Step Outside - Kentucky WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - Kentucky 144 144 Sat, 23 Mar 2019 13:26:55 -0500 5 Awesome RV Campsites in Kentucky Ready to hit the road and go on an adventure in your RV? Get the kids, the dog, and everything else you need to keep on trucking. Kick back and relax while you enjoy the comfort of your home among a primitive campsite. These great RV campsites in Kentucky are sure to please everyone. 

Elkhorn Campground is an affordable option for your next RV camping destination. Alongside Elkhorn Creek, this campground is a wonderful spot to fish, kayak, canoe, and mountain bike while you’re camping. The daily rates are $35 and the monthly rates are $350, which makes this RV campsite an affordable vacation. If you have been considering taking your RV to a quiet spot along a beautiful Kentucky waterway, then look no further—this is your spot. You can make arrangements with the main office to set a date when your schedule opens up, so the whole family can enjoy your time. With over 10, monthly spots for RV camping, Elkhorn Campground is sure to be a memorable experience.  

Cave Country Campground in Cave City, Kentucky, is within five miles of Mammoth Cave, which makes it a prime spot to set up camp in your RV. Cave Country Campground is a great place for RV camping due to the wide variety of activities surrounding the campsite. You can go on cave tours at Mammoth Cave and explore one of the world’s largest cave systems. You can visit several amusement parks, whether you want to go-kart, see dinosaurs, or get your thrills zip-lining. At $40 per day and only $230 a week, you will have time for plenty of fun while visiting Cave Country Campground. 

The Kentucky River has plenty to offer RV campers, which makes Camp on the Kentucky, a premier RV campsite. $30 per day and around $400 per month will get you one of the 18 campsites available at this great RV camping destination. On site, there is a volleyball court, basketball court, free Wi-Fi, and free boat launch/boat parking. Camp on the Kentucky also offers 30-amp, 50-amp, and primitive campsites. This campsite is one of the most affordable places to bring your RV in Kentucky. During the Kentucky football season, University of Kentucky football fans tailgate and watch the games at Camp on the Kentucky. Quiet hours are from 11 p.m. until 8 a.m., be respectful of your fellow campers and come visit this awesome RV campsite! 

Ashland/Huntington West KOA is a premier RV campsite in Kentucky. At $40 per day and close to $1,100 per month, these campsites are some of the finest RV spots available in the state. Along with your fees for camping at Ashland/Huntington West KOA you can get Wi-Fi, cable, mini golf, a pool, volleyball and a dog park. For the kids, there are several opportunities to keep them entertained such as the movie nights offered at their pavilion. This RV campsite is great for the communal camping experience, with friendly hosts as well as fellow campers. You will certainly find a home away from home mentality in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Be prepared to meet new friends and join others for activities offered throughout the week. Thirty-amp, 50-amp and primitive campsites are also available at this excellent RV campsite.

Bowling Green, Kentucky, is home to the National Corvette Museum as well as Lost River Cave. The Bowling Green KOA is a very cool way to check out either place while planning your next RV camping destination. At $54 per day and approximately $1,300 per month, this RV campsite is among the best. There are bike rentals, hiking trails, a pool, an event hall (seats 100 people), fishing, Wi-Fi, cable, mini golf, and paddle boats available. Thirty-amp and 50-amp campsites are available for you RV, as well as dump stations and propane on-site. Two lakes border the northeast portion of the RV campground creating a relaxing environment for those with kids that like to fish. Quiet hours are from 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. Make sure to plan your next holiday weekend at the Bowling Green KOA in Bowling Green, Kentucky—you’ll never want to leave! 

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9 Best Ski Destinations for Families Around Kentucky Ready for a wintertime adventure? Explore the neighboring states of Kentucky for a memorable skiing trip with the family. From Indiana to North Carolina, you’ll find some truly unique and well-maintained slopes. The skiers, snowboarders, and snow tubers in your family will love every moment of it. Here are the 10 best ski destinations for families around Kentucky. 

Tired of the winter doldrums? Get your family packed and head for the Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Located about three hours away from Lexington, Kentucky, the only thing more fun than going yourself is taking everyone with you! If you have little ones, you’ll want to sign them up for the Doodles Program where professional and very patient instructors will guide them through the art of skiing. You can rent equipment if you don’t have it, take skiing or snowboarding lessons, enjoy great food, and exchange stories with other families. It’s an adventure waiting to happen. 

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Only 4-6 hours from Lexington, Kentucky, Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee has everything thing you need for winter fun for your family. Because safety is a prime concern here, first timers need to take a short skiing or snowboarding lesson and have approved equipment (either your own or rented there) before heading out on the slopes. And if you’ve never gone tubing, you have to add that to your list of things to do while here. Appropriate for ages three and up, it’s just like sledding without the long walk back uphill. Special lifts take you up the mountain so you can slide down again and again. Open from mid-December to mid-March, Ober Gatlinburg is the place to be in the winter time. 

With over 90 acres to enjoy, Winterplace Ski Resort in Ghent, West Virginia, is a winter lover’s delight. New to winter sports and want to expose your family to something different? Sign up for one of the lessons available, even for the little ones. Kinder Care entertains children aged six months to four years-old while the older kids and Mom and Dad learn how to navigate the slopes or have fun sliding down the tubes on the largest tube park in the state. 

Family-friendly, kid-friendly, and fun-friendly. That’s how you describe Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Snowshoe, West Virginia. Just a short six-hour drive from Lexington, Kentucky, you and your family can be on the slopes or going down the tubes while having a blast this winter. And after a great day enjoying the winter wonderland, you can cozy up to a warm meal and swap stories about your favorite parts of the day. 

You have to see it to believe it at Canaan Valley in Davis, West Virginia. Load up the family and head for this fun-filled family resort where you can ski, snowboard, go tubing, cross-country ski, ice skate, and snowshoe. If you want to rent equipment, you can do that, too. Lessons are available at reasonable rates and there are packages for ages seven and up that include a one-day lift ticket, ski or snowboard rental, and a lesson. There’s so much to here that the only problem you’ll have is deciding what to do first. 

If you’re looking for a great new place to take the family for some amazing winter fun, Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, is just the place. Open from early November through March each year, there’s a skiing area and a tubing park just a few miles away. Over 50 acres await you and your family in this winter wonderland, and there are slopes for beginners and experts. What’s even more fun is going down the slopes at night. 

