Say goodbye to winter and welcome warm weather with a Memorial Day weekend getaway in Kentucky. Whether your ideal trip involves exploring a big city or reconnecting with nature on a hiking trail or lake, there are plenty of Kentucky vacation rentals situated near your favorite attractions. Check out the nine best Memorial Day weekend getaway spots in the state.
Experience patriotic events and remember America’s fallen service members in Louisville. Start by seeing the mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall at Slugger Field, where it appears each year. The annual Abbey Road on the River festival, dedicated to all things Beatles, is a great place to tap your feet, eat great food, and check out the vendors. Children love seeing the enormous baseball bat outside the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory before going in for a tour. At Kentucky Kingdom, you can say hello to summer with a day of riding the coasters at an amusement park.
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In the heart of horse country, Lexington is a big city with outstanding shopping and cultural events. Start your trip with a visit to Grand Park that hosts Memorial Day events each year, including a ceremony to honor Kentucky’s fallen service men and women. Learn more about what life was like here in the 1800s by touring Ashland, a local plantation and grounds. Another great home to tour is the Mary Todd Lincoln House, where President Abraham Lincoln’s wife grew up. See horses up close and find out more about life on a horse farm by booking a day with Horse Farm Tours.
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Outdoor lovers choose Richmond for its easy access to Fort Boonesborough State Park. Over the Memorial Day weekend each year, this state park hosts a slew of patriotic activities. Wander through the campground area and judge the tent or camper with the most patriotic decorations, take part in the NASCAR race-themed activities, and work on some crafts. Pack a picnic lunch at your vacation rental to take for your afternoon at the White Hall State Historic Site. This 1800s Italianate mansion offers a tour of its period rooms and outlying buildings. Afterward, enjoy a picnic on the grounds.
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Frankfort is the capital of the state, so make plans to arrive early enough to take a tour of the Kentucky Capitol Building with its towering dome. On Monday, there’s a Memorial Day service each year. Afterward, stop by the Old Statehouse for a look around this fully-restored Greek Revival building that once served as the capitol building. Take advantage of the early summer weather with a hike at the Salato Wildlife Center. As you wander around the park, kids love to stop and view the natural history displays with plaques providing basic information. Older family members can tour the Buffalo Trace Distillery and sip some exciting whiskey samples.
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5. Bowling Green
Bowling Green is known for its Corvette Museum. After checking into your vacation rental, walk around the museum and see all the cool old cars. For a small additional fee, adult drivers can drive one. Take the kids to Beech Bend Amusement Park. This park is more than 100 years old and has a charming selection of thrill and kiddie rides along with a drag raceway. Walk through a sea of greenery at The Baker Arboretum and the Downing Museum with magnolias, dogwoods, Japanese maples, and many other types of trees, all in full bloom at this time of year.
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Unwind and let the stress go with a weekend away in Paducah. This small town has a welcome center than you must stop and see. The Whitehaven Welcome Center building dates back to the 1860s when it was a southern mansion. Today, you can walk around and enjoy the period furnishings. Learn more about the art form of quilting at the National Quilt Museum, and check the schedule for a workshop to give it a try.
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On the banks of the Ohio River, Owensboro is a great place to retreat and enjoy outdoor activities. Just across the river in Indiana, Bait Bucket offers fishing charters to people in Owensboro for a day of fishing and fun on the river. Grab some take-out and eat at one of the tables at Smothers Park. Make sure to stay and watch the water show from the three signature fountains or just let the kids enjoy the playground and small waterpark.
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Located in Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region, Berea is a charming town where you can relax and reconnect with your family. Go hiking and rock climbing at West Pinnacle and see all the wildflowers blooming in the spring weather. Enjoy the gorgeous waterfall at the John B. Stephenson Memorial Forest State Nature Preserve, home to the Anglin Falls. Tour Battlefield Park and learn more about the battle that took place there during the American Civil War.
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Close to Cumberland Gap, Middlesboro is a quaint town and the largest in southeastern Kentucky. You could spend the entire weekend hiking and taking tours in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. On Brush Mountain, explore the 20th-century Hensley Settlement, or opt for a tour of the caves. Gather up your fishing gear and try your luck on the banks of the Cannon Creek Lake.
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