8 Charming Small Towns Near Louisville, Kentucky

Towns so charming, you won't want to leave.

Bardstown, Kentucky
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Make a day trip to these small Kentucky towns, and prepare to be charmed. There is something for everyone in these one-of-a-kind small towns, from hiking trails to antiquing. Plan whatever strikes your fancy. You can sip bourbon or brunch in a sweet tearoom in these towns, but pack your walking shoes because there is a lot you'll want to see. These Kentucky towns are easy day trips from Louisville, and you should put them on your must-visit list this year.

Steeped in tradition, towns near Louisville splendidly represent Kentucky's cultural authenticity. The annual celebrations and distinguished restaurants are only a few reasons visitors keep coming back, and locals never want to leave. Here are eight small towns near Louisville to add to your itinerary.


Bardstown has long been a favorite destination because it's the first stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. We have long sung its praises as one of the most charming small Southern towns. Visit the great distilleries in Bardstown while taking in the gorgeous Kentucky landscape. Plenty of charming bed-and-breakfasts assure that you'll have a lovely place to rest your head at the end of a long day of gallery hopping and bourbon sipping.


If you're passing through Bloomfield, stop at Nettie Jarvis Antiques to browse 5,000 square feet of antiques, including 18th- and 19th-century Southern furniture, after grabbing a bite at the elegant Miss Merrifield's Tea Room attached to the shop. Find a Bloomfield souvenir to commemorate your visit at the ultra-charming Old Sugar Valley Country Store next door.


Locals call it "Etown," and once you visit, you'll love "Etown" as much as they do. Drop into The Black Sheep General Store downtown for handmade gifts and Kentucky souvenirs. While in Elizabethtown, stop by the Swope's Cars of Yesteryear Museum for a free walk down auto memory lane. This antique and vintage car museum features cars from early as the 1900s of all makes and models.

La Grange

Take a stroll along La Grange's charming downtown, and sentimentality for the early days of railroads and trains might emerge. Browse La Grange's art galleries, vibrant shops, and restaurants, but don't be surprised when you see freight trains rolling through. Nearby, the Morgan Conservation Park is over 252 acres full of trails for picturesque hiking.

Pewee Valley

Take a day trip to this scenic small town for events, including an annual town-wide summer picnic, an Arts & Crafts Day, and a Concert in the Park summer event series. The Pewee Valley Central Park is great for sunny afternoons. Pack a picnic lunch and grab your family and friends to visit the pavilion.


Shelbyville is quintessential Kentucky. There are more than 90 horse farms and ample riding trails. This small town has wineries and distilleries, including the Jeptha Creed Distillery which specializes in bourbon, vodka, and moonshine. It's also a great place to get outdoors. Golf courses and parks surround the area.


History still shows in the town of Hurstbourne. Stories from the past cover this town, from the old settlers' cabins to the water spring flowing from the stone house positioned near the Championship Golf Course. Next to the course, The Hurstbourne Country Club dates back to the Revolutionary War as a former 60-room mansion.


Hunt for antiques, browse art galleries, and pick up souvenirs from your trip in Frankfort’s fun downtown shops. Tucked away in Kentucky’s rolling hills, this capital city packs in a lot with distillery tours, river adventures, and unique eateries. Don’t miss the Buffalo Trace Distillery, which offers several tours, including the Old Taylor Tour of the distillery’s original structures dating back to 1792.

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