17 Romantic Getaways in Kentucky: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
Ahh romance. A word that manifests differently for every couple…and even sometimes differs between members of a couple. No matter your idea of romance, one thing is for certain – every now and then couples need to step away from the craziness of everyday life to reconnect, recharge, and rekindle the spark. Luckily there is a plethora of romantic getaways in Kentucky to do just that!
Are you in search of the best romantic getaways in Kentucky (and some just outside of Kentucky!) but struggling to find a destination with a little something for both of you? We have you covered! This list of Romantic Getaways in Kentucky offers a plethora of charming towns, gorgeous Kentucky landscapes, horses, bourbon, and a whole lot of romantic activities that will make you fall in love all over again with each other – and Kentucky!
Check out a few of these other posts:
- Louisville Weekend Trip: The Perfect 3-Day Itinerary
- 9 Delicious Distilleries in Louisville, Kentucky: from Bourbon to Brandy
- Kentucky Derby Tips: The Ultimate First-Timer’s Derby Guide (by a local)
Romantic Getaways in Kentucky
Whether romance for you means a candlelit dinner followed by a live show, or a long hike spent chatting about life with your person, or even yelling at a big screen in a tap room with a beer in hand, we have compiled a comprehensive collection of romantic destinations all across the state!
Louisville: The Ultimate Romantic Getaway
What can we say? We are a bit partial to Louisville since it has no limit to the number of romantic things to do! Not only is it the biggest city in Kentucky, but it has plenty of horses and bourbon, amazing eats, and it’s super LGBTQ+ friendly, making it a perfect place for any couple to visit! Whether you want to chill, get adventurous, or a little of both, we have it all!
Romantic Things to do in Louisville
One the of best ways to take it easy and get inspired romantically is to the Speed Art Museum, the oldest, largest, and foremost museum of art in Kentucky that features rotating exhibitions on a diverse array of ancient, classical, and modern art. Cuddle up as you look at romantic paintings at the After Hours at the Speed every third Friday to enjoy themed music, performances, food and entertainment in the coolest setting ever. Or if you’re on a budget, head to the Speed on a Sunday to take advantage of FREE admission!
To become two with nature, head over to Cherokee Park which cuts through the Highlands, one of Louisville’s most beautiful neighborhoods. The park is covered in forest and hills, and through it wind myriad walking paths, biking routes, and even a 2.4 mile scenic loop that you can do by car if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t get lost easily and is able to follow signs (this disqualifies me). Take your date for a drive, a stroll, or even a hike or trail run, you Olympic athletes, you!
In the evening, book a dinner cruise on the Belle of Louisville Riverboat and you’ll enjoy a buffet and dancing on board as you ride off into the sunset. Literally – you’ll be ON the Ohio River at sunset. Feel free to wave at the crowds of jealous onlookers on shore excitedly pointing out the Belle as she passes by – she’s kind of a big deal!
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Louisville
There’s no shortage of amazing places to eat in Louisville, but there are definitely some romantic places you won’t want to miss!
If you want to get a taste of history with some food, check out our NuLu food & history walking tour, where you’ll taste Kentucky classics like bourbon balls and fried chicken, see a historic home once occupied by Thomas Edison, taste a candy inspired by a Victorian-era actress, and trace the history of German immigrants in Louisville.
To find that perfect food ambiance, check out Proof on Main, the unique restaurant inside of Louisville’s famous 21C Museum Hotel right on Museum Row. Proof is an excellent place for a romantic brunch, lunch, or dinner in Louisville. Dinner options at Proof include the blackberry pop tart with chicken liver pate & cracklin, braised rabbit ragout, and roasted bones, whatever that means. Order drinks after your meal and take them with you as you wander through the galleries in 21C, making impressive-sounding comments about art and giggling over the art installation in the bathrooms.
Buck’s Restaurant and Bar may not have the most romantic-sounding name but trust us, this restaurant is romance gold. Tucked away in the quiet, stunning neighborhood of Old Louisville – our favorite neighborhood in Louisville to stroll or bike through, or in which to browse for homes on Zillow from the comfort of our overpriced apartment in San Francisco – Buck’s offers incredible food in a gorgeous romantic setting.
Where to Stay in Louisville
Inn at St. James Court is an adorable, romantic Bed & Breakfasts tucked into the gorgeous Victorians in our favorite neighborhood, Old Louisville. It’s located on a beautiful and famous fountain court in Louisville which also happens to be our favorite spot to go for an evening walk!
If you wanna get a little swankier, 21C Museum Hotel isn’t just a hotel, it’s an artistic experience. After a day of fun you’ll literally wake up already at a museum. How great is that? Luxurious 21C is a bit of a splurge, but it’s fully worth it.
Red River Gorge: A Nature Lover’s Paradise
Red River Gorge? More like Red River Gorgeous! This nature lover’s paradise is located about 2 ½ hours east of Louisville in Slade, Kentucky and is the perfect place to unplug, reset, and connect with your better half. Nestled in the lush Daniel Boone National Forest, Red River Gorge offers pristine views, natural serenity, and all-around immaculate vibes.
Romantic Things to do in Red River Gorge
Take a collective breath of fresh air as you enjoy each other’s company on a hike through the scenic, woodland landscape. Our favorite trails are the Double Arch, Courthouse Roch, and Auxier Ridge Loop and the Rock Bridge Trail, but there are dozens more trails ranging from easy to hard to explore! Put your trust to the test while scrambling up some giant rocks in this world-renowned sport rock climbing spot, if that’s your thing.
