Help for a Kentucky trip

This summer I'm taking my family on our yearly amusement park trip. This year we're heading to the Bluegrass State, with visits to SFKK, Beech Bend, and of course, Holiday World! (First visit, I'm so psyched!) With luck I'll hit either SFSL or maybe Dollywood as well, though those parks are farther afield.

Anyway, because of special family needs, this year I want to try and find a centralized location to stay. No packing and unpacking every day, simply head out and back. That way, there is more flexibility built in and those people who want to skip a day can stay at the hotel and relax. So what I need is any information Buzzers can suggest for a resort or a very good hotel in west central Kentucky, preferably within a couple hours of each of those first three parks I mentioned.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Mamoosh's avatar
I did that exact trip last year. The three parks you highlight [HW, SFKK, BBend] form a triangle with drive times ranging from 60-120 mins between them. As neither SFKK nor BBend are full-day parks I would suggest a hotel near Holiday World. I always stay at the fairly new Motel 6 in nearby Dale, Indiana as there is a gas station/convenience store and Denny's withing walking distance. You can easily do side trips to Louisville and Bowling Green from the HW area.

FYI, if you're planning your trip around the HoliWood Nights event I would suggest booking a hotel now...rooms tend to go pretty fast for that event.

Adding either SFStL or Dollywood into the mix would require a second hotel. Of the two parks I'd say Dollywood is the more family-friendly. Having been to both it certainly would be my choice without hesitation.

Lord Gonchar's avatar
I'd be more inclined to stay in Louisville (much more/better hotel choices) and then do the hour or so drives from there to HW and BB while being in SFKK's backyard.

Also, might want to make a little time to stop at Kentucky Action Park and check out the Alpine Slide. It's about 30 miles north of Beech Bend on I-65 and the whole exit is full of wacky touristy things to see - along with Mammoth Cave. A neat diversion if you're into such things.

rollergator's avatar
After the Denver trip, I'm looking for more Alpine slides...those things are the BOMB! Wish they'd had elbow and knee pads, I was FLYING down that hillside...

...until I had to slow down due to...slower riders...aka, "sane people"... ;)

As Moosh said, if I was taking *non-enthusiasts* with me, Dollywood is by FAR the park of choice...and with the addition of Mystery Mine, you get YOUR "cake" too...LOL!

Why am I NOT surprised Gonch is more concerned about the hotel than drive times? :) *** Edited 1/6/2007 7:06:14 PM UTC by rollergator***

Lord Gonchar's avatar
Because I'm a dick, Gator?

Seriously, I'd be more inclined to stay at one 'point' on the triangle than in the middle somewhere. Just the way I work. And given that bias, Lousiville would present the most hotel options.

And yes, Dollywood (with the new Mystery Mine) seems a much better choice for additional fun.

Mamoosh's avatar
If Louisville, Santa Claus, and Bowling Green form a triangle how is Louisville at one "point" but the other two cities "in the middle somewhere"? Just trying to make sense of your logic from a geometric POV.
Lord Gonchar's avatar
Well, obviously those would be the other 'points' on the triangle. The original poster was asking about/thinking of staying at a central location. (which I took as "in the middle somewhere")

Just pointing out that I'd be inclined to stay at one of those points rather than a central spot that's equidistant from the three. That'll put you in the backyard of one park and no more than an hour or hour and a half from either of the other two.

And then of the three points, I'd say you're going to find the most/best hotel options in Louisville. (with HW being an hour and BB being 1 1/2 hours)

On top of that, I'm not a huge fan of the driving options between Santa Claus and Bowling Green. I prefer the simple I-65 route from Louisville south to Bowling Green and I-64 west to Santa Claus. (and on the chance that hitting the Mammoth Cave exit for that stuff is an option, it's right on the travel path from Louisville, but totally off on it's own from the Santa Claus-to-Bowling Green leg)

But then the choice of which point to stop at and stay also depends a bit on which direction you're coming from, I suppose.

I think this is where I'm supposed to add a YMMV. ;)

*** Edited 1/6/2007 10:20:05 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

Lord Gonchar said:
Also, might want to make a little time to stop at Kentucky Action Park and check out the Alpine Slide. It's about 30 miles north of Beech Bend on I-65 and the whole exit is full of wacky touristy things to see - along with Mammoth Cave. A neat diversion if you're into such things.

We definitely got "sucked-in" by the Kentucky Action Park and took our alpine slide ride while exiting Mammoth Caves. It was only $5, I think and it was totally worth it. There was a bunch of legal stuff to read before you could ride, and I was speeding through the form so we could make it to BB. [FYI: Just a word of warning for anyone traveling to Beech Bend or the Mammoth Caves area, you'll be in Central Time.]

I hadn't ridden an alpine slide since I was a kid up at Attitash (sp?) ski resort in New Hampshire. I started out a little bit cautious, and then when I got the feel for what was "safe" and what wasn't, I built up more speed. After a while you figure out where you can ignore the brake signs:)

Another wacky thing you could while in Kentucky is to take in the Big Purple Bridge tour. I hope that's the right title. It's easily identified by it's purple lighting. If I go back that way again, I'd like to take the tour which has you climbing on the maintenance walkways high above the river.

Wow, thanks for all the advice, everybody. I had been thinking of staying somewhere more or less equidistant from all three parks, maybe somewhere between Elizabethtown and Beaver Dam. Now I see that it would make much more sense to pick a spot closer to one of the parks. As Lord Gonchar said, there are more and better hotel choices near Louisville. On the other hand, if I had to pick one park to stay near, it would have to be Holiday World hands down (or given its coasters, more likely 'up'). I guess I was wondering if somebody would drop a plum in my lap, maybe some fantastic resort in Kentucky nobody knows about. Like if somebody asked me where to stay in Sandusky if you didn't want to stay at Cedar Point and money was no option, I would suggest Sawmill Creek.

Mammoth Cave certainly is amazing. My wife and I went there on our honeymoon 15 years ago. If we could work it in, I'd love to go back. I especially wish Gun Town Mountain was still operating.

Thanks one and all! :)

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