Step Outside - Kentucky WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 http://stepoutside.org/ Step Outside - Kentucky 144 144 http://stepoutside.org/ https://cdnstep-americantownscom.netdna-ssl.com/img/stepoutside_logo.gif Sat, 20 Oct 2018 03:33:25 -0500 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, redfishuniversity.com) specializes in the big drum.

At Grand Isle, LA, book a trip with Gotta Go Fishing Charters (225-921-3642, gottagofishingcharters.com). The marshes and inshore waters around Venice, LA, are primo redfish haunts as well. Captain Mike Frenette (504-782-0924, laredfish.com or (mike@venicefishing.net) 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 (johnsonfishing.com), swimbaits and jigs or even topwater poppers, such as the Heddon Saltwater Spook, will elicit strikes.

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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. http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-south-this-fall http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-south-this-fall 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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http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-outdoor-fall-activities-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-outdoor-fall-activities-in-kentucky Thu, 20 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0500
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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http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-7-best-outdoor-stores-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-7-best-outdoor-stores-in-kentucky Wed, 15 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
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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Brendan Delany/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-gorgeous-beach-campsites-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/5-gorgeous-beach-campsites-in-kentucky Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
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 (fw.ky.gov) 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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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-kentucky Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
4 Awesome Campgrounds for Families in Kentucky Kentucky has some of the most lush and beautiful wilderness in America, making it a perfect place for family camping trips. From beautiful state parks to family-oriented campsites with all the amenities, you’ll find an excellent place to pitch a tent in the Bluegrass State. Head out for a hike, roast s’mores over a campfire, and sleep under the stars at these great campgrounds for families in Kentucky. 

Jenny Wiley State Park is a great place to take your family if it is your first time camping. For beginners, the park offers a more luxurious cottage camping experience. Dewey Lake is a great spot to swim, fish or take a boat ride. The lake borders the campground where your family can relax. Jenny Wiley Theater is also a great spot to catch a show while you are spending a weekend in the woods. There is also a disc golf course for some friendly competition. You can bring your dog if you want, just make sure to observe dog-owner responsibilities!

Guist Creek Marina and Campground is a great spot to camp for the RV and car-camping enthusiast. Shelbyville, Kentucky, is a serene place to take a break from a long work week and to relax with your family and friends. While there is a campground fee for a two-person tent, it is affordable at $19 per night. Kids ages 5-14 are $2, kids 14 and up are $4 which for a small family can all be done under $50 a night. Look no further than Guist Creek for that first camping experience. 

Still Waters Campground is a wonderful destination when it comes to organizing a family camping outing. The campground hosts several events every year for tent campers and RV campers alike. There is plenty of room around the campsite for volleyball, Frisbee, and barbecues. Mountain bikers can also find some adrenaline-pumping trails around the campground that make for a wonderful extracurricular camping experience. Still Waters Campground is one of the best family campgrounds outside of the Red River Gorge that offers primitive and RV camping. Check out the canoeing if you feel exploring the waters with the whole family for a reasonable price.

According to its site, Renfro Valley offers families the chance to “enjoy a taste of Southern hospitality and a true Kentucky camping experience.” Situated among the stunning foothills of the Appalachians Mountains, this campsite offers a wealth of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Events and activities include the KOA Kounty Fair, Family Olympics, crafts, hayrides, and an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. Need we say more? Check out Renfro Valley for your next family camping outing! 

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sirtravelalot/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/4-awesome-campgrounds-for-families-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/4-awesome-campgrounds-for-families-in-kentucky Mon, 13 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -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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welcomia /Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-awesome-rv-campsites-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/5-awesome-rv-campsites-in-kentucky Mon, 13 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in Kentucky Kentuckians take a lot of pride in the wilderness and preserving the natural world for future generations. After all, Kentucky is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It took millions of years to create such spectacular views with lush scenery, so why not share it with the rest of the world? Check out these hikes if you’re interested in being dazzled by the Kentucky landscape. 

