The small town of Williamstown, Kentucky, is rooted in history and has a strong sense of community. The boundaries of the land were originally set in 1820 by William Arnold and the town was incorporated in 1825. The city has become a slice of the past that anyone can visit.
If you’re passing through the area or are planning a trip to Williamstown, you’ll want to check out some of the best things to do. Learn its history, entertain your family, or try a romantic night out with your partner. There’s lots to do in and around the town, so don’t miss out!
What We Cover
- Things to Do in Williamstown, Kentucky
- 1. Explore Historical Facts at William Arnold Log House (WALH)
- 2. Discovery History at the Historical Sherman Tavern
- 3. Go back in time to Fort Boonesborough State Park
- 4. Enjoy Outdoor Fun at General Butler State Resort Park
- 5. Enjoy The Weather at Frank Webb Memorial Park
- 6. Learn about Shaker Village
- 7. Enjoy Outdoor Activities at Grant County Parks & Recreation
- 8. Take the Whole Family to the Williamstown Family Fun Park
- 9. Visit The Ark Encounter
- 10. Have a Close Encounter with Animals at Ararat Ridge Zoo
- 11. Meet Retired Racehorse Champions at Old Friends Farm
- 12. Use the Ziplines at Screaming Eagle Aerial Adventures
- 13. Discover Marine Animals at Newport Aquarium
- 14. See Endangered Species at Salato Wildlife Education Center
- 15. Watch a Show at Stage Right Musical Theatre Company
- 16. Savor Williamstown Delicious Cuisine at Edwardo’s Pizza & Subs LLC
- 17. Discover Antique Furniture Pieces at Webster’s Woodworking
- History Walks around Williamstown, Kentucky
- What are some free or budget-friendly activities in Williamstown?
- During my visit, are there any special events or festivals taking place in Williamstown?
- How can I get around Williamstown during my visit?
- Most significant landmark – Ark Encounter
- Best park – Grant County Parks & Recreation
- Best free activity – Frank Webb Memorial Park
- Best activity for kids – Ararat Ridge Zoo
- Best activity for adults – Screaming Eagle Aerial Adventures
- Best food – Edwardo’s Pizza & Subs LLC
- Best nightlife – Stage Right Musical Theatre Company
- Place to stay – 211 Paris St Suites
Things to Do in Williamstown, Kentucky
1. Explore Historical Facts at William Arnold Log House (WALH)
This original and beautifully preserved log home was the residence of the city founder and his family. The cabin and grounds of William Arnold Log House are a historically accurate representation of post-Revolutionary War Kentucky. Today, it’s open for guest tours once a week and during the community’s Pioneer Days celebrations.
In the garden, period-accurate plants and medicinal herbs are still grown today. During the celebrations, the local Scouts of America troop demonstrate the proper harvesting and use of those plants for educational purposes. Throughout the property and the home, there are plaques and information stations to learn more about life on the Kentucky Frontier.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Lexington, Kentucky
2. Discovery History at the Historical Sherman Tavern
Address: 3985 Dixie Hwy, Dry Ridge, KY 41035, United States
Fans of 19th-century history and American architecture from the period should check out the Historical Sherman Tavern. The Friends of Sherman Tavern organization manages the Sherman Tavern, while the local Parks and Recreation District owns and operates the building and grounds.
It does not function as a tavern anymore, but as restorations are completed, the building will be open to the public more often as a base for guides and information about the grounds. During the Pioneer Days in May, local historians volunteer to educate guests about the old coaching inn and the significance of its location to the economy and rate of settlement in the region.
3. Go back in time to Fort Boonesborough State Park
Address: 4375 Boonesboro Rd, Richmond, KY 40475, United States
The settlement, founded by Daniel Boone and his men when they reached the Kentucky River in April of 1775, is still known by the original name: Fort Boonesborough. The fort has been rebuilt as a living history exhibit, with frontier skills and period-costumed historians teaching about the ways of the land and life in the fort.
This chunk of American history is about an hour south of Williamstown and demonstrates many trade routes used and defended by settlers in the mid to late 1700s. The fort includes exhibits like cabins, blockhouses, functional furnishings, historical reenactors, and antiques. You can also walk some trails, access the boat ramps, and birdwatch from the grounds around the fort.
See Related: Things to Do in Elizabethtown
4. Enjoy Outdoor Fun at General Butler State Resort Park
Address: 1608 KY-227, Carrollton, KY 41008, United States
Head over to General Butler State Resort Park on the 2nd weekend of May to watch the Highland Games at Kentucky Scottish Weekend. Highland Games are a traditional Scottish sporting event and can be found across the globe. Williamstown’s games are some of the best in the South, so it’s worth checking in!
A beautiful hall situated among the idyllic peace of a protected state park, this resort lodge offers visitors a place to rest between outdoor activities. Enjoy a tour of the original 1859 home, meetings, conference spaces, and more.
The building, made in the federal style out of brick, was originally home to the Butler and Turpin families. Outside the walls of the main building, you’ll find mini-golf, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boats, bird watching, and plenty of space to enjoy the weather.
