From the Great Outdoors to Historic Downtown: 48 Hours in Elizabethtown, Kentucky

Photo Credit: Elizabethtown Tourism.

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If you’re looking for the perfect mix of outdoor recreation, history, delicious dining and dynamite bourbon, Elizabethtown’s got you covered. From kayaking across an expansive lake to marveling at a Civil War cannonball, a weekend in Etown is simply one of a kind.

Here’s how to spend an exciting 48 hours in Elizabethtown.

Day 1: Explore Etown’s Natural Side  

Morning

There’s no better way to kick off the day than breakfast at Toasted Yolk. Chow down on locally sourced and made-from-scratch items like biscuits smothered in country sausage gravy, monstrous four-egg omelets and churro-style donuts. Rather have breakfast to go? Pair a Cinnamon Swirl Latte with a delicious breakfast sandwich from Nuts About Coffee.

Spend the morning at American Legion Park. Here, you can practice your swing on the nine-hole golf course and play a game of pickleball. For the kiddos – the Funtopia Community Playground brings the excitment with slides, interactive sensory panels, and swings. It’s even wheelchair accessible, so all can play! In the summer, the American Legion Waterpark is a must-visit. Feel the thrill of speeding down two massive water slides, test your strength on the rock-climbing wall or enjoy a relaxing float on the lazy river!

Afternoon

Grab lunch at Woo Hoo It’s Greek Food for some of the best gyros in town, along with other Mediterranean-inspired dishes like stuffed grape leaves and spicy falafel. Or, head to Houzin’ Sandwiches for Vietnamese-style sandwiches like the steamed pork roll or head cheese with radish pickles! Afterward, pick up a sweet and refreshing Boba tea from Daboba.  

Stand-up paddleboarding on Freeman Lake. Photo Credit: Elizabethtown Tourism.

After lunch, the outdoor adventures continue at Freeman Lake Park. Take a stroll on the nature trails, play disc golf on the 18-hole course, or enjoy a rousing game of tennis, pickleball and volleyball! The 170-acre lake is perfect for kayaking, rowing or pedal boating (rentals are available in the park). And if you love to fish, the lake is regularly stocked with bass, catfish, crappie and rainbow trout (permit and license required). Visiting with your four-legged friends? No problem! The park has two designated areas for your pups to run and play.

End the afternoon with a visit to the nearby Elizabethtown Nature Park, home to 104 acres of rolling pasture land, walking trails connecting to the Freeman Lake Trail system, and several memorials. Pay your respects at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (a replica of the one in Washington, D.C.) and the Elizabethtown Veteran’s Tribute, which honors veterans who fought for the United States in Vietnam.

Evening

Begin the night with dinner at the fun and funky Wicked Eyed Woman. Known for its eclectic décor (the bathroom sink is made from a vintage bicycle), this English-style pub serves mouthwatering dishes like Scotch eggs, bourbon pork shoulder and ooey gooey melts stuffed with brisket. If Southern comfort food is more your jam, dig in at Back Home Restaurant for classics like meatloaf and honey chicken mac n’ cheese.

Xtreme Arcade. Photo Credit: Elizabethtown Tourism.

After dinner, it’s time for an evening of gaming and entertainment with mini golf, cornhole, ping pong and bocce ball at Heartland Mini Golf. Be sure to order a cone of their chocolate soft serve for a sweet treat! Feeling a bit more extreme? Hit up Xtreme Arcade, Elizabethtown’s largest arcade, for some thrilling axe throwing, mini bowling, indoor mini golf, and carnival-style arcade games like Space Invaders and Whack-a-Clown!

Day 2: Discover Historic Downtown & More

Morning

Start the day with a hearty meal at Bub’s Cafe. Indulge in country-fried steak and eggs, pancakes and homestyle breakfast plates. Prefer something on the lighter side? Head to Harlow Juice Bar for organic blended juices made with locally sourced ingredients. Sip on drinks like the Pink Lady, a vibrant concoction of fresh raspberry, pineapple, apple, ginger, and lemon.

Strolling through Elizabethtown. Photo Credit: Elizabethtown Tourism.

After breakfast, it’s time to explore Elizabethtown’s historic downtown. First stop, it’s the legendary cannonball in the downtown square. Originally lodged into the Depp building during Elizabethtown’s only Civil War battle (sadly, the block caught fire in 1887), the cannonball has been faithfully placed back in the building near its original location. Just look for the giant arrow pointing at it!

Next, stop by the Hardin County History Museum. Officially a part of the Lincoln Trail that runs through Kentucky, the museum features artifacts and exhibits that showcase the region’s history from the 1700s to the present. Learn about Abraham Lincoln’s connection to Hardin County. Check out the replica of a 1900s General Store. You’ll also find Civil War uniforms on display, artifacts from Camp Knox, and a vintage cast iron movie projector from the 1930s.

Afternoon

For lunch, award-winning pizza, pasta, and subs await at Impellizzeri’s. Try the Old Forestor Hickory BBQ pizza – a pie topped with spiked hickory BBQ sauce, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, chicken, bacon, red onions, and diced tomatoes. Pair it with a craft beer or a bourbon. If you’re craving Mexican food, check out Papi’s Tacos & More for burritos, street tacos, and quesadillas.

Dining at Impellizzeri’s. Photo Credit: Elizabethtown Tourism.

Next, continue your journey to the past with a stop at the Elizabethtown City Cemetery. Established in 1807, visitors can locate soldiers’ graves via a kiosk at the entrance. Afterward, check out other historic structures like The Brown Pusey House, an 1825 Georgian Mansion, and the Historic State Theater.

End the afternoon with a bit of shopping. Browse vintage home decor and boutique fashions at Sweet Tea & Grace, shop for souvenirs at Denizen, and find a perfect outfit for after-dinner drinks at Sweet Rebel Boutique.

Evening

Wrap up the day with gourmet burgers and hand-crafted cocktails at J.R. Neighbors. Sip a Back Yard Mule – their take on a Kentucky mule – and bite into mouthwatering burgers like the Southern Belle topped with a fried green tomato and pimento cheese!

It’s only fitting to end your time in Bourbon’s Backyard with drinks in The Hub. Here, you can purchase alcohol from approved vendors and stroll through designated areas freely (as long as the beverage is in Hub-approved cups). Stop in Elizabethtown’s first brewery, Flywheel Brewing, for a flight of craft brews like the E=MC Hammered with notes of clove or the hilariously named Decapitated Monk-Y, a flavorful Belgian cream ale.

Raise your glass and end your stay in Elizabethtown at Bourbon Barrel Tavern. A dream come true for bourbon lovers, this popular spot boasts more than 500 bourbons to choose from (yes, you read that right) and live music, karaoke, and trivia, depending on the night. Sip a smoky and bold Buffalo Trace on the rocks, or try the Michter’s Sour Mash with notes of burnt sugar and candied cherries.

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