Bryan Hoelzer & Kathryn Hoelzer Team Hoelzer
Bryan Hoelzer & Kathryn Hoelzer Team Hoelzer
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A STAYCATIONER'S GUIDE TO DISCOVERING NORTHERN KENTUCKY

With summer quickly approaching, Northern Kentucky is home to a bevy of options for hopeful staycationers.

What’s a staycation? Simply put, it’s a vacation one spends at home, or at least close to where one lives. Popular staycation activities typically include visiting local pools, parks, museums and festivals. 

While Northern Kentucky’s most popular tourist attractions include the Ark Encounter, Newport Aquarium, and its vast array of breweries and distilleries, the region also boasts several off-the-beaten-path attractions.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic waned, tourism in Greater Cincinnati has surged, with millions of people visiting the region each year. As such, Julie Kirkpatrick, CEO of meetNKY, Northern Kentucky’s tourism bureau, told LINK nky that the area is full of diverse attractions for visitors who want a variety of experiences.

“As the millions of visitors to our region discover each year, Northern Kentucky is a great escape,” Kirkpatrick said. “A staycation to enjoy all that Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati have to offer is a super way to recharge.”

Northern Kentucky is home to several parks, each with its own amenities. Staycationers can see roaming bison at Big Bone Lick State Park or golf 18 holes at Devou Park, which overlooks the Ohio River and downtown Cincinnati skyline.

Parks such as A.J. Jolly south of Alexandria and England-Idlewild outside Burlington give staycationers access to one of the region’s most under-the-radar attractions: disc golf.

Idlewild Park is ranked as one of the best disc golf courses in the world and is home to the LWS Open – an annual stop on the Disc Golf Pro Tour. The 24-hole course was ranked as one of the 25 best in the world as recently as this year, according to UDisc.

David Whitehouse, director of Boone County Parks, told LINK nky that Idlewild is a countrywide destination for disc golf enthusiasts, drawing professionals and hobbyists to Boone County annually.

“It’s a huge draw for Boone County Parks,” Whitehouse said. “You know, a couple of the professionals call it the O.G. course. It really is one of the original courses. It’s been there for many, many years, and people love to play it. It’s a destination for many people – like it’s on their bucket list.”

In addition to Idlewild, the 1,000-acre A.J. Jolly features a lakeside 18-hole disc golf course. Of course, disc golf isn’t the only activity at A.J. Jolly. The southern Campbell County park is also popular for fishing, kayaking, golfing, camping and live music.

Want a more urban experience? Staycationers can enjoy a night out in one of the region’s historic river cities, such as Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue or Dayton.

One of the most unusual hotels in Covington is the Pickle Factory, a boutique hotel tucked away at the corner of Tobacco and Electric alleys. The over 150-year-old building was once a pickle factory – hence the name – but also served as a warehouse, soda maker and Odd Fellows Hall. The hotel offers guests a rustic charm with access to modern amenities. 

“The Pickle Factory is a perfect place for staycations because of the rich culture intertwined into every room,” said Jeremiah Hines, co-owner of Neat Suites, the firm behind listings and bookings at the hotel. “When you’re doing a staycation, the goal is to experience your city in a way that you have never seen it before. The Pickle Factory opens the doors to a new perspective of the city that perfectly accompanies a local adventure and inspires exploration.”

Next door to the Pickle Factory is Wenzel Whiskey, a distillery that touts itself as the “resurrection of Kentucky’s rich bourbon history.” At Wenzel, customers can collaborate with whiskey-blending experts to create their own custom-blended bourbon.

Venture a few blocks south from Tobacco Alley to Revival Vintage Bottle Shop, at 5 E. Eighth Street. Revival offers an eclectic array of vintage whiskeys that customers can sip at their tasting bar. 

“What they are doing with Revival, they are curating this space where people can come in and learn about the history of bourbon, but also taste it – and not just bourbon, but all spirits,” Kirkpatrick said in a press release.

Revival is part of the B-Line, the region’s self-guided bourbon tour. The B-Line includes seven different local craft distilleries, nine bourbon-centric bars and nine restaurants – all in Northern Kentucky.

If the city isn’t your scene, maybe a trip to Rabbit Hash in the Boone County community of Petersburg could suffice. Rabbit Hash is home to one of the best-preserved country stores in the United States, the Rabbit Hash General Store, which is included on the National Register of Historic Places. Of course, you may also need to check in with Wilbur Beast, the community’s French bulldog mayor.

Interested in history? The Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington is a center for the collection and preservation of the natural, cultural and performing arts heritage of not only Northern Kentucky but the broader Ohio Valley. Historian John Boh wrote for the museum’s website that the museum features permanent exhibits on natural history, archeology, paleontology, mineralogy, rivers and steamboats, industry, folk art, politics, frontier home life, the Civil War and slavery. 

Another popular tourist destination for the historically curious is the Newport Gangster Tour. Participants have the opportunity to relive a time in Newport’s history when mobsters ran the streets. Beginning outside an illicit casino, tourists will learn about how the small river town helped foster the modern gambling industry.

Staycationers even have the option to take a cruise in Northern Kentucky. Instead of traveling to the East Coast, staycationers can hop aboard Newport’s BB Riverboats to experience the Cincinnati region from a different perspective. BB Riverboats’ daily cruises offer customers historical sightseeing, live entertainment, and lunch and dinner.

Whether participating in outdoor adventures, enjoying classic spirits or delving into the area’s rich history, Northern Kentucky offers staycationers the option to rediscover the hidden gems in their own backyard. With its off-the-beaten-path attractions, a staycation in Northern Kentucky can not only be relaxing but also create new memories.

  





















     
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Bryan Hoelzer & Kathryn Hoelzer Team Hoelzer 
513-839-5595 | 513-839-5003
bryan.hoelzer@cbws.com

         



       


                   

   



 
Bryan Hoelzer & Kathryn Hoelzer Team Hoelzer 
513-839-5595 | 513-839-5003
bryan.hoelzer@cbws.com




   



   



 
Bryan Hoelzer & Kathryn Hoelzer Team Hoelzer 
513-839-5595 | 513-839-5003
bryan.hoelzer@cbws.com