See Related: Famous Historic Landmarks in the USA
5. Enjoy The Weather at Frank Webb Memorial Park
Address: 326 406 Park Dr, Williamstown, KY 41097, United States
The Frank Webb Memorial Park in Williamstown is one of the best public parks to check out. It features multiple scenic grassy lawns, picnic areas, and paved trails, perfect for a lazy afternoon saunter or a refreshing jog.
Even though it’s not the biggest or most famous outdoor venue in Williamstown, it’s the perfect size to enjoy downtime without feeling too isolated. Plus, it’s got playgrounds for kids to have fun and amenities like bathrooms and basketball courts.
The park also has its own bit of history. It was named after Frank Webb, a former marathon runner from Williamstown.
See Related: Visiting The Wooldridge Monuments – Mayfield, KY
6. Learn about Shaker Village
Address: 3501 Lexington Rd, Harrodsburg, KY 40330, United States
When members of the Shaker movement emigrated from New York to Kentucky before the Civil War, they made their home in what they call Pleasant Hill. This Shaker Village provided an area where Shakers could live peacefully in a then-radical communal setting that advocated for celibacy and racial and sexual equality.
After the Civil War, many Shaker communities began to disband, and by 1910, this particular community had closed its doors. Restoration began decades later, and it’s now a top historical site you can visit when in Kentucky.
You can see reconstructed versions of the community they used to live in. The village features preserved 19th-century architecture and is truly a unique site.
7. Enjoy Outdoor Activities at Grant County Parks & Recreation
Address: 101 N Main St # 4A, Williamstown, KY 41097, United States
Grant County Park is a great stop for anyone looking for a refreshing escape into nature. This beautiful park is great for youth and adolescent sports teams and outdoor activities.
The field consists of two well-lit baseball and softball fields, also where the local leagues hold their games. There are also two basketball courts that the public can use.
8. Take the Whole Family to the Williamstown Family Fun Park
Address: 605 KY-36, Williamstown, KY 41097, United States
This fun park is located in Williamstown and features fun outdoor activities for people ranging in age from toddlers to adults. The park has an 18-hole mini-golf course and areas where families can have picnic lunches.
Two obstacle courses for different age groups provide a physical challenge for kids and adults alike. The zipline course is a favorite of older kids and adults, while the chutes and ladders course for younger children brings the classic board game to life!
9. Visit The Ark Encounter
Address: 1 Ark Encounter Dr, Williamstown, KY 41097, United States
Noah’s Ark is one of the earliest biblical stories told to children in the Christian faith. The creators of The Ark Encounter, a group called Answers in Genesis, were driven to take this story to a whole new level by creating a life-sized vessel built to the exact specifications documented in the bible.
The Ark Encounter is the largest timber-built structure in the US, standing 51 feet tall and over 550 feet long. Inside this timber-built structure, you’ll discover just how big the Ark was supposed to be and how Creationists believe the Great Flood occurred.
Be warned that some displays are graphic, as the curators wanted to display the world as it was before it was allegedly washed of sin. This does mean that the exhibits may be controversial and disturbing to some.
If you’re within the area and looking for accessible accommodation, check out 211 Paris St Suites, just minutes from The Ark Encounter. This charming lakefront apartment is also within walking distance of downtown Williamstown, where you will find antique shops and dining options.
10. Have a Close Encounter with Animals at Ararat Ridge Zoo
Address: 1 Ark Encounter Dr, Williamstown, KY 41097, United States
This attraction is sister to The Ark Encounter and shares the same grounds. In partnership, the Ararat Ridge Zoo is home to animals of all shapes and sizes.
The zoo has camel rides, a petting zoo, and many other animal exhibits. As part of the Ark Encounter, you can learn more about the theories of how Noah would have cared for and fit the various animals into the Ark.
Among the beloved encounters is the Kangaroo Walkabout. At select times, you and your family can join the kangaroo mob inside the exhibit enclosure with guides to keep everyone safe.
11. Meet Retired Racehorse Champions at Old Friends Farm
Address: 1841 Paynes Depot Rd, Georgetown, KY 40324, United States
At Old Friends Equine, you can find a sanctuary for over 200 retired racehorses, some of whom are Kentucky Derby winners and others who are thoroughbred but never touched the track. Created in 2003 by former movie critic Michael Blowen, Old Friends Equine is devoted to providing a loving and nurturing environment for numerous former horses that have since needed a place to go.
Birdstone, Silver Charm, Ruler On Ice, and Touch Gold are among the most famous residents. Each of them has won at least one Triple Crown race. You may remember Silver Charm winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
Did you know, though, that Touch Gold was the one who stole the crown from his grasp in the Belmont? Similarly, Birdstone was the one who, under the lights and a stormy dark sky, bested Smarty Jones and denied another talented horse a Triple Crown at Belmont.
