Your Ultimate Kentucky Spring Bucket List
While finishing renovations on our house, continuing to travel and explore is still very much important to Ev and I. Since staying closer to home is necessary while trying to get things done, becoming a tourist in our own state is probably my favorite way to keep up our adventurous spirit! We’ve lived in Kentucky for three years now and we still haven’t seen all there is to offer. With that in mind, here is our Spring Kentucky Bucket List!
READ THIS POST FOR OUR KENTUCKY SUMMER BUCKET LIST!!
Where To See Flowers Bloom In Kentucky
One of the best things about Kentucky is that we have true seasons. Every year there are dramatic seasonal changes, with one of our true favorites being spring in Kentucky. Because we get so much rain, the flowers and cherry trees bloom so vibrantly across the state.
In combination with how green our grass is – it creates a stunningly picturesque scene for taking a stroll.
Lexington Cemetery Cherry Tree Bloom
Every year in Lexington, Kentucky, spring arrives with an explosion of cherry blossoms at the Lexington Cemetery! People gather from all over the state to take a stroll by the cherry trees that gently line the streets of this peaceful place.
- Get our guide to 50 Fun Things To Do In Lexington, Kentucky here! Lexington is great for a romantic weekend getaway, especially during UK Basketball season, or for a Keeneland horse-racing meet!
The best time to go is the last two weekends in March through the first two weekends in April. The vibrancy of the blooms will depend on how wet of a year it’s been. However, if you start watching Instagram – you’ll know when it’s the perfect time to take a little Kentucky road trip!
Address: 833 West Main Street, Lexington, KY 40508
Hours: Monday through Friday 8 AM – 4 PM and Saturday 8 AM-Noon
Louisville waterfront Botanical Gardens
General Admission: Free
The Louisville Waterfront Botanical Gardens are new in town and we can’t wait for all the flowers to start blooming! We haven’t gotten to go yet but from what we’ve seen looks amazing! Check back soon for a review of the gardens!
Address: 1435 Frankfort Ave, Louisville KY 40206
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 10 AM – 4 PM
Yew dell botanical gardens
Around the same time as the cherry tree bloom in Lexington, Louisville’s got a stunning flower destination all of its own. The Yew Dell Botanical gardens are located out in Crestwood, (about 20 minutes from Downtown Louisville). Every year in early to mid-April, they have a ‘Big Bloom’ opening of their gardens where seventeen-thousand tulips bloom!
Set against the backdrop of the Klein Castle, this would be a perfectly lovely spring day!
Admission Fee: $9 & $5 Children and Elderly
Address: 6220 Old LaGrange Road, Crestwood, KY 40014
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10AM -4PM and Sunday 12PM â€“ 4PM
P.S. Looking for a budget-friendly way to extend your Southern road trip? Get our foodie guide to Morgantown, West Virginia! West Virginia is a totally underrated bucket list Southern hiking destination.
Best Kentucky Hikes in the Spring
As you’ve no doubt guessed after reading about our plethora of gardens and blooming trees – Kentucky is a very lush state. Some of the best hiking is through Daniel Boone National Forest, to the East. We’ve loved hiking there for years now! Here are a few of our favorite hikes that we do every spring.
Red River Gorge – Cloud Splitter Trail (Difficult)
General Admission: Free
Trail Head Coordinates:
GPS Coordinates of unmarked trail starting hike to Cloud Splitter
37, 50â€² 07.1 N
83, 37â€² 15.3 W
GPS Coordinates for the base of Cloud Splitter
37, 50â€² 17.5 N
83, 37â€² 17.4 W
Nestled in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Red River Gorge is truly one of my favorite places in Kentucky. Cloud Splitter is a relatively difficult trail and not for the faint of heart. Not only do you have to have some serious upper body strength, but this trail also requires a buddy in my opinion! To get to the top (and experience some pretty amazing views), you quite literally have to climb a rope that’s tethered to rock up about 25 feet! (See the first picture below for the rope climb!) In my opinion – the top reason to add this to your Kentucky Bucket List, as a whole, is if you can find ‘the gap’ ( the tunnel of green pictured below). From there climb through to the hidden cave, rewards you with some pretty spectacular views! (Map Here)
(I highly recommend going with friends in case something happens! Any hike like this should not be undertaken unless you are an experienced hiker – and have a plan to get out in case of emergencies. People slip, fall, etc. all the time on hikes that aren’t challenging like this one – so the more safety cautious the better!)
Hours: Open everyday 7am-9:45pm
Address: 1890 Natural Bridge Road â€¢ Slade, Kentucky 40376
When you get hungry for lunch after hiking – plan to stop and grab a pizza at the best spot in town Miguel’s Pizza! With a camping area, great outdoor seating, and one of the best veggie pizzas I’ve ever had- this is a great pit stop to stay connected to the Gorge while you eat!
Ritner Swinging Bridge
If you’re looking for a way to cool off after hiking or on a hot day near the Gorge, add Ritner Swinging Bridge to your Kentucky Spring Bucket List! This is a great spot in Daniel Boone National Forest that would be really fun with kids and dogs! The bridge itself is 258 feet long and crosses over a shallow creek. I’ve taken my big German Shepherd there to play in the water after a long day of hiking Red River Gorge and it did not disappoint!