There’s always snow on the mountain at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort in Mars Hill, North Carolina. You and your family can enjoy exciting outdoor winter fun from the first week of December until mid-March each year. The resort keeps the snow coming even when Mother Nature isn’t cooperating with giant Snow Guns located around the slopes. The tube run is just a little down the road and can always be counted on for fun.

Pack up your family and head to Sugar Mountain Resort in Sugar Mountain, North Carolina. You’ll have a blast with so many things to do. You can go tubing down the 700-foot long tube lanes during the day or at nighttime. You could go ice skating on the resort’s 10,000-square-foot outdoor skating rink. You could put on a pair of snowshoes and walk across the frozen landscape in this winter wonderland with one of the daily tours. And if you forget anything at home, you can stop by the Sugar Mountain Sports Shop Annex. All this outdoor activity will stir up an appetite, but no worries. There’s a great restaurant inside the resort where you can find a cozy spot and enjoy a hot meal or cup of cocoa. 

Tom is terrific. #skisugar

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The winter season is in full swing and there’s no reason to let the blues get you down. Pack up the family and head six hours down the road to Hawks Nest in Seven Devils, North Carolina. You’ll have hours of fun frolicking and romping in the snow, and everyone three years-old and older can enjoy tubing, but better make reservations before you come because Hawks Nest is one of the most popular winter destinations in the state and spots fill up fast.   

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9 Best Winter Cabin Camping Spots in Kentucky Don’t let the cold keep you away from the stunning natural beauty Kentucky has to offer. Whether you’re looking to explore sprawling state parks or you’re seeking a sparkling lake-side retreat, Kentucky has a cabin campsite for you. Escape the winter weather without removing yourself from the beauty of nature with these nine great cabin camping spots in the state.  

Located a little south of the Ohio River in Henderson, Kentucky, John James Audubon State Park has five one-bedroom cottages and one ADA-accessible cottage available for rent year-round. If you’re into birding, winter is the perfect time to see a large variety of birds including woodpeckers and waterfowl, and once you arrive, you’ll see why the park was received the 2016 Reader’s Choice Award for an Outdoor Recreation Spot in 2016. Each cabin has a fully operational fireplace and kitchen complete with everything to make your stay comfortable. 

no more “i wish”

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Mountain Laurel Lake in Garfield, Kentucky, is about an hour’s drive southwest of Louisville. This charming location is where you’ll find your own private getaway for peace and tranquility. You can choose from five different cabins ranging from one to three bedrooms available year-round, all with hot tub, gas fireplace, fully-equipped modern kitchens, linens, and a beautiful view of the lake and surrounding area. Who wouldn’t leave refreshed and relaxed after a stay here? 

Natural Bridge Five Star Cabin Rental is exactly what you need to escape. With 50 one to three-bedroom cabins with fully equipped kitchens that include appliances, microwave, cooking utensils, pots and pans, gas or electric fireplaces, large flat-screen TVs, and linens, each cabin has a spectacular view of one of the most beautiful places in the state. Located in Slade, Kentucky, you’ll experience peace and tranquility and best the winter blues without compromising convenience. Large cabins have hot tubs or Jacuzzis, washer and dryers, and other amenities, but ask about bring pets when you make your reservation.

Looking for heaven on earth? You just might find it at Yatesville Lake Cabin Rental in Louisa, Kentucky. Secluded on the mountain near Yatesville Lake, this comfortable cabin is available year-round for a family vacation, friends’ getaway, or a private romantic retreat. This home away from home features Amish-made furniture and plenty of comfortable amenities. There’s a washer and dryer for your use, and a beautiful stone fireplace perfect for snuggling and sipping your favorite beverage. The cabin can accommodate up to 10 overnight guests, and has been rated the No. 1 cabin rental in Eastern Kentucky.

Settle down for a long winter’s night in style at Peaceful Valley Cabins in Russell Springs, Kentucky. You have the choice of three beautiful lakeside cabins that can accommodate from two to eight people, making this great for a weekend getaway for family, friends, or a romantic trip with your loved one. Everything you need is included in the full-size kitchen, and there’s a washer and dryer, gas fireplace, all linens, and TV provided. Open year round.

Family holiday or romantic weekend, Paddlers’ Inn in Butler, Kentucky, is the perfect place to escape during the winter months. Open year-round, winter is especially beautiful and tranquil at this rustic riverside paradise in the northern part of the state along the Main Licking River. Cedar cabins include all the kitchen equipment, linens, and supplies you need except food, and you will enjoy the hot tub and amazing view.  

Have you ever experienced a fresh snowfall at a gorgeous winter retreat in the comfort of your very own cabin? Then look no further and book your winter getaway at Lighthouse Landing Resort and Marina in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. There are plenty of things to do in the area during the day, and you can look forward to snuggling up to a cozy fire in the evening with your favorite drink, play a game, or just enjoy the peace and quiet. Wheelchair-friendly cabins are available, and the staff is more than happy to assist when booking. 

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Western Kentucky is the place to head if you’re looking for a place to get away for a weekend or longer. Winter doesn’t have to be mundane when you stay at one of the cozy cabins at Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Hike during the day and relax by the fireplace at night in one of the cabins available for rent this winter. This back-to-nature getaway is just what you need to escape the winter blues. 

Deluxe accommodations and a relaxing atmosphere is what you can expect when you book this single private cabin at Lake Woods Log Cabin in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. This hilltop location lets you experience a gorgeous lake, and is perfect for whatever reason you need to get away. Up to 12 people can stay overnight, and you’ll have conveniences like full bathrooms, electric fireplace, and central heating and A/C, complimentary coffee and condiments in the fully-equipped kitchen, wash and dryer, and plenty of parking. Open year round, this will be your new home away from home.

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Best Winter Weekend Getaway at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park Don’t let the winter blues get to you. Plan a fun-filled weekend getaway at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort. There’s plenty to keep you busy if you love being outdoors, like hiking, hunting, fishing, and golf. Finish off the day with a hot meal and a view of the night sky through a giant telescope. Whatever you like, your weekend getaway will come alive with the sights and sounds of Kentucky. Follow along our itinerary for an unforgettable trip. 

Kentucky Dam Village is a unique nautical-themed lodge located in Calvert City on the western side of the state. Winter is a beautiful time of year, and visitors have their choice of the Village Inn Lodge with 72 cozy rooms or The Village Green Inn with 14 rooms that can also be rented for a group. You’ll have a fun-filled winter weekend either place.

