Best Camping in Kentucky

With Kentucky’s 45 state parks, the greatest length of navigable waterways in the lower 48, and the world’s longest cave system, the state of bourbon and horse racing is a dream destination for outdoor lovers. A diverse state with numerous distinct natural regions, Kentucky has a plethora of camping locations. Whether you choose to visit a state park or national forest, you don’t have to look hard to find amazing locations for camping in Kentucky.

For some of the most romantic and rugged landscapes in the state, visit the Red River Gorge in the south. With some of the most spectacular sites for camping in Kentucky, the gorge is a popular destination with visitors and locals alike. Climbers and hikers love the steep and rocky hillsides and cliffs which make the gorge famous. Located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Red River Gorge offers endless overnight options. From dispersed camping in quiet stretches of forest to whimsical treehouse and full-access campgrounds, it’s easy to find the perfect spot to spend the night. Snag a site next to a lake with record-sized muskies and you won’t have to go far to get on the water first thing in the morning.

If you love fishing, visiting Kentucky’s Red River Gorge is a must. With an abundance of lakes and rivers teeming with fish, it’s an angler’s dream. Enjoy lazy afternoons canoeing on the river or get an adrenaline rush on thrilling rapids. Nature lovers will love the plethora of wildlife and numerous hiking trails that wind through lush shaded forests.

Keep exploring Kentucky’s shaded forests and rugged cliffs in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in southeast Kentucky. Boaters will delight in the park’s large, languorous rivers and quick-flowing streams. Sheer bluffs and rocky gorges characterize the river valleys where water flows over rugged rapids and slows in quiet pools.

There are a variety of options for camping in Kentucky near the Big South Fork, from primitive to developed campgrounds. If you’re travelling with horses, stay in the horse camp, complete with a tack store stocked with essentials. Keep in mind that most parks and campgrounds have a ban on bringing your own firewood to prevent the spread of invasive species. Check with the campground regulations before you come, as some allow collection of wood on the forest floor and other require you to purchase firewood from a ranger. Wherever you choose to stay, with the Dyrt you can be sure to find the best camping in Kentucky.

Best Camping Sites in Kentucky (398)

    Camper-submitted photo from Mammoth Cave Campground — Mammoth Cave National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Mammoth Cave Campground — Mammoth Cave National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Mammoth Cave Campground — Mammoth Cave National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Mammoth Cave Campground — Mammoth Cave National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Mammoth Cave Campground — Mammoth Cave National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Mammoth Cave Campground — Mammoth Cave National Park

    1.

    Mammoth Cave Campground — Mammoth Cave National Park

    134 Reviews
    390 Photos
    354 Saves
    Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

    Overview

    Mammoth Cave Campground puts campers in a prime spot to explore the depths and overland treasures of Mammoth Cave National Park. Mammoth Cave is an underground passageway containing more than 400 miles of naturally sculpted limestone and sandstone. It is the longest recorded cave system in the world. The grand-scale chambers and long, winding passageways were the inspiration behind the park's name. The campground doubles as an entry point to 14 miles of hiking and biking trails. It's also a five minute walk to the visitor center, where cave tours begin.

    Recreation

    A must-do activity in the park is exploring Mammoth Cave. Walking tours of the caverns leave from the visitor center daily. There are also miles of bike trails and hiking trails within the park.

    Facilities

    A must-do activity in the park is exploring Mammoth Cave. Walking tours of the caverns leave from the visitor center daily. There are also miles of bike trails and hiking trails within the park.

    Natural Features

    The campground is tucked inside Mammoth Cave National Park, which boasts scenic valleys along the Green River. The river is within walking distance of the camp, and the hilly Kentucky countryside expands beyond the valley. Deer and turkeys commonly stroll around the campground, so visitors are likely to see them grazing in the early morning and at dusk.

    contact_info

    For local information, please call (270) 758-2424 or call (270) 758-2180 for general information.