For some airtime, hitch a ride and share a sweet smooch (but make it PG – nobody wants to see more than that!) on the Skylift or get your adrenaline pumping and see the sites from 300 feet above the ground with Red River Gorge Ziplines. For that tunnel of love experience, take a boat or kayak tour inside an abandoned limestone mine with The Gorge Underground.
Learn more about the history of the area at the Gladie Cabin, which is home to a historic barn with artifacts and signage about early pioneer history. Don’t forget to stop by the Gladie Visitor Center for maps of the area, camping passes, and local crafts and gifts.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Red River Gorge
Serving up delicious pizza in a friendly atmosphere, Miguel’s Pizza has been a Red River Gorge staple for nature enthusiasts and lovers alike since 1984. Trust us – a pizza made your way from Miguel’s after a long day exploring the great outdoors with your boo cannot be beat.
If you are looking for something a little on the fancier side, check out Red River Rockhouse, an eclectic cafe on a mission to support local farmers and artisans and create delicious food! Have a heart to heart with your honey over a plate of traditional tacos and a glass of wine or bourbon.
Check out Hop’s for a drink in the beer garden as you gaze into your lover’s eyes in the sweet tranquility of nature. They have a collection of 90 bourbons, 24 ryes, and a dozen wines in stock with a full bar, as well as eats from local farms including burgers and poutine. For dessert, pop by the Chocolat Inn & Cafe for some sweet treats like their fruit danish, cheesecake, and of course, chocolate!
Where to Stay in Red River Gorge
Stay in the Bird Nest Cabin to wake up next to your person surrounded by the serene sounds of nature and enjoy a coffee on the wrap around deck.
Embrace your inner child by staying in the Tiny Tree Cabin-Amazonia – a real life tree house complete with hammock floors dangling above the kitchen located in the heart of Red River Gorge!
If a more traditional hotel vibe complete with a pool and an on-site restaurant is more your speed, check out Natural Bridge State Resort Park for all your lodging needs.
Shelbyville: A Horse Lover’s Getaway
Shelbyville is like the picturesque little sister of Louisville, sitting on the outskirts of the Gene Snyder and perfect for a 30-minute getaway. Shelbyville is known as the Saddlebred capital of the world, a Saddlebred being a fancy kind of Thoroughbred horse. Naturally, this is the place to see and ride horses, taste some bourbon, as well enjoy the slower pace of life in the “country” – so basically one of the best romantic getways in Kentucky!
Romantic Things to do in Shelby County
As already mentioned, Shelbyville is the Saddlebred capital, which means horses are everywhere here! If you’re curious about riding but have never done it before, head over to Red Fern Riding Center for a guided horseback ride. Even if you’ve never ridden, you will be in good hands with excellent instructions, on an hour or 1.5 hour trail ride through the gorgeous Shelby Trails Park. Nothing like sharing a new experience with a loved one!
There’s also plenty of bourbon to be had – Kentucky is bourbon country, after all! And there are two fabulous distilleries within Shelby County, including Jeptha Creed Distillery and the newly-built Bulleit Distilling.
Bulleit offers a very stream-lined tasting experience with their 30-minute”unlocking the senses” tasting, which includes trying three different whiskies and experience lights, sounds and scent bulbs. Jeptha Creed’s one-hour barrel tasting tour takes you out on their farmland, where you get to sit in a barrel house in recliners, sip bourbons and vodkas, and drink bourbon straight out of a barrel! You may even want to pick up your own bottle to take back to your room later.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Shelbyville
When you get hungry after all these romantic endeavors, Shelbyville has some of that good country and farm fresh cookin’.
At the Little Mount Lavender Company, you can not only get a ton of handmade lavender products from Kentucky’s largest lavender farm Woodlief Farm, you can get farm fresh food from their cafe. Get the enormous charcuterie for two, with a mountain of rainbow fruits, vegetables, cheese and meats like none you’ve ever seen. Maybe you can even recreate the famous scene from Lady & the Tramp with salami. Just saying!
If your heart is set on a heavier meal, check out the Bell House which is located in a historic 1902 home. This cozy atmosphere is the perfect place to get the epitome of comfort food: the Hot Brown!
Where to Stay in Shelbyville
This dark and cozy studio in downtown Shelbyville will have you feeling some kind of way as you hibernate in this spacious lovenest.
For a softer touch, check out this ultra-gorgeous Victorian cottage complete with a hot tub. You may not want to ever leave this luxury!
Lexington, Kentucky: A City Slicker’s Sojourn
Lexington, Kentucky, home to the University of Kentucky offers big-city amenities amidst a vibrant cultural atmosphere served with a side of southern charm. Located about an hour and a half east of Louisville, Lexington offers a wide array of romantic activities sure to please you and your picky significant other’s tastes. Saddle up for an idyllic escape to the “horse capital of the world!”
Romantic Things to do in Lexington
Don your poshest attire at Keeneland for an afternoon of horse racing and explore the beautifully maintained rolling landscape of the grounds. Enjoy a romantic picnic for two while taking in the stunning gorges and limestone bedrock composing the scenic Kentucky River Palisades Trail.