With the desire to create a place that was open year-round where people who loved the outdoors could bring their RV and other recreational vehicles, Hesterville Properties has been one of Kentucky’s best kept secrets. Located on the edge of Kentucky Lake and not far from Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, there are 22 spaces for camping trailers/recreational vehicles up to 45 feet long. Public utilities are available and there are boat ramps and boat storage available. 

Don’t let the winter keep you from experiencing the great outdoors, especially when you have great hiking trails close by. Land Between the Lakes has “over 500 miles of trails and 200 miles of scenic roads” that are yours for the discovery. If you think it’s pretty in the warmer months, you’ll catch your breath at the beauty of the snow-covered hills and valleys along the way. Regulated hunting is also allowed in the recreational area provided you apply for permit. Check the website for more information and be aware of the state’s rules and regulations regarding hunting.

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Come enjoy the holiday season with one of the productions at the Badgett Playhouse in Grand Rivers. There is never a dull moment, especially in December at this 285 seat playhouse. Enjoy shows ranging from the ‘Variety! Christmas Extravaganza’ shows to the ‘Bryan White: A Holiday Special’. There is something about seeing a theatrical performance that really brings pure joy to you and your loved ones. Check out their schedule for more events and showtimes.

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Christmas in Grand Rivers

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Anglers young and old can enjoy the waters in the Bluegrass State year-round. Although a fishing license is required, it’s easy to purchase online and gives you access to beautiful fishing areas like Kentucky Lake. You can fish for bass and crappie during the winter at this man-made reservoir, and there are helpful suggestions about where to cast your line and how to stay warm and preserve precious body heat. 

Take in the views of the beautiful Honker Lake on the 4.5-mile Honker Trail. The trail “winds around Honker Lake through a variety of habitats: dense forest, meadows, and along the lakeshore,” so be sure to put on your hiking boots and dress accordingly. Getting out for a hike can be a rewarding experience, you’ll be sure of that when you’re surrounded by the flora and fauna that Honker Lake has to offer.

The sky’s the limit, literally when you visit the Planetarium and Observatory in Golden Pond. There are live and automated presentations daily and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable folks who love talking about the solar system. Prices are very reasonable and special events happen frequently. 

Kentucky proud and dedicated to providing Southern hospitality with every meal, Harbor Lights Restaurant is the premier dining destination on the Tennessee River. Using locally sourced meats and produce, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner at this nautical-themed diner. House specialties include any of the surf and turf items on the menu, but they’re also famous for their version of Kentucky Hot Brown.

No matter what you plan for your outdoor adventure this winter, you’ll want to dress for the occasion. Kentucky Lake Outdoors. Whether you’re an avid hunter looking for supplies for your next hunting excursion or you like to shoot with a camera, you’ll find the equipment and gear for both. If you’re planning to stay outside for an extended time, you’ll want to check out the coolers and other food storage containers so your food stays at just the right temperature. 

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Started as a two-room house on six acres with an apple orchard, Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland is an iconic symbol of country life and culture. This wildly crazy place is a museum and is filled with quirky and unique items from all over the state. You’ve never seen anything like this before, so make sure not to miss it. Open year-round. 

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5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in Kentucky Maybe it’s the sound. Maybe it’s the excitement of the wind against your face. Perhaps it’s the rush you get when you start up your ATV and know you’re going to have a blast on the trail. Kentucky has plenty of cool spots for ATV off-roading. The more you ride, the more you learn about your vehicle. Let’s hit the trail and take a chance at discovering some of the finest places in the Commonwealth of Kentucky for your next ATV off-roading adventure!

Black Mountain in Harlan County first opened for business in 2005. The area of Harlan is a mountainous region of southeastern Kentucky with plenty of room to explore on your next ATV adventure. Black Mountain offers a yearly pass for $50 that gives you access to thousands of acres. You can also take a guided tour for $25, or go exploring on your ATV in the mountains using their color-coded trails. The trails vary from beginner to intermediate to advanced riders. If you want to see some of the old coal-mining country come to the Black Mountain Offroad Adventure Area.

we almost had to fight 3 bears to get to the look out but it was way worth it

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Wildcat Adventures in East Bernstadt, Kentucky, is a family-friendly affordable spot to ride ATVs. The park boasts 1,600 acres of space. The fees for the day to ride your ATV are $15. Wildcat Adventures is a cool spot to take a day to rip and roar around on your ATV, impress your family and friends, and test the mechanics of your machine!

even tho you threw me in a huge mud puddle & I made you eat mud , today was great πŸ’–

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Dirty Turtle is a thrill-seeker’s haven and an adrenaline-pumping mecca in Kentucky. This off-road park is a great place to bring your ATV if you really want to have a lot of fun. Dirty Turtle has a lot of rules to protect you and other riders from one another, which in turn keeps the park safe for all participants. If you like the woods and mud, Dirty Turtle in Bedford, Kentucky, is the place for you. Though this off-road park is a lot smaller than most off-road parks (270 acres) it packs a mean punch for those of you ATV riders that like to get a little muddy. 

Pumpjack in Columbia, Kentucky, offers multiple trails on its 1,250-acre course. It won’t cost you an arm and a leg either with an admission fee of $10. Pumpjack also offers camping for $10 a night. This cool spot for ATV off-roading adventures is touted as having some of the best trails in Kentucky. Check out the events going on throughout the year to see other riders put their skills to the test.

this weekend was a success can't wait for the next timeπŸ‘ŒπŸ»

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Rush Off-Road will certainly live up to its name when you take your ATV to this cool spot. With 7,000 acres to choose from, you can get your ATV wide-open and cruise all day long. There are over 100 miles of trails to ride, crawl or jump. This is one of the biggest and best parks to ride an ATV in Kentucky. The best admission would be a season pass which will set you back only $85. Trust us, you’ll want to come back again and again. You can also do a weekly pass which is only $35 or a day pass at $25. 

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

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5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Kentucky Getting outside during the fall months in Kentucky will prove to be a rewarding adventure. Trails provide the opportunity to take in the crisp autumn air and the rainbow of color that the trees and foliage offer. Here are five stunning foliage hikes in Kentucky that will take your breath away.   

The beautiful 1,200-acre Dewey Lake is the backdrop for this well-known heritage trail in Jenny Wiley State Resort Park near Prestonsburg, Kentucky. The park and trail are named for Jenny Wiley, a young pioneer woman who escaped from the capture of Native Americans in the late 1780s and the path she took to freedom. The trail is best hiked between May and the end of September when the leaves and foliage burst with color. As you walk the trail, you’ll see a forest of maple trees turning from shades of green to vibrant yellow and orange to fiery red. The lake is great for fishing and contains many varieties of fish like crappy and tiger muskies. There are parts of the trail that are challenging, but the gorgeous scenery and peaceful surroundings are worth the effort. Make sure to take your camera for some unforgettable photos. 

