Kentucky, a state located in the center of the Southeast, began as part of Virginia and in 1792 became the 15th state to join the Union. The state is known as the "Bluegrass State", a nickname derived from a type of actual grass found in several of the state's fields. During the spring, this type of grass produces bluish purple buds due to the fertile soil that creates beautiful scenery in the rolling pastures of Kentucky.
Bluegrass is also the official state music of Kentucky. One of the most famous bluegrass songs, which is also the official state song, is Stephen Foster's 1852 "My Old Kentucky Home". The International Bluegrass Museum is located in historic downtown Owensboro, Kentucky where you can learn everything there is to know about the American roots county music this state is known for.
Kentucky is the only state in America to have a continuous border of rivers running along three of its sides: the Ohio River to the north, the Big Sandy River and Tug Fork to the east, and the Mississippi River to the west. Kentucky also has the Kentucky River, the Tennessee River, the Cumberland River, the Green River, and the Licking River running throughout the state as well.
Kentucky has more navigable miles of water than any other state in the U.S., except for Alaska. In addition to the several rivers, the state also has 90,000 miles of streams that make up one of the most extensive and intricate stream systems in the nation.
Kentucky is also home to more than 40 lakes. The state only has three natural major lakes, Swan Lake, Shelby Lake, and Reelfoot Lake, and the rest are man-made impoundments that were created for various economic reasons. Some of the most popular lake in Kentucky are Lake Cumberland, Barren River Lake, and Taylorsville Lake.
The two largest and most popular lakes in Kentucky are Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Kentucky Lake is the largest man-made lake by surface area east of the Mississippi River with 160,309 acres. Kentucky Lake has 2,380 miles of shoreline with a max depth of 60 feet. Kentucky lake also holds the state's record for Buffalo Carp, White Bass, and Yellow Perch.
Lake Barkley, commonly referred to as Kentucky Lake's sister, is the second largest with 57,920 surface acres and over 1,000 miles of shoreline. The two lakes surround a peninsula of over 170,000 acres of protected land known as Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. This area offers 300 miles of natural shoreline, lake access, camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, boating, wildlife viewing, and water sports.
Kentucky is home to many fun festivals and events. The state's most famous event is the Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby has been held annually in May since 1875 and is one of the biggest traditions in the state. The event is a world-famous tradition and has been attended by celebrities, U.S. Presidents, and royalty from abroad.
Another notable event Kentucky holds is the Forecastle Festival. This festival is a celebration of art, music, and environmental activism. In 2012 it was named in a list of "coolest festivals" nationwide.
Kentucky has so much to choose from with all of its beautiful lakes and rivers to year-round festivals and horse races. There is never a shortage of things to do in Kentucky.