Go on a Joy Ride

Do you like to get out on the backroads for a joy ride to see something new, something different? To find a hole in the wall restaurant, a place to hike or kayak, or just to see some beautiful scenery?
If you enjoy the great American pastime of joy riding to discover new adventures, make Danville and Boyle County part of your route.
Hop in your car, truck, SUV or on your motorcycle and see where the roads around Danville take you, or plan your trip and include some of these must-visit destinations:

Central KY Wildlife Refuge – Cruise down to rural southern Boyle County to find this 500-acre preserve that is home to a wide variety of birds, plants and other wildlife. Hike one (or all) of the five trails, then knock the dirt off your shoes before rolling on down the road. Learn more here.

Penn’s Store – No joy ride is complete without a stop to visit historic Penn’s Store, operated by the same family since 1850. They are only open Saturday and Sunday afternoons, so check ahead before you go. And don’t be surprised if a mini bluegrass concert breaks out on the front porch while you are there. Grab a cold Ale 8 before you leave to enjoy on your way to your next stop. Learn more here.

Forkland – If you are visiting the wildlife refuge and Penn’s Store and it’s on a Saturday afternoon, take advantage of the chance to stop in at the Forkland Abraham Lincoln Museum. The drive (or ride) there takes you along some scenic routes. Learn more here.

Constitution Square – If you are interested in Kentucky’s history, start here. This is where the state was formed during a series of constitutional conventions. Now a historic site, the property is home to several historic structures, including a log cabin post office that was the first to be located west of the Allegheny Mountains. Stop by the gift shop and you can buy a Joy Ride-themed poster or post card. Learn more here.

Perryville Battlefield – 1862’s Battle of Perryville was the most important Civil War engagement fought in Kentucky; some historians believe it was as decisive as any fought during the Civil War. Cruise the backroads to the 1,000 acre property for a self-guided tour along 20 miles of hiking trails, visit the museum or just enjoy a picnic before moving on to your next stop. Learn more here.

Merchants Row – Just a couple of miles from the battlefield in downtown Perryville, you’ll drive up on Historic Merchants Row, where many of the buildings – now housing shops and restaurants – predate the nearby Civil War battle. Learn more here.

Herrington Lake – A portion of this 3,600-acre lake, created in 1925, meanders through Boyle County. The deepest lake in the state, it is stocked for fishing enthusiasts with bluegill, catfish, crappie, hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and white bass. Load your canoe or kayak on your roof rack or hitch up the boat and access the lake from the Coffey’s Cove or Gwinn Island marinas. Learn more here.

Wilderness Trail Distillery – You’ll see the distillery and its signature black rick houses as you roll down Lebanon Road and into the main entrance. Park your vehicle or motorcycle and visit the gift shop or take part in a tour and tasting (advanced purchased tickets are highly recommended!). Learn more here.

Luca Mariano Distillery – This is currently Danville’s best kept secret because – as of April 2024 – they aren’t open yet for tours and tastings, but that will change soon. Check back, though, and you can add them to the stops on your Joy Ride list. Learn more here.

Blue Rook Distillery – Don’t plan to sample bourbon here. Though it is a distillery, Blue Rook specializes in sugar cane spirits, including cachaca, A unique Brazilian clear liquor. You can try it at their adjacent restaurant and lounge, The Still. Learn more here.

Great American Dollhouse Museum – Don’t be surprised if some of the vehicles you see while joy riding here include a group of classic cars or even a tour bus. People drive from all around to experience the world in miniature on display inside. Learn more here.

McDowell House and Apothecary – Dating back to when any joy rides involved a horse and wagon, the McDowell House takes you back more than 200 years to the very location of a groundbreaking surgery. Learn more here.

Millennium Park – If your legs need a really good stretch, pull into a space at the park and take a lap around the paved trail, walk down to the fishing pond to see what’s biting, or just relax in a swing for a bit before getting back on the road. Learn more here.

Pioneer Playhouse – This is a great place to wrap up a day of joy riding, with dinner in the court yard followed by a play on the outdoor stage. With 75 years of performances under their belt – and famous alumni like John Travolta and Lee Majors – the playhouse is a great destination to visit. Learn more here.

Downtown Danville – A recent streetscape project made the downtown area more pedestrian friendly, so park on the street or in the parking garage for a bit to shop, eat and explore before moving on down the road.

GLASS National Art Museum – If you are an art enthusiast – glass art in particular – you’ll want to make another downtown stop on your journey at the glass museum, featuring many works created by world-renowned artist Stephen Rolfe Powell. Learn more here.

Old Bridge Golf Course – Vehicles are great for getting you around to see new places, but they are also perfect for transporting your clubs with you to find new greens and fairways to tackle. Do that at Old Bridge. Learn more here.

Tailgating at Centre College – If you are a Colonels fan or just want to be part of a college game-day experience, bring a picnic basket and join in the tailgating fun in one of the designated areas on campus. Learn more here. Learn more here.

Need more inspiration? See how Mike Wolfe from The History Channel’s “American Pickers” enjoyed a joy ride through central Kentucky, including stops in Danville. Click here to see that video!