodge on Lake Cumberland, near Jamestown.

If you want to visit a city, and horses aren't your thing, you might consider Nashville, which is only 90 miles south of Mammoth Cave.

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2. Re: Seeking advice for summer Kentucky trip

Thanks so much, Frankstone! We'll look into those areas and lodges you suggested.

By the way, we do love horses - just not horse racing.

Thank you for taking the time to write. We really appreciate your advice!

Jennifer in NC

Birmingham, AL
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3. Re: Seeking advice for summer Kentucky trip


In Eastern KY/Northern TN, you might like the Big South Fork NRA area.


just beautiful and loaded with outdoor activities, but no shopping junk like the Smoky Mountians. We have used this as a "hub" when visiting Cumberland Falls.

nice cabins:


horses& trail guides:


a gorgeous, short hike 1/2 day trip in the area:


while at comberland falls, whitewater rafting/canoeing:


more on area:


Have fun,


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4. Re: Seeking advice for summer Kentucky trip

Thank you very much, Miller! The Big South Fork NRA sounds right up our alley - natural beauty and no shopping junk like you mentioned. The rafting/canoeing sound great!

Thank you for the link to the Colditz Cove SNA as well. That would be a perfect hike to do with our daughter.

I truly appreciate all the information you provided!

Jennifer in NC

Lexington, Kentucky
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5. Re: Seeking advice for summer Kentucky trip

If you love horses, but not horse racing, check out the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington (www.kyhorsepark.com). They have a new kids barn where kids can experience lots of hands-on activities like grooming horses.

Northern KY
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6. Re: Seeking advice for summer Kentucky trip

Sounds like a fun trip! If you can make it a bit north, you could visit the quaint town of Bardstown, with a state park, civil war museum, dinner train, historic restaurants, an outdoor play, and interesting stops such as the Makers Mark distillery.

Louisville has an award-winning zoo, and also a great Science center, the Frazier International History Museum, the Louisville Slugger factory, and a glass-blowing factory (where the kids can make glass crafts) all within walking distance. We love all the unique restaurants and shops in Louisville, too, especially around the Frankfort Ave. and Bardstown Rd. areas.

Also, we live in Northern KY with lots to do for kids, such as Big Bone Lick National Monument, Newport Aquarium, Newport on the Levee, Dinsmore Homestead, Rabbit Hash General Store, Behringer-Crawford Museum, etc. and Cincinnati just over the bridge--with a phenomenal zoo, several museums, the Reds, Conservatory, etc.....

7. Re: Seeking advice for summer Kentucky trip

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