Take a stroll through the walkable downtown in search of each of the city’s 30+ street art installations. Visit the renovated Greyline Station, packed with local vendors and small businesses offering fantastic food, homemade goods, and live entertainment.
If flowers are you thing, walk hand-in-hand at the Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky with plenty of native plants and quiet spots to feel the romance. To get even more in touch with nature, you can even reserve a private picnic with goats!
Stop by Kentucky for Kentucky, to get the cutest (and softest) Kentucky-themed apparel you’ve ever seen (and worn)!
Book a couple’s massage and share a sense of rejuvenation at Ziyan Salon and Day Spa. Reminisce your puppy love days and head a few miles outside of town for a drive-in movie at Bourbon Drive-Inn Theatre.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Lexington
Treat your honey to a dinner fit for royalty in the regal Kentucky Castle, where the Castle Farm restaurant offers farm-to-table fare sourced from local and property-grown ingredients expertly combined to create mouth-watering meals such as the braised short ribs with pumpkin-parmesan grits or the pan-seared chicken breast. For more casual digs, wet your whistle with a cold beer on the patio as you converse about life and all that good stuff with your person at Country Boy Brewing.
Reminisce your college days on a food and beer crawl throughout the Distillery District, making stops at Goodfellas Pizzeria for a delectable slice of New York-Style pizza, Corto Lima for a bowl of spicy, green chili mac & cheese, or a savory plate of street tacos, and Ethereal Brewing to sample their vast selection of eclectic craft brews.
For unbeatable ambiance, check out Kentucky Native Cafe which is attached Michler’s Nursery. The café is a gorgeous hideaway nestled among a canopy of trees, plants, bushes and flowers. The menu is small, every-changing, fresh, local and delicious, like Bavarian pretzels, hummus and a burrata plate.
Head out for an old-fashioned ice cream date to sample the inventive, locally sourced flavors and concoctions (like their signature ice cream cocktails- we’ll have two!) at Crank & Boom.
If you want to get a little taste of everything, check out a Walking Food Tour of Downtown Lexington that includes five stops and will give you a great taste of downtown!
Where to Stay in Lexington
For a quaint, artistically inspired room complete with unique and modern furnishings conveniently located close to downtown, stay at the Elwood Hotel & Suites.
To escape the hustle and bustle of downtown for a more private stay with your person, check out the Kentucky River Cottages, offering a scenic view of the Kentucky River and surrounded by wooded tranquility.
Harrodsburg, Kentucky: A History Buff’s Haven
Founded in 1774, Harrodsburg, Kentucky’s long-standing history as the “Birthplace of the West” makes it an ideal destination for any pair of history buffs. The first permanent English settlement west of the Allegheny mountains, pioneers began filtering through Harrodsburg hundreds of years ago. Known as “Kentucky’s Oldest Town”, Harrodsburg is located a little over an hour away from Louisville and its momentous legacy creates plenty of opportunities to pioneer your own romantic adventure together.
Romantic Things to do in Harrodsburg
Sprawling 3,000 acres, the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is a gateway to yesteryear and a wonderful place for history fanatics and nature lovers alike to spend a day. Home to the third largest Shaker community in the United States between 1805 and 1910, Shakers believed in peace, equality of race and sex, and freedom from prejudice. The group is recognized for their iconic architecture, skilled craftsmanship, and profound spirituality. Sounds amazing right?
Well… the Shakers are well-known for remaining celibate and not believing in procreation. Members of the community had to adopt their children in order to continue the legacy of their community and avoid doing the deed. While this infamous legacy may not be the most conducive to your intentions for the weekend (*gasp* scandal!), rest assured that the beautiful scenery and welcoming atmosphere makes this destination a wonderful place for couples to venture.
With 34 original Shaker structures, the site is home to the country’s largest private collection of original 19th century buildings and is the largest National Historic Landmark in Kentucky. The Shaker Village offers experiences curated to ignite curiosity and inspire discoveries of years past. Discover the Shaker Village story and view priceless artifacts at your own pace throughout The Historic Centre. Head out to The Farm to meet the animals and explore the grounds for a glimpse into the Shaker way of life.
Aside from the Shaker Village, Harrodsburg boasts a number of exciting things for couples to get into. Explore Old Fort Harrod State Park to view a full-scale replica of a fort built by James Harrod, namesake of the town, in 1774. Admire the beauty of the landscape on horseback with Big Red Stables. Traipse through the woods in search of Fulling Mill Falls, a picturesque waterfall located off a loop trail.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Harrodsburg
Fuel up for the day with some delicious donuts and pastries from King Donuts. Make a pit stop along your journey through the Shaker Village at the Trustees Table for a delicious lunch of traditional Kentucky favorites prepared with garden-fresh ingredients, like their burger or stuffed squash.
Grab a pizza pie from Downtown Pizza Pub before hunkering down in your quarters for the evening. Don’t forget to pick up something sweet with your sweetie at Kentucky Fudge Company before settling in!
Where to Stay in Harrodsburg
Whisk each other away to The Inn at Shaker Village. This cozy inn features 72 guest rooms, suites, and cottages spread throughout 13 historic Shaker Village buildings. The warm hospitality of the village has even landed it the title of a top hidden travel destination by BBC News!
If you are in the market for a little bit more than the Shakers were getting, this charming Tiny House located on the Kentucky River offers a more secluded place to spend the evening with your suitor.