    Nearby Attractions

    Nearly 30 miles of the Green and Nolin rivers offer canoeing and boating through the park. Commercial outfitters outside the park rent canoes, kayaks and safety equipment.Most trails north of the Green River are open for horseback riding. Commercial liveries outside the park rent horses and some may provide organized excursions.

    Charges & Cancellations

    For rules and reservation policies please follow the link below: https://www.recreation.gov/rules-reservation-policies

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • RVs
    • Tents

    $50 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Zilpo Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Zilpo Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Zilpo Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Zilpo Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Zilpo Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Zilpo Campground

    2.

    Zilpo Campground

    49 Reviews
    256 Photos
    273 Saves
    Salt Lick, Kentucky

    Overview

    Zilpo, a large, fun-filled campground on Cave Run Lake, is a prime destination for families. The scenic campground offers a cabin rental, tent camping, RV sites with electric hookups and a selection of lakefront sites. Views of the lake are enjoyed by those who relax on the sandy beach. Tater Knob, a fire tower open to the public, is nearby, offering outstanding views of the area.

    Recreation

    Water skiing and swimming are wonderful ways to enjoy the lake. Muskie, large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish attract avid anglers. Hikers are fans of the Zilpo Mountain Loop Trail that extends for 2.25 miles, connecting to a network of other trails around the lake. Nature programs are regularly scheduled during peak season and wildlife watching is rewarding.

    Facilities

    Water skiing and swimming are wonderful ways to enjoy the lake. Muskie, large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish attract avid anglers. Hikers are fans of the Zilpo Mountain Loop Trail that extends for 2.25 miles, connecting to a network of other trails around the lake. Nature programs are regularly scheduled during peak season and wildlife watching is rewarding.

    Natural Features

    Zilpo sits on a peninsula in the middle portion of Cave Run Lake at an elevation of 800 feet. The lake spans 8,270 acres with soft, sandy beaches. The campground is shaded by a stand of mixed hardwoods, and campsites have good privacy.

    Nearby Attractions

    The nearest community is 12 miles away.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • RVs
    • Tents

    $85 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Koomer Ridge Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Koomer Ridge Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Koomer Ridge Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Koomer Ridge Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Koomer Ridge Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Koomer Ridge Campground

    3.

    Koomer Ridge Campground

    47 Reviews
    136 Photos
    358 Saves
    Pine Ridge, Kentucky

    Koomer Ridge Campground, located on Cumberland Ranger District in the Red River Gorge, features semi-primitive camping in a tranquil forest setting. The campground provides access to trails in the Red River Gorge. View Koomer Ridge guide & map. The campground amphitheater opens Memorial Day weekend and features a program each Saturday through Labor Day. The programs usually begin at dusk. Check the campground bulletin board or contact the Gladie Visitor Center for more information. Hiking/backpacking trails in the area: Cliff Trail #206 (.5 mile) Koomer Ridge Trail #220 (2.75 miles) Silvermine Arch Trail #225 (1.5 miles) Hidden Arch Trail #208 (1 mile). ACTIVITIES Camping: The Koomer Ridge Campground features semi-primitive camping in a tranquil forest setting. Interpretive Programs: Visitor programs are held on weekends. Recreational Vehicles

    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Tents
    • Standard (Tent/RV)
    • Trash

    $17 - $30 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

    4.

    Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

    46 Reviews
    216 Photos
    161 Saves
    Parkers Lake, Kentucky

    Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, near Corbin, KY, is a gem for anyone looking to immerse themselves in nature. Known as the "Niagara of the South," this park offers a stunning waterfall that's a must-see. The campground itself is cozy, with a mix of tent, RV, cabin, glamping, and yurt accommodations.

    One of the standout features here is the electric hookups available at most sites, which is a nice perk if you're bringing an electric vehicle. The campground also has drinking water, showers, and toilets, making it a comfortable spot for a weekend getaway. Fires are allowed, and you can purchase firewood on-site, so no need to haul your own.

    For families, there's a playground to keep the kids entertained, and a small on-site store for any essentials you might have forgotten. If you're into hiking, the park has several trails, including the Wildflower Loop Trail and Eagle Falls Trail, which offer beautiful views and a good workout.