There are several trails within the 300-acre Dupree Nature Preserve and if you hike the trail early in the morning or later in the evening, you’ll have the best chance of seeing animals local to the area. Founded in 1975, the Nature Conservancy’s Kentucky Chapter has been working to preserve and protect the land, water, and wildlife within the state’s borders by conservation and clean-up efforts, and by providing a place where people can enjoy nature in its glory. All of the trails are easily done, and you don’t have to be an experienced hiker to navigate the gently sloping hills and valleys along the journey. 

The forests, meadows, and wildflowers come alive with hues of yellow, oranges, reds, and browns all over the 734-acre Raven Run Nature Sanctuary located not far from Lexington, Kentucky. Bordering the Kentucky River, the area has over 10 miles of well-marked hiking trails that meander up and down hills, beside sleepy streams, and past the homes of local wildlife. There are seven trails in the sanctuary and they range in difficulty from easy to moderate. Visitors need to register at the nature center upon arrival, and no pets are allowed on the trails. There are other rules that should be followed to preserve the area for future generations. 

Narrow ridges and deep ravines are what hikers will find at the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail in the Daniel Boone National Forest near Morehead, Kentucky. Fall is a particularly good time to visit as this 319-mile series of trails meanders through the colored landscape, and the area still looks much the same as when Daniel Boone, American pioneer and explorer, traversed the countryside. Many parts of the trail follow shallow flat rocks jutting up in the creeks and streams through the woods, and there is beauty everywhere. Often called the backbone of the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Sheltowee Trace Trail is used for practice for hikers who want to take on longer trail adventures like the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail. There are many recreational activities that take place near the area, and it is easily traveled in a weekend at a steady pace.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park near Slade, Kentucky, gets its name from the natural 78-foot-high sandstone arch bridge in the center of the park. Owned by L&E railroad company in the late 1800s, the park became one of Kentucky’s four original state parks, and is comprised of 2,200 total acres with 22 miles of trails and a large 60-acre lake. Camping and overnight lodging is allowed, but pets are only permitted on specific ones. Besides the stunning scenery in the fall, hikers will enjoy the sandstone rock formations, waterfalls, cliffs, and caves around the area. This is not an adventure to miss. 

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5 Best Fishing Spots in Kentucky When anglers cast a line, it’s all about the big catch and the great story to go along with it. From enormous lakes to rushing rivers, Kentucky is a paradise for fishermen and women. After a trip to one of the state’s best fishing spots, you’ll have plenty of stories to tell. Here are our favorites. 

Taylorsville Lake is a prime fishing hole in Kentucky. There are plenty of bass, crappie, and catfish that have reached their keeper status. But before you keep what you catch, make sure to check with the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife regulations. Most people at Taylorsville Lake come to fish from the banks, but there are several fishing boats as well. Taylorsville Lake is just outside of Louisville, Kentucky, and tends to be pretty crowded during the summertime, so if you come fishing make sure to get your spot saved early in the day! 

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Lake Cumberland has a large variety of fish species ready to be snagged on your next fishing trip. Crappie, bream, walleye, trout, catfish, and five species of bass can all become part of your wall-collection or your next meal. You may want to just come fishing to Lake Cumberland for the sport though. The pristine water is reminiscent of a Great Lake. There are also quite a few fishing tournaments hosted every year here. If you want to compete, check out the Lake Cumberland Tourism website for more information.

Crappie, bass, and walleye all reside in the beautiful Nolin River Lake. Located on the edge of Mammoth Cave Park, Nolin River Lake is a prime fishing hole for many Kentuckians that like to eat what they catch. There are plenty of coves and secret nooks to claim your spot. During the holiday season, the lake can tend to get crowded, so plan accordingly. 

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Dale Hollow is one of the most beautiful fishing spots in Kentucky. Bass, trout, walleye, bluegill, muskie, catfish, and panfish can all be found in Dale Hollow. This is one of the deepest lakes in Kentucky which means a truly big catch could be lurking below. The water at Dale Hollow lake is crystal clear which means the visibility for fishing is excellent. If you’re a sport fisherman you will want to check out Dale Hollow on your next fishing trip to Kentucky. This prime fishing hole is the oldest man-made lake in the state. By the dam, the depths reach over 100 feet, which makes for a nice fish population.  

Rough River may not be well-known as a prime fishing spot in Kentucky, but it is a very relaxing destination. If you enjoy the peacefulness of just fishing for fun, Rough River is a prime spot for just that. Bass, crappie, bluegill, and sunfish can all be found at this great fishing hole. There are plenty of rock ledges for fishing. Whether you’re fishing for fun or enjoying the sun you can do it all at Rough River.  

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5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Kentucky When most people think of Kentucky, they think of bourbon, horses, and bluegrass music, but that’s not all for which the state is known. Part of the Appalachian Mountain range, Kentucky has some of the best areas for fall camping on the eastern side of the country. Below are five of the most perfect camping spots throughout the state where you can relax, take a hike, fish, or watch a beautiful sunset reflected in the quiet waters of a lake. 

Surrounded by the beautiful Daniel Boone National Forest near the eastern part of the state, the Natural Bridge State Resort Park near Slade, Kentucky, is a camper’s delight. With over 2,200 acres and a nature preserve with more than 22 miles of great hiking trails, a large fishing lake, and plenty of space for camping, you won’t have any trouble except deciding where to spend the night. There are two camping areas with 86 sites available, some with electric and some for primitive tent camping only. Within the park, there is boating, kayaking, and canoeing, swimming when the weather permits, a nature center, picnic area, children’s playground, a miniature golf course, and seasonal activities like live music performances and ranger-presented programs. Reservations can be made in advance, but there are minimum night stays required. Check the website for additional information on applicable fees and any alerts before setting up camp. 

Otter Creek, the waterway for which the park is named, lies on the eastern side of the recreation area near Braedenburg, Kentucky, and is owned and maintained by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. In addition to upgraded and primitive cabins, an archery range, disc golf course, shooting range, and trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, there are also campground sites available, some with electric and some suitable for tent camping. The campground is open from April 1 through October when staff is on site, but at other times of the year with registration. 

