Our family of four (my wife and I, along with our two teenage sons) just returned from a wonderful six-day March Break getaway to Lexington, Kentucky. The drive from our southern Ontario hometown of Kitchener is 800 km - a comfortable, day-long motor that put us in Lexington shortly after supper.
We enjoyed four full days in Lexington and were treated to a variety of great experiences along with lovely Kentucky spring weather featuring highs of 20 C with lots of sunshine! The Kentucky schools were not on a break, so Ontario families found excellent value at every turn.
We are an active, sports-oriented family, so outdoor activities were a key part of our Kentucky trip. The great weather lent itself to playing golf. The course we picked was Lakeside Golf Course, a municipal course that has hosted a number of significant events including both a US Open qualifying event and a Champions Tour qualifying event. Green fees for four were $9 each; yes, you read that right...$9 to play on a US Open qualifying course! We played at Lakeside on two days during our stay; great value, friendly staff and, with many different tee options! The Lexington municipal courses are definitely worth your consideration.
Folks here are passionate about horses. We recommend a trip to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington on the outskirts, a sprawling complex with lots to take in. We enjoyed the Horses of the World show along with the Hall of Champions where many famous race horses are walked out for the crowds to see. We viewed champion horses like Cigar and
Funny Cide, a Kentucky Derby winner. The park staff is extremely welcoming and knowledgeable.
Be sure to examine the International Museum of the Horse during your visit; it's located at the park and features thousands of artifacts and displays celebrating the horse's place in society.
Lexington's racetrack, Keeneland Race Course, allows patrons to watch the morning workouts, and this would be of interest to both casual and avid race fans. Note that no actual racing occurs at Keeneland in March.
We also enjoyed arguably the one thing more important in Kentucky than horses, March Madness basketball! The University of Kentucky men's basketball team is a perennial powerhouse and so the March Madness excitement in Lexington is palpable. UK is based in Lexington, and the city is awash in Kentucky blue in March as the team starts their march to the Final Four. UK plays its games at Rupp Arena, and we got a chance to take in a true basketball spectacle at Rupp while in Lexington, the 95th Annual Boys Kentucky High School 'Sweet 16' basketball tournament.
We watched the number one seeded team (Trinity from Louisville) play before a screaming, fanatical crowd of 15,000, an amazing sight! For even a casual sports fan, catching a Kentucky basketball game is memorable.
We also recommend catching a UK sports team in action. We were fortunate to see UK's men's baseball team play an afternoon game at their home stadium (Cliff Hagan Stadium) situated right on the grounds of UK. The weather was glorious but the crowd was still sparse which allowed us to sit anywhere we liked. The baseball is superb with many players scouted by professional teams. The value again is amazing: four tickets cost $14 in total...unbeatable.
We stayed at the Best Western Conference Center (
near exit 104 off of I-75) during our stay in Lexington and recommend it to any family visiting the area. This hotel was reasonably priced and offered lots of amenities that our family enjoyed such as a large indoor pool, hot tub, weight room and full, hot breakfast. The location provided easy access to I-75 and downtown. The hotel was a short drive away from great dining options (on Richmond Road) and Kentucky's biggest mall complex (Fayette Mall). Be sure to bring your tennis rackets and make the drive to Woodland Park to find some public tennis courts.
Our family has enjoyed Kentucky on many occasions during March Break. We return to the area for great spring weather and lots of fantastic value-priced outdoor activities. For the active family, Kentucky is a great option that's closer than you think!
Fred Masters and his wife Kathy reside in Kitchener. Fred has performed technical review work for a major Canadian textbook company. Both are avid "last minute" travellers who have attended three Olympic Games. (Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008 and Vancouver in 2010)