Murray, Kentucky: The Friendliest Small Town in America
Murray, Kentucky, located about 3 ½ hours from Louisville, has been called the “Friendliest Small Town in America” by USA Today for good reason. Everywhere you look in this tiny town located in the southwestern corner of Kentucky, you’ll be greeted with a smile and a “hey y’all!”
Despite its humble ways, Murray is anything but your average tiny town. Home to Murray State University (shoe’s up!), this college town will leave you and your person feeling recharged after a weekend of soulful foods, beautiful scenery, deep conversations, and a cozy, welcoming feeling of home.
Romantic Things to do in Murray
Despite being a small town, Murray has no shortage of things for you and your bae to do. Hold hands on a stroll through the magnificently maintained Arboretum at Murray State for a glimpse of gorgeous seasonal flowers and plants. Explore the up-and-coming downtown square and visit a couple of local shops. Admire some phenomenal artwork at the Clara M. Eagle Art Gallery. Then catch a show after dinner at Playhouse in the Park.
Replay your beginnings as a couple by visiting the Shoe Tree located in the center of the Murray State University quad. University tradition says that couples who meet at Murray State and get married have to come back and nail a pair of their shoes to the tree. If you look closely, you can also find several pairs of baby shoes in the mix (*sobs in sentimental hopeless romantic*).
For a break from the small town flair, head over to Land Between the Lakes (LBL) to spend a spell in the great outdoors. Take in the breathtaking scenery of western Kentucky on a hiking trail (Hematite Lake Trail and Honker Lake Trail are our personal favorites, but LBL has tons more trails of various difficulty levels to explore!). Drive through the Elk and Bison Prairie for a thrilling glimpse of some awe-inspiring wildlife. Feeling competitive? Paddle across the 300 miles of scenic shoreline in a kayak race to see who gets to pick the dinner spot!
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Murray
Start your day with an espresso and avocado toast as you chat about life at Shaffer Coffee Co. Enjoy a delectable lunch of gyros, falafel street wraps, and so much more in a renovated 1929-built home at the quaint and quiet Willow Bistro.
Treat your special someone to a culinary trip around the world at Jasmine Thai Cuisine and Sushi Bar, check out some local live bands over a delicious meal at Goldenrod Cafe, or enjoy a night out together with a craft beer and a mouthwatering meal of burgers and truffle fries at Hop Hound Brew Pub.
Where to Stay in Murray
For a local inn close to the main strip, Murray Inn and Art Gallery is a gorgeous option with a Victorian feel. As its name implies, each wall of the Murray Inn is laced with beautiful paintings for you and your significant other to ponder as you snuggle in for the night.
If your partner is begging to go camping in LBL but glamping is more your speed, book a lakefront RV complete with a bathtub and large private deck overlooking the water! The private RV resort features a restaurant, pool, and boat and jet ski rentals and is located on Kentucky Lake in close proximity to LBL!
Frankfort, Kentucky: A Capital Love Affair
Ah, Frankfort – the Capital of our great Commonwealth. We are going to go out on a limb here and guess that if you and your boo are from almost anywhere in the state you have been here on that typical rite-of-passage elementary school field trip.
But, Frankfort has so much more to offer to a pair of elementary school crushes than a run-of-the-mill school trip. Centrally located in the state and an hour east of Louisville, Frankfort offers a multitude of options to, as the kids might say, “get litty” in Cap City.
Romantic Things to do in Frankfort
If touring is your thing, craft your perfect bourbon and embark on one of several touring options at Buffalo Trace Distillery, satisfy your sweet toothes (teeth?) on a tour of Rebecca Ruth Chocolates, or take a tour of the gorgeous Castle & Key Distillery grounds and botanical trail.
View and tour the Kentucky Old and New State Capitol Buildings to see where all the action happens now that you are an adult and care a whole lot more about these things! Don’t forget to check out the Floral Clock, a colorful landmark covered with thousands of seasonal plants and flowers.
Connect with one another and the land around you through the arts as you saunter through the Josephine Sculpture Park pondering some pretty amazing pieces. You can also get lost with your love as you explore 240 acres of wetlands, streams, springs, waterfalls, and wooded areas in Cove Spring Park and Nature Preserve.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Frankfort
To fuel up for your busy day, go to Alfonso’s Taco Shop for a mouth-water (and humongous) breakfast burrito. Swing by the Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe to chill out and regroup with a light lunch or cup of coffee (and make sure to check out the attached bookstore!).
Top off your day with a delicious wood-fired pizza from Locals Food Hub and Pizza Pub while you pick up some goods sourced from local farmers in the all-local grocery hub. Check off a stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail with brunch or a fancy dinner date at The Stave Restaurant and Bourbon Bar.
Treat your sweet to a scoop (or 3) from Hoggy’s Ice Cream, which offers over 20 flavors of hand dipped ice cream!
Where to Stay in Frankfort
Stay in the center of the vibrant downtown area at the Broadway Loft, perfectly sized for two and an easy walk away from the best the city has to offer.
If you are looking to rough it with your partner, Creek Front Camping is secluded, scenic, comfortable, and located within 8 miles of all the action.
