Late spring and during the summer we are often looking for ways to cool down in the heat. The best way to do that is to be near water. Fortunately for residents and visitors, our state has more miles of navigable water than anywhere in the U.S., excluding Alaska and Hawaii. You can go boating, swimming, hiking, wading, fishing and any other water activity you desire. The hardest part is choosing the best lakes in Kentucky to visit, so we tried to narrow it down.
12. Taylorsville Lake at 1320 Park Road in Mt. Eden
For decades, Taylorsville Lake has been a favored fishing spot for Catfish, Bass, Bluegill and Sunfish. It also provides great camping areas for primitive campers and 42 full service RV campsites, including water and electric. You can hang out on the water or on land for fishing and horseback riding. There are some amazing fishing spots under the trees along the large flat rocks.
11. Shanty Hollow Lake
Shanty Hollow has a gorgeous waterfall at the end of a 1 mile trail, easily accessible by beginners. The lake itself is perfect for swimming, boating and fishing. The waterfall offers a real treat in serenity and is perfect for a picnic. Shanty Hollow is a quiet place that isn’t overcrowded.
10. Rough River Lake at 450 Ic-1003 in Falls of the Rough
You can get lost in nature at Rough River. They have a variety of spots for hiking and camping. Rough River has a cozy lodge and some fine cooking and take out available at local restaurants. If you prefer to catch your own… you’ll be please with the fresh fish just waiting to see the hook dangle.
9. Paintsville Lake
Paintsville Lake is a beautiful area with an abundance of trees and a lake bustling with fish. The campground isn’t huge, but it can accommodate 32 RVs and around 10 primitive tents. The best part of the park is the canopy of trees that surrounds the lake, providing the perfect atmosphere for catfish, or privacy.
8. Nolin River Lake at 2998 Briar Creek Road in Mammoth Cave
Nolin has cabins, campsites, roomy roads, and plenty of places to enjoy. You can bring a boat of rent one to spend an afternoon fishing or swimming. Some people just sun and enjoy the sound of the water from the shore or docks.
7. Martins Fork Lake
This is a beautiful spot to take a day or three and relax. If you love to fish, the locals find this to be a favored spot, especially along the pier. It depends on what you want to catch, but once you drop in you likely won’t complain. There are a few good swimming spots and the lake is great to putter around and relax. A paddle boat really makes for a good time, especially if you bring a pole along.
6. Laurel River Lake in Williamsburg
This is a place where you can rent a cabin and get away from civilization. You can camp out, fish, boat, swim in parts and enjoy the serenity of the lake and surrounding environment. Laurel is favored by those looking for a spot a little less crowded then Land Between the Lakes, but with all the charm and serenity. This is a great place to just get away from it all and fish or relax.
5. Lake Cumberland
Lake Cumberland might be the most famous lake in our state just because of the moonbow at the Falls. The incredible beauty, reasonable cabin rental, abundant camp grounds and acres of gorgeous water filled with fish are all an added bonus. This is the perfect spot to have a romantic getaway, family weekend or get together with friends. There is something to do for everyone in this haven for nature and water lovers.
4. Lake Barkley at 82 Days Inn Drive in Kuttawa
You will find amazing deals on cabin rentals, and fresh fish is readily available. There are campsites offering water and electric and primitive sites for those who like to really sink into nature. You will also find boat rentals in varying sizes at your disposal, just in case you don’t have one of your own. Caspian Terns is another great spot on Lake Barkley to relax and watch beautiful waterfowl going about their daily activities.
3. Green River Lake in Campbellsville
This is an 8,200-acre lake that has everything from hiking to horseback riding trails. The camping sites are plentiful and the gorgeous woodlands offer an abundance of spots for primitive camping. If you have a boat, you can just spend all your time on the lake during the day or the night. Green River Lake is a haven for those that love swimming and water sports.
2. Barren River Lake at 1149 State Park Road in Lucas
This manmade lake was created in 1964 and occupying portions of Monroe, Allen and Barren Counties. It offers a wondrous summer getaway for any and all right down to a manmade beach. This use to be one of our favorite weekend trips in my youth, and we’re looking forward to popping in this summer.
1. Kentucky Lake
There is nothing like relaxing and watching a sunrise, or a sunset on Kentucky Lake. The serenity of the water as it reflects the fire of the sun is mesmerizing. Swimming, hiking, camping, boating, fishing and other water activities are also highly encouraged. Kentucky Lake is a great place to spend a few days alone, with friends or family. It has more than 2,380 miles of shore, has 160,000 acres of water at normal levels and is near the cities of New Concord, Benton, Murray, Aurora, Grand Rivers and Gilbertville.
When it comes to beating the heat, the best lakes in Kentucky make for a perfect adventure. You can take a hike, come back and cool off in the water. In some spots you can camp out near the lake and let the soothing water ease you off to sleep. What is your favorite lake to visit in the summertime?