The Horse Country Summer Bucket List

The Horse Country Summer Bucket List

Summertime in the Bluegrass is hard to beat. Kentucky’s natural beauty is on full display, and the warm weather makes for a perfect time to get out and experience some of the great things that this region has to offer. One of the best parts about our slice of paradise is that there is so much to experience within Central Kentucky, from horse farm tours to local eateries to picture-perfect downtowns and more. 

To help you make the most of your time in Kentucky, we’ve put together a bucket list of things to experience this summer. Whether you want to check off every experience or mix and match a few as they fit your travel plans, we encourage you to use this as a guide when planning your next trip to Horse Country. 

See a Kentucky Derby winner

A bucket list item for anyone, horse racing fan or not! Here in Horse Country we are lucky to be the home of eight Kentucky Derby winners, and our members have opened their gates to welcome guests and meet these champions. Learn more about those Derby winners and get your tickets to visit the farms that they reside at by clicking here.

While showings depend on the health and schedule of the horse, our members strive to show fan favorites on tours.

Feed a horse a treat

It’s always a good day when you get to pet a horse, and an added bonus when you get to feed a peppermint, carrot or another treat. Our interactive tours allow for guests to get up close and personal to the horses, and some of the tours even allow you to feed the horses!

Check out scenic Old Frankfort Pike

One of the most scenic roadways in Kentucky is Old Frankfort Pike, which begins in Lexington at the legendary Secretariat statue and runs through Fayette, Woodford and Franklin counties. The road passes through picturesque Horse Country and passes farms like Three Chimneys Farm, Airdrie Stud, and the yearling divisions of Lane’s End Farm and Godolphin.

Eat at a locally-owned restaurant

Kentucky’s local food scene is one of our favorite things about the Bluegrass state. Lots of restaurants in the area feature locally grown food products including veggies, fruits, meat products and more. We’re all about fresh, tasty meals and highly recommend anything owned by Ouita Michel (Wallace Station, Midway Bakery, Zim’s Cafe and more). VisitLex has a great list of restaurants in Lexington and the surrounding area.

Take a photo in front of a horse-themed mural

Here in Central Kentucky we celebrate the horse in many ways, including murals and other community art installations. VisitLex offers a mural challenge for visitors interested in exploring street art in Lexington, including a few equine-themed murals, found here. Some of the surrounding cities also have murals including a Secretariat mural in downtown Paris, a Horse Country mural in downtown Versailles and a mural featuring Taylor Made Farm in downtown Nicholasville.

Take a selfie with a foal

Let’s be honest… what’s cuter than a young foal? These little ones are usually incredibly eager to meet new friends and pose for selfies. Our mare and foal nursery farms provide ample opportunities to meet these friendly horses. Plus, you never know when you could meet a future superstar!

Enjoy a shuttle tour

On a shuttle tour, guests get to venture through the farm on an electric shuttle, getting all of the Bluegrass views one could want, with less time on your feet. Typically these tours focus on mares and foals, but a few locations (Lane’s End Farm, Spy Coast Farm and WinStar Farm) also visit stallions as a part of the tour. You can find shuttle tour availability here.

Visit an adoption facility or sanctuary

Our nonprofit members do incredible work to ensure that all horses have a quality life through retraining, rehoming and providing lifelong sanctuary. Multiple locations retrain Thoroughbreds and other breeds for new careers, providing them with the foundation to enjoy life as a riding horse, including the Kentucky Equine Adoption Center, New Vocations, Second Stride and the Secretariat Center. TRF at Chestnut Hall is a unique sanctuary farm that is home to horses who did not go on to a second career after leaving the racetrack, and instead serve as ambassadors for the Thoroughbred breed.

Go shopping in a local downtown

Whether you’re looking for home decor, art, fashion or just a window shopper, there’s lots of great shopping in central Kentucky. We recommend checking out downtown Midway or Versailles for shops, bakeries and restaurants, both small towns with lots of shopping options!

Watch morning training at Keeneland

Some things are worth getting up early for, and morning training at Keeneland is absolutely one of those. Seven days a week, 365 days a year, Thoroughbreds train on the main track at Keeneland – and the track is open to the public! Enjoy workouts and then head to the track kitchen for a delicious southern-style breakfast.

Be sure to stay tuned to our Bit by Bit blog for more information on things to do in the area relating to our Summer Bucket List. We would love to see how you spend summertime in Horse Country, so be sure to tag us on social media @VisitHorseCountry (Facebook, Instagram and TikTok) or @KYHorseCountry (Twitter/X) and use #VisitHorseCountry.