    Some visitors have mentioned that the campsites can be a bit tight, especially for larger rigs, so keep that in mind when planning your trip. However, the natural beauty of the park more than makes up for it. The falls are free to visit, and there's even a 45-minute horse ride available for just $25, which is a steal.

    Overall, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park offers a fantastic blend of natural beauty and convenient amenities, making it a great choice for your next camping adventure.

    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • RVs
    • Tents
    Camper-submitted photo from Carter Caves State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Carter Caves State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Carter Caves State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Carter Caves State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Carter Caves State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Carter Caves State Resort Park

    5.

    Carter Caves State Resort Park

    46 Reviews
    122 Photos
    142 Saves
    Olive Hill, Kentucky

    Hidden deep under the northeast forests of Kentucky, strange formations with names like Giant Turkey, Headache Rock, and The Cathedral mingle with cave corals, underground waterfalls and thousands of endangered bats. This is what awaits visitors to Carter Caves State Resort Park, approximately 90 miles east of Lexington. The park was only established, and the cave environments protected, in 1946. Prior to this, the land—and caves—have a long and storied history. It begins millions of years ago, when North America was in its development stage, with the land rising and falling, cracking and washing away. This began forming the caves as seen today. Fast-forward to the 1800s, and the caves served as a resource during the War of 1812. Today however, this 2000-acre park—both above and below ground—serves as a recreation destination for campers and adventurers.

    The resort at Carter Caves offers a variety of overnight options, including camping, cottages and a lodge. Campers will find a large campground with 89 RV sites with utilities, 30 primitive tent sites, eight equestrian sites, and two bunkhouses. Most RV sites are back-in, and can accommodate vehicles/trailers up to 60 feet; bunkhouses can accommodate up to six people. The campground features bathhouses with showers, water faucets, picnic shelters, horse stables, and a playground. The park’s cottages are fully equipped with linens, cookware, and most have wood-burning fireplaces; these can accommodate up to eight people. The Lewis Caveland Lodge offers 28 rooms with full amenities, balconies and patios. Dogs are permitted in designated areas, and must remain leashed. Campsite rates are $18–$55/night; cottages and lodge rooms are $75–$240/night.

    The main attraction at Carter Caves State Resort Park is … the caves! There are six named caves in the park for exploring. Some are open year-round, some are only open during the summer. The park offers guided walking tours in four of the caves. Tours range from 45 minutes to 2.5 hours, and require some stair-climbing and stooping. There are also two caves open for self-exploration. These are undeveloped, and require visitors to provide their own light source. For the adventurous, there are also two cave crawling expeditions. These tours are three hours long, and explore tight, undeveloped passages that require lots of crawling, stooping and duck-walking in muddy conditions. For visitors who would rather stay and play above ground, the park features 26 miles of hiking trails, guided horseback rides, putt-putt golf, rock climbing, and fishing and paddling on Smoky Valley Lake.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from Kentucky Horse Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Kentucky Horse Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Kentucky Horse Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Kentucky Horse Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Kentucky Horse Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Kentucky Horse Park Campground

    6.

    Kentucky Horse Park Campground

    46 Reviews
    70 Photos
    162 Saves
    Georgetown, Kentucky

    Come out, relax and enjoy the complete resort atmosphere of the Kentucky Horse Park Campground!

    A full service facility, our campground has many extras for your comfort including a grocery store/gift shop and two bathhouses with modern conveniences. During your stay, be sure to take advantage of our tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts, cool off in our junior Olympic-size swimming pool and participate in our planned activities.

    For those seeking to stretch their legs a little more, venture out on the Legacy Trail, a 12-mile-long (8.5 miles is currently finished) paved walking and biking trail leading from the Kentucky Horse Park Campground to downtown Lexington.

