Bluegrass is a particular type of grass that flourishes in Kentucky's limestone soils, but it's also a distinctive style of country music featuring guitars, banjos and other stringed instruments. Ask just about any Kentuckian for his or her favourite bluegrass spot and prepare for an unforgettable night. While you're tapping your toes to the music, be sure to order some of the state's famous barbecue—smoked pork or other meat slathered in sweet, spicy sauce. Wash your meal down with a shot of bourbon, the whiskey that made Kentucky famous. (If you'd like to visit the distilleries where this quintessential American beverage is made, check out the Bourbon Trail that runs through central Kentucky.)
As for the bluebloods, the hills around Lexington are quilted with horse farms—around 450 at last count. Champions like Secretariat and Man O' War have called these pretty fields home. The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington celebrates this history with the American Saddlebred Museum and the Museum of the Horse.
At Churchill Downs in Louisville, you can thrill to the Kentucky Derby, held each year on the first Saturday in May. In the two weeks before the famous horse race, the city hosts the lively Kentucky Derby Festival. And at any time of year, you can visit the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, where Major League Baseball bats are made.
Kentucky is also where you'll find the world's largest explored cave system: the well-named Mammoth Cave National Park, where the tunnels and caverns stretch over 584 kilometres (365 miles). Nature lovers and photographers also enjoy Cumberland Gap National Historical Site, with more than 110 kilometres (70 miles) of hiking trails through the Appalachian Mountains.