Cutting through the rolling hills of horse country, I-65 from Louisville to Nashville offers great natural features, good southern eats, fascinating history, and, of course, a nip or two of Kentucky Bourbon- all just a step or two off the highway.
4400 Paralee Dr, Louisville, KY, US
While still in the Louisville area, take a quick detour over to the edge of the city to one of the most awesome and terrifying places in America: the Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Once a massive sanatorium, treating over 400 patients, today it is one of the most famous ghost-hunting destinations in the world. They offer private and public paranormal tours, so if you feel like getting the bejeezus scared out of you, plan to make a stop here on your trip to or from Louisville. According to Waverly Hills, “there is Paranormal Activity happening here on a regular basis. Even though you many not always easily see it, hear it, feel it, or smell it… when you do, you know it.” Schedule your paranormal tour and see if you have an “experience”…
Once outside of Louisville and back on I-65, you’ll cruise for about a half hour until you hop off the highway for your next stop…
526 Happy Hollow Road, Shepherdsville, KY, US
Over the past few years, Kentucky Bourbon has exploded in popularity, and trips like the Bourbon Trail have become popular vacations. If you’re cruising up/down I-65, however, you probably don’t have time to take a bourbon tour through Kentucky. You do have time to stop at America’s most recognized bourbon brand: Jim Beam. Here you can learn all about the process of making a darn good bourbon.
From the Jim Beam American Stillhouse:
"Secrets are for strangers; here at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse, you’re family. So get an up close and intimate look at how our bourbon is made. Guided Jim Beam Distillery tours will take you through the entire process, starting with our natural limestone water well and all the way through the mashing, distilling, barreling, storing, and bottling."
After a sip or two at Jim Beam’s Stillhouse, you’re back on the highway for just 10 minutes or so until your next stop in Elizabethtown, KY…
502 W Dixie Ave, Elizabethtown, KY, US
If you’re an old car lover, you’ll enjoy a quick stop here. The museum, owned and operated by the Swope Family of Dealerships, is completely free and features cars from the early 1900s to the 1960s.
216 E Main St, Glendale, KY, US
No trip through Kentucky would be complete with a good ol’ country-style meal, and The Whistle Stop can give you exactly that. With popular comfort food items like fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, meatloaf, and roast beef almost all made from scratch, a lunch or dinner here will surely leave you full and happy. Save room for their desserts, though, evenSouther Living has raved about them on multiple occasions.
3700 L N Turnpike Rd, Horse Cave, KY, US
After lunch, you’re off the the Mammoth Cave National Park area. Even if you’re just passing through, there’s plenty to do around the park…
Things you don’t expect to see in the middle of Kentucky: kangaroos, lorikeets, and tortoises. Well, at Kentucky Down Under you’ll see all three and more…
Brian Dale from Kentucky Down Under talks about just how awesome and bizarre this place is:
"Have you ever pet a kangaroo? At Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo we are all about creating interactive experiences between our guests and some of our animals. In our Outback Walkabout exhibit, guests are educated about kangaroos and are allowed to interact with them and pet them.”
One of our guests’ favorite exhibits is the Land of the Lories. This exhibit is a large aviary where guests can enter and feed the brilliantly colored Rainbow Lorikeet birds a cup of nectar. The Lorikeets will land on the visitors’ hands, shoulders, and heads in hope of getting fed some nectar. This exhibit makes for some great photo opportunities as well as lots of laughs."
711 Mammoth Cave Rd, Cave City, KY, US
If your kid is always digging holes in the yard or watching Jurassic Park on repeat, they will love this place. Marlene Svensson from Dinosaur Worldmakes a strong case for bringing the family to Dinosaur World:
Take a step back in time along I-65 in Cave City, KY. See over 150 life size dinosaurs and even Mammoths! Dig for fossils at the Fossil Dig. Pan for real minerals and gems at the Dino Gem Excavation.
1 Mammoth Cave Pkwy, Brownsville, KY, US
Kentucky Down Under is also a great, quick way to get your Mammoth Cave fix without having to go far off I-65. Their Mammoth Onyx Cave is open year-round and is easily accessible.
If you have the time, Dinosaur World is a good first stop on your way to Mammoth Cave National Park where you’ll find some of the most remarkable caves in America.
350 Corvette Dr, Bowling Green, KY, US
The infamous sinkhole has been filled in, but you can still see some of the poor Corvettes fished out from its depths. In addition to the sinkhole sideshow, the National Corvette Museum itself is a wonderful place for anyone with an interest in cars. If you have time, you can also tour the GM Corvette Assembly Plant across the street for a mere $7. (We’ve done it. It’s awesome.)
353 Johnny Cash Parkway, Hendersonville, TN, US
Make a quick stop here to pay your respects to the Man in Black. Near the middle of the cemetery you’ll find the final resting places for Johnny Cash & June Carter. They’re not the only big country starts here, though. Several members of the Carter family, including Mother Maybelle, are laid to rest here along with Johnny Cash’s long time guitarist, Luther Perkins.
4580 Rachels Ln, Nashville, TN, US
As you inch toward Nashville, make one last stop before hitting Music Row: The Hermitage. Jason Nelson, VP of Marketing & Sales for the Hermitage, tells you why Andrew Jackson’s home is a must-see (and note the special Roadtrippers discount!):
As you make your way into Nashville, be sure to visit the home of our nation’s 7th president, Andrew Jackson, at The Hermitage. This 1,120 acre plantation is the most authentically preserved early presidential home in the country. The site features something for visitors of all ages- from an interactive multimedia tour, beautiful grounds, evening “ghost” tours and the brand new “Andrew Jackson- Born for a Storm” exhibit.
Located just minutes from downtown, this top rated attraction is honored to offer free admission to all current and former military personnel throughout 2015. The Hermitage will also extend a $2 off general admission discount for Roadtrippers readers who mention this article. Visit thehermitage.com for tickets, directions and details.
After stopping by the Hermitage, you’re off to boot-scoot-n-boogie in Nashville or cruise on through town en route to Alabama, either way, these pit stops will make the Louisville to Nashville stretch of I-65 feel like a breeze.