To get there, use the interactive map below and click ‘View Larger Map’ for a google maps location!
the Pinnacles of Berea
Address for the Trailhead: The main trailhead doesn’t have an actual address but is just off KY-21 – Southeast of Berea and plenty of parking is available to walk up to the trailhead! See the map here.
Indian Fort Mountain trail in Berea, Kentucky is a spring or fall hike, just for the sake of the weather. I personally would rate this trail as difficult. There is an uphill trek lasting about a mile and the views at the top are incredible! But again this is why I say add it to your Spring Kentucky Bucket List – you will be getting sweaty and challenging yourself on that mile uphill trek!
We actually forgot where this hike was and only recently did I see a picture of it and remember! I’ll update this post when we visit again this spring with some pictures!!
Arguably one of the prettiest spots to take in some majestic Kentucky scenery within an hour of Louisville! Not only is this where we did our engagement pictures, but the overlook from this spot is spectacular! Bernheim Forest is also home to the three wooden forest giants, created by artist Thomas Dambo. Probably one of my favorite spots to imagine taking our future kiddos adventuring here in Kentucky, besides the Gorge!
Best Spring Festivals In Kentucky
As Kentuckians, one of the things we’re most proud of is our flair for the arts. There are hundreds of craftsmen across the state quilting, whittling, painting, and sculpting in a variety of styles. From the influences of the Appalachian Mountains to the finer things like craft beer and finely honed bread knives, every Kentucky festival is unique!
Cherokee Triangle Art Fair
Dates: 4/25/20 – 4/26/20
Probably one of my favorite things about Louisville is its craft and art scene. The festival is held every year in Cherokee Triangle and it’s arguably one of the prettiest parts of the city with its historic old buildings! From food to custom-made bread slicers – you can pretty much find anything craft-related to sip on or decorate your home!
Talespin Ale Fest
March 7th : Tickets on sale now! From 3pm – 7pm GA, and starting at 2pm for VIP
Ev and I haven’t been to this festival yet but it’s one we’re definitely ready to try! There is little we love more than craft food and adult beverages, so this is right at home on our Kentucky Spring Bucket List! The featured breweries include the Sun King Brewery who’s new to our foodie neck of the woods, and we’re excited to try them out!
**If you and your partner are going – I highly recommend saving a little cash and buying one sober driver ticket, and one regular ticket! (The event is 21 and older so you can’t bring your kids to drive you home unless they’re of age too! 😉 )
Kentucky Derby Festival
The best time of the year in Louisville is when the air starts to smell like horses. To some that may not sound pleasant, but to any true Kentuckian.. we know the smell of horses like we know the burn of bourbon.
Ev and I don’t gamble when we go, but we love the atmosphere and the exhilaration of watching the horses run! I think the best and most relaxing days are Thurby and Oaks if you’re local! To get more of a star-studded feel – Saturday of the Derby is the day for you. Either way, have a Pink Lilly or a Mint Julep and enjoy!
Kentucky Breweries & Distilleries To Visit in The Spring
While most people know us for our bourbon, Kentucky is also home to many craft breweries and non-bourbon distilleries! We highly recommend grabbing a drink at some of our favorite local breweries while sitting on the patio in the sun. After being cooped up all winter, a cold beer on a patio in the sun is prettttty close to heaven.
Grab a Drink at Holy Grale
The adorable patio at Holy Grale is one of my favorite spots for grabbing casual drinks in the spring. Not only is it adorable, but they have a rotating list of craft beers and ciders. Some local brews and some not, but they are so refreshing while sitting in the courtyard (pictured below).
They also have a trendy list of appetizers if you’re feeling a bit munchy! Personally, we love their pretzels and beer cheese.. it’s drool-worthy.
Visit 3rd Turn Oldham Gardens
One of my favorite patios and has awesome drinks! Spring is a beautiful time to visit the location out in Oldham County because their wisteria blooms into a beautiful purple canopy! The beer garden isn’t open yet for the season but check their Facebook page here for updates. One of the best parts of the Beer Garden is that it’s family and pup-friendly so I’ll be bringing Thunder along sometime soon! Visit their website here for more information and directions!
Castle & Key Distillery Tour
Kentucky is home to a whopping 73 working distilleries. While many are familiar with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, those aren’t the only distilleries worth visiting! To get a glimpse of some breathtaking grounds in the spring, there are a few that we’ll be hitting this spring and have done in the past!
For starters, Castle and Key is one we’re highly anticipating and we’ll be headed there at the end of March with some family. They aren’t a bourbon distillery but they do amazing gin and vodkas! As more of a gin fan personally – I’m really excited, and this distillery definitely belongs on your Spring Kentucky Bucket List! Here are a few shots from their Facebook that have us highly anticipating the trip:
For a few more beautiful spring tours, we highly recommend:
If you want to check off all of these spots off the list this Spring, save the Pin below so that you can come back to it!
A Few Related Articles:
- Fairmount Falls – Louisville’s Hidden Gem
- Where To Find The Best Tacos In Louisville
- The Best Seafood In Louisville
Make sure to subscribe to our blog, snag all of your road trip basics (below), get your travel insurance, and have fun jamming to a new playlist!
Until next time friends,
Remote USA Destinations: Travel Again After Quarantine
[…] there are still plenty of domestic destinations here for us to explore. Recently I published some amazing spots in Kentucky to focus on staycations, but there are so many more regions to explore that I don’t think […]
Sustainable Hiking on Kentucky Trails » My Colorful Wanderings
[…] Kentucky Spring Bucket List […]