Road Trip Kentucky: 10 Summer Field Trip Ideas

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road trip KY
Summer is a great time to schedule some of those field trips you don’t have time for during the homeschool year (or public or private school year for that matter). 
Kentucky is such a great state for the study of American history. Whether you wish to visit civil war battlefields, state and national parks, caves, museums, or plantations — we have it all here and more in the Bluegrass state. 
Narrowing a list like this down to just 10 places to visit is impossible. In fact, if you live or will be visiting close to Louisville, I have another list of Staycation Louisville ideas you could add to your bucket list. There’s some crossover on that list, but there are also plenty of new ideas as well. 
Whether you live in Kentucky, live within a half day drive of Kentucky, or are just looking for a great summer vacation idea, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed visiting any of these Kentucky sites! You can also use this list as a jumping off point for a unit study on the state of Kentucky. 

Fort Boonesborough State Park

fort boonesboroughLive history interpreters. The Siege, The Trade Fair, Women on the Frontier and other large scale special events at the fort bring in hundreds of visitors. But visitors come to the fort on a daily basis. And often they are in for a treat from the interpreters that work in the cabins and around the grounds.

Kentucky Historical Society and Old State Capitol

ky historical societyThe Kentucky Historical Society packages the state’s heritage in resources and educational programming of all kinds–from tours and lectures to hands-on workshops, special events and publications.
Delve into the politics and everyday life of the tumultuous 19th-century by touring this National Historic Landmark that served as Kentucky’s capitol from 1830 to 1910. 

Perryville Battlefield

perryville battlefieldThe Battle of Perryville was the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky. More than 7,600 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing. Each year Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site commemorates the battle with re-enactments, living history programs, battlefield tours, authors and book signings, period entertainment, vendors and more.

Mammoth Cave National Park

mammoth caveMammoth Cave National Park preserves the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. This is the world’s longest known cave system, with more than 390 miles explored. Early guide Stephen Bishop called the cave a “grand, gloomy and peculiar place,” but its vast chambers and complex labyrinths have earned its name – Mammoth.

Locust Grove

locust groveLocust Grove is a National Historic Landmark on 55 acres of the original 694 acre farm established by William and Lucy Clark Croghan in 1790. William Croghan was the brother-in-law and surveying partner of George Rogers Clark, founder of Louisville and Revolutionary War hero. George Rogers Clark spent the last nine years of his life at Locust Grove, from 1809 until his death in 1818. 

Kentucky Horse Park

KY Horse Park
Featuring dozens of different breeds of horse at work and at play, the park showcases the horse in daily equine presentations, horse drawn tours and carriage rides, horseback riding and pony rides, a movie presentation and an exciting array of horse shows and special events.

The park presents live shows daily throughout the summer. The famous Horses of the World Show captures the sound and excitement of the show ring in presenting unique breeds of horses with authentically costumed riders. The excitement of the racetrack and show ring are brought to life by the elite group of horses in the Hall of Champions, which features retired champions from Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Quarter Horse Racing.

 Visitors also have the opportunity to learn about horse history in the the largest of the world’s horse museums, the International Museum of the Horse, an affiliate of the renowned Smithsonian Institution. 


John James Audubon State Park

audubon state parkJohn James Audubon State Park is located just south of the Ohio river in western Kentucky. The park preserves the peaceful woods where John James Audubon walked as he studied the subjects of his paintings. The park is highlighted by the John James Audubon Museum and Nature Center. 

Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate


Photo by Tom Eblen | teblen@herald-leader.comOn April 15, 1849, Henry Clay wrote, “I am in one respect better off than Moses. He died in sight of, without reaching, the Promised Land. I occupy as good a farm as any that he would have found, if he had reached it; & it has been acquired not by hereditary descent, but by my own labor.” Henry Clay deeply loved Ashland, the farm and home he had built upon it. For him, it provided a place of refuge and sanctuary from a difficult and often disappointing world and was one of the few places where Clay regularly found happiness. 

Stephen Foster Story and My Old Kentucky Home State Park

stephen foster my old kentucky homeThe house that came to symbolize Kentucky’s gracious hospitality and according to legend inspired Stephen Collins Foster to write his immortal song, “My Old Kentucky Home” is one of the most cherished historical sites in the commonwealth. Built between 1795 and 1818, Federal Hill, the home of Judge John Rowan.
Experience the tradition of Kentucky’s longest-running outdoor drama. This celebrated musical features colorful period costumes, lively choreography, and more than 50 Foster songs, including his most famous ballad, “My Old Kentucky Home.”

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace

abraham-lincoln-birthplaceFor over a century people from around the world have come to rural Central Kentucky to honor the humble beginnings of our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.  His early life on Kentucky’s frontier shaped his character and prepared him to lead the nation through Civil War.  The country’s first memorial to Lincoln, built with donations from young and old, enshrines the symbolic birthplace cabin. 


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