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Famous as the American heart of thoroughbred horse breeding and high-quality livestock, Kentucky is nicknamed the ‘Bluegrass State’ for its incredibly fertile soil. Horse racing is a favourite sport here, locally produced bourbon is the favourite drink and bluegrass music is the favourite sound! The Appalachian Mountains, the Red River Gorge and a number of national parks as well as historic towns make Kentucky the perfect US state for a self-drive holiday.
Pick-up and drop-off points are found in all the larger cities and at the major airports. The most convenient pick-up points are those at the airports, which offer a choice of eight trustworthy international companies including Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Budget and Thrifty. Self-drive gives freedom to travel when and where you want, and you can compare car hire rates before you leave to ensure the best deal.
Kentucky’s three main airports, Louisville International, Cincinnati International and Lexington’s Blue Grass Field offer domestic routes and links to international hubs through several leading US airlines including United and Delta. The state holds five Interstate highways, a great help if you’re planning car hire in Kentucky as your main form of ground transportation. From Cincinnati, Interstates 71 and 75 run to Louisville and Lexington respectively and, in the south, I-64 runs east to west.
The self-drive option in Kentucky opens up stunning views across glorious countryside dotted with horse farms, myriad lakes and areas of pristine forest. UK motorists can get by with their UK driver’s license, and the roads are well up to standard, as are most of the local drivers. Speed limits are clearly marked on most roads but do vary from county to county, and are rigorously enforced, as are the drink-driving laws.
As mint juleps are the de rigeur tipple here, a fun drive is the Bourbon Trail, winding through horse country and taking in most of the distilleries. Other must-sees include Lost River Cave and Valley in charmingly named Bowling Green, the Mammoth Cave National Park, the Kentucky Derby Museum, the many Native American sites and the many American Civil War sites.
Unlike many US states, Kentucky enjoys the full four seasons, although striking variations occur in its weather patterns year on year. Daytime summer highs sit around 31ËC, and daytime winter lows drop to -5ËC on average, with extreme weather such as tornadoes, ice storms and blizzards occurring in season. If you’re touring with car rental in Kentucky, it pays to check the day’s forecast before you set out.