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Places to Camp in Kentucky

2,416 Reviews

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 (389)

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

    1.

    Mammoth Cave Campground — Mammoth Cave National Park

    131 Reviews
    392 Photos
    326 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

    The 109 primitive campsites are set around a paved parking area surrounded by aromatic trees. Water and restrooms are located on the insides of the loops, and the park Visitor Center is a five minute walk away. Coin operated showers are available adjacent to the campground at the Caver's Camp Store. Inquire at the Camp Store for current shower fees.

    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.

    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

  2. Camper-submitted photo from Zilpo Campground

    2.

    Zilpo Campground

    47 Reviews
    256 Photos
    264 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

    Electric hookups are provided at some campsites. Drinking water is located centrally within the loops. Flush toilets and showers are spread throughout the campground as well. Each site has a picnic table and campfire ring. A dump station and concrete boat ramp are also included. Each of the 12 cabins can accommodate up to six guests. They each have a table, two chairs and a sleeping area with two sets of bunk beds (4 beds). A picnic table, lantern post and campfire ring are provided outside. Pets may reside only in cabins 41,120,121 and 123. Cabins 109, 123 and 136 have ramps that can accommodate wheel chairs. A campground store with ice, firewood, camping gear and food is on-site. Roads are paved and level tent pads are gravel.

    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

  3. Camper-submitted photo from Koomer Ridge Campground

    3.

    Koomer Ridge Campground

    45 Reviews
    123 Photos
    346 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

  4. Camper-submitted photo from Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
  5. Camper-submitted photo from Kentucky Horse Park Campground

    5.

    Kentucky Horse Park Campground

    46 Reviews
    72 Photos
    153 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

  6. Camper-submitted photo from Carter Caves State Resort Park

    6.

    Carter Caves State Resort Park

    44 Reviews
    115 Photos
    139 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
  7. Camper-submitted photo from Big Bone Lick State Park

    7.

    Big Bone Lick State Park

    43 Reviews
    141 Photos
    166 Saves
    Patriot, Indiana
    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
  8. Camper-submitted photo from Twin Knobs Recreation Area

    8.

    Twin Knobs Recreation Area

    40 Reviews
    131 Photos
    225 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

    There is a variety of different camp sites that include paved spurs that can accommodate any size RV, picnic tables, fire rings and grills. Some sites have electric hookups. Facilities include bathhouses with showers, drinking water and flush toilets. The bathhouses and some picnic areas are accessible.

    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

  9. Camper-submitted photo from Middle Fork Campground — Natural Bridge State Resort Park
  10. Camper-submitted photo from Hillman Ferry Campground

    10.

    Hillman Ferry Campground

    36 Reviews
    96 Photos
    135 Saves
    Grand Rivers, Kentucky

    Hillman Ferry Campground offers 374 well-defined lake front and wooded sites capable of handling a variety of camping units from tents to large motor homes. Basic, electric, water, and sewer sites are available. Campers have access to modern facilities, including a large swimming area, archery range, ball field, bike trails, campfire amphitheater, hiking trails, two boat ramps, fishing dock, picnic tables, and fire rings. During the summer season we offer recreation programs for all ages.

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

Popular Camping Styles in Kentucky

Pet-friendly camping in Kentucky

Recent Reviews In Kentucky

2416 Reviews of 389 Kentucky Campgrounds