This month, we’re continuing the series with a ~85 mile trip to Cave City for a quick getaway. From larger than life dinosaurs to the world’s longest known cave system, this small city south of Derby City offers a little bit of everything — making it the perfect end-of-summer vacay.
Before you start packing your bags, here’s everything you need to know about the area + our insider recommendations.
Drive time: ~1 hour and 30 minutes from downtown Louisville
Est. population: 2,573
Avg. high in July: 90° — but it’s 56 degrees year round underground in Mammoth Cave.
🎟️ Things to do
Choose from a zipline tour, aerial challenge course, horseback riding or rent an electric mountain bike, kayak, or canoe to explore Mammoth Cave’s hills.
Dig for fossils, pan for minerals, see dino artifacts in the prehistoric museum + walk among hundreds of life-sized ancient giants.
Walk through a dark, haunted mansion full of jump scares and spooky animatronics before digging into pizza and wings.
Enter the “kooky” realm of Big Mike’s Mystery House for just $2 and see mind-tricking oddities + shop Mike’s rock collection after.
Saddle up for a two-mile horseback riding trip, play western-themed mini golf + take a cave tour to hear about the outlaws that discovered it.
🍔 Grub to eat
Indulge your summer sweet tooth at this local ice cream shop — which also serves coffee, fudge, and sandwiches. We hear the peach ice cream is a must try.
Dig into speciality hot dogs — like the Mac Russel made with Nacho macaroni and cheese, bacon + mustard — at this small, roadside eatery. Plus, Tom’s Tee-Pee gift shop is across the street.
Family owned and operated since 2015, Bucky Bee’s slings traditional BBQ favorites and a few family specialties like the Loaded “King Ransom” Potato named after the family’s youngest son. This one pound Idaho potato is loaded with house-smoked pulled pork, butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and diced bacon.
This New York-style pizza joint dishes out specialty pies ranging from taco pizza to the “Spicy Piggy” made with ham, bacon, cheddar, mozzarella cheeses + hot honey.
Since 1972, this steak house has been serving traveling families in the area with a menu that boasts a mighty steak section, a salad bar + its “almost famous” beef veggie soup.
🏨 Overnight accommodations
If you get a wild hair and decide to turn this quick day trip into an overnighter, here are some spots to stay.
Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave, 950 Mammoth Cave Rd.
Themed after the 1960s animated comedy TV show “The Yogi Bear Show,” this park has 94 deluxe cabins and modern campsites. It also has 10+ on-site attractions like Karst Beach, Mini-golf, a pedal cart track, gem mining, and hayrides.
Historic Wigwam Village No. 2, 601 N. Dixie Hwy.
“Sleep outside of the box” at this historic wigwam village that got its start in 1937. Choose between 15 rooms — a single or double — inside concrete wigwams complete with hotel amenities. Plus, there’s a retro playground onsite.
The Lodge at Mammoth Cave, 2811 Entrance Rd.
Located in the heart of Mammoth Cave National park, the lodging here includes a motel with single and double queen beds + a historic hotel and woodland cottages.
Mountain Top Retreat Cabin Rentals, 3056 Mammoth Cave Rd.
Less than five miles from Mammoth Cave National Park, this cabin rental company has 12+ cabins to choose from and RV sites with mountaintop views.
Grand Victorian Inn, 5 Old Dixie Hwy., Park City, KY
This historic inn was once the Mammoth Cave Train Station Hotel and is located in nearby Park City (~10 minutes east of Cave City). It offers 11 Victorian-style guest rooms which include breakfast.