Summer is ending far too fast, which is why now is the perfect time to spend a day at the lake relaxing with friends and family. Whether it’s swimming, boating, fishing, or simply admiring the beautiful bodies of water around our city, there are plenty of lakes to suit your summer needs! Some of these lakes may require a bit of driving, but they’re all located under three hours away.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. McNeely Lake Park
McNeely Lake Park is located right here within the boundaries of Louisville and is a favorite for many residents in the city. This park offers beautiful trails, great fishing spots, boating ramps, and sports fields. This lake offers a little bit of everything for the entire family to enjoy.
2. Waverly Park Lake
Another beautiful lake located in Louisville is Waverly Lake. This lake offers mountain biking, fishing, grills, hiking trails, picnic areas, and a playground. The scenery here is a perfect setting to kick back, relax, and enjoy the outdoors.
3. Lake Nevin
Lake Nevin is located in the beautiful Bernheim Forest, just a short 20 to 30 minutes away from Louisville. It offers limited bank fishing, but the best thing to do here is walk around the trails and admire its beauty.
4. Deam Lake
Located just 30 minutes away from Louisville in Southern Indiana, Deam Lake is like a dream. It has a public swimming area and many other designated areas for fishing, boating, swimming, camping, picnicking, hiking, and hunting across the Deam Lake Recreation Area. You can also rent rowboats here to fully enjoy your time out on the water. Deam Lake is an amazing place to camp and it's one of the nicest, closest lakes around Louisville.
5. Lake Shelby
Lake Shelby, located just under 40 minutes away in Shelbyville, is a fisherman's dream. The waters are loaded with bluegill, crappie, bass, catfish, and more. The lake is popular for fishing, but many people simply take their canoes and kayaks out and explore nature here.
6. Taylorsville Lake
Taylorsville Lake is located almost an hour away, but it's one of the best near the city. The lake is wonderful for camping, fishing, boating, hiking, and more. The 24-mile trail system around the lake allows for hiking, mountain biking, and even horseback riding. Birdwatching is popular here as well, as there are so many spectacular species that call this lake home, such as the Blue Heron seen above taking flight. The Van Buren Boat Ramp area also contains two nesting sites for the American Bald Eagle.
7. Hardy Lake
Located a little over an hour away in Scottsburg, Indiana, Hardy Lake offers hiking, boating, camping, and has an interesting raptor rehabilitation center with trained professionals who can teach you about the region's hawks, owls, falcons, and vultures.
8. Lake Reba
Located and hour and a half away in Richmond, Kentucky, Lake Reba offers a surprising amount of amenities to entertain guests. They have a little league baseball complex, an adult softball complex, a batting cage, miniature and regular golf courses, the Paradise Cove Aquatic Center, a soccer complex, an off-leash dog park, a football field, walking/jogging trails, Herb Vescio horseshoe pits , and the fishing lake with boat ramp & fish cleaning station.
9. Laurel River Lake
Located two and a half hours away in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Laurel River Lake is a beautiful man-made lake that was built in 1977 as a reservoir of the Laurel River. There's a pristine beach to swim at and the water is amazingly clear and clean. While you're in the area, you should also check out Cumberland Falls!
10. Cumberland Lake
Also located two and a half hours away, the beautiful Cumberland Lake is surrounded with spots for hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and boating. Cumberland Lake prides itself in being "the Houseboat Capital of the World," as the marina offers 100 open slips, rental fishing boats, pontoon boats, houseboats, and ski boats. People just can't get enough of this gorgeous lake, so they decide to live on it!
What are your favorite lakes to visit around Louisville? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook! To learn about more beautiful Kentucky lakes, check out
this article about the best lakes in the state.