Kentucky Tourism

East Region


 At least 8 Old World alphabets are engraved on this prehistoric stone located in the city of Manchester. These alphabets were extinct when Columbus arrived in the New World in 1492. Of all the hundreds of important, translatable, and published inscriptions in the U.S.A, this is the first one to have been given official protection. 

Ride an ATV on one of Kentucky's many trails. With miles of Kentucky ATV trails through the breathtaking wilderness landscapes of the Bluegrass State, Kentucky ATV riding enthusiasts can find a trail on nearly any kind of terrain.

Travel back in time and visit one of Kentucky's dozen remaining covered bridges. Bennett's Mill was one of the longest wooden bridges built in 1855, is said to be “the oldest, longest, single-span covered bridge in the world”.

Take a train ride through the scenic mountains of Southern Kentucky and stop at the historic Blue Heron Mining Camp. The train descends 600 feet into the Big South Fork Gorge to Blue Heron , the largest interpretive collection of historic coal mining in America .

Visit one of only two interstate parks at the Break known as the Grand Canyon of the South. This 4,600 acre park has 25 miles hiking trails, 12 miles of mountain biking trails, rock climbing, and equine trails.

Learn about Appalachian History at The Breathitt County Museum which is a virtual storehouse of Appalachian history. Exhibits include logging, coal mining, farming home life, education and military. The museum also features an outstanding photography collection which depicts early life in the Kentucky Mountains.

 Marvel at the peacefulness of the Buckhorn Log Cathedral,  built in 1928 and  listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  This majestic cathedral was constructed of white oak from the surrounding mountains. It is one of only three remaining buildings remaining of the Witherspoon College campus.

Stop by Herman Webb's store to book a tour of Butcher Hollow- Loretta Lynn's childhood home. Step back in time to discover the rich history and place that shaped this legendary country singer's career. 

The Pinnacle Knob Tower is open for scheduled tours throughout the year. Here is an opportunity to spend part of the night in an fire tower, while enjoying the night sky and breathtaking views of the Cumberland Plateau. You will begin your evening at the visitor center to prepare for your adventure. Then depart on a short hike to the tower and set up camp. You will be able to tour the tower during the night.

See the Bat Cave at Carter Caves State Resort Park, along with this cave there are more than 20 twisting caverns, where you'll discover a 30-foot underground waterfall, and many more surprises!

Go Muskie fishing in Cave Run Lake, 8,270-acre lake nestled in the beautiful mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

Follow Kentucky's Country Music Highway for 144 miles through the winding roads of eastern Kentucky to see where dozens of country music superstars have their roots - from the Judds and Billy Ray Cyrus to Loretta Lynn and Dwight Yoakum to name a few.

Spend time at Kentucky's oldest festival to find that unique treasure at October Court Days in Mt. Sterling.  Vendors, foods and lots of entertainment to be had. 

At the majestic Cumberland Falls, known as the Niagra of the South, you can marvel at the 125 foot wide waterfall and stay at the stone Dupont Lodge at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.

Hike the Cumberland Gap National Park, the first great gateway to the west. Visit the park's interpretative center to learn of pioneers such as Daniel Boone who first settled Kentucky, and tour Hensley Settlement to experience what life was like in a 20th century mountain community.

The Cumberland Inn is home of The Cumberland Inn Museum, one of Kentucky's most interesting and unique attractions. Located on-site, the museum houses a variety of fascinating exhibitions and displays. The two-story gallery features an extensive life science exhibit, a world-class collection of religious artifacts, and a diverse assortment of American heirlooms. 

Look over Pike County from the Pikeville Cut-through lookout, one of the largest and most impressive civil engineering feats in history. This half-mile-long cut through rerouted the Levisa Fork river, railroad tracks, streets and bridges to create nearly 400 acres of new level land for commercial and institutional development.

Pedal down Kentucky’s longest Rails to Trail on the Dawkins Line. This 18-mile section features 24 trestles and the Gun Creek Tunnel, which is 662 feet long. The trail follows the old Dawkins Line railroad bed.

