6 Fun Ways to Get Outdoors in Bardstown This Spring
Bardstown may be the heartbeat of Bourbon Country, but Kentucky’s second-oldest town has much more to offer today’s visitors than just their signature sweet brown nectar—especially after being cooped up inside all winter!
Check out some of these fun activities that promise outdoor bonding time with your friends and family this spring. Reap the benefits of fresh air and sunshine the next time you visit The Bourbon Capital of the World®.
1. Experience nature like nowhere else in the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
In today’s digital world, people aren’t spending nearly enough time outside. Not only are there tons of physical health benefits to getting more fresh air, but scheduling “no-phone” activities can also be great for reducing stress and re-energizing your mood!
To start, try stretching your legs on a hike through the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. This massive, 15,625-acre natural space is about 20 minutes from downtown and just a few minutes’ drive away from the world-famous Jim Beam Distillery. With over 40 miles of trails to explore, Bernheim Forest has plenty of pathways to delight hikers of all levels.
If you’re not into the idea of a hike, don’t worry. Bernheim also features lots of other unique opportunities to connect with nature. Go fishing in Lake Nevin or read a book under the canopy of a tree. Check out the one-of-a-kind Edible Garden or browse one of the many public art displays.
No matter how you choose to enjoy Bernheim’s breathtaking landscapes, you’re guaranteed to find a must-try experience worth repeating.
2. Cycle Through the Countryside
Push yourself to really earn that next nip of Bourbon with an invigorating bike ride through the Bluegrass countryside. There are plenty of ride options, including brief loops and longer circuits, but if you’re a semi-regular cycler, you should definitely try the 22.5-mile ride from Bardstown to Sympson Lake and back!
If you’re an experienced rider and you’re up for spending a few days on two wheels, be sure to check out the Old Kentucky Home Bicycle Tour, held annually over Labor Day weekend. This fully supported, multi-day ride includes an overnight stay in charming little Bardstown and some of the most incredible scenic views available anywhere in the Bluegrass State.
3. Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding on Kentucky’s Waterways
Although it’s a landlocked state, Kentucky has a plethora of beautiful and undiscovered waterways. Stand-up paddleboarding is a super fun, low-impact activity that offers interested travelers firsthand access to aquatic exploration.
In the Bardstown area, water lovers don’t have to go far to find a stretch of water worth exploring—the Beech Fork River rambles through modest knobs, past distilleries, and continues into the gently rolling hills for a total of 112 miles.
Enjoy the scenic views (and swiftly forget that you’re getting a phenomenal workout!) just a few miles northeast of Bardstown on Taylorsville Lake. Book an entry-level class with Endless Summer Paddle Company or try one of their signature Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga Classes!
For more ideas and information in this area, reach out to the Bardstown Boaters, who are currently working on bringing the first-ever whitewater park to Kentucky.
4. Pick a Tee Time
Keep the Masters Tournament-hopeful in your family happy by scheduling a round of golf while you enjoy your time in Bardstown.
Check out the crown jewel of the Bluegrass golf community – a Kenny Rapier PGA Professional, 71-par golf course at My Old Kentucky Home State Park. Originally opening in 1933, this 18-hole course was redesigned in the 1990s and was subsequently given four stars by Golf Digest and dubbed one of the “Best Places to Play.”
Bardstown is also home to Bardstown Country Club, where the Maywood Course will challenge golfers of any skill level. Many of its tees measure over 7,200 yards from the championship tees and 4,700 yards from the forward tees, so there’s an ideal approach to the game for every member of your travel group!
5. Trot Through Town
If you’re an avid runner, another great way to explore Bardstown is to take the My Old Kentucky Running Tour. This athletic experience is a history-laden 5K (3.1 miles) that leads you right through the heart of town. Running tours depart on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and best of all, the jog wraps up with a scheduled stop at Hadorn’s Bakery so you can score a sweet reward.
If you’re more of an “enjoy the stroll” kind of person, Bardstown has one of the most impressive Farmers Markets anywhere in the southeast. On Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from May to October, more than 30 hometown vendors gather to sell fresh eggs, handcrafted baked goods, homegrown veggies, fruits, plants, flowers, and more. After all, if you’re going to be outside, you might as well stock the fridge while you’re at it!
6. Sleep Under the Stars
An original portion of the 1,300-acre plantation surrounding the historic mansion, the wooded forests and rolling hills of the campgrounds at My Old Kentucky Home State Park are beautiful, relaxing, and welcoming. Snag one of the 39 pet-friendly campsites and fire up the grill to enjoy a custom choice cut from locally revered Boone’s Butcher Shop.
If you prefer a little more connectivity in your camping experiences, another awesome camping option is White Acres Campground. Located just outside Bardstown near Sympson Lake, this leafy attraction spot offers pet-friendly spaces for tents and recreational vehicles, on-site restrooms and showers, and even free Wi-Fi!
Remember, getting your friends and family outside and away from cell phones is good for everyone! For more ideas on how to enjoy the great outdoors, request an Official Bardstown Visitors Guide. Don’t miss a thing!
Featured image provided by SUP Kentucky