Raven Rock Trail at Kingdom Come State Park near Cumberland, Kentucky, offers one of the most beautiful views of eastern Kentucky you can find. Black Mountain which is part of Pine Mountain settlement can be viewed from the top of this mountain. For those of you that don’t know, Black Mountain is the highest point in Kentucky, but the view of it from across the holler is quite magnificent. This hiking trail is moderate with only half a mile of path. You’re sure to enjoy yourself once you reach the top of Raven Rock Trail as you marvel at the beauty of the Cumberland River Valley. Along the hike, you will discover the geological wonders of Kentucky’s mountain ranges. The steep hike offers incredible chances to revel in the beauty of Harlan County. 

#Fall has arrived in full glory in the southeast #Kentucky #mountains. #yestravelky #kytourism #kystateparks #kentuckylife

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Blackacre State Nature Preserve near Louisville, Kentucky, is an introduction to nature for youth and a reintroduction for adults. The hikes that takes place at Blackacre are often guided. The woods of Blackacre have been protected for over 200 years now and they intend to keep them preserved this way. School field trips are often taken to Blackacre to teach kids about the wilderness in Kentucky. However, you can visit Blackacre on your own time as well to study the native plants of Kentucky with your family. There are six trails, each offering beautiful hiking options to the beginner. 

Formed by the Carter Caves and nearby Cascade Caves, this 2,000-acre park yields breathtaking sights and a wonderful opportunity to connect to nature. There are plenty of hiking trails ideal for all levels of experience at Carter Caves. If you’re looking for something quick, try the half-mile Natural Bridge Trail which boasts a stunning limestone natural bridge, one of the most fascinating sites in Kentucky. If you’re looking for a longer trek, try the 3.5-mile Three Bridges Trail—one of the most popular in the park, characterized by Smoky Bridge (the park’s largest natural bridge). 

cave exploring was definitely one for the books, till next time Kentucky?? also got to see my gf??

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This Boone County state park gets its name from the Pleistocene megafauna fossils found in the area. It’s believed by many that mammoths were attracted to this particular area because of a salt lick deposited by sulfur springs. Today, you’ll find truly incredible wildlife at Bone Lick—including a herd of magnificent bison. Most of the trails at the park are easy to moderate in difficulty. To see it all, traverse the 4.5-mile Discovery Trail. It is a “trail mosaic” made up of all the park’s hiking trails. According to its website, hikers pass through grasslands, woodlands, woody savanna, salt-sulfur springs, and the bison viewing area. 

It’s been great having my beautiful Momz here with me. I love her more than words can describe. ??

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The gorgeous hikes are seemingly endless in Kentucky. The beauty continues with the 850-acre Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park located in Perry County. For a more challenging trail, try the half-mile Leatherwood Trail. This loop trail ascends hills, features several steps, and a beautiful lake overlook. For an easier hike, try the one-mile Moonshine Trail. 

Eastern Kentucky restoring my soul.

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Irina Mos/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-scenic-hikes-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-scenic-hikes-in-kentucky Fri, 10 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Energizing Hikes in Kentucky There’s nothing more exhilarating than being out in the great outdoors and challenging yourself with a brisk hike in one of Kentucky’s most beautiful wilderness areas. Below are suggestions for five energizing hikes that require intermediate-level experience to complete. Not known as the easiest trails, the rewards for traveling and finishing these routes will give you more endurance, confidence, and a sense of accomplishment, and provide lasting memories. 

Part of the Cumberland Ranger District in the Red River Gorge, the Auxier Ridge Trail in the southeastern part of Kentucky is known for panoramic views and magnificent rock formation along the way. Rated as an intermediate trail, hikers who travel this two-mile route can do it easily in a day or decide to spend the night and take their time viewing the sunrise and sunset along the way. Overnight camping permits are required and can be obtained at the local ranger’s station. You’ll want to bring plenty of water and snacks with you, and you definitely don’t want to leave your camera behind. There are plenty of interesting sandstone formations and several rock bridges along the way that are worth stopping to enjoy and photograph. Keep an eye on changing weather conditions, too, since part of the trail covers a ridge in backwoods that can be somewhat challenging in bad weather. 

Almost any time of year is perfect for hiking the Siltstone Trail, but fall may be the most beautiful season with the changing leaves creating a rainbow of color. Part of the Tom Wallace Recreation Area near Louisville, Kentucky, and located in central Kentucky, the trail is approximately 6.5 miles-long. Hikers will get a workout on this intermediate trail, the longest in the Jefferson Memorial Forest, with plenty of elevation changes and uphill climbs as much as 3,000 feet. This trail is amazing, though, because it gives a perfect idea of the magnificence of the Great Smoky Mountains. Bring water and watch out for poison ivy.

