The 15 Best Camping Spots in Kentucky!

Kentucky has one of the most diverse landscapes in the U.S. The state is home to the mountains of Appalachia, boasts the world’s longest cave system, and is surrounded by rivers on three sides that form the state’s borders. With more than 40 state and national parks, Kentucky is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re looking to get away from the city crowds and reconnect with nature, consider pitching a tent and spending a few days at one of the best camping spots in Kentucky.

1. Red River Gorge, Stanton, KY

The Red River Gorge Geological Area is 45-square-mile sprawling system of canyons that’s contained mostly within the Daniel Boone National Forest. It’s a popular destination for rock climbers because of its many sandstone cliffs, and the area is home to more than 100 sandstone arches and many natural bridges. Numerous camping opportunities are available within Red River Gorge, including cabins, campgrounds, and RV parks, and backcountry camping is allowed in many areas for overnight hikers.

2. Land Between the Lakes, Golden Pond, KY

On the border of western Kentucky and Tennessee, you’ll find the Land Between the Lakes, a massive inland peninsula formed by the Kentucky and Barkley Lakes. Land Between the Lakes boasts more than 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline and 170,000 acres of forests and open lands that offer numerous wildlife viewing opportunities. Camping opportunities at Land Between the Lakes include cabins, campgrounds, and RV parks, and backcountry camping is allowed anywhere in the area with a permit.

3. Daniel Boone National Forest, Winchester, KY

The Daniel Boone National Forest in eastern Kentucky is an immense rugged forest area of more than 700,000 acres that spans 21 counties in the state. The massive forest encompasses some of the biggest natural attractions in the state, including Red River Gorge, Cumberland Falls, and the Clifty Wilderness. Packers can pick a specific area of the park that interests them for cabin, campground, or RV camping, or they can backpack through the park and camp overnight in many areas that allow backcountry camping.

4. Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park in south-central Kentucky, boasts the world’s longest known cave system and is one of the oldest tourist attractions in the U.S. While the main attraction at Mammoth Cave is the park’s massive cave, camping at the park is also popular for people who want to take multiple tours of the cave across several days. Mammoth Cave has more than 100 campsites, many of which offer amenities like bathrooms and running water, and RV camping and hookups are also available.

5. Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of Rough, KY

The Rough River Dam State Resort Park in Falls of Rough, Kentucky, is a popular spot for camping, fishing, and water recreation. The park features a 1,500-foot long dam that was built in the mid-1900s to prevent flooding in the Ohio River Valley, and the process of building the dam created the 5,000-acre Rough River Lake that is the park’s main draw. Campgrounds are available for both primitive and amenity camping, and RV hookups are provided on some campgrounds.

6. Lake Cumberland

Lake Cumberland is water reservoir covering more than 50,000 acres that was created by the Wolf Creek Dam of the Cumberland River in eastern Kentucky. The lake is part of the Lake Cumberland State Resort Park and is popular for water recreation like fishing, boating, and swimming. Many campsites, cabins, and lodges are available for campers, offering a full suite of amenities, and campers can even bring their houseboats to the lake and sleep on the water.

7. Barren River Lake, Lucas, KY

Barren River Lake is a 10,000-acre water reservoir with the strangest name of all of Kentucky’s parks. The name is derived from the fact that the lake is located in Barren County, and it’s a lake that was created by damming Barren River, making it a river-lake. The river is not barren, however, and is a popular fishing spot in the state. Campers can rent boats, fish, and play on the lake’s beach, and they can stay on one of the parks campgrounds or in a cottage with either a lake view or in a quiet forest.

8. Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park, Cave City, KY

Located near Mammoth Cave, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park offers family-friendly camping for people who want to visit Mammoth Cave for multiple days in a row. The park allows for tent and RV camping and offers more than 70 air-conditioned cabins for rent. The draw of the park is its theme-park entertainment that caters to families, offering waterslides, pools, mini-golf, and bouncing castles that are sure to please kids that need more than just nature to feel satisfied.

9. Nolin Lake State Park, Mammoth Cave, KY

Just north of Mammoth Cave, you’ll find Nolin Lake State Park. Nolin Lake is a 5,000-acre reservoir that was created by damming Nolin River. As one of the state’s smaller parks, Nolin Lake offers a quieter, less-crowded camping experience and is popular among fishers and bird-watchers. Primitive campsites are available for those who want the full nature experience, and for those looking for more modern amenities, there are more than 30 sites with electricity and running water. RV camping is also available. 

10. Big South Fork

The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area spans 125,000-acres of land across several counties in southeastern Kentucky and northeastern Tennessee. The river-canyon park boasts many natural bridges, miles of gorges, and scenic bluffs and is popular for hiking, white-water rafting, and rock climbing. The most popular campground on the Kentucky side of the park is the Blue Heron Campground, offering 45 sites that all include water and electricity hookups for tent and RV camping.

11. Green River Lake State Park, Campbellsville, KY

The Green River Lake State Park offers a quiet retreat from city life for hikers, campers, boaters, and fishers. Less trafficked than some of the larger, nearby parks, Green River Lake is a serene park surrounding an 8,000-acre water reservoir. Campers can rent boats for water recreation and fishing, and multiple campsites are available offering primitive camping, camping with amenities, and RV camping.

