If you’re looking to travel for Thanksgiving break or you’re just needing a spontaneous getaway, a little day trip is the perfect mini vacation. And Louisville is close to so many great places. Even if you don’t have a lot of extra time this holiday season, there are plenty of places to go that are less than 200 miles away. Here are five great day trip destinations that are great to check out this fall, especially if you enjoy camping and hiking.
5 Day Trips from Louisville
Travel time: 32 minutes (19.8 miles) via I-64 W
This well-known Kentuckiana spot is perfect for a family day trip or a romantic getaway. You and your loved ones can explore 600 acres of orchards and vineyards, and pick your own fruits and vegetables from the fields of the largest farm in Southern Indiana. Pick some apples or nab a delicious bottle of wine to take home. The drive is lined with various vineyards of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Seyval Blanc. For the kiddos, they can play in the barnyard, and afterwards the whole family can enjoy good, old-fashioned Southern comfort food at Joe Huber’s Restaurant.
Travel time: 2 hours 13 minutes (136.4 miles) via I-64 E
The Red River Gorge is well known to adventurous locals. Whether you want to hit the classic routes or take your friends and family on their first climbing trip, Red River Gorge is Louisville’s top pick for rock climbing. It’s not too shabby for sensational views, camping and hiking either. With its colorful forests, hiking trails, natural bridge and three different camping grounds, you’re definitely in for an adventure. Take a drive to see the pretty fall leaves, pitch a tent and roast some s’mores and hot dogs. You’ll definitely want to stay all day, if not longer.
Travel time: 1 hour 27 minutes (84.7 miles) via I-65 N
Brown County is a Kentuckiana secret that everyone should be talking about. With many places to stay, eat and shop, it has everything you’re looking for to make a memorable, unique experience that everyone will love. It has heart-stopping scenery, welcoming accommodations and countless outdoor activities, and it’s the perfect place to unplug and reconnect with nature and your loved ones. More than 170,000 acres of forested land makes a fall road trip here well worth it. Take your family on a vacation they’ll enjoy with zip-lining, fishing, diverse boutiques and galleries, mountain biking, canoeing, horseback riding and hiking. Also, live music and entertainment are a big part of the culture in Brown County. Year-round, you can find a variety of local and regional musicians playing at various different establishments. Uniquely, Brown County also offers kid-friendly outdoor activities like gem-mining, pony rides and gold mining.
Travel time: 3 hours 15 minutes (199 miles) via I-64 E and I-75 S
Remember the song “Wagon Wheel,” co-written by Bob Dylan and Old Crow Medicine Show? “But he’s a-heading west from the Cumberland Gap, to Johnson City, Tennessee.” You can’t visit the Cumberland Gap without playing that song on the drive! If you love scenic vistas, rushing waterfalls and colorful forests, this national historical park is the spot to be, but only if you’re a morning person who doesn’t mind road trips, because this one will take you a little over three hours. Once you’re there, however, it’s worth it. Your whole family will be excited to experience the magnificent Appalachian Mountains up close. Cumberland Gap is also home to the 2,400-foot-high pinnacle where you can view Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia all at once. You’ll never forget this scenic sight.
Travel time: 1 hour 3 minutes (48 miles) via IN-62 E/Ohio River Scenic Byway
It’s one of the prettiest small towns in the Midwest. Madison is home to Hanover College, but it’s much more than a college town. The rolling hills and limestone bluffs offer a great opportunity to explore. It’s also home to the Indiana Wine Trail, which includes seven wineries in Southeast Indiana. The trail is largely rural in nature with a beautiful blend of small towns and natural scenery. It’s perfect for a fall drive. Madison’s downtown business district has more than 133 blocks of historic architecture. We’re pretty fond of the Indiana Wine Trail, but we also love to visit Richwood on the River. It’s a great wedding spot, and it’s an amazing bed and breakfast if you decide to make a weekend out of your trip.
Now venture forth and discover new corners of the world right outside of Louisville!