Set up camp and set out for fun at campgrounds across the state
Kentucky is blessed with areas of spectacular natural beauty, and RV camping is the perfect way for outdoor enthusiasts to fully appreciate the Bluegrass State’s caves, rivers, lakes, mountains and forests teeming with wildlife. It’s also a way to be near Kentucky’s top attractions, such as bourbon distilleries and historic sites, without the hassle of finding a hotel room.
For a summer vacation that requires minimal planning, just pack up the RV and hit the road. Wherever your travels take you, you’ll find many inviting campgrounds and RV parks all around the state. Here are a few to consider:
Nestled in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Holly Bay Campground near London is a peaceful retreat on the banks of Laurel River Lake, and is a hiker’s dream. For an easy hike, take the Wintergreen Trail, a loop that’s less than a mile long, but has lots to see, like brilliantly hued wildflowers and lush ferns that grow near the lake in season. If you’re lucky, you may spot a bald eagle swooping into its nest.
The Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail attracts experienced hikers, stretching 290 miles through rugged forest terrain with its terminus in Tennessee. It’s the backbone for the entire forest trail system, with many shorter, less strenuous trails linking to it.
Supervisory Natural Resource Specialist Bill Ryan says nature lovers are drawn to its serenity.
“The trail parallels Laurel River Lake, and it has many secluded lake views,” Ryan says. “In the mornings, hikers will see the fog lifting off the lake. It’s a quiet, peaceful experience. They may also spot birds and waterfowl passing through some of the hemlock stands.”
There are sections open to horses, mountain bikes and off-road vehicles.
This is black bear country, so be bear aware by properly storing food and disposing of trash while camping.
Mammoth Cave National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves the world’s longest known cave system, is one of the most visited attractions in Kentucky, and Cave Country RV Campground in Cave City is only 5 miles away.
After a long day of admiring subterranean marvels, visitors can return to this nearby oasis that offers the comforts of home, like a fitness center, Wi-Fi and cable TV. Spacious sites can accommodate even the biggest of big rigs.
Five lakes invite campers to Diamond Lake Resort southwest of Owensboro to grab a fishing rod or just enjoy an afternoon dangling their toes in the water from a sun-kissed dock on this 157-acre resort. But if you’re traveling with adrenaline seekers, they can indulge in some high-octane fun at the go-kart track.
Campground owner Brian Smith recommends campers head to the Good Time Theater in the evenings for family-oriented live entertainment that ranges from comedy shows to sing-along jamborees.
“The fact that we have a theater makes our campground unique and adds to the overall experience,” Smith says. “We always have an enthusiastic crowd. The kids are happy to go to the shows because they could end up on stage.”
Owensboro is bluegrass and barbecue territory, and you’ll want to indulge in both. Check out the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum (formerly the International Bluegrass Music Museum) to learn about this musical genre that’s so deeply rooted in Kentucky, and then grab a plate of barbecue mutton at the Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn.
Elkhorn Campground, a 125-site campground in Frankfort, offers the best of town and country. Perched on the banks of Elkhorn Creek, this retreat feels tucked away in the woods, but it’s actually close to many of the capital city’s most popular attractions, like the Governor’s Mansion and Buffalo Trace Distillery, which offers tours and tastings of award-winning bourbon.
For parents, the best part of the campground is the arsenal of kid-friendly activities, including a pool, a playground, putt-putt golf and horseshoes.
Set on 50 scenic acres outside of Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, the RV park in Gilbertsville attracts boaters, anglers and those simply looking to amplify their summer fun. Kentucky Lake is one big aquatic playground just waiting for kids and kids-at-heart to bring their toys, like paddleboards and kayaks. If you need a little more action, hang on to your sunglasses and take off on water skis or a WaveRunner.
Spend your nights at Beech Bend Campground and your days at Beech Bend Amusement Park in Bowling Green. Whether you’re traveling with tots or teens, the amusement park will keep your whole crew entertained. Air Race, the newest thrill ride, replicates the stomach-churning adrenaline rush of acrobatic flight. Think the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron.
For little ones, the Bumble Bee Bop and the Crazy Bus are enough of a thrill.
Splash Lagoon Water Park, included in the admission, was expanded last summer and its four new waterslides guarantee lots of soggy fun. At the end of the day, it’s just a short walk to the campground, where you can rest up for tomorrow’s adventures.
Other RV Campgrounds:
216 Gaunce Drive, Cave City
344 Daws Ridge Road, Nancy
5970 State Park Road, Burkesville
2540 John L. Puryear Drive, Paducah
165 N. Scruggs Lane, Frankfort
668 Loretto Road, Bardstown
257 Rogers Gap Road, Georgetown