The My Old Kentucky Road Trip Bucket List – now updated with new stops!

Kentucky bucket list

Do you have a bucket list?

Do you have a list of things you have — either in your mind or on paper — that you want to do before you die. Wow, that sounds morbid. Let us rephrase. Do you have a list of things you want to make sure you do in your life? Things you want to see? Places you want to visit? Food you want to try? If you don’t have one, maybe it’s something to think about.

Before he died, Kentucky historian Dr. Thomas Clark was asked by his friend, former Lexington Herald-Leader photographer David Stephenson, to make a list of his Kentucky Treasures — 10 places every Kentuckian should visit. Clark died before he’d completed his list but his widow Loretta found a type-written list of 11 places in her husbands things. It may or may not have been his final draft. You can find that list here, along with an audio program about Clark and his Kentucky Treasures done by KET.

Since then the Lexington Herald-Leader has pulled together a handful of “Kentucky Bucket Lists” of the many things in the state you should see, taste or do before you die … or maybe even before this summer ends. There are a lot of great things on the list, a few of which we’ve already checked off of our Old Kentucky Road Trip list (Mammoth Cave, Wigwam Village … and we may or may not have had a run in once upon a time with some moonshine, which we are not at liberty to discuss), so we thought we’d pass it along to all of you travelers.

Here at #MOKRT, we’re always traveling, discovering, and crossing Kentucky destinations off of our bucket list. Here is the original bucket list we built a few years ago:

The My Old Kentucky Road Trip Bucket List

1. See a moon bow at Cumberland Falls. Only at night during a full moon can you see this phenomenon, not found anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere. (CHECK!)

2. See the Mississippi River at the very tip of Western Kentucky. (CHECK!)

3. Visit a coal mine.

4. Spend a day in silence at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Nelson County. (CHECK!)

5. See the New Madrid fault.

6. Visit Fort Knox. (CHECK!)

7. Travel the length of Kentucky Highway 68 from Maysville to Paducah as it weaves its way through dozens and dozens of Kentucky’s most interesting towns. (It’ll take you past the Jefferson Davis monument too). (CHECK!)

8. Attend some of Kentucky’s great food festivals. Tater Days? The Country Ham Festival? Yes, please. (CHECK!)

Sunset over Lake Barkley. Elliott Hess for My Old Kentucky Road Trip,

If you haven’t crossed those off of your bucket list, we recommend you start there. But for you seasoned explorers who are ready for the next adventure, here’s #MOKRT’s updated Kentucky Road Trip Bucket List:

#MOKRT (Updated and Improved) Bucket List

1.  Get King Arthur geeky at The Round Table Literary Park in Hopkinsville

2. See ancient Native American culture at Wickliffe

3. See a black bear at Kingdom Come State Park

4. Buy a cap (like Jack Keroac did in On the Road) at the Rooster Run General Store

5. Catch a concert at the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center (perhaps Loretta Lynn will stop by?) outside of Mount Vernon

6. Spot an eagle or elk at one of the Kentucky State Parks

7. Visit Loretta Lynn’s homeplace in Butcher Holler (what can we say? we’re obsessed with the Coal Miner’s Daughter)

8. Stop by Kentucky’s smallest park, the Isaac Shelby Cemetery outside of Junction City

9. Step inside the Cane Ridge Meeting House outside of Paris, the largest one-room log building in the country.

10. Take our marks at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green (we’ll be careful to steer clear of the sinkhole)

11. Spend an afternoon at the Viceroy Butterfly Garden

For even more inspiration, see the Herald-Leader’s Kentucky Bucket List here. 

Source: The Lexington Herald-Leader, Friday June 17, 2011 | All photos by Elliott Hess,

3 thoughts on “The My Old Kentucky Road Trip Bucket List – now updated with new stops!

  1. All are great lists… I need to do a Kaintuckeean list! Correction to your list: highway 68 isn’t an interstate. Keep up the great site and happy trails. Perhaps a joint venture is in our future? I’m thinking some Kentucky River kayaking?


    1. Whoops! I promise we read maps better than that en route! We may need a joint venture, though you may be overestimating our kayaking skills… What about something along the lines of a Lexington Walking Roadtrip, all of the forgotten landmarks maybe, or the places you never got to visit on a school field trip?



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