Corbin, Kentucky: An Outdoor Oasis
Progressive in spirit, yet traditional at heart, Corbin, Kentucky is a small town containing several hidden treasures. Located about 2 ½ hours from Louisville, Corbin is home to Cumberland Falls, a picturesque waterfall so massive it has been coined “the Niagara of the South”, and…drum roll, please…the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken! Nothing screams romantic getaways in Kentucky like waterfalls and fried chicken!
Romantic Things to do in Corbin
Discover the vastness of Cumberland Falls, a gargantuan waterfall spilling thousands of gallons of water over a gorgeous sandstone summit. Take a blanket and snuggle up in wait for the “moonbow”, an extremely rare phenomenon that happens at only two naturally occurring places in the world. A moonbow, formed just like a rainbow but refracting light from the moon, appears around the time of the full moon and makes for a wonderfully romantic evening.
Introduce your big city babe to the thrill of horseback riding at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. If adrenaline is what you two seek, embark on a white water rafting tour with Cumberland Below the Falls.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Corbin
Satisfy your caffeine cravings and get some me and you time in with a nice morning mug from You and Me Coffee and Tea. Grab a bucket with all the fixins’ at the Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum, otherwise known as the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken!
Check out some local digs at the Wrigley Taproom and Eatery, featuring amazing craft beer, Kentucky bourbon, and farm-to-table eats like steak frites, salmon tacos, and soft pretzels. Feeling a tasty no-fuss burger and hot dog night to remind you of your college bonfire days? Look no further than the Root Beer Stand for an old-fashioned meal to have you dreaming of the good old days.
Where to Stay in Corbin
A quaint cabin less than 15 miles removed from downtown Corbin, the Sweet Lily Home is the perfect place to put down roots for your quiet weekend together. Enjoy a meal under the gazebo or take a sunset stroll along the 10 acres of this beautiful property.
Reconnect with nature and one another as you roast some marshmallows in the moonlight next to your tiny house at Running Bear Lake.
Bardstown, Kentucky: A Beautiful Bourbon Break
Here in the Bluegrass State, nothing says romance like bourbon, and as the “bourbon capital of the world”, Bardstown, Kentucky has a lot of it. Having been settled in 1780, Bardstown is Kentucky’s second oldest city and its downtown district is home to nearly 200 buildings located in Nelson County featured on the National Register of Historic Places. Located about an hour south of Louisville, Bardstown is just the place to get your bourbon on in a beautiful town with a lively downtown scene.
Romantic Things to do in Bardstown
Take a tour of the Bardstown Bourbon Company followed by the Shaken and Stirred Curated Cocktail Class, a hands-on experience of crafting two iconic bourbon cocktails! Head to Heaven Hill Distillery for an impressive tour of the largest independent, family-owned bourbon distillery in the world.
Make the short 30 minute drive to Maker’s Mark Distillery to see just how those unique little red bottle seals are made. And whether you take it neat or on the rocks, sample some top-notch bourbon in the state-of-the-art facility at Lux Row Distillers.
After you are all bourbon-ed out (if that is even possible in Kentucky), head downtown to shop ‘til you drop in the numerous shops and boutiques located within walking distance of one another, including Bardstown for the Arts with gorgeous local art. Have a jaunt across the grounds of My Old Kentucky Home State Park to see the farm that inspired the imagery in Stephen Collins Foster’s famous tune, “My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night!”.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Bardstown
After your cocktail class and tour(s), sit down to a romantic dinner for two with southern and international flair at Bardstown Bourbon Company where you can get the likes of shrimp & grits or the kentucky staple fried chicken. Order a beer flight and a delectable fried PB&J a la mode at Scout and Scholar Brewing Co.
Sit down for a tender ribeye and scrumptious piece of chocolate pie at Mammy’s Kitchen and Bar. Treat your partner to the best the bluegrass state has to offer with a fine-dining experience at the Harrison-Smith House.
Head on over to nearby Clermont, KY to take your seat at The Kitchen Table at the Jim Beam Distilling Co. for an old-fashioned meal like Kentucky burgoo or pulled pork sliders with all the fixin’s and a side of your favorite bourbon.
Where to Stay in Bardstown
Spend the night in the oldest western stagecoach stop in America at Talbott Tavern and Inn, which is purported to be haunted and will keep you snuggling all night long.
Take advantage of a terrace and on-site day spa for a day of romance at the Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn.
Ideal for a weekend getaway for two, do some time in the historic Jailer’s Inn.
Berea, Kentucky: An Artist’s Retreat
Located nearly two hours from Louisville, Berea, Kentucky is the ultimate destination for artsy enthusiasts. Donned the “Folk Arts & Crafts Capital of Kentucky”, Berea gives off a quiet, old town vibe and is on a mission to showcase Kentucky’s creative side. Ideal for those who appreciate the beauty of art and nature alike, couples can expect to embark on an inspiring cultural journey when visiting Berea.
Romantic Things to do in Berea
One of the best ways to experience Berea is in the Artisan Village – a conglomeration of artisan studios, handmade jewelry shops, fabric stores, galleries, glass studios, unique boutiques, and so much more! Visit the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen Galleries to take a fine arts and crafts class and learn more about their mission to preserve and promote the heritage and future of arts in Kentucky.
Stop by the Kentucky Artisan Center to show your support for hundreds of Kentucky artists and businesses by shopping, viewing exhibits and displays, and learning more about Berea and other Kentucky arts destinations.