Part of the largest protected areas in the state, Tom Dorman State Nature Reserve in eastern Kentucky is where this moderate/intermediate trail is found. A lightly traveled 2.4-mile loop that features opportunities to see wildlife like deer and many species of birds along the trail, this is the ideal place to explore nature. Managed by the Kentucky River Authority, the nature preserve includes a 220-foot palisade along the Kentucky River, giving the trail its name. There are difficult sections of the trail, and care should be exercised when hiking during wet seasons and on high cliffs since they tend to get slippery.  

One of the most scenic areas along the Central Hardwoods Scenic Trail near Golden Pond, Kentucky, is Lake Barkley. With more than 11 miles of trail to hike, travelers will journey through the Land Between the Lakes in the western part of the state. This is a multi-use trail, so you may see bikers enjoying the route as you hike through, but the trail was designed to be six-feet wide to accommodate both. The trail is particularly nice to travel during the summer months because the tall hardwood trees create the perfect canopy overhead. 

Perfect for so many outdoor activities including rock climbing, trail running, walking, and hiking, the Courthouse Rock Trail near Stanton in the southeastern part of Kentucky joins the Auxier Ridge Trail in the northern section of the Red River Gorge trail system. This intermediate trail is known for high cliffs and hollows that meander through the thick forest trees, creating a spectacular panorama of beauty. The trail gets its name from the rock formation that resembles an old courthouse that you pass along the way. Dogs are permitted on the trail as long as they are kept on a leash. 

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5 Great Hiking Trails in Kentucky Hiking unfamiliar trails that have long been admired and loved in Kentucky are part of the state’s hidden treasures. For excellent, family-friendly hikes among beautiful scenery, you don’t have to look far in the Bluegrass State. For wonderful day hikes, check out these five awesome trails in Kentucky. 

If you are in need of a quick day hike and want to see a spectacular view of Kentucky, come to Pilot Knob. This is an easily accessible trail for families. This site is dog-friendly, too. The trailhead begins through the woods across a small creek, so make sure you are prepared to get your feet wet. It’s recommended to bring an ample of amount of water to accommodate the moderate hike. Remember to take breaks as needed and allow yourself to revel in the beautiful forest surrounding the trail. As you approach the various switchbacks, there are plenty of opportunities for less-seasoned hikers to take a breath. The summit of Pilot Knob is nothing short of extraordinary, offering views of Irvine, Lexington, and the Pinnacles in Berea. If you keep your eyes open you might even see a bald eagle!

pilot noob ! 🔛🔝

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West Pinnacle Trail is one of the finest trails to day hike in Berea, Kentucky. The Pinnacles offer various short distance hiking trails with stunning pastoral views, the natural wonders of Indian Fort Lookout, and a peaceful setting within the dense foliage of Berea, Kentucky. Take your dog, bring your kids, and allow yourself a few hours to enjoy the lovely hiking trails. The Pinnacles offer opportunities for moderate to intermediate hikers. 

Pope Lick Park, formally known as Floyd’s Fork, hosts a variety of paved hiking and walking trails. The area is a newly-renovated hiking and walking mecca just outside of Louisville, Kentucky. For people, familiar with the Forecastle Festival, that takes place every year in Downtown Louisville, this is where it all began in the early 2000s. A few bands took to Floyd’s Fork for the beautiful fields and surrounding creeks that host a variety of Kentucky wildlife. Pope Lick Park got its name from the Pope Lick Road that leads into the original entrance of Floyd’s Fork. There is also a local legend of a Pope Lick monster that lives on top of the train trestles right across the street. This trail is a great place to hike or walk with family, friends, and your dogs.

Location may as well be "Mark Gannott at Pope Lick."

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The little ones will love this spot. Raven Run is a 734-acre nature sanctuary preserving the beauty of the Kentucky River Palisades. Throughout the area, you’ll find a variety of hiking trails suitable for young hikers. There is the Red Trail, which is the main loop trail at just four miles and of moderate difficulty. The Green Trails are the easiest of the bunch, navigating through the meadows and ideal for less experienced hikers.