Considered one of the best family campgrounds in the state, the Red River Gorge is where you can find Callie’s Lake and Campground. Complete with a four-acre lake, 50-acre campground, hiking trails, and rock climbing locations, there is nothing better than the sunset reflected in Callie’s Lake. There are over 50 primitive camping sites with fire rings and picnic tables, and the lake is fully stocked in case you want to spend some time fishing. 

Recognized by Kentucky Living Magazine as a Reader’s Choice Award winner for best horseback riding trail and best vacation getaway, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park near Corbin, Kentucky, has a unique feature that you won’t find anywhere else. Called the “Niagara of the South” with good reason, the dynamic 125-foot waterfall is breathtaking by day, but on moonlit nights, there’s an otherworldly moonbow haze surrounding the falls that is worth seeing.

Reserve a spot at this 39-site campground situated among breathtaking mountain vistas. Pets are allowed if they are leashed. There is a glistening, 750-acre lake for fishing with good bass, crappie, and walleye. Wildlife in the area includes wood duck, ruffled grouse, wild turkey, red-winged blackbird, warblers, raccoon, skunk, and more. 

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10 Best Archery Outfitters in Kentucky Whether you’re an expert archer or you’re just starting out, sportsmen and women of all skill levels have to stock up on the best gear. Kentucky has an abundance of excellent places to do just that. Find everything from quivers and sights to crossbows and arrows at these 10 awesome local archery outfitters in Kentucky. 

Located in Northern Kentucky, M&M Archery is your one-stop shop for all things archery. This unique family-friendly spot is open every day except Sunday and Monday and offers everyone excellent service and quality products like Bear, Mission, and Black Eagle. Carrying a full line of bow, recurves, and crossbows with all the accessories for each like quivers, sights, and release aids, they also have bow tuning and repair services. Visit the custom arrow center, and try out one of the NFAA indoor archery practice ranges or the 3D target range. Lessons and rental equipment are available for any age, and they’ll even host special events like team-building exercises and birthday parties. 

Serving the local community since 1996, and with a nice selection of arrows, bows, and related equipment from top manufacturers in the archery field like Mission, QAD, and Mathews, King’s Archery Outfitters in Louisville, Kentucky, takes service and customer satisfaction to a new level. If you’re a beginner, want to brush up for hunting season, or get ready for a tournament, there are classes and instructors that will help you prepare. King’s is open Tuesday through Saturday.

Family owned and in business since 1978, Bent Arrow Archery in New Haven, Kentucky, has made a name for themselves with the top-notch service and great products they sell. You can find brands like Genesis, PSE, and Mission for your bow needs, and they have custom-made arrows in store, but if you have a specific need, the owners will be happy to special order it for you. Whether you’re getting ready for bow season or the NASP, use right or left-landed equipment, want to purchase new or repair what you have, Bent Arrow is the place to go.  

In business for more than 16 years, and known as one of the best archery supply shops in western Kentucky, Hunter’s Den in Russellville is the place to go for the latest equipment and great brands like Rage and Genesis. Hunter’s Den was also voted a “Top 100 Retailer” four years in a row by Mathews, Inc., and they pass their extensive knowledge and experience on to their customers. You can trust that this pro shop will deliver excellent and fast service at reasonable prices. Visit the outside shooting range for practice and have your bow serviced for best results from an experienced bowman.

Open every day except Sundays and in business for over 21 years, Mike’s Guns & Archery in Frankfort, Kentucky, has everything you need related to firearms and archery accessories. If they don’t have it, they can often find it at better prices than the larger retail stores, saving you dollars in the process. The quality of their products is matched by the excellent customer service you get. 

Looking for a new bow? Need to have your current bow serviced? Arrows and Antlers Archery in Butler, Kentucky, is the place to visit. Open daily from 6:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. except on Sunday, this local archery shop is an authorized Mathews dealer with plenty of products in stock, but if they don’t have it, they can order it. You can test your bows for accuracy in the indoor shooting range. 

For a top-notch place to get all your archery needs, stop by On Target Archery and Outdoors in Mayslick, Kentucky. Whether you’re a professional archer, an avid sportsman or sportswoman, or you want to take up a new recreational hobby, you’ll find helpful people who can guide you to the best products on the market from trusted brands like Viper, Hoyt, Mission, Stryker, Bowtech, and many more. Open every day but Sunday, try the great indoor range to improve your technique. 

Herndon Archery in Herndon, Kentucky, is a veteran-owned business that specializes in one-stop shopping for professional and custom-made bows and arrows. An authorized Elite dealer, Herndon Archery also has custom-made bow strings and takes the time needed to make sure you have what you need. Safety and understanding of correct techniques are important and stressed for every customer, and no matter how busy they are, you’ll have individual attention that will make you leave satisfied. 

Got my new Prime Rival today! The guys at Herndon Archery got me set up. #G5, #prime, #goldtip#carter #qad

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Established in 1945, Pape’s in Louisville, Kentucky, has over a million square-feet of space and inventory that includes new products, specialty services, discontinued items, and promotional offers. They also have muzzle loading products, camping, and ATV supplies for the complete outdoors experience. Unmatched service and selection is what you can expect at Pape’s, and everyone on staff is experienced with bow hunting and the desire to serve the archery community. 

Locally owned and operated, Blevins Gap Outdoors is a specialty archery gear shop that is dedicated to providing the best equipment, supplies, and resources for a great hunting and fishing experience. Louisville, Kentucky, is home to this small-town shop with big service. Proud supporters of the NASP program and promoting archery as a sport, they prefer to remain independent from single brands and offer the best of all companies like Easton, Beman, Gold Tip, and Carbon Express. With over 50 years of experience, you can trust that you’ll get the guidance and knowledge you need.

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10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Kentucky There’s something very relaxing about sitting back and quietly enjoying the peace and quiet that comes from fishing. Until you feel the tug on your line, that is. Then you’d better have the right bait and tackle to land that fish! The best bait and tackle shops in Kentucky are great places to get what you need. Whether you’re saltwater or freshwater fishing, fishing for small mouth bass or the biggest trout in the lake, your experience will be better when you use trusted brands from a shop where customer service is more than just an expression.

If you never thought about a bait and tackle shop being the recipient of a city award, think again. Smyrna Bait & Tackle of Louisville, Kentucky, did just that. Perhaps it was because they’ve been serving Louisville and the surrounding area for more than 40 years. Or maybe it was because they have handmade lures that rival the best large box bait and tackle stores. It’s all of those reasons and more. 

