1 Day Itineraries - One Day of Lincoln

If what you have is one day to explore the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, there’s plenty you can see and experience. Whether you’re visiting Kentucky where Lincoln was born, Indiana where he spent his boyhood or Illinois where he became a political figure and later president-elect, you’ll discover a story that is engaging, compelling and genuine.


(Travel Time 2 hours 30 minutes / Tour Time 3 hours 45 minutes)

From Louisville : Take Interstate 65 South to Exit 91 (Elizabethtown). Follow KY 61 (Lincoln Parkway) 13 miles south to US 31E. Take US 31E south 1.3 miles to the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park; picnic entrance on left and main entrance on right.

Abraham Lincoln’s parents, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln, settled on the 348-acre Sinking Springs Farm in the fall of 1808. Two months later on February 12, 1809, in a one-room log cabin near the Sinking Spring, the boy who would be our nation’s 16th President was born. Here the Lincolns lived and farmed before moving a few miles away to Knob Creek. The birthplace area was established by Congress on July 17, 1916. An early 19th century Kentucky cabin, symbolic of the one in which Lincoln was born, is preserved in a memorial building at the site of his birth. (Approximate tour length: 1.5 hrs.)

Backtrack the short distance to Hodgenville via US 31E north to the town square for an overview of President Lincoln’s life by touring The Lincoln Museum, Kentucky's official museum dedicated to Lincoln’s life and times. The museum features 12 historically accurate scenes from Lincoln’s life. Also included in the museum are Lincoln & Civil War memorabilia, the Lincoln Art Collection, and a 21-minute film. Be sure to walk out to the center of Town Square for a photo-op in front of The Lincoln Statue, which was erected in 1909 and is cast bronze on a pink granite pedestal. (Approximate tour length: 1 to 1.5 hrs.)

(Hodgenville offers several choices for a casual dining lunch experience.)

Follow US 31E north just a short distance (8 miles/13km) to the Lincoln Boyhood Home at Knob Creek, which is now part of the National Park System. At age 2 1/2, Lincoln's family moved from the Sinking Spring Farm to the Knob Creek Farm, which was then on the main route from Louisville to Nashville (now U.S. 31E). Lincoln is quoted as saying, "The place on Knob Creek, I remember very well; but I wasn’t born there. My earliest recollection however is of the Knob Creek place." Lincoln's brother Thomas, who died in infancy, was buried here. (Approximate tour length: 20 minutes)

Complete you daylong experience with a trip to Lexington.  Head northeast on US-31E N to the Bluegrass Pkwy. Follow the parkway to merge onto US-60 E/Lexington Rd toward Lexington. Follow US-60 E and Versailles Rd to W Main St in Lexington. Arrive at the Mary Todd Lincoln House, 578 West Main Street. The house was purchased by Robert S. Todd, father of Mrs. Lincoln, in 1831. Mary Todd lived here until 1839 when she left Lexington to live with her sister in Springfield, IL. There she met, fell in love, and in 1842, married attorney and political figure, Abraham Lincoln. After their marriage, the Lincolns visited her family here. (Approximate tour length: 1 hr. Open Seasonally March 15-November 30. Last tour is 3 PM.)

Lexington offers great restaurant, shopping and lodging choices for your enjoyment.


(Travel Time 2 hours 30 minutes / Tour Time 3 hours 45 minutes)

Abraham Lincoln spent his formative years in Indiana. Start your discovery at Lincoln’s family homestead near Lincoln City. From Indianapolis:  Take I-69 S to IN-257 S in Washington Township. Continue on IN-257 S. Take IN-161 S to US-231 S in Carter Township. Follow US-231 S to IN-162 S in Lincoln City. Take the Indiana 162 exit from US-231 S. Follow IN-162 S to E S St in Clay Township. Arrive at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, 3027 East South Street, Lincoln City.

The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial illustrates what life was like for the Lincoln family between 1816 and 1830. The Memorial Visitors Center pays tribute to Lincoln and his time in Indiana featuring a museum and two memorial halls. Included in the park is the Lincoln Living Historical Farm, a working pioneer homestead where park rangers in period clothing perform a variety of homestead activities typical to the era.

Located across from Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial  is Lincoln State Park. Established in 1932 as a memorial to Abraham's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the park is home to Lincoln Amphitheatre. The park includes 10 miles of hiking trails, two scenic lakes, and an interpretive center which provides a look into the early life of southern Indiana settlers. Also  located on the property is the burial place of  Lincoln’s sister Sarah. In addition, there are campgrounds, cabins and group cottages. In Gentryville is the Colonel Jones Home, the historic home of William Jones, the merchant and Civil War officer who employed Lincoln as a young man.

Your day will be easily spent exploring these enjoyable sites.


(Travel Time 2 hours 30 minutes / Tour Time 3 hours 45 minutes)

Lincoln spent 30 years of his life in Illinois. It is the place where he became a successful lawyer, political leader and president-elect. From Chicago: Take I-55 S to  IL-97. Take exit 98B from I-55 S. Follow  IL-97 N to N 6th St. Arrive at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, 212 North 6th Street in Springfield.

The state-of-the-art Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum provides visitors with an emotional, evocative and immersive journey through Lincoln’s life. It includes two Multi-media theatres, special changing exhibits and the Treasures Gallery.

The museum is within a very easy walk of the Old State Capitol State Historic Site. This majestic structure dominated by imposing porticoes allows visitors to believe that they have stepped to Lincoln’s years in Springfield. Lincoln’s Law Offices State Historic Site are a quick walk across the square. All of these sites are surrounded by shops and restaurants. It would be easy to spend the good part of a day at these three sites.

Lincoln’s Home National Historic Site is within approximately 3 blocks of the downtown area. Lincoln, Mary and their children lived here from 1844 until he left for Washington. The house and the neighborhood around it provide glimpse of Lincoln the father, husband and neighbor.

Lincoln, Mary and 3 of their 4 children are buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery. This imposing structure stands on a slight rise and provides a dramatic image as visitors enter the cemetery. People from all over the world come to the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site to pay respects to Lincoln. Next to Arlington Cemetery it is the second most visited cemetery in the country.

Total Estimated Tour Time: 5 hours 30 minutes

Springfield  offers wonderful restaurant, shopping and lodging choices.