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Beautiful autumn colors at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Kentucky

3 Amazing National Parks in Kentucky

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  • States:
    Kentucky

For landmark American history and unparalleled natural beauty, visit remarkable national parks in Kentucky.

Kentucky is known for its bluegrass music, barbecue and bourbon, all accompanied by famous Southern hospitality. Driving along rolling hills past horse farms and famously blue-hued grasslands, you’ll also discover that Kentucky is rich in natural beauty and U.S. history. Explore it all at these three can’t-miss national parks.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park

At Sinking Spring Farm in rural Kentucky, see where Abraham Lincoln was born. The future 16th president of the USA spent his first two years here, then moved to Knob Creek Farm about 13 kilometers away. First, see the educational exhibits and video at the Birthplace Unit visitors’ center, then walk up the steps to the memorial building. Inside is the re-creation of the humble, one-room cabin where Lincoln was born. It’s just a short distance to his boyhood home at Knob Creek. This is a must-visit site for history aficionados.

President Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home in Knob Creek

President Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home in Knob Creek
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Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

For Native Americans, early explorers and intrepid migrants, Cumberland Gap was the main gateway to the western USA. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park preserves this incredible historical region with a variety of natural and man-made sites. Drive up to Pinnacle Overlook for stunning views of Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee – it’s simply breathtaking in the fall. See an old pioneer settlement, take a guided cave tour and enjoy a long walk outside; there are 130 kilometers of hiking trails to explore. Don’t miss the educational exhibits and movie about early pioneers at the visitors’ center.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park is the world’s longest-known cave system. Well over 600 kilometers of underground caves have been explored, and you can visit them in Kentucky. There are many guided cave tours to choose from and they are almost guaranteed to fill up every time. Be sure to check the park’s schedule and reserve a spot in advance. On your visit, you’ll learn about indigenous Native American tribes, early explorers, local wildlife and geology. Hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping and watersports on the rivers are also available. Mammoth Cave is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.

Explore the underground caves at Mammoth Cave National Park

Explore the underground caves at Mammoth Cave National Park
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Musicians perform in a downtown gazebo

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Paducah