For a glimpse of beauty that is not man-made (other than your partner), hike The Pinnacles in the Berea College Forest, recently named best hike in Kentucky by Outside magazine. Venture out to Anglin Falls for a moderate difficulty, mile-long trails ending in a gorgeous waterfall.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Berea
Start your day with a bagel and freshly brewed coffee at Native Bagel Company. For lunch, grab a quick (and socially conscious) bowl of noodles built your way at Noodle Nirvana.
Wrap up your day of experiencing all the beautiful things Kentucky has to offer with a romantic dinner for two at Honeysuckle Dining and Bourbon House, which serves up an inviting fusion of southern, modern, and international flavors like a filet, trout, or even frog legs!
Where to Stay in Berea
Snag a room at the centrally located Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant to stay within a walkable distance of great food and shopping.
Or, stay at the Nicura Ranch Inn & Stables to remove yourselves from the hustle and bustle of downtown and enjoy a walk in the garden and a room with a private terrace, perfect for long, moonlit talks or whatever else you two crazy kids want to do.
Paducah, Kentucky: A Riverside Gem
Situated in the heart of Jackson Purchase and approximately 3 hours from Louisville, Paducah, Kentucky serves as the cultural hub of western Kentucky. This sophisticated river town is an awe-inspiring confluence of cultural heritage and creativity that celebrates the arts as a way of life. An ideal destination for pairs seeking to venture a bit further from home, Paducah offers a little bit of everything.
Romantic Things to do in Paducah
Explore the grounds of Purple Toad Winery and sample a few (or a dozen) gloriously sweet wines. Take a moonlit walk along Water Street and watch as Paducah’s rich and vibrant history comes alive in a display of colorful Floodwall Murals.
Saunter through Paducah’s oldest neighborhood, The Lower Town Arts District, which is populated with working artists, students, and artists-in-residence who continually add to the city’s animated artistic landscape. Be sure to head into the National Quilt Museum for the most epic, jaw-dropping quilts you’ve ever seen – seriously, these aren’t just your grandma’s quilts.
Catch an evening show at The Carson Center, which offers Broadway shows, ballets, orchestral concerts, and much more!
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Paducah
Pick up a bubble tee or a coffee to start your day at Etcetera Coffeehouse, which actually has a labyrinth next door you can walk as well! Savor a delicious craft meal with fancy salads, sandwiches, and desserts in an eclectic eatery with a reputation for high-quality and creative foods and desserts at Artisan Kitchen.
Have a beer with a meal you can feel good about ordering at Paducah Beer Werks, who partner with local food sources to bring you delicious food like pizza and burgers. Grab a drink at Dry Ground Brewing Company before turning in for the night.
For a fancier dinner with a rotating, sustainable, farm-fresh menu, check out Freight House. Under the guidance of chef Sara Bradley, who was a Top Chef finalist, you can get Kentucky classics like Shrimp & Grits here and plenty of exquisitely crafted food, just don’t forget to make a reservation!
Make the 30-minute trek to Grand Rivers, KY for a dining experience you won’t soon forget at Patti’s 1880’s Settlement. Enjoy a candlelit dinner of pork chops with all the fixins’ and a piece of pie that would put grandma’s recipes to shame, and all meals come with bread cooked in a flower pot! Visit around the holidays for a romantic moonlit walk through a glowing display of festive lights and decorative displays.
Where to Stay in Paducah
Offering a sun terrace, views of the city, and a spa bath in every room, the 1895 Washington Hotel & Spa is perfect for any couple who wants to remain close to the action.
For a uniquely-decorate room that captures the spirit of creative Paducah and within the city center on the riverwalk, The Respite Bed and Breakfast is a classic option.
Bowling Green, Kentucky: An Options Seeker’s Paradise
Let’s face it…we millennials can be indecisive. Deciding what to do, where to eat and especially WHAT to eat is exhausting and anxiety-inducing. Luckily for us, Bowling Green, Kentucky offers a little bit of something to suit every taste, which at least makes our decision about where to go a tad easier. Located about two hours from Louisville, Bowling Green is “geared for fun”, even if you two can’t decide what to do (just do it all!).
Romantic Things to do in Bowling Green
Take a long, stroll while holding hands to acquaint yourselves with the town through the dazzlingly historic Fountain Square Park. Follow your walk with a live show or a movie at the Capitol Arts Center.
Surprise your car-loving partner with a tour of the National Corvette Museum. Watch the city in motion as you overlook downtown and the surrounding rolling hills from the outskirts of the city at The Baker Arboretum and the Downing Museum.
If you can’t decide what you want to do, but know you are looking for a little adrenaline in your lives, boy, do we have the options for you! Head to Lost River Cave for a boat tour through the cave and experience the folklore and history of the area from underground.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Bowling Green
With no shortage of activities to choose from, it’s no wonder that Bowling Green would have a ton of amazing food selections to choose from. Indecisive millennials beware of option overload at Azzip Pizza (yes, that IS pizza spelled backwards) where you can get a personal pizza created just the way you like it!
Stop in for lunch at Novo Dolce to savor some amazing food (like their bacon wrapped dates) in a gastro-pub-type setting. Experience a little taste of Bourbon Street in Kentucky at 440 Main, where they bring the bayou to you with dishes like shrimp and grits!