12. Levi Jackson Wilderness Road, London, KY

The Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park near London, Kentucky, is both a historic and natural attraction. Encompassing part of the trail that was used by settlers to get to Kentucky in colonial times, the park has several historical landmarks, buildings, and artifacts that are of interest to history buffs. For recreation, the park is a popular spot for hiking, and its campground offers more than 100 sites for tent or RV camping.

13. Taylorsville Lake State Park, Mt. Eden, KY

Located between Louisville and Lexington, Taylorsville Lake State Park’s is popular for horseback riding, hiking, and fishing. Fishers can bring their own boats or rent one from the marina, and hikers enjoy exploring more than 24-miles of trails. If you have a horse, you can stay on one of the park’s 10 horse-camping sites at night and ride your horse through beautiful horse country during the day. RV and primitive tent camping sites are also available.

14. Cumberland Gap

Cumberland Gap is a narrow passageway through the Cumberland Mountains in the section of Appalachia that Kentucky claims. It was used by early explorers to traverse the mountain wilderness, and today it is part of the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. Mountain views, waterfalls, and caves make this park a huge attraction among hikers and explorers. Primitive and modern tent camping sites are available at the Wilderness Road Campground, as well as RV camping.

15. Cumberland Falls, Corbin, KY

Referred to as “Little Niagara,” Cumberland Falls is a 68-foot tall and 125-foot wide waterfall that is the centerpiece of the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. Campsites, lodges, and cabins are available for overnight stays at the park, and overnight camping is popular around full moons when visitors can see a visible moonbow after dark—a rainbow created by the light of the moon and the waterfall.

Kentucky Search
Best Campgrounds and Camping Sites Near You
Best Campgrounds and Camping Sites Near You
4375 Boonesboro Road, Richmond, KY
BirdingLots of Wild Turkeys nest on the park. Nesting pairs of Pileated Woodpeckers and Red-tailed Hawks; over-flights of Sandhill Cranes during mi... Read More
4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY
In 1777, Patrick Henry, then Governor of Virginia, granted 9,000 acres of land in the Kentucky Territory to his brother-in-law, William Christian, ... Read More
3500 State Park Road, Cadiz, KY
Established in 1964 Lake Barkley State Resort Park is located near Cadiz in Trigg County. On December 1, 1964, the Kentucky Parks System added Lak... Read More
331 S.R. Rd. 8001, Dunmor, KY
Discover the beautiful landscape of Lake Malone State Park on the 1.5-mile Laurel Trail or the .25-mile Wildflower Trail. These easy-rated hiking t... Read More
565 Kincaid Park Rd., Falmouth, KY
Established July 9, 1958 On August 22, 1955, the Kentucky Property and Buildings Commission passed a resolution approving the development of a sta... Read More
2086 Smithboro Road., HWY 15, Sassafras, KY
Carr Creek Lake was once home to some of the area's earliest pioneer settlements as early as the 1770s. Carr Fork, a tributary of the North Fork o... Read More
501 E. Stephen Foster Ave., Bardstown, KY
The purchase of the historic estate came about due to the efforts of the “My Old Kentucky Home Commission.” The Commission met on March... Read More
8801 S. HWY 27, Burnside, KY
The public golf course at General Burnside Island State Park is located on an island surrounded by Lake Cumberland in Somerset, KY. Brian Ault, des... Read More
10299 Maysville Road, Carlisle, KY
On January 25, 1927 Blue Licks State Park became Kentucky’s fifth state park. Judge Samuel Wilson of Fayette County, chairman of the Blue Lic... Read More
542 Kenlake Road, Hardin, KY
Gracious hospitality is the tradition at the Kenlake lodge. With lake views, this 48-room hotel is a destination for the entire family. Experience ... Read More
2667 Pleasant Ridge Road, Louisa, KY
Yatesville Lake provides plenty of room to skim the waves or catch some rays in your favorite cruisecraft—be it a houseboat, pontoon, speed b... Read More
1551 KY 2275, Staffordsville, KY
With steep cliffs and wooded coves along the shoreline, this lake provides 1,140 acres of boating, skiing and fishing pleasure. After a day on the... Read More
1320 Park Road, Taylorsville, KY
Taylorsville Lake State Park encompasses 1,200-acre of some of the most beautiful horse riding country. It boasts 45 spacious RV sites with electri... Read More
3380 Beaver Road, Union, KY
The Discovery Trail is a 4.5 mile trail mosaic comprised of all the park’s hiking trails combined into continuous circuit. Collectively, the ... Read More
350 Park Road, Columbus, KY
Columbus-Belmont State Park, originally named Columbus Belmont Battlefield Memorial Park, became a part of the Kentucky State Parks System. As earl... Read More
965 Lodge Road, Greenup, KY
BasketballOne court near camping both area; campers can check out balls at booth. Two basketball goals also located at the Community Pool parking l... Read More
75 Theatre Court, Prestonsburg, KY
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park opened in 1962. The lodge is named for Andrew Jackson May, a local native and Congressman for many years. The park ha... Read More
5970 State Park Road, Burkesville, KY
Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park is located in south-central Kentucky in the Cumberland River basin on the Obey River. The huge reservoir created... Read More
998 Levi Jackson Mill Road, London, KY
Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park combines the beauty of a rolling, wooded hills park with a historic site that honors the pioneers who brave... Read More
344 Caveland Dr, Olive Hill, KY
Carter Caves State Park has several natural bridges. Smokey Bridge is the largest natural bridge in Kentucky. Carter Cave Natural Bridge is the onl... Read More
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