    Campers may also visit the world famous Kentucky Horse Park at a discounted rate and receive free parking with the purchase of their admission tickets when purchased at the Campground Store.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $24 - $45 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Big Bone Lick State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Big Bone Lick State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Big Bone Lick State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Big Bone Lick State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Big Bone Lick State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Big Bone Lick State Park Campground

    7.

    Big Bone Lick State Park Campground

    44 Reviews
    141 Photos
    175 Saves
    Patriot, Indiana

    Welcome to Big Bone Lick State Park Campground! This place is a gem for anyone looking to unwind and soak up some history. The campground is nestled in a historic area near Union, KY, and offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle.

    The campground itself is well-maintained, with spacious sites that cater to both tent and RV campers. You’ll find electric and water hookups at most sites, and there’s a sanitary dump station available too. Just a heads-up, some sites might need a bit of extra leveling, so bring your levelers if you have them. The bathhouses are clean, and the showers are top-notch—think Niagara Falls-level water pressure.

    One of the standout features here is the pool. It’s small but clean and perfect for cooling off on a hot day. There’s also a laundry facility on-site, which is super convenient if you’re planning an extended stay. And if you’re traveling with pets, you’ll be happy to know that they’re welcome here.

    The park is rich in history and natural beauty. You can explore the on-site museum to learn about the Pleistocene era and even see a bison herd up close. There are plenty of hiking trails that offer a good mix of challenge and scenery, making it a great spot for a bit of adventure.

    Nearby, you’ll find quaint little communities with unique shops and eateries, perfect for a day trip. And don’t forget to secure your food at night—raccoons are known to make an appearance!

    So, whether you’re here for a quick overnight stay or a longer getaway, Big Bone Lick State Park Campground has something to offer. Enjoy your stay!

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from Twin Knobs Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Twin Knobs Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Twin Knobs Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Twin Knobs Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Twin Knobs Recreation Area
    Camper-submitted photo from Twin Knobs Recreation Area

    8.

    Twin Knobs Recreation Area

    40 Reviews
    131 Photos
    233 Saves
    Salt Lick, Kentucky

    Overview

    Nestled on the shores of Cave Run Lake, this camp is part of the larger Twin Knobs Recreation Area. There are more than 200 sites spread out over 10 loops under a dense forest of mixed conifer and deciduous trees. The recreation area includes two reservable group picnic areas. Group camping is also available.

    Recreation

    Summer amphitheater programs and scheduled campground activities provide family fun and entertainment. The campground also has volleyball courts, basketball hoops and horseshoe pits. There is a boat ramp and beach. Popular lake activities include fishing, swimming, motor boating, windsurfing, sailing and water skiing. Scenic foot trails include the 2.5-mile Twin Knobs Shoreline Trail and the 1.5-mile Knob Overlook Trail.

    Facilities

    Summer amphitheater programs and scheduled campground activities provide family fun and entertainment. The campground also has volleyball courts, basketball hoops and horseshoe pits. There is a boat ramp and beach. Popular lake activities include fishing, swimming, motor boating, windsurfing, sailing and water skiing. Scenic foot trails include the 2.5-mile Twin Knobs Shoreline Trail and the 1.5-mile Knob Overlook Trail.

    Natural Features

    The Daniel Boone National Forest embraces some of the most rugged terrain west of the Appalachian Mountains. The forest lies within the Cumberland Plateau, where steep forested slopes, sandstone cliffs and narrow ravines characterize the land in this region. Cave Run Lake is in the Cumberland District in the northernmost part of the forest. The lake is surrounded by the rolling hills of northeastern Kentucky.

    Nearby Attractions

    The Morehead Office Visitor Center offers information about the Daniel Boone National Forest in addition to interpretive exhibits. A popular attraction within the Daniel Boone National Forest is the Red River Gorge Geological Area, which features more than 100 natural sandstone arches.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • RVs
    • Tents

    $40 - $43 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Middle Fork Campground — Natural Bridge State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Middle Fork Campground — Natural Bridge State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Middle Fork Campground — Natural Bridge State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Middle Fork Campground — Natural Bridge State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Middle Fork Campground — Natural Bridge State Resort Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Middle Fork Campground — Natural Bridge State Resort Park

    9.

