Day #2 – There’s a Cave Under Your Feet! – A one-stop day trip

A one-stop day trip that includes caving, shopping in a historic district, an above-ground cave adventure, and homemade pizza? Park your car and get ready for this!

Located just off Interstate 65 in south central Kentucky an hour south of Louisville, a bit more than an hour north of Nashville, and a half-hour north of Bowling Green, Horse Cave is a tiny town that grew on top of a cave.

Hidden River Cave’s beautiful natural entrance, the largest in the state, is located right on Main Street in the middle of Horse Cave’s downtown National Register of Historic Places Commercial District. The cave snakes under the streets and sidewalks and is marked with interpretive signage of the award-winning Horse Cave Stories Cell Phone Tour that features voices of locals sharing the stories of how the town grew on top of the cave. You’ll even be able to trace the pathway of the cave beneath your feet that is outlined in aggregate on the sidewalks.

Daily guided tours of Hidden River Cave include a trip across the world’s longest underground suspension bridge that leads to Sunset Dome, the region’s largest dome room that was closed to the public for more than 70 years. If you’re a bit more adventurous, call ahead to reserve an off-trail Wild Cave Tour experience tailored to your own level of adventure

The American Cave Museum, part of the Hidden River Cave complex, has been called “a little bit of the Smithsonian in rural Kentucky”.  Interactive exhibits dedicated to the prevention of groundwater pollution, recount the miraculous restoration of previously-polluted Hidden River Cave. In addition to the ubiquitous souvenir t-shirts, their gift shop has collectible rocks, fossils, handmade jewelry, and cool kids’ gifts.

Local shops and little boutiques that line the little downtown historic district offer books, art, antiques, gifts, clothing, smiles and stories. And you’ll want to grab some local food eat in or carry out to the adjacent Maple Avenue Park with a children’s play area, walking trail marked with the cave’s pathway, picnic shelter and shady benches. Some shops are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Insider tip: If you’re headed back out to Interstate 65 Exit 58 (about two miles away on the edge of town) stop by Farmwald Dutch Bakery & Amish Deli to grab some homemade Amish doughnuts for tomorrow’s breakfast (or to eat along the way)! And you’ll see Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo right there. Time to plan a return trip – next time make it an overnight adventure!