Published: October 2009Best Adventure Towns

Bardstown, Kentucky

Plan a long weekend getaway with our Bardstown adventure guide, featuring great outdoor escapes, where to stay, and where to eat. Then chime in with your picks.

Pop. 11,242
GPS: 37°48'N 85°27'W

We ain’t gonna lie: Bardstown’s status as the world’s bourbon capital drew us in, but its rivers flow as freely as the whiskey. Paddlers convene at Sympson Lake, and a whitewater park is in the works downtown (

Your Turn: Tell us about your favorite Bardstown adventures, restaurants, and hotels in the comments section below.

Rent a canoe from Horizon Hoppers Adventure Services ($35 a day;, and join the Bardstown Boaters on Sympson Lake. Then tackle the whiskey river: Bardstown is a major stop along Kentucky’s famous Bourbon Trail; Heaven Hill and 1792 Ridgemont Reserve distilleries are right in town (

The Old Talbott Tavern may have a cheesy gift shop out front (Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone, and Jesse James are rumored to have visited this 1700s-era location) but inside, the food is nothing to scoff at: Spicy Kentucky burgoo stew, fried green tomatoes, and, of course, bourbon (

The Rosemark Haven historic plantation has a B&B, tea room, and wine bar, all on the grounds (doubles from $109;

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