    Middle Fork Campground — Natural Bridge State Resort Park

    41 Reviews
    164 Photos
    62 Saves
    Slade, Kentucky

    Middle Fork Campground at Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky is a solid spot for a camping trip. Nestled in the heart of the Red River Gorge area, this campground offers a mix of tent and RV sites. It's a great base camp for exploring the natural beauty of the region.

    The campground is known for its clean bathhouses and friendly staff. Some visitors have noted that the sites can be a bit tight, so it's worth checking the site dimensions before you book. If you're bringing an RV, make sure to pack extra power cords and water hoses since the hookups might not be on the side you expect.

    Fishing enthusiasts will love the creek running through the campground, which is stocked with rainbow trout. It's a perfect spot for kids to splash around and try their hand at fishing. The tent pads are generally level and spacious, making for a comfortable stay.

    One thing to keep in mind is the noise from the nearby highway. It can get a bit loud with trucks passing by, but if you're used to a bit of background noise, it shouldn't be a deal-breaker. Also, don't expect much in the way of cell service—consider it a chance to truly unplug.

    For those looking to explore, the Natural Bridge trail is very close by, and the Gorge Underground attraction is just up the road. If you're into hiking, the Rock Bridge trail offers a fantastic swimming hole that's worth the drive.

    Overall, Middle Fork Campground provides a good mix of amenities and natural beauty, making it a worthwhile stop for anyone looking to enjoy the great outdoors in Kentucky.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • RVs
    Camper-submitted photo from Nolin Lake State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Nolin Lake State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Nolin Lake State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Nolin Lake State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Nolin Lake State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Nolin Lake State Park Campground

    10.

    Nolin Lake State Park Campground

    37 Reviews
    89 Photos
    142 Saves
    Sweeden, Kentucky

    Welcome to Nolin Lake State Park Campground, nestled near Mammoth Cave, KY. This spot is a gem for anyone looking to enjoy the great outdoors with a touch of comfort. The campground operates from April 1 to October 31, offering a range of accommodations including tent sites, RV spots, glamping options, and even yurts.

    One of the standout features here is the proximity to Mammoth Cave National Park, just a short 20-minute drive via the Green River Ferry. This makes it a perfect base camp for exploring the caves and hiking trails in the area. Visitors have praised the well-maintained facilities, including clean bathrooms and hot showers. There's even a washer and dryer on-site for those longer stays.

    For families, the campground boasts a playground that keeps the little ones entertained. Pets are welcome too, so feel free to bring your furry friends along. The sites are generally spacious, with some offering beautiful lake views. If you're into fishing, you'll love the easy access to the lake where you can try your luck at catching dinner.

    Electric and water hookups are available, making it convenient for RV campers. There's also a sanitary dump station at the entrance. Firewood and other essentials can be purchased at the campground store, though be prepared to carry your firewood to some of the more secluded tent sites.

    The campground is big rig friendly, and alcohol is allowed, so you can enjoy a cold one by the fire. Just be mindful of the occasional burn ban due to the pine trees in the area. Whether you're here for a quick overnight stay or a longer vacation, Nolin Lake State Park Campground offers a relaxing and enjoyable experience for all.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
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Frequently Asked Questions

What camping is available in Kentucky?

According to TheDyrt.com, Kentucky offers a wide range of camping options, with 398 campgrounds and RV parks in Kentucky and 13 free dispersed camping spots.

Which is the most popular campground in Kentucky?

According to TheDyrt.com, the most popular campground in Kentucky is Mammoth Cave Campground — Mammoth Cave National Park with a 5-star rating from 134 reviews.

Where can I find free dispersed camping in Kentucky?

According to TheDyrt.com, there are 13 free dispersed camping spots in Kentucky.

What are the best parks in Kentucky?

According to TheDyrt.com, there are 18 parks in Kentucky that allow camping, notably Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and Daniel Boone National Forest.