5 Fun Outdoor Vacation Ideas in Bowling Green, KY

Beat the heat in Kentuckyโ€™s Cave Country

August 12, 2021

Being able to stay healthy and “keep your distance” on vacation doesn’t have to mean being stuck in the middle of the woods, far from fun attractions and city amenities.

Enjoy the best of both worlds in Bowling Green! This lively city in southcentral Kentucky, located just one hour north of Nashville, provides plenty of outdoor spaces for reconnecting with friends and family in a less-crowded area with a variety of adventures to rev up the fun.

Ready to hit the road? Here are five great ways to experience the best of Bowling Green, Ky.!

1. Outdoor Recreation

Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Caves are cool, no doubt, but have you ever taken a boat tour through one? In the middle of town? You can at historic Lost River Cave, where kids (and kids at heart) will marvel at stunning natural surroundings while learning more about this underground oasis. After exploring the rest of this nature center, be sure to hit the gift shop for an awesome souvenir to remember your visit.

Just north of town at Shanty Hollow Lake, you can paddle placid waters, catch a mess o’ fish, hike or bike surrounding nature trails past a 150-ft waterfall, or climb sandstone formations.

2. Motorsports & More

Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

As home to the National Corvette Museum and GM Corvette Plant, motorsports are a big deal here. Like, really big. You can get your crew into the action at NCM Motorsports Park, where you can watch – or even drive! – high-performance cars around the track and then race your team at its Kartplex. Or gun it to the historic Beech Bend Raceway to witness exciting drag races and classic car shows held throughout the year.

For sports fun that isn’t quite so “pedal to the metal,” take in a minor league baseball game to root, root, root for the hometown Bowling Green Hot Rods, with games beginning in May.

3. Arts & Heritage

You can combine fun and education (shhh, we won’t tell the kids) at the lush Baker Arboretum, full of more than 1,200 varieties of plants in a gorgeous setting overlooking the city’s surrounding rolling hills. Artful inspiration from the site’s Downing Museum spills over to the paths, where flowering plants in spring and summer, or brilliant foliage in the fall, make this is a colorful gem you won’t want to miss.

Much more than a collection of old airplanes, Aviation Heritage Park is full of artifacts that bring the stories of regional heroes to life. You can see (and touch!) planes from the Vietnam War, a T-38 trainer flown by NASA astronauts and more, plus enjoy the adjacent 111-acre Basil Griffin Park.    

4. Family Attractions

Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Bowling Green is famous for family fun, so your only dilemma will be just where to start. Beech Bend Park offers thrills, spills, and splashes with rides and attractions throughout its amusement and water park. Relax on the lazy river or squeal as you twist and turn on a classic wooden roller-coaster, then enjoy carnival-style games and food or snack near your car at the picnic shelter.

Afterward, fill your fruit basket to the brim at Jackson’s Orchard, where more than 7,000 apple and peach trees are nestled on a 105-acre farm on one of the area’s highest points. Kids can wear out the play area’s Cider Slider while you shop in the Apple Barn or simply catch up with friends.

Keep the agri-theme going at iconic Chaney’s Dairy Barn, featuring a great playground and jumping pillow, self-guided farm tours, delicious food, and the region’s best fresh ice cream. But you’d better save this visit for last, because the kids may never want to leave!

5. Grown-Up Fun

Kids shouldn’t have all the fun, so make plans to visit one of the area’s three rural wineries while you’re here. Traveler’s Cellar Winery is not only a locally-owned quaint and cozy small-farm winery, but also offers a lineup of outdoor events on its open grounds. Sip the signature Sweet Tea Wine or bold Baco Noir and breathe it all in. Tours, tastings, and group facilities are available.

Plan Your Trip to Bowling Green Now!

Rev up for family fun and start planning your trip at With so many great outdoor (and indoor if you’re vaccinated!) experiences, plus a variety of dining and lodging options – from campgrounds and cabins to boutique inns, brand hotels, and vacation rentals – you’ll find what you need to satisfy your crew in Bowling Green. And if you’re ready to explore more of the Bluegrass state, find tons of trip inspiration at

Original article was written for the Kentucky Department of Tourism.