Looking for a family-friendly venue where a lifetime of memories can be made in just a few days? Kentucky’s best family resorts, several of which are located in or near national forests, crystal clear lakes, and historic areas that ooze Southern charm, are excellent options. Perfect for family getaways any time of year, you can go rustic or have all the creature comforts of home as you bond with your family. Here are the 9 best.
Considered one of the most beautiful areas of the state, Natural Bridge State Resort Park provides you and your family with over 2,300 acres and endless hours of family fun in nature. Located in Slade, Kentucky, along the Middle Fork of the Red River, this area is very kid-friendly with miles of hiking trials, lakes for fishing, and even rock climbing. You can stay in one of the 35 rooms available at the Hemlock Lodge, or you can rough it a little more by staying overnight in a cabin. For the ultimate in outdoor adventure, tent-camping is the way to go. Activities include birdwatching, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, swimming, and picnics on the lakeshore. If you want a relaxing view of the area, ride the sky lift that operates from April through October. You can even participate in the Natural Bridge Hoedown, a 45-year dancing tradition that will teach you about many of the Appalachian dances of the area.
You’ll be in awe of the beauty provided by this 1,200-acre tree-lined lake when you stay at Buckhorn Lake State Resort in Buckhorn, Kentucky. If you’re looking for a great place to take family photos in the perfect setting, this is it. You and your family can spend the day on the water when you rent a pontoon boat and the fishing is some of the best in the state. If you just want to hang around or have little ones who might not be up to hiking, there’s a miniature golf course, playgrounds, and swimming. Check the website for special discounts.
Located in Olive Hill, Kentucky, Carter Caves State Resort is the best way to spend your family’s summer vacation. There are so many options to visit the extensive caves and learn about the unique geology of the area. If you like more of a challenge try the Bat Cave. If you love the water, there are many options to satisfy that, too, like boating, swimming, and just hanging out by the water. If you’d like to dangle from a rope, there’s a $5 zip and drop event that combines zip lining through the treetops and rock climbing in a special designated area for public use. Horseback riding, miniature golf, and hiking are available, too. There are historic events during the summer that show you how life was in the pioneer days and live music shows. Once the day ends, relax and sleep soundly in one of the 28 rooms in the lodge, rent a cabin, or bring your own RV. The possibilities are endless.
If you like the idea of spending time with your family without giving up all the creature comforts of home, a stay at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa is just the place for your summer getaway. Located in the beautiful rolling hills of Lexington, you’re not far from downtown where you can enjoy the history of the area, or you can relax by the pool at the resort, take in a round of golf on the championship course, exercise in the fitness center, or get that much-needed full body massage. There are several distilleries in the area that offer tours, and you’re not far from Keeneland Race Track and beautiful horse farms. Eat dinner in JW’s Steakhouse on premise or venture out to see what you can find on your own.
Paradise begins in Murray, Kentucky, in the peaceful cove off Kentucky Lake. The Villas at Marker 48, you’ll find a very kid-friendly establishment where you can stay at Stone Harbor Condominiums in this waterfront resort, rent a cottage, or a larger home for family reunions. Each overnight lodging choice offers a beautiful view, complete kitchens, and cable TV, and are pet-friendly. If you’re a military member, an emergency responder, or member of the police force, discounts apply. Fishing is fun for the whole family and if you don’t have a boat, you can rent one at the marina.
Malcolm Creek Resort, located in Benton, Kentucky, is a beautiful and affordable way to spend time with your family and create memories that will last a lifetime. You’ll have easy access to lake activities, and fishing, water skiing, and swimming are just a few of the things that will occupy your time while visiting. With over 170,000 acres of land to explore, you might see elk, buffalo, deer, and other wildlife who call this area home. Lodging is available year round, and each cottage has Wi-Fi. Rates are by the day or weekly, and pets are welcome.
West Virginia may claim to be almost heaven, but Deer Creek Lodge in Sebree, Kentucky IS heaven. This amazing resort offers opportunities for hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and a variety of choices for overnight accommodations with three lodges from which to choose. You’ll be treated to gourmet dining by expert chefs who are happy to work with special dietary requests. Recognized as one of the top hunting lodges in the world, Conde Nest also lists Deer Creek as excellent in culture and entertainment.
With the perfect blend of convenience and nature, Cliffview Resort is a great place to spend time with your family. Whether it’s just you, your spouse and the kids, or a whole family reunion, there’s room for everyone and plenty to do. Once you check in, you can explore the many ponds, lakes, and trails on the property and go canoeing, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, biking, and more. And if you want a treetop view, take a ride on the Red River Gorge Zipline. Meals are served at the Overhang Tavern on premise, but there are many area restaurants and pizza shops.
Located on the northern shores of Kentucky Lake, The Moors Resort and Marina will give your family plenty of things to do on your next vacation. Say at the ledge, rent a waterfront townhouse, or sleep in a rustic cabin. Get out on the lake in your own boat, rent a family pontoon for a day on the water, or a jet ski for the extreme in water sports. Tubes, water skis, wake boards, and kneeboards are available for rental, too. Your family will love spending time at the largest man-made lake in the eastern part of the U.S.