Bandit and Storm are just some of the brands that are carried at Imperial Bait & Tackle in Middlesboro, Kentucky. If you love fishing and are looking for a great shop that has a wide selection of hooks, sinkers, rods, reels, and fly fishing supplies, stop by and talk to the friendly folks at Imperial Bait & Tackle. 

Prichard’s Outdoor Shop opened its doors in Grayson, Kentucky, in 2012, and has been selling fishing, hunting, trapping, and archery supplies to the public ever since then. Along with these products, they offer propane and other fuel, good, and boat rentals for that special fishing trip. Open every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., you won’t find a friendlier and more knowledgeable people than at Prichard’s. 

B&B Bait and Tackle in Nicholasville, Kentucky,  isn’t just your average bait and tackle shop. Winner of several awards including the “Best Bait and Tackle Shop,” the Readers Choice Best in Business Award, and “Best of Nicholasville” award since 2012 when they opened, you’ll find unsurpassed customer service and products from nationally-recognized brands. Open every day except Wednesday.

Chloe in our commercial for our bait and tackle store

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What started out as a simple bait shop in 2003 has grown to a fully-stocked bait and tackle store with online purchasing capabilities. With great nationally recognized brands like Strike King and Zoom, Winding Creek Bait & Tackle in Madisonville, Kentucky, is among the very best. Special orders are no problem at all. 

Crazy Horse Bait & Tackle in Campbellsville, Kentucky, opened in 1993 with the specific purpose of providing a local place where folks could come for all their outdoor and sporting goods needs. Helpful and community minded, the owners are happy to answer any questions you may have about anything related to fishing. Open every day except Sunday and Monday. 

It’s all about the bass at Cedar Creek Lake Outfitters in Crab Orchard, Kentucky. The only full inventory bait and tackle store that has everything you need to fish for that trophy trout, they carry brands like Zoom, Bandit, Shimano, and many more nationally-known brands. Check out their seasonal hours on the website before going. 

This one-stop family-owned shop located in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, Anglers Bait-N-Tackle, has been around since 1996. Serving the local area with great products and superior customer service, they have live bait and everything you need to have a successful fishing adventure, especially if you’re traveling to nearby Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. Open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., they love to talk fishing. 

10ft PENN Battalion

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Backwater Outfitters is Lexington, Kentucky’s premier bait and tackle shop for all your fishing needs. With a great selection of brand names like Abu Garcia, G Loomis, Storm, and many more, you can trust that you’re not only getting quality in the products you buy, but excellent customer service, too. Backwater Outfitters also feature Hobie brand kayaks so you can fish hands free. With a mission to serve men and women, young and old, local and regional, Backwater Outfitters is open every day except Sunday to provide all your fishing needs. 

When you invest your time and money into the sport of fishing, you want to know that you’re getting the best gear, equipment, and supplies. With trusted national brands like Jenko, Rapala, and Strike King to name a few, you can depend on the quality and service that’s earned them a great reputation since 1984 at Fast Eddie’s Bait & Tackle Shop in Benton, Kentucky. Open every day.

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Best Places to Fish in the South This Fall Redfish are starting to move inshore and set up at the mouths of bays, inlets and deltas as their annual spawning run commences. The bottom line for fishermen is outstanding fishing from late September through November in the northern Gulf.

Likewise, bass fishing is starting to pick up again as the weather begins to cool. Huge schools of threadfin shad are starting to filter away from open-water ledges into bays and tributaries where feeding conditions and water temperatures are more optimum.

Bass follow the food, first setting up on ledges at the mouths of inlets and creeks to waylay shad, then migrating back toward shallower water to keep up with their quarry.

Fall Script for Southern Bass

Bass rule in Dixie and cooler weather brings out an army of anglers who go after them. Whether largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass, they’re available in most waters and sometimes all three varieties are present in a fishery, ready to aggravate or gratify those who seek them.

Hot Spots To Fish: When it comes to the South’s best lakes for fall fishing, the big TVA impoundments fit the bill. Because this is bass tournament country, dozens of YouTube videos and Facebook sites of pro anglers offer useful advice on where and how to catch autumn largemouths. Likewise, guide services are plentiful; just Google “fishing guides” for the lake you’re visiting or type in the town nearest the lake you wish to fish on the interactive map on this page.

Tackle You’ll Need: A 7-foot medium/heavy rod such as the St. Croix Premier Cranking, a baitcasting reel like the Abu Garcia Revo Winch and 10- to 14-pound-test monofilament makes a good combination to fish downsized lures.

Quick tip: This is strictly a match-the-hatch deal. Use lures that are about the same size as wandering shad. If young-of-the-year threadfins are on the bass menu, try small swim baits fished on drop-shot rigs.


Best Lures/Baits: Shad-colored, shallow- and medium-diving square-billed or coffin-billed crankbaits are autumn standouts. Popular lures include the Strike King 6XD, Bandit 100 or 200, Duo Realis M65, Livetarget Magnum Shad BaitBall Squarebill, Megabass S-Crank, Lucky Craft Squarebill 2.5, Storm Arashi and Rapala Shad Rap.

Fish them around shoreline cover and on the flats between creek drop-offs and the bank. Other fallback baits include spinnerbaits like the Booyah Super Shad, Stanley Vibrashaft and Nichols Pulsator. Good buzzbait options can be found from Lunker Lure, Damiki, Santone and Dirty Jigs.

Rendezvous With Redfish

Along the northern Gulf Coast from Carrabelle, FL, to Grand Isle, LA, the redfish season begins in late September and continues in stages through December. Some anglers fish in the surf with cut bait, while others station themselves on area piers or in boats on relatively shallow flats near channel cuts.

Hot Spots To Fish: For boating anglers, a couple of spots stick out. Pensacola Bay Pass is a must-fish for boaters. Anchor up on the broad flat between old Fort Pickens and the channel, set out lines as the tide changes to incoming, and hang on. Need more help? Redfish University Pensacola Fishing Charters (850-748-4368, specializes in the big drum.

At Grand Isle, LA, book a trip with Gotta Go Fishing Charters (225-921-3642, The marshes and inshore waters around Venice, LA, are primo redfish haunts as well. Captain Mike Frenette (504-782-0924, or ( is a top guide here.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company 
Louisiana’s coastal waters are ground zero for the hottest autumn redfish action along the northern Gulf Coast. A variety of natural baits and artificials get the job done.

