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Free activities in Kentucky

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Leave your wallet at home!

You don’t have to spend big bucks to have a good time in Kentucky! These activities are completely free, but still tons of fun.


Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History

Location: 114 N. 5th St., Bardstown, KY 40004
Phone: 502-348-2999
Rate: Free
Website: http://www.whiskeymuseum.com/index.html

This museum tells the history of all things whiskey in Kentucky. They have a 50-year collection of items relating to whiskey from pre-colonial days to after the end of prohibition. See old ads, tons of interesting bottles, an old moonshine still and much more. They even have Abraham Lincoln's liquor license, which is something you definitely won't see anywhere else.

Dr. Thomas Walker Historic Site

Location: 4929 Kentucky State Route 459, Barbourville, KY 40906
Phone: 606-546-4400
Rate: Free
Website: http://www.parks.ky.gov/parks/historicsites/thomas-walker/default.aspx

The first expedition through Cumberland Gap was in 1750 and it was led by Dr. Thomas Walker. He built a cabin near the river, and though it's long gone, there is a replica you can tour for free. The replica of the house sits on a large park that's perfect for picnics. There is a basketball court and mini-golf, though the mini-golf does cost $2 per round.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace

Location: 2995 Lincoln Farm Road, Hodgenville, KY 42748
Phone: 270-358-3137
Rate: Free
Website: http://www.nps.gov/abli/index.htm

Abraham Lincoln was born and raised in Kentucky. Visit a replica of his boyhood home, where you can even go inside to see what his surroundings may have been like. Just 10 miles down the road is another Lincoln replica, this one of the home where he was born. That replica is actually enclosed in a shrine, and both are free to visit.

Keeneland Thoroughbred Racing

Location: 4201 Versailles Road, Lexington, KY 40588
Phone: 859-254-3412
Rate: Free
Website: http://www.keeneland.com/default.aspx

You can't spend time in Kentucky and not visit a horse track, but races can be quite expensive. Instead, visit the Keeneland race track in the morning hours when there's no race happening. That's when they exercise the horses and let them practice, so you'll still get to see them run. Get there bright and early so you can sit right up front.

Old Kentucky Chocolates

Location: 450 Southland Drive, Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: 859-278-4444
Rates: Free
Website: http://www.oldkycandy.com/store/index.php

Old Kentucky Chocolates has a deep history in Lexington, Kentucky, and they want to share it with you. If you have a group of at least eight people, you can take a tour of their building and learn how they make their famous chocolates. They'll even give you free samples of their best-sellers, but be warned — once you taste those, it'll be hard not to buy more from the shop! Call ahead; they don't take walk-ins.

Jim Beam American Outpost

Location: 149 Happy Hollow Road, Clermont, KY 40110
Phone: 502-543-9877
Rates: Free
Website: http://www.jimbeam.com/visit-the-bourbon-distillery

Start by touring the home where generations of Beam distillers were born and raised, and step inside of an authentic 1800s copper still. Walk inside an old rack house, built by Jim Beam himself, where 20,000 barrels of Jim Beam are aging. There's no smell like that in the world, and if you like Jim Beam you'll never forget it. End your tour with a sample in the tasting room, then head into the gift shop where there are tons of gifts and memorabilia to purchase.

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