The Kentucky Derby was absolutely everything we imagined it would be, and at the same time like nothing we ever expected.
It’s not every day that you get to literally become a part of a history, but for our trip to the 144th Kentucky Derby, that’s exactly what happened! Spoiler Alert: not only did Justify win the Derby but went on to be the 13th winner of the Triple Crown but it also turned out to be the single wettest Kentucky Derby of all time. It rained all day, like, all, all day. Needless to say, in a Kentucky downpour you might not be able to keep looking your dapper best but you can still have an amazing time!
A Very Rainy Derby Day
I can confidently say, that when we first made plans to head to the Kentucky Derby we had NO idea what we were getting into. Big hats and mints juleps that about sums up our mass of knowledge regarding the derby, horse racing and Kentucky in general, and man-o-man on this trip did we learn a lot!
There are so many versions of tickets possible for purchase to the Derby that it can get a bit confusing for a first timer. Fortunately and unfortunately for us most of all the ticket options were way out of our price range, so we cashed in our pennies and bought the most basic tickets of all “General Admission”, which guarantees you an exciting and otherworldly experience of a day in the infield.
Spending an entire day camping out in the infield at the Derby is it’s own experience within an experience. If you’re interested in learning more, keep an eye out for next week’s post, tips for surviving a day in the infield to help you make the most the party!
As many options as there are out there for Derby tickets, there are equally as many options to choose from for lodging during the week/weekend. Despite all the choices out there is two guarantees when it comes to hotels and even RV parks during the week of the derby 1) they are all going to book up fast, so make your reservations early and 2) it’s going to be expensive.
The derby website of course offers options for lodging, but I can almost promise you that if you’re buying general admission tickets, you probably have no intention on dropping that amount of cash on a hotel room. A quick internet search should be able to give you a decent list of places with reasonable prices to book for your adventure. Quick pro-tip for you from someone who used to work in the hotel industry (your’s truly) always call and check the rates online versus what the hotel can offer you, that way you’re for sure getting the best deal.
For those of us who travel around with our homes on wheels, there aren’t a ton of options for RV Camping that give you nearby access to the Downs however there are some, and just like with hotels, you better book early or there won’t be anything left. USA Today but out a great article with info on camping at the Derby grounds, as well as other nearby sites, you can check that article out here. But if you want to stay at the best kept secret of the Derby park your coach at Add-more Campground, just across the river in Indiana.
The accommodations aren’t fancy, and you’re not within spitting distance of the downs but what you get is incredibly nice hosts, clean showers, and affordable accomodations. It’s only a short 20 minute drive across the river to get to the Downs, and with a Walmart, and tons of amenities nearby it makes the perfect wallet friendly base camp for the week.
Derby day might only be one day a year, but the party lasts the whole week long! Derby events can be found all over Louisville leading up to the actual Derby, there is fun to be had all over the city. But the real fun lies just outside of the city limits, along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
You could easily laze a week away, exploring all the beautiful backroads and sipping spirits along the Bourbon Trail that winds through the beautiful Kentucky landscape. The choices of distilleries to visit are endless from small operations, to large well known brands like Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, they’ve got it all! Weather you spend just a day or a week exploring you won’t be disappointed!
Know before you go! Check out all the the basics of bourbon we picked up while taking our own cruise down the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
Time for some honesty. If you’ve read any of our blog posts before, you know that we really like food, and we really, really like seeking out the best and tastiest places everywhere we go. Here comes the honesty, Louisville was a bit of a let down when it came to tasty treats.
We’re willing to admit that maybe we just chose poorly, that does happen from time to time- but even with all the pouring over menus we did, we were never really that impressed.
The food scene might have been less than spectacular but want to know what wasn’t? The coffee!!! We had heard about a few killer coffee spots before heading to Louisville, and the one place that kept coming up over and over again was Sungero’s. We never ignore local advice, especially when it’s given more than once, so of course had to check it out. Sungero’s without a doubt lived up to they hype! If you’re in Louisville, be sure to check them out! The amazing coffee and the locally distilled mind blowing bourbons, will more than make up for the lackluster local food scene!