Visit this historic site to learn the story of Dr. Thomas Walker, an early explorer who traveled to Kentucky in 1750 and named the Cumberland Gap and see a replica of the first cabin thought to be built in the state.

Engage your brain at the East Kentucky Science Center, where an interactive learning environment includes planetarium shows, laser light music shows, and traveling exhibits.

See elk in their natural habitat on a guided tour offered by Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. Learn how these majestic creatures where successfully re-released into the forests of eastern Kentucky.

Try your hand at white-water rafting -It has been described as the best white water east of the Mississippi River, and the Grand Canyon of the South. Believe it or not, such lofty titles do little justice to the beauty and recreation potential for this area of the commonwealth. Elkhorn City in far eastern Kentucky is home to the Russell Fork River, which is fast becoming one of the top paddling destinations in the country.

Eat at Harland Sanders café in Corbin which celebrates the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, who operated this restaurant from 1940-1956.

Visit the sites made famous by the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud.

Founded in 1902 on the forks of Troublesome Creek. Tour the scenic campus and get information on evening folk dances. The Marie Stewart Crafts Shop is dedicated to preserving the rich, traditional crafts of the area, the co-op features only juried items to ensure the highest quality.

Enjoy a performance by the Kentucky Opry at the Mountain Arts Center, and be entertained with a sizzling variety of country, bluegrass, oldies but goodies and gospel favorites.

See where the Kentucky River is formed in eastern Kentucky at Beattyville by the confluence of the North, Middle and South Forks. The river flows generally northwest, in a highly meandering course through the mountains, through the Daniel Boone National Forest, then past Irvine and Boonesborough, then southwest, passing south of Lexington, then north through Frankfort. It joins the Ohio at Carrollton.

Experience Appalachian life from the time of Paleo-Indians to the cultures that shape today's lifestyles. Enjoy learning about natural resources, flora, and fauna. Thirty two interactive exhibits guide you through this one-of a kind museum/education center.

During the settlement of Kentucky, pioneers were forced to leave behind heavy belongings during their journey west. Once the settlers arrived on their claims, homesteading required items such as kettles, plowshares, and numerous other iron products. The Bourbon Iron Works was an immediate success. The firm shipped goods as far as Lexington by 1794. Iron became even more of a commodity during the War of 1812, when Americans boycotted British goods. Bourbon Iron Works also became famous during that conflict when General Andrew Jackson, anticipating an attack from the British on New Orleans, purchased shipments of cannonballs from the Kentucky furnace. The supplies were loaded on barges and shipped down the Mississippi River. The shipment proved imperative to Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans. Because of this, the Bourbon furnace was dubbed the "Old Thunder Mill" until it was decommissioned in 1838.

Play a round of golf on the oldest continuously played golf course in the eastern U.S. Middlesboro Country Club. They play thru on 180 plus courses open to the public

Since 1971, Morgan County and thousands of visitors have celebrated the Sorghum Festival in West Liberty. A mule-drawn cane mill, steaming vats and little jugs of sorghum molasses set the stage for three days of Kentucky mountain heritage. Experience the annual Morgan County Sorghum Festival during the last full weekend of September for a taste of pure Kentucky.

Explore Appalachian culture at the Mountain Home Place, an 1850’s working farm which includes a double-pen cabin, one-room school, church, blacksmith shop, and barn.

With a trip to Noble's Pioneer Museum in Owsley County you will discover Jog houses, antiques and other primitive treasures. A Jog homestead building, built in 1874, is filled with items used in homes of the 1870's and 1880's up to the present date. The farm buildings on site house the farming artifacts of the same time periods. A smokehouse displays old time methods for preserving meats and vegetables. One building houses an extraordinary rock and fossil collection. The William Moore House on this site was built in 1806. The building has been preserved as the first house constructed within the city limits of Booneville. 

Take in a musical performance at the Paramount Arts Center and say hello to their resident ghost. This beautfiul historic theater was one of the first transitional theatres built for “talking pictures”.