Treat your boo to a grand dinner of authentic Mediterranean cuisine at Anna’s Greek Restaurant and dive into some lamb gyros and grape leaves.
Where to Stay in Bowling Green
Located within close proximity to many Bowling Green attractions are these Downtown Bowling Green Apartments. Fully equipped with an outdoor swimming pool and kitchen, this stay is ideal for couples who would prefer more independence.
Stay at the Hotel Sync to spend your weekend in the city-center of Bowling Green, in close proximity to all you may choose to do while there.
Elizabethtown, Kentucky: A Small Town Escape
Elizabethtown, Kentucky, located 45 minutes south of Louisville, is a dynamic community filled with a wealth of cultural and historic landmarks and copious options for outdoor recreation with a modern twist. Elizabethtown, or E-Town, as it is known by locals, is an “e”asy choice for a weekend “e”scape with the person you call your “e”verything (okay, we’ll stop now).
Romantic Things to do in Elizabethtown
Catch a concert, comedy show, or movie in a revitalized 1942 art deco-style theater at the Historic State Theater Complex. Tour a stately Georgian home boasting gorgeous gardens and a spectacular brick facade in the 1825-built, Brown-Pusey House. And if basketball is your partner’s love language, you can even surprise them with a tour of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame!
Find out what makes E-Town an exceptionally beautiful city by hiking one of the magnificently preserved trails maintained by the Greenspace Hiking Trails.
If seeing E-Town from the ground isn’t cutting it, try seeing it while hurdling out of a plane! Skydive Kentucky offers an exhilarating chance to see E-Town like never before, as well as the perfect opportunity to bet your partner you won’t chicken out!
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Elizabethtown
Start your day off with good vibes and a fresh cup of joe at Vibe Coffee. Stop in for a light sandwich or juicy burger with a unique twist at The Wicked Eyed Woman. Feel like you’re eating a home-cooked meal without all the kitchen mess with a bowl of honey chicken mac n’ cheese and a side of cornbread from Back Home Restaurant.
Afterward, grab a beer and challenge your spouse to a round of trivia at Flywheel Brewing. Buy the trivia winner a sweet frozen treat at the Dreamery, a local E-Town spot serving up craft gelato made in the Italian tradition.
Where to Stay in Elizabethtown
While in E-Town, spend a private night with your boo on the deck or out by the fire pit overlooking a peaceful pond at The Elizabethtown Carriage House.
Perfect for couples who want to remain within walking distance of all the downtown goings-on, this Kentucky Industrial Bourbon Downtown Loft offers character and charm (think exposed brick walls!), as well as close proximity to the main streets of E-Town.
Maysville, Kentucky: A Relaxing Retreat
Maysville, Kentucky, located about two and a half hours from Louisville, is a quiet town that holds the key to a little rest and relaxation for you and your ever-stressed bae. Offering plenty of things to do (and also the option to do absolutely nothing at all away from home), Maysville is the ultimate place to let go of the stresses of daily life and reconnect with your partner in a meaningful way.
Romantic Things to do in Maysville
Give in to your nerdy side and spend the day learning the history of the Maysville region by viewing the huge collection of artifacts, miniatures (how cute!) and fine art at The Kentucky Gateway Museum Center. When you want to get outside, have your pick of the trails in the Cummins Nature Preserve.
Take a tour of a historic distillery rooted in tradition at the Old Pogue Distillery, established as Kentucky’s 3rd registered distillery in 1876. Catch a show by the Maysville Players, the oldest theatre group in the Commonwealth at the Washington Opera Theatre.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Maysville
Pick up a tart or come discover the mysterious secrets of the transparent pie at Magee’s Bakery. Snag a savory serving of cheese sticks to compliment your delicious pizza dinner at Pasquale’s Pizza Restaurant.
For an-old fashioned burger and milkshake served to order in a classic diner, check out local icon Delite’s. Wrap up your evening with a delicious hot chocolate or choose from over 16 decadent flavors of ice cream at Cafe Cream.
Where to Stay in Maysville
To bask in the natural beauty of Maysville with the natural beauty of your lover, stay at the French Quarter Inn. This grandiose inn offers a view overlooking the water and luxurious fixtures to keep you two in fineries all weekend long.
To immerse yourself in the culture of historic Maysville, book a room in the Jewel Box Cottage, a charming 1930s craftsman style home within a walkable distance of the downtown scene.
Florence, Kentucky: Where Bourbon & Bison Meet
It’s Florence, y’all! Located about an hour and a half from Louisville and just minutes from downtown Cincinnati, Florence, Kentucky is the second largest city in northern Kentucky and a fast-growing cultural hub in the state. Striking a fine balance between the hustle and bustle of a big city and the peaceful stillness of the countryside, Florence is one of the best romantic getaways in Kentucky destination for couples who are one part city slicker and one part country folk.
Romantic Things to do in Florence
It wouldn’t be a romantic stop in Kentucky without a distillery tour, now would it? Boone County Distilling Company has a history of being the largest distillery in the state in the 1880s, and while it has since been passed up in size, it has made up for in quality bourbon.
Your relationship was built on Jurassic Park marathons, you say? We have the perfect place for you! Visit Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, otherwise known as the “birthplace of American paleontology” to check out the museum, tour the salt springs, and even catch a glimpse of some bison located on the park site! You can also picnic in Florence Nature Park, a 15-acre stretch in the heart of the city dedicated purely to leisure.