Tackle You’ll Need: “Rat” reds of 3 pounds and up, or real bruisers weighing in excess of 20 pounds require a range of tackle options. Bass fishing tackle – whether spinning or baitcasting – is perfect for handling smaller fish and for casting jigs or swimbaits that weigh less than an ounce. A Shimano Stradic spinning reel and 7-foot medium-action Shimano Compre rod with 14-pound-test monofilament.

For bigger fish, consider a Penn Battle II BTLII5000 with 20-pound-test monofilament or 40-pound-test braid, and a 30-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. A 7-foot medium-heavy spinning rod (such as the Penn Battalion BATIN1220S70) should handle any bait rigs or lures and wear down a bull redfish in short order.

Quick Tip: Incoming tides in late evening or at night are primo times for reds as the fish free-spawn then in the mouths of coastal bays and estuaries. If you can’t fish any other time, make sure you fish the incoming tides.


Best Lures/Baits: Redfish aren’t particular about their dietary requirements and will eat anything from blue crabs to halved mullet. Swimming spoons such as the Johnson Sprite (, swimbaits and jigs or even topwater poppers, such as the Heddon Saltwater Spook, will elicit strikes.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company Photo By Garrick Dixon Shallow- to medium-running crankbaits probably account for more bass than any other lure in the fall when the fish are on the prowl for shad in feeder creeks and coves. Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
9 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in Kentucky Festivals, food, and fun is what you’ll find in Kentucky any time of year, but there’s something special about autumn. With the changes of fall comes great opportunities to sample fresh produce like apples and pumpkins, take a tour, celebrate at a festival, or spend the night under the stars. Here are some of the best fall activities in Kentucky.  

You’ll see Mother Nature at her best at the Parklands of Floyds Fork just outside Louisville. Hiking, biking, walking, or whatever your favorite fall outdoor activity happens to be, you’ll be able to enjoy it at this oasis. There are great opportunities for taking pictures at this not-to-miss nature area that connects several local parks.

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What better way to experience the changing of the leaves than sleeping under them and the stars? A spot local’s favor, the Hillman Ferry Campground has people flocking to the grounds until November. You’ll find yourself in a trance waking up looking at the beautiful golden, orange, and red leaves swaying above you. At night you can cozy up near the campfire and practice your chef skills making campfire cuisine. Nearby enjoy mountain bike trails, hiking trails, and other natural sites to explore.

It’s no secret that the folks in Kentucky have a serious love of horses. Old Friends is basically a retirement home for racehorses, and you’ll get to meet some of the best thoroughbreds around. Even if you don’t enjoy horseracing, you’ll fall in love with these special horses and the people who care for them. Perfect activity for a sunny October day!

If you’ve never seen the countryside at tree level, you’re in for a special treat at Boone Creek Outdoors, a high-speed, adrenaline-producing outdoor adventure. Walk and zip across the changing treetops as you float across the limestone gorge and see the beauty beneath you. It’s where history and nature come together. 

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Another great outside fall activity in the southwestern part of the state is the Floodwall Murals of Paducah. These incredible landmarks aren’t just colors painted on walls, but a beautiful display of history and talent. Take a self-guided tour that explains the history of Kentucky on each panel. With all of the history and art that the landmark city of Paducah has to offer, the murals are ideal to experience in the fall in the midst of all of the red and orange leaves.

Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort. This is a great family activity that gets you up close and personal with some of the most interesting creatures on the planet. Snakes, bears, turtles, bison, elk, deer, and bobcats are just a few of the wild things that you’ll get to see at this wildlife center, where you can spend an hour or spend the day. 

You’ve got to pick a pumpkin or two from this great location known for family fun. Before or after your pumpkin picking, take a hayride, eat a treat, or take a family photo with hay bales in the background. For those who want a little more action, there’s paintball in the corn stalks, a zip line that takes you 600 feet in the air, and the seasonal Field of Horror. 

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There’s nothing more fun than a train ride through the country. You’ll delight in the colors of fall as your roll through the valleys of central Kentucky on one of the specialty trains. You might take a Civil War train and learn about the role of the railroad during that time, or you might take a Pumpkin Patch ride all the way to a stop at a local farm where you can pick your own pumpkin. 

There is always something drawing people in at the Arboretum. This 100-acre landscape covered in lush flora and fauna is located on the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington.  With an annual rate of around 200,000 visitors, this place is favored by many, and it’s no reason why! Once you experience walking the trails of the beautifully designed gardens, admiring the artistic sculptures and greenery, you’ll see why! There are walks, classes, festivals, and events frequently going on so check their website out to see what you can participate in next!

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Camping Done Right: 7 Best Outdoor Stores in Kentucky When it comes to enjoying the outdoors, preparation is the best way to make sure you have a great time. And the best way to prepare is to visit and talk to people who make that their mission in life. Listed below are the seven best outdoor stores in Kentucky where you can go to find the brands that will make your next outdoor adventure successful. 

Camping is a wonderful outdoor activity, whether you’re doing it alone, with friends, or as a family. Having the right equipment and supplies can make the difference between a great camping experience and a bad one. J&H Lanmark in Lexington, Kentucky, is a local outdoor store that features trusted name brands like Patagonia, Black Diamond, Marmot, and many more. Opened in 1972 as an army/navy surplus store, it quickly became a source for all things camping related with the goal of having the best customer service anywhere. Open from seven days a week. 

Camping, hiking, climbing…whatever your favorite outdoor activity is, Quest Outdoors in Louisville, Kentucky, is the place to get all your supplies and equipment. When Quest Outdoors opened their doors in 1983, their mission was to help lovers of nature successfully complete their adventures. No matter what season or type of activity, you’ll find a full line of nationally recognized brands like MSR, Big Agnes, and Osprey. Stop by Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m. where friendly and knowledgeable folks will help you find exactly what you need. 

Hooper’s Outdoor Center is a large two-story store that is your local center for recreational activities in Kentucky. Located in Paducah, the store is open every day to help you find what you need for your next camping trip, fishing or hunting expedition, or family hiking adventure. Carrying famous brands like Terramar and Columbia for apparel, CamelBack and Black Diamond for gear, and the North Face for outdoor footwear, if they don’t have what you want, they’ll help you find it. 

Woody's favorite store 😏

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With a desire to give the best customer service and provide quality outdoor gear to individuals and families in the Louisville, Kentucky area, Water and Oak Outdoor Company stocks a large selection of apparel, equipment, and other supplies for just about any activity you can want. They believe that happy customers are repeat customers, so they go out of their way to be a trusted place with great products from companies like Patagonia, Barbour, and more. Whatever you need, stop by Water and Oak any day of the week. 

