Kentucky has much to offer to visitors but what people think first is probably ‘The Kentucky Derby’, horses, and the 3 “B’s”: bluegrass, bourbon, and basketball.
Everyone knows the state’s reputation as a breeding ground for the world’s best thoroughbreds, both the four-legged kind that race down the backstretch, and the two-legged kind that race up and down the basketball courts. Kentucky is also known as the world’s premier bourbon producer (a fact you can discover by traveling the Bourbon Trail), and a picturesque paradise where bluegrass really does dot the landscape (even if it is just for a few weeks every spring.)
But what you may not know is that Kentucky is home to the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi River (the Grand Canyon of the South at Breaks Interstate Park on the Virginia border), the longest cave system in the world (Mammoth Cave with its 360 miles of explored underground passageways), more water than the coast of Florida (in the Western Waterways with the 3,300-mile combined shoreline of Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake), and the only moonbow in the Western Hemisphere (at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.)
Kentucky is one of the 4 U.S. Commonwealth States (Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia).
Read more about the Commonwealth: U.S. Commonwealth States vs. U.S. States – a definition
What to do
- Jim Beam in Clermont
- Hodgenville – Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace
- Bowling Green – Corvette Museum
- Fort Knox
- Louisville – Churchill Downs
- Louisville – Thomas Edison House
- Frankfort, Kentucky: the Capital
- Mammoth Cave National Park
Climate & Temperatures
No matter the season, you’ll love Kentucky’s mild climate.
Summers can be very warm with average temperatures in the upper 80s (upper 30s Celsius), but cool evenings are not unusual.
For spring and fall, it’s a good idea to bring a light jacket.
In the winter, we get a moderate amount of snow, and highs average in the low to mid 40s (4°-7° Celsius).
The wettest seasons are spring and summer, and the driest is the fall.
Annual average precipitation 48 inches, including an average snowfall of 13.7 inches
Kentucky has a moderate climate, characterized by warm, yet moist conditions. Summers are usually warm, and winters cool.
Kentucky’s weather patterns are influenced by the Gulf of Mexico, especially during summer. Much of Kentucky’s average 46 inches of precipitation a year falls in spring, the rainiest season. From south to north, precipitation decreases. Southern Kentucky receives the highest average precipitation for the state, about 50 inches a year. Kentucky is located in a path several storm systems follow.
Storms happen year-round; most storms, however, occur between March and September.
Kentucky – State Abbr.: KY
– Statehood Ranking: 15
39,728 square miles (102,892 qkm)
– Land Area Ranking: 36
4,45 Mio (est. 2018); 4,3 Mio (Census 2010); 4,041,769 (2000 Census)
The Bluegrass State
United we stand, divided we fall
1.263 m / 4,144 ft (Black Mountain)
78 m / 256 ft (Mississippi River)
Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5hrs, MEZ-6hrs) as well as Central Standard Time (GMT-6hrs, MEZ-7hrs)
Daylight Saving Time: yes
My Old Kentucky Home (by Stephen Collins Foster, 1853)