Here Are 20 Great Road Trips From Lexington

Looking for weekend trips from Lexington? Or maybe a fun place to road trip this summer? Kentucky is located in the middle of America, and prime launching spot for so many great road trips across the U.S. Here’s a list of great road trips from Lexington to start planning for your upcoming travels this year!

All of our suggestions are under six hours from Lexington, making them totally doable for easy getaways!

1. Franklin, TN

Franklin, one of the best road trips from Lexington, is an ideal destination for music lovers! There’s music everywhere you go and an adorable downtown with great small businesses and restaurants. Take a ride on the Natchez Trace Parkway and enjoy the area’s history and outdoor recreation. Plus, you’re only about 30 minutes from Nashville and all of their major tourist attractions like the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame, and Honky Tonks on Broadway!

2. Indianapolis, IN

Obviously, Indy is famous for hosting the Indy 500 and a tour of the famous speedway is a must when you visit.  But Indy is great for more than just race cars.  Start with a look at the famous Monument Circle downtown and work your way to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – hands down the greatest museum for families in the country. It’s amazing!  Check out the beautiful canal walk that runs through White River State Park, or go for some Duck Pin bowling in Fountain Square. And if you’re a foodie, the city is loaded with great restaurants, making Indianapolis is one of the best road trips from Louisville!

3. Abingdon, VA

Take a bike ride on the nationally recognized Virginia Creeper Trail, check out local artists, or see a show at the historic Barter Theater downtown. Abingdon is home to more restaurants per capita than New York City – with a great meal for just about any taste and plenty of cool places to stay including the Martha Washington Inn & Spa. You’re also a short drive from Bristol – the birthplace of country music.

4. St. Louis, MO

St. Louis is one of the great road trips from Louisville! The Gateway City has so much to offer for an affordable family getaway! Check out (all for free) the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science Center, and Missouri History Museum! Busch Stadium is a great place to see a baseball game if the Reds are in town, and so much great food! Grab a great Italian meal on “The Hill” or dine in one of the county’s 80-plus municipalities with every kind of cuisine you can think of!

5. Hendersonville, NC

Clocking in at just under five hours, Hendersonville is an underrated southern town worthy of a top spot on our list of road trips from Lexington. Enjoy apple picking, waterfall hikes, and small town vibes up and down Main Street where you’ll find amazing restaurants and boutique shopping. Check out the Appalachian Pin Ball Museum where you can find rare pin ball machines and play all day for a flat fee!

6. Parke County, IN

Parke County, Indiana is best known as the “covered bridge capitol of the world”! Located less than than two hours from downtown Indy, you’ll find a great relaxing destination with some much needed peace and quiet. You can grab an old fashioned map (remember those?) at the local visitors center and then set out to find as many of the historic covered bridges as you can, making it a perfect romantic getaway. Consider booking a room or campsite at Turkey Run State Park, Indiana’s most popular state park, for your home base. They offer brand new, minimalist cabins as well. The park has plenty of great hiking trails for all skill levels.

7. Adventures On The Gorge, WV

The New River Gorge Bridge is one of the most impressive architectural feats in American history. One of the many daring activities offered through Adventures On The Gorge in Lansing, West Virginia is called “Bridge Walk”. You can literally walk along the catwalk beneath the third highest bridge in the U.S. It’s not for everyone, but an unforgettable experience for thrill seekers! During your stay at the adventure resort, you can zip line, climb trees, enjoy incredible sunsets, and of course – some of the best whitewater rafting in the world.

8. Pigeon Forge, TN

Is there anything better than looking up and seeing the Smoky Mountains in the skyline while you play mini golf, ride an alpine coaster, or walk into a gigantic replica of the Titanic? Pigeon Forge is a family friendly destination with lots of fun attractions, entertainment, and one of the best theme parks in the country – Dollywood! Best of all – you’re a hop, skip, or a jump away from the nation’s most visited National Park. If you’ve never seen it in person – it’s a life changing experience. Nothing like it! And admission to the park is absolutely free. Pigeon Forge is also home to one of the neatest crime museums I’ve ever seen – Alcatraz East Crime Museum is definitely worth a visit!

9. Greenville, SC

Greenville makes the list of great road trips from Lexington. It is seriously one of my favorite American cities! It’s such a cool place with really nice people and such an awesome downtown. Falls Park is one of the prettiest urban open spaces in the south and is the perfect place to ride a bike, take a stroll, or just relax with a blanket to soak up the views and fresh air. Greenville has more locally owned restaurants than I can keep track of – there’s something for everyone! Consider booking a stay at the Swamp Rabbit Inn – a cool bed and breakfast located right along the popular Swamp Rabbit biking trail!

10. Dayton, OH

Dayton is best known as the place that gave birth to modern aviation. The Wright Brothers called Dayton home and the city is full of historic places that will give you a front row seat to the history of the “flying machine” which is how the first airplane was trademarked. One of the original Wright Brothers bicycle shops is still in tact, and you can see an original Wright Flyer at the Carillon Historical Park. Take a ride over to Huffman Prairie Field where the brothers tested out there invention or tour the mansion where they lived. Best of all – Dayton is home to the Museum of The United States Air Force – an unbelievable airplane museum that consists of four different hangars and impossible to see in a single day. See rare military aircraft and even go on board a retired Air Force One plane. And it’s free!

11. Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Muscle Shoals Recording Capital of the World Sign

Muscle Shoals, Alabama is known as the “recording capital of the world” and you can tour two of the most famous recording studios in music history. I’ll be honest, there’s not much else to see in Muscle Shoals (except for Helen Keller’s childhood home which is worth a stop) but this is really all you need. If you’re not familiar with “The Swampers”, check out the incredible documentary Muscle Shoals. You’ll be stunned to learn the stories behind so many incredible songs that were recorded in Muscle Shoals. Classic songs like “When A Man Loves A Woman”, “Mustang Sally”, “Sweet Home Alabama”, and hundreds of others. Both historic studios are open for tours.

12. Blowing Rock, NC

One of North Carolina’s most beautiful destinations is the town of Blowing Rock. It’s located about 90 minutes southeast of Johnson City. You’ll love the small town charm and the incredible scenery around every turn. If you’re lucky enough to visit during of the area’s festivals, you’ll enjoy watching the community come together for a good time. Outdoor experiences are abundant as well as unique accommodations. Be sure to visit “the blowing rock” (pictured above) to learn about the towns namesake as well as the iconic Grandfather Mountain swinging bridge. Blowing Rock is a wonderful road trip stop!

13. Cincinnati, OH

road trips from lexingtonton

Cincinnati is one of the easier road trips from Louisville! The beautiful Cincinnati Museum Center, once a train terminal, now houses museums and special exhibits.  One of my favorite museums in the entire country is located in Cincinnati – The American Sign Museum. Consider taking one of the many guided tours that will showcase the local beer scene, or historical spots around town.  The downtown riverfront park has recently undergone renovations and is a great place to ride a bike or take a walk.

Bill’s Advice: If you only have time to do one thing in Cincinnati, go and visit the American Sign Museum.  It’s so cool!  I included it in my first book – 100 Things To Do In America Before You Die.  You’ll thank me for the suggestion! 

14. Fort Wayne, IN

Fort Wayne is probably not a spot that’s been on your radar but Indiana’s second largest city has a lot going on and worthy of one our road trips from Lexington. Its minor league baseball stadium is award winning and its local library is known as the best genealogy research center in the country.  The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is one of the best designed kid-friendly zoos around and a brand new, beautiful riverfront project has injected new energy into the town.  You’ll also find lots of opportunity for outdoor recreation.

Bill’s Advice: For something unique, visit the headquarters for Sweetwater – one of the largest music and instrument stores in the world.  Vera Bradley is also headquartered in Fort Wayne and has events during the year.  

15. Columbus, OH


Columbus is one of the easier road trips from Louisville. Known to locals as “C-Bus” and the capital city of Ohio. It’s been going through major growth over the last decade and is a destination worthy of a road trip. The sprawling downtown is easily accessible with the new CBUS Circulator, free to use for visitors. Check out the Short North Arts District for galleries, dining, and locally owned shopping. Local attractions include the Franklin Conservatory and Botanical Garden, the COSI Science Museum, Columbus Art Museum, and the Columbus Zoo which is one of the best in the country. Be sure to take a free tour of the Ohio state capitol building as well!

16. Pittsburgh, PA

Famous for having more bridges than any other U.S. city, Pittsburgh is a terrific destination for a weekend or extended getaway. You can take in a baseball game with beautiful views of the Sixth Street Bridge, take a ride on the historic Duquesne Incline, or visit the city’s quirky bicycle museum. If you grew up watching Mr. Rogers, Pittsburgh was his home town and you can spend a day exploring all things Mr. Rogers – including seeing the very sets from the iconic television show and his puppets!

Check out my story: Finding Mr. Rogers in Pittsburgh.

17. Huntsville, AL

Huntsville is best known as home to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. This is the place where kids from all over the country have come to take part in “Space Camp” over the years. It’s a wonderful museum dedicated to the space program and definitely worth a stop. While you’re visiting Huntsville, be sure to check out their beautiful Botanical Garden, maintained almost exclusively by volunteers. If you’re into camping, you can check out the peaceful surroundings at Monte Sano State Park. There are a lot of great restaurants

18. Babcock State Park (Clifftop, WV)

road trips from Lexington
Bill On The Road

If you’re looking for one of the best low-key adventure road trips from Lexington – consider the great outdoors! This is an amazing state park in West Virginia. Check out my article on visiting Babcock State Park – where you can rent a small cabin and have a front row seat to beautiful scenery, hiking trails, and other outdoor recreation. The old mill and waterfall in the park is awesome for pictures and you never know what kind of wildlife you’ll get to see!

19. Maumee Bay, OH

Maumee Bay Lodge offers 120 guest rooms, each with private balcony overlooking the Maumee Bay of Lake Erie. Guests can enjoy the full-service dining room, cocktail lounge and snack bar. The lodge also offers free WiFi, racquetball courts, indoor racquetball/wallyball courts, game room, fitness center, saunas, hot tubs, whirlpools, indoor and outdoor pools and kids’ splash garden. Rent a bike and enjoy the trails or other outdoor recreational activities.

20. Chicago, IL

The Windy City is full of world class museums and fine dining. Take in the views from the Willis Tower – formerly the tallest building in America, take a river cruise to learn about Chicago history and architecture, or book a Chicago Pizza Tour to enjoy the many delicious styles of Chicago pizza including its best known style – deep dish!

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