What would a camping trip be without swimming, fishing, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, or other fun activity? Make sure you have everything you need for your next adventure by stopping by Prichard’s Outdoor Shop in Grayson, Kentucky. Staffed by friendly people who know about the outdoors, if they don’t have what you want, they’ll find it. 

Campcraft Outdoors, located in Bethlehem, Kentucky, isn’t your typical outdoor store. More than a supply and equipment store, Campcraft Outdoors is a professional survival school offering skills courses, certifications, and maker of handcrafted products for wilderness survival, camp cooking, survival self-defense, and more, including accredited classes for people of all ages who camp, hike, or lead groups. Partnering with Escape the Woods, the largest competitive training event in the country, you’ll find everything you need from Campcraft Outdoors for outdoor survival.

There’s nothing better to teach strong wholesome values than in the great outdoors. This is the thinking behind Kentucky Lake Outdoors. Located in Calvert City, there’s something for everyone here, and a love of being outside is at the core. The friendly staff can help you find what works best for you. Open every day.

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5 Gorgeous Beach Campsites in Kentucky Kentucky’s magnificent natural areas boast everything from densely forested spaces, to hills and mountains, to enchanting meadows. The Bluegrass State is also home to some beautiful, enormous lakes that are best experienced via tent, RV, or cabin. To absorb the truly beautiful nature of Kentucky, camp overnight at one of these gorgeous beach campsites in the state. 

You can never go wrong with a KOA. This campground’s long list of exciting features include: an indoor/outdoor pool, splash pool, jumping pillow, mini golf, a giant chess set, basketball court, volleyball, playground, pedal carts, and much more! This is the perfect family-friendly accommodation. To experience the magnificent Kentucky Lakes, rent aboat and spend the day on the water! 

Greenbo Lake is a Kentucky favorite. At this state resort park, you’ll find basketball courts, trails for hikers, horseback riders, bikers and mountain bikers, birding, boating, and more! The campground features 58 sites with utility hook-ups, as well as 36 primitive sites. There are three dumping stations available in the area, as well as service buildings with showers and bathrooms.

This widely popular Kentucky campground features 59 lodging options that include 32 campsites with water and electric, 27 primitive sites (several of which have waterfront views), a building with bathrooms and showers, laundry facilities, and more. There is a playground in the area for children and pets are also allowed (as long as they’re leashed). For the anglers, there is great fishing opportunity at Nolin Lake, too.  

This 700-acre campground is a can’t-miss. There are 200 campsites on the grounds for both RVs and tent camping. Twin Knobs is very family-friendly as it has amphitheater programs available and scheduled campground activities to get everyone involved. You’ll also find a great beach with ample opportunity for swimming (and boating outside of the designated, roped-off swimming area). You will also find opportunity to play basketball, volleyball, and horseshoe pits. 

Grayson Lake has a little something for everyone. According to its site, Grayson Lake State Park’s natural characteristics feature “sheer sandstone canyons and gentle slopes.” Grayson Lake has 74.2 miles of shoreline and plenty of opportunity for boating. There are also 71 campsites with servicebuildings offering bathrooms, showers, laundry, and more. Enjoy canoeing, fishing, golfing, hiking, picnicking, and more at Grayson Lake State Park. 

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5 Beautiful Backpack Camping Spots in Kentucky Kentucky provides a large number of great places to get outside and enjoy hiking, backpacking, and camping. If the idea of rustic camping appeals to you, check out these five beautiful backpack camping spots that will provide you with the ultimate primitive experience among beautiful Kentucky wilderness. 

Part of the Daniel Boone National Forest, Beaver Creek Wilderness became recognized as a top location for exploring nature in quiet and peaceful surroundings in 1975. This 4,877-acre is kept free from outside interferences and influences to protect the rugged beauty, and there is little signage to guide hikers and backpackers. Overnight primitive camping is allowed with certain restrictions, as well as hunting and fishing, and there are the remains of an abandoned coal settlement from the early 1900s that can provide an interesting hike. Remember that bears and other animals call this wilderness home, so caution must be used to protect yourself and food. You’ll need to register with the ranger’s station before embarking on your adventure since cell phones may not work in these areas. Another important requirement of wilderness areas is the “leave no trace” concept. The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources ( can provide additional information that will make your trip fun and safe. 

Three states are part of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, and some of the 85 miles of hiking and backpacking trails that run the length of the Gap take you into the heart of the Appalachian backcountry and black bear territory. The trails are not always well-marked and care must be exercised to keep food away from bears and other animals when camping overnight. There is no charge for camping—however, you must obtain a permit from the visitor center and reservations can be made in advance up to three months. Make sure to check on weather and trail conditions, water access, and other important information that will help make your adventure fun and safe. 

Land Between the Lakes, a recreation area situated between Kentucky and Tennessee has been a recognized outdoor playground since 1963. The lakes referred to in the name are Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake, and the area is known as one of the largest undeveloped forests in the country. The area is perfect for hiking, backpacking, fishing, birding, and water sports, and hunting is permitted with the proper licensing. Backcountry camping, recently renamed dispersed camping, is permitted with fees paid online or at a local visitor center. Escape into nature and experience more than 300 miles of shoreline and over 500 miles of trails. Bring your own water or filtration system and watch out for black bears that live in the area. The USDA Forest Service can provide helpful information about things you need to know before you take your trip.

Located in the south-central part of the state, Mammoth Cave National Park in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, contains parts of the longest cave system in the world. Visitors and especially those hiking or backpacking along the miles of trails in the park are often treated to local wildlife like white-tailed deer, wild turkey, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, and a variety of birds. Two kinds of backcountry camping are permitted in Mammoth Cave National Park, designated camping sites and floodplain sites. Both sites have restrictions, so be sure to review before venturing out as the rules are there for your protection. Permits are also required. 

Connected to the Daniel Boone National Forest and the Red River Gorge, Clifty Wilderness has some of the most unique and breathtaking rock formations and natural stone bridges. Exploring the 12,646-acre wilderness area is not for the fainthearted or those with little hiking and backpacking experience. Many of the more than 20 miles of trails have no clear markings and orienteering skills are needed to navigate the wooded paths. Dispersed overnight camping is allowed by permit only and you must follow the guidelines for safe camping. 

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