When I find myself feeling like I've done everything there is to do in town, I start planning my weekend getaways. There's nothing more refreshing than skipping town for a weekend. These ten Louisville weekend getaways are all within 300 miles and five hours of driving time from Louisville – perfect for a short weekend away from home.
Pigeon Forge is best known as a major shopping destination, and Gatlinburg is best known for its mountains. Together, they are one of the most popular weekend getaways for Louisvillians. However, at close to 300 miles and four and a half hours away, you may want to head down on a three-day weekend to make sure you're not too tired getting back to work on Monday morning. In Gatlinburg, you can stay in a cabin in the mountains, ride a sky lift, and visit Ripley's Aquarium. In Pigeon Forge, you can spend days walking or riding a trolley down the strip for shopping in outlet malls and specialty stores.
At approximately 170 miles and close to three hours away from Louisville, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is an outdoor and nature lover's paradise with more than 17 miles of hiking trails and a breathtaking waterfall. At Cumberland Falls, you can hike, fish, raft, swim, go horseback riding, and more. The resort is a fabulous place to get some rest after a long day of outdoor adventures, and the view of Cumberland Falls alone is worth the three-hour drive.
It's really not a bad drive from Louisville to Nashville because you take I-65 South the entire way. Nashville is approximately 175 miles and three hours from Louisville. Some of the city's most popular attractions include the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Grand Ole Opry, the Music Valley Wax Museum, Opry Mills Mall, and Opryland Hotel. Personally, I could spend days in Opryland Hotel just wandering around, watching the fountain, spotting catfish, and enjoying the amazing plant life. If you decide to go to Nashville, I'd definitely suggest checking it out.
Bloomington is primarily known as a college town because it is home to Indiana University, but the city has a lot more to offer than keg parties and football games. Bloomington is approximately 100 miles and two hours from Louisville. On a weekend trip to Bloomington, you can visit the historic, gorgeous IU campus, you can taste locally-fermented wine at both Oliver Winery and Butler Winery, you can shop for antiques at both Bloomington Antique Mall and Fourth Street Emporium, and you can examine clothing of the past at Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume Collection.
At 131 miles and two hours from Louisville, Red River Gorge is a popular warm-weather weekend getaway for Louisville residents. Red River Gorge is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest, and it has more than 500 miles of trails that wind through sandstone cliffs and exposed limestone rock. At Red River Gorge, you can hike, camp, hunt, fish, go rock climbing, go boating, swim, go horseback riding, and spelunk. The Red River Gorge alone is an amazing piece of nature that rivals any mountain or waterfall, and most Louisvillians love to spend weekends there with friends and family during late spring, summer, and early fall.
Bowling Green is best known as a college town because it is home to Western Kentucky University, but at just over 100 miles and two hours away, Bowling Green also has a lot of attractions appealing to Louisvillians on a weekend getaway trip. While you're there, make sure to check out Beech Bend Raceway Park, the Russell Sims Aquatic Center, Riverview at Hobson Grove, the Phoenix Theater, and the Capitol Arts Center. Also, Cave City and Nashville are both just a short drive from Bowling Green.
In all reality a trip to Indianapolis could be a day trip, but there's so much to do there that you may as well take a weekend and explore the city. At 107 miles and two hours away, Indianapolis is a really great place for a weekend getaway from Louisville. Some of the city's top attractions include the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Zoo, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hall of Fame Museum, and Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts.
Getting to Cincinnati is easy and makes a great day trip, but if you're looking for more than a few hours away from home, you'll want to check out Columbus. Columbus is approximately 200 miles and just over three hours from Louisville. While you're there, make sure to check out the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), the Longaberger Headquarters, the historical German Village, the Ohio Statehouse, Granville, and the Ohio Theater.
At just a little more than 250 miles and four hours away, St. Louis is a great weekend getaway destination. St. Louis is best known for the Gateway Arch, but there are a lot of things to do in St. Louis in addition to viewing the city from the top of the Arch. While you're there, you can visit the St. Louis Zoo, Busch Stadium, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Grant's Farm, the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. One word of warning, however – if you're scared of heights or very claustrophobic, riding to the top of the Gateway Arch might not be the most pleasant thing you've ever done.
Fort Boonesborough State Park is the site of Kentucky's second settlement. It is now a historical monument to Daniel Boone and his embodiment of the traditional wilderness pioneer. Boonesborough is approximately 100 miles and close to two hours from Louisville. The park sports attractions such as realistic cabins, period reenacting, the Kentucky River Museum, camping, fishing, swimming, mini golf, hiking, and more. It's a great, fun, historical trip to take with children who are learning about the history of our state.