My friends I recommend you visit Raven Run

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One of the most beloved natural spaces in Kentucky, Natural Bridge State Resort Park boasts 12 trails, rated from easy to strenuous. The Lakeside Trail is among the easiest at just .25 miles. Ascend wooden steps and walk along an easily-navigable surface by a small lake. This is perfect for young hikers. For a step up, try the moderate, half-mile Low Gap Trail. This trail follows an old logging road and has only a 320-foot elevation change. 

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5 Exhilarating Jet Skiing Spots in Kentucky When it comes to thrilling water recreation, jet skiing is tops. Nothing beats that rush. Kentucky is home to a variety of vast, sparkling lakes primed for a jet ski ride. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned rider or you’re just trying it for the first time, and don’t worry if you don’t own a jet ski either. We’ve got you covered. Here are five exhilarating jet skiing spots in the Bluegrass State. 

Why not make an overnight trip of your jet skiing adventure? Moors Resort and Marina is home to the sprawling and stunning Kentucky Lake. Kentucky Lake is the largest man-made lake in the eastern United States. Situated on the northern shores of the lake, you’ll find 37 available cottages, 24 log cabin rooms, and plenty of opportunity for exciting outdoor recreation. At the marina, you can rent a WaveRunner for $75 for one hour (during both peak and off season). Check their website for rates for four-eight hours as the prices vary depending on when you visit.

Lake Barkley expands over 58,500 acres with a 1,004-mile shoreline. This man-made lake is one of the largest in the world, and is widely regarded as one of Kentucky’s best for water recreation. Don’t have your own jet ski? No worries. Check out Barkley Watersports in Cadiz, Kentucky, for some of the best rental rates around. Prices go at $90 per hour (or $150 for two hours, $225 for four hours). 

Lake Cumberland boasts a surface area of just over 100 square-miles with a shoreline that stretches 1,255 miles. For a thrilling ride, head to Lee’s Ford Marina where you’ll find Yamaha rentals that hold up to three people! For $225, the jet ski is yours for four hours. 

This 10,000-acre reservoir was created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1964. The marina on Barren River Lake has a variety of boats and jet skis available for rent. If you want to make a weekend of your jet skiing adventure, camp at Barren River Lake State Resort Park where you can also enjoy a basketball court, tennis courts, biking and hiking trails, excellent birding, and more.  

Situated just south of Morehead, Kentucky, Cave Run Lake has an area of just 12 square-miles, making it one of the smaller selections, but just as incredible. This sparkling lake offers some of the best water recreation in the state. For rentals, check out Jetliner Jet Ski Rentals. They operate Friday through Sunday. Give them a call for rates! 

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5 Great Paddleboarding Spots in Kentucky Kentucky is home to some truly magical places to get on your paddleboard and explore. Not only will you find beautiful bodies of water to traverse, but also plenty of rental options, lessons to learn the basics, and maybe even some paddleboarding yoga. Some of the finest waterways in the nation can be found in the Bluegrass State. So grab your paddle and check out these five awesome spots in Kentucky. 

SUP Kentucky in Lexington offers several classes to get your beginner’s training. $50 adult classes are offered by SUP Kentucky, from two teachers, with a combined 12 years of experience. Their intro class is a 1.5-hour introduction to paddleboarding, teaching the techniques of the art form. A Cavern Glow class is offered, where you can maneuver through a flooded limestone mine with LED lights on an hour-long experience. The Grayson Lake Hidden Grotto class will take you through hidden grottos, high cliff walls and alongside waterfalls for a truly exhilarating paddleboard adventure.  

SUP classes and SUP yoga classes are both offered by Canoe Kentucky in Frankfort, Kentucky. The fee for registration is $40 which will get you a rental inflatable or hardboard for SUP classes. Both the inflatable and hardboard have different techniques to learn from the wonderful instructors at Canoe Kentucky. Recently, Shaker Village in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, partnered with Canoe Kentucky to offer SUP yoga classes for $50 per person. This is a great place to learn SUP yoga with an affordable fee for the class. Canoe Kentucky began as a canoeing and kayaking business, but after seeing the SUP craze takeoff, they’re now on board with the best of the businesses offering these cool classes. 