12. Use the Ziplines at Screaming Eagle Aerial Adventures
Address: 1 Ark Encounter Dr, Williamstown, KY 41097, United States
Situated next to the Ark Encounter, this venue boasts zip lines and free falls that offer a bird’s-eye view of the stunning Kentucky landscape and ark. Climb 2,000 feet up, and some ziplines are over 1,600 feet long! Plus, they have regular discounts to keep it an affordable experience that’s still one-of-a-kind.
13. Discover Marine Animals at Newport Aquarium
Address: 1 Levee Wy, Newport, KY 41071, United States
The Newport Aquarium is home to thousands of sea creatures and marine animals just waiting to teach you about their ecosystems and how you can help preserve the natural balance. Nearby Newport is located just across the river from Cincinnati, and this adventure isn’t far from Williamstown.
One of the newest exhibits at the Newport Aquarium brings you up close and personal with the sharks. Shark Ray Bay Theater is a collection of high-density acrylic tunnels that allow you to walk through the waters of the sharks.
It is crucial to know that the animals you’re viewing are treated humanely and that their captivity is for education and conservation. Fortunately, the Newport Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums
14. See Endangered Species at Salato Wildlife Education Center
Address: 1 Sportsman’s Ln, Frankfort, KY 40601, United States
Kentucky is known for its brilliant balance of nature, and it can maintain and teach about the importance of protecting our environment through programs and education centers like the Salato Wildlife Education Center.
This wildlife center offers lessons and exhibits focused on pollinators with the Living Bee Tree, Snakes of Kentucky, alligators, snapping turtles, bald eagles, bobcats, monarch butterflies, and others by season.
Outside the learning center, you can access four miles of hiking trails (two lakes for fishing if you’ve got your license) and picnic shelters for family gatherings.
15. Watch a Show at Stage Right Musical Theatre Company
Address: 1418 N Main St, Williamstown, KY 41097, United States
If you’re into theater and live performances, you’ve got to check out the Stage Right Musical Theatre Company. Established in 2016, this non-profit performing arts center is dedicated to showcasing Broadway-quality shows that will leave you in awe.
It’s the perfect destination to catch an awesome performance and simultaneously support the local arts scene. Don’t miss out on their upcoming shows! Be sure to check their calendar to plan your visit and experience the magic for yourself.
See Related: Best Mancation Destinations Around the World
16. Savor Williamstown Delicious Cuisine at Edwardo’s Pizza & Subs LLC
Address: 1402 N Main St, Williamstown, KY 41097, United States
If you’re searching for a can’t-miss destination in Williamstown, look no further than Edwardo’s Pizza & Subs LLC. This reputable restaurant is famous for serving delicious Italian food, specifically focusing on pizza and grinders (or hoagies, if you’re from the north). Somewhat of a cult classic and local attraction, their food is delicious and affordable, and they’ve got a sizeable menu to cater to a range of preferences.
17. Discover Antique Furniture Pieces at Webster’s Woodworking
Address: 261 Redwood Dr, Dry Ridge, KY 41035, United States
If you love antique furniture and handmade wooden items, you won’t want to miss Webster’s Woodworking. This family-run shop is a gem that offers a blend of vintage pieces made in-house and expertly restored furniture.
Make sure to take some time and browse their products! If you’re in the market to buy, sell, or repair wooden items or simply want to browse, this is Williamstown’s go-to woodworking destination.
History Walks around Williamstown, Kentucky
We love historic towns for their educational activities, and Williamstown is one place with a lot of history. At the end of the downtown corridor, a two-story log cabin still stands as a monument to the town’s namesake, Captain William Arnold. This stop is only one of a few that tell a story about how this country was built.
William Arnold fought in the Revolutionary War before settling down in this part of the frontier. When the Arnold family settled, the land was rugged, untamed, and ready to be anything.
As a Christian frontiersman, Arnold created a community that was designed to last and one that was deeply centered around faith. The prevailing spirit of faith is still very evident in the town today.
What are some free or budget-friendly activities in Williamstown?
There is lots to do without breaking the budget (or even denting it) in Williamstown. For one, you can visit the William Arnold Log House, a wonderfully preserved log cabin that provides a fascinating insight into Kentucky’s pioneering history.
You can also check out Grant County Park, another can’t-miss destination if you love the great outdoors. With stunning walking trails and picturesque picnic spots, you can soak up the beauty of nature without spending a single cent.
During my visit, are there any special events or festivals taking place in Williamstown?
Yes! There are many live shows in Williamstown, especially during the spring and summer. You can book tickets to the Summer Concert Series in June to enjoy live music performances.
As September rolls around, check out the Fall Harvest Festival, an autumn fair with plenty of crafts, activities, and locally sourced produce. Winter then brings along the Christmas Parade and Holiday Market, with lots of seasonal goods, treats, and handmade gifts for family and friends.
How can I get around Williamstown during my visit?
Williamstown is small and well-laid out for exploring on foot. Its compact size lets you easily walk downtown and check out all the shops, restaurants, and other attractions.
But if you’re feeling adventurous and want to cover more ground, you can always rent a bike from one of the local rental shops–that way, you can get around town a lot faster. Also, parking isn’t an issue, so don’t worry if you have a car.