Hike to Chained Rock at Pine Mountain State Resort Park, try your hand at the canopy zipline tour and visit the historic lodge.

The Portal No. 31 Underground Mine Tour offers visitors the unique experience of touring an actual coal mine by rail car. The site also features a 1920s lamphouse, bathhouse, L&N train depot and loadout system.

Hike through Red River Gorge and visit Natural Bridge. Ride the skylift and grab a piece of pizza at Miguels.

Go to a concert at Renfro Valley, known as "Kentucky's Country Music Capital" since 1939 and home of the legendary Red Barn, Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Bittersweet Cabin Village.

Seedtime on the Cumberland, Whitesburg’s annual festival of eastern Kentucky crafts and culture, occurs in early June. Organized by the Appalshop arts cooperative, this festival promotes traditional and modern Appalachian cultural expression from crafts to music and films.

Backpack on Kentucky’s longest trail, the Sheltowee Trace. The Sheltowee Trace National Recreational Trail – the longest trail in Kentucky – is appropriately named in honor of Daniel Boone, the pioneer who hiked through Kentucky in the 1700s on hunting trips. Beginning in Tennessee at Pickett State Park, the trail stretches north from the Big South Fork National Recreation Area up through the Daniel Boone National Forest to just beyond Morehead, Ky. Some 269 miles of the trace’s 282 miles are found in Kentucky.

A secluded 300 acre mountain farm nestled in the Red Lick Valley of Estill County, this bed and breakfast is the perfect place to find wildflowers, birds, hiking, delightful dining, porches and gardens. Whether its bird watching, stargazing or a weekend sitting in the sun by the pond; this snug little hollow has a restful charm that will create lasting memories.  Photo by Snug Hollow B&B. 

One of the jewels in the Country Music Highway crown, the Kentucky Paveillon at Falls Creek is an attraction that shouldn't be missed. This grand, five-story tall welcome center, houses the most impressive collection of country music memorabilia in these parts. Visitors can see everything from Minnie Pearls famous price tag hat, to signed guitars, clothing worn by Country Music Highway's most famous sons & daughters, to Elvis Presley's Exxon gas card!

The Mother Goose House is a monument to the imagination and creative genius of George Stacy. Mr. Stacy began working on this house in 1935 using a goose skeleton to build the home to scale. Unique with its egg shaped windows and automobile lights that serves as the Goose's eyes. Today most people have an affectionate feeling for the Perry County landmark. It serves as a hint to the magic of imagination that lies within all just waiting for the chance to hatch out and become real, just like the Mother Goose.

Take on the high ropes course at Levi Jackson State Resort Park. The Treetop Adventure at Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park is an aerial adventure park, featuring 60 elements of adventure in the tree tops. Courses include ziplines, rope bridges, suspended tunnels and many more challenges.

Learn the rich history of the Maysville and Big Sandy Railroad at the Vanceburg Depot Museum.  The depot built in 1912 has been lovingly restored to house a great collection on the railroad, military history, and other local memorabilia.

Experience rock climbing in the beautiful Red River Gorge in a controlled environment at Via Ferrata at Torrent Falls. Torrent Falls also offers a climbing adventure broken up into six sections with varying levels of difficulty.

Tour historic Wendover, home of the Frontier Nursing Service. Started by Mary Breckinridge at the beginning of the 20th century to aid mountain people in midwifery and healthcare, the service still exists today.

Stop into the Warfield Dairy Bar after a tour of the beautiful backroads of Martin County.  In this old fashioned diner you will find memorabilia dedicated to the sock hop era complete with old time booths and jukebox.  Be sure to grab a cool treat! 

The state is full of beautiful waterfalls, from the majestic Cumberland Falls to more remote falls such as Flat Lick Falls in Jackson County.  Wonder throughout the state to discover these scenic natural treasures. 

Spend the day with a zip, paddle and saddle adventure soaring through the trees, paddling down the quite serene Levisa Fork river, and adventuring through the mountain side on horse back.