Bluegrass Board Sports in Benton, Kentucky, offers a $35 per person beginners class for SUP learners. The intro class lasts 15 minutes, with a 45-minute paddle and sightseeing. Paddlefit coaches also have advanced guided tours for those that have done SUP before, which will last approximately 90 minutes. The Paddlefit classes at Bluegrass Board Sports are centered around the fitness techniques to accomplish your weight loss goals, strength and conditioning and overall well-being. Several options are available to serve your needs as a SUP’er. Gain experience or learn the art form of SUP from these wonderful coaches teaching quality skills for paddleboard lovers from all over the state. 

Pure Bliss Paddle Boards in Murray, Kentucky, offers SUP rentals with options of two hours, four hours and 12 hours. Their pricing is prorated depending on the number of rentals (people) involved in your SUP adventure. They offer company outings, family bonding, and weekend getaway groups to support your needs as a SUP’er. Their prices range from $36-$52/per person. Murray, Kentucky is home to Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley with a great free-flowing canal creating one of the largest man-made bodies of water in North America. Pure Bliss Paddle Boards is a great way to see this spectacular waterway in Kentucky.

Endless Summer Paddle in Louisville, Kentucky, has some of the best SUP class offerings available. $20 will get you a community paddle with fellow SUP students. $40 will get you a basic course in SUP, lasting two hours, where you will learn all the necessities that come along with paddleboarding. For $35 you can take a SUP yoga course to strengthen your core while learning yoga on a paddleboard. The SUP yoga course is an intense 90-minute course, but well worth your time and energy! $60 will get you the basic SUP course as well as a 60-minute guided yoga session. For your money, this is the best course available at Endless Summer Paddle. Check out this fantastic paddleboard spot to learn the basics, then transition to relaxation with their SUP yoga immersion!

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5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Kentucky Whether you are just beginning to kayak or want to teach others, you can learn a lot on Kentucky waters. There are plenty of beginner-friendly, public-accessible waterways to explore. Many of these areas even have local rental companies that offer guided tours to help you get your feet wet. Here are five excellent spots for beginners to get started on their kayaking adventure. 

Elkhorn Creek is a fantastic place to begin honing your kayaking skills. Many seasoned kayakers take to Elkhorn Creek on a regular basis, as well. Small-mouth bass are abundant here, so you might want to bring your fishing pole with you when you come paddling if you feel comfortable doing so. There are several chances here to learn to kayak in some whitewater rapids as well as learning wet-exiting techniques in your boat. If you’re not feeling the more aggressive waters, there are plenty areas of the creek for a more leisurely experience as well.

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This is the best place to get your feet wet. Little River is a full-service outfitter, bringing beginners everything they’ll need and more to get in a kayak and out on the water. Little River offers rentals and lessons, so don’t worry about having your own equipment. Providing all the necessary training, you can partake in Little River’s guided tours before you really start exploring. 

Located in Bowling Green Kentucky, Drake’s Creek Canoe offers rentals of canoes and kayaks to those in the Drake Creek area. For an excellent beginner experience, take part in their $40 per kayak Half Day Adventure. Lasting around 3-4 hours, this is Drake’s most popular trip. Kayakers will explore six, easy miles of Trammel and Drake’s Creek, and will eventually end up at Phil Moore Park.

Canoe Kentucky is an excellent rental company that allows paddlers to rent kayaks and canoes for the Kentucky River. Canoe Kentucky offers trips on the Kentucky River six days a week. According to its site, these trips are ideal “for those wanting a short day on the water,” with its calm and protected waters. The Kentucky River is described as a very beginner-friendly body of water, with its depth only reaching about 10-15 feet. 

If you are looking for something a bit more adventurous, Mammoth Cave is your spot. Mammoth Cave Canoe and Kayak offers several trips through Mammoth Cave National Park. Now, these trips range from three-hour journeys to full-on, three-day camping adventures. The shorter, three-hour trip is 7.5 miles and is perfect for those with less-experienced paddlers. Rates go at $60 per canoe or double kayak and $50 per kayak. 

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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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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-kentucky Thu, 05 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Outdoor Festivals in Kentucky With the Mississippi, Ohio and Kentucky Rivers, the Appalachian Mountains and all that lies in between, the Bluegrass State has much to offer those who love the outdoors. And what better way to celebrate the state’s natural beauty than a festival? From paddlesports to catfish celebrations, here are the best outdoor festivals in Kentucky! 