Unleash your inner teens by challenging one another to a go-kart race, tell your spouse about all the little things they do that irk you while throwing axes to unleash the rage, or even smash a bunch of stuff for an hour in the rage room at Full Throttle Adrenaline Park.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Florence
Craving a scrumptious plate of Mexican and Venezuelan cuisine? La Torta Loca has you covered with decadent and authentic tortas, tacos and more. Thai sounding more like the mood for the night? A delicious Pad Thai from Mai Thai Restaurant & Sushi Bar can mitigate your cravings.
Can’t go anywhere without bringing your pup? The Bark Park and Patio is the perfect place to grab a beer, hang out in the tap room, and let your good boy or girl make new friends. If you’re in search of a little taste of Chicago from hundreds of miles away, stop in at Bourbon House Pizza for a Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza.
Where to Stay in Florence
If only the King will do, check out this bright and spacious Elvis-themed condo with private balcony.
Venture over to nearby Covington for a stylish and cozy stay in the Pickle Factory Hotel for a more private (and colorful) experience.
Madison, Indiana: An Antiquated Riverside Getaway
Located about one hour from Louisville and right on the banks of the Ohio River in Southern Indiana, Madison is one of Indiana’s most charming river towns. Plan a trip on the Ohio River Scenic Byway and you’ll drive straight through tiny Madison, with its charming historic downtown and welcoming antique shops.
Romantic Things to do in Madison
Explore the historic district with your person on a rented bike from Fizz’z Bike Shop, and spend a lazy afternoon browsing the many boutiques and antique shops. Get lost in the enormous Lumber Mill Antique Mall and transport yourselves back in time – you’re sure to find a treasure (or 5)!
Sample locally made wine and hard cider at the Thomas Family Winery. Take a long hike to reset at Clifty Falls State Park, one of our favorite places to hike, to explore the 83-foot Tunnel Falls cascades into the gorge below, and even a 600-foot-long bat cave!
Where to Eat (& Drink) in Madison
Drop in for a delicious lunch between stops along your weekend to-do list at Bad Apple Mac’s where you can get fresh burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Stop by the super artistic and quaint Gallery 115 for a homemade quiche or pie, or relax and reminisce with your significant other over a beer and some down-home comfort food like tacos and wings at Off Broadway Taproom.
Where to Stay in Madison
Stay at the Hillside Inn with a spa tub in your room for a gorgeous view of the water as you close out a day of romantic sightseeing in this dreamy Indiana town.
Or rent a red comfy cottage with a hot tub pit to get away from it all.
New Harmony, Indiana: A Once-Utopian Holiday
Situated along the Wabash River about 2 hours from Louisville, the town of New Harmony, Indiana seems like any other well-manicured midwestern town. However, its spic and span look is not just community pride- but hearkens back to when it was a real-life utopian society. Well, actually, two of them.
New Harmony is today an artists’ retreat but used to be home to two Utopian societies: one Christian, who called themselves the Harmonists, and one secular, the Owenites. The remnants of these amazing societies can still be found there today, and this tranquil town with its rich history makes for a lovely getaway with your partner that’s not too far from home.
Romantic Things to do in New Harmony
While in New Harmony, you’ll definitely want to take a tour of the town which starts from their museum, the Atheneum Visitors Center, which will give you all the cool facts about this once utopian society and lets you explore the houses and gardens members of the society once lived in.
Take a wistful stroll through a historic labyrinth or two with your lover in the original Harmonists Labyrinth, built by the Harmonists in 1815, or the newer Cathedral Labyrinth built in 1998.
Have a ring on it but no place to tie the knot? Look no further than the Roofless Church, a unique, open-air building with a…roof…surrounded by beautiful gardens and sectioned off by gilded gates. The Roofless Church was completed in 1960, and with its beautiful facade and spiritual history, has been the site of enumerable weddings over the last six decades.
To learn more about New Harmony and discover more things to do during your visit, check out 12 Unexpected Things to do in New Harmony, Indiana.
Where to Eat (& Drink) in New Harmony
Grab a quick cup of delicious coffee at Black Lodge Coffee Roasters. Romanticize your big day with brunch at The Red Geranium, where you can get a Monte Cristo while sitting on the beautiful patio overlooking the Roofless Church.
For dinner, get your fine dining experience on at Mary Scott’s Kitchen and dig into a ribeye or garlic ginger chili shrimp.
Where to Stay in New Harmony
If you are looking to stay right in the middle of town, the New Harmony Inn Resort & Conference Center is just the place for you. Offering a covered and heated pool that sits by the lake and bike rentals to explore the town, this place has you totally covered.
If the two of you are looking for something a little more private (insert winky face), check out Haven in Harmony, a charming blue cottage with a gorgeous fire pit out back.
What did you think about these romantic getaways in Kentucky? What questions can we answer? Drop us a comment below!
Before you go, be sure to check out these other posts:
- Louisville Weekend Trip: The Perfect 3-Day Itinerary
- 9 Delicious Distilleries in Louisville, Kentucky: from Bourbon to Brandy
- Kentucky Derby Tips: The Ultimate First-Timer’s Derby Guide (by a local)
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Disclaimer: My visit to Shelbyville was sponsored by Shelbyville Tourism, and all opinions, bad jokes, and asides are my own!