Taking place every August on the Ohio River between Kentucky and the Buckeye State, Paddlefest is the biggest celebration of paddlesports in the United States. It also includes several races that are part of the Kentucky Waterman Series. Ohio River Paddlefest features a paddler’s party and camping the night before the put in and a finish line festival after the paddle. Rental vessel  kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards—are available for those who need them. St. Elizabeth Healthcare is a major sponsor of this event, as well as Subaru, Great Parks of Hamilton County, Southern Paddlesports LLC, and more.

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Every summer (for over three decades), the river city of Ashland hosts its annual Summer Motion festival. In addition to live music, a carnival, art and a car show, there are plenty of other activities to get you outside and moving around. A 5K and a 10K race will take place during the festival, as well as a pickleball tournament. Health screenings and children’s games will also be on hand. Major sponsors include Summit RV, Glocknerof Ashland, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, and Marathon Petroleum Corp..

Every summer, the city of Augusta celebrates its Ohio River heritage with the Riverfest Regatta. Sternwheel river boats will be on hand for exploration and rides. You can also get involved by running a 5K or a 10K or participating in the corn hold tournament. Wine tasting and a beer garden are there to help you cool off afterward.

The Whippoorwill Festival was launched to promote “earth-friendly” living skills in Appalachia. The family-friendly festival includes workshops that teach traditional, self-reliant mountain living, tent camping and food. Music and dancing cap off the entertainment, and a community campfire serves as the festival’s evening centerpiece. This year’s festival is able to commence thanks to Kentucky Heartwood and Earth Tools Inc..

Okay, so Lebowski Fest is not entirely and an outdoor festival, and movie watching is a big part of it, but it’s still a unique, quirky weekend of events that you ought to check out. You can participate by dressing as your favorite “Big Lebowski” character or knocking down some pins at the bowling party. Bowling and the after party take place at Executive Strike & Spare and Against the Grain Brewery will be proffering beverages during the festival.

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Apart from fireworks and food and all the other fine hometown festival fare, Morgantown’s annual Green River Catfish Festival offers up a softball tournament, a basketball tournament, a poker tournament, a road race, a corn hole tournament and a karaoke contest. There’s also a river float and of course, fishing tournaments. Sponsors include Renegade Marina & Outdoor Center, City of Morgantown, and Morgantown Chamber of Commerce,

An annual autumn celebration of the Bluegrasss State’s waterways, Paddle Palooza is the biggest group paddle on the Kentucky River. Historically, there have been two different trip opportunities. The first is a family-friendly trip on the Kentucky River and Benson Creek. The second includes a trip through Lock and Dam No. 4. Workshops, educational tents, food and live music will be on handduring the festival. Rentals are available with pre-registration. 

For more than six decades, the city of Corbin has been hosting its annual NIBROC (“A reflection of Corbin”) Festival. Apart from a parade, vendors, a carnival and a beer garden, participants can join in the fun: There’s a volleyball tournament, a ping pong tournament, a corn hole tournament, a three-on-three basketball tournament, a two-mile race, and of course, the “Fastest Kid in Town” competition. Partnering with this festival is Baptist Health Corbin, Forcht Group of Kentucky, 4ever Graphics & Design, and Eastern Kentucky University.

Every September, folks flock to Barlow for the annual Ballard County Waterfowl Festival. There are typically bicycle tours and at least one additional cycling event, a fishing event and an archery tournament. Bird dog competitions and helicopter tours of Ballard County occur throughout the weekend. But the featured events are the Southern U.S. Open Calling Contests—for waterfowl, of course. Horizon Lawn and Tractor, Padicah Shooter’s Supply, and Kentucky Lake Outdoors help to make it all possible.

Hosted annually as a fundraiser by Paddling for Cancer Awareness, the Kentucky Dragon Boat Festival takes place every September on Campbell County Lake. Teams of paddlers compete against one another on the water, while merriment ensues on shore. This event is all made possible by Paddling for Cancer Awareness and The Kentucky Thorough-Breasts.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-festivals-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-festivals-in-kentucky Thu, 21 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0500