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.
Full disclosure 1st time here and last minute (night before) booking. The whole campground is nice depending on how you're camping. Some site are better than others in general, but some are better fitted for campers and other for tents. I'm not talking about electric/water hookup vs primitive, just layout. We booked Thursday night on a last minute cancellation for Friday-Sunday. A site with electric in the H loop. It was clean and the sites are nicely spaced so you're not right on top of another. Problem is it was all booked up online so we expected a busy campground and over 1/2 the sites booked were empty all weekend. Not that that was a bad thing. It just that better site were available. I think this is a problem with the online booking system that can be fixed. They have a mix of sites and small cabins. We will probably book one of those on a return trip. Despite what the maps show there are no sites that are "waterfront". The sites next to the water have steep drop offs so no back door fishing. It's easy to get to the water just not right at the sites. The swimming beach was a disappointment. The water was nice but the beach itself left a ton to be desired. It's lined with gravel that's not real bare foot friendly. In the heat of the summer when we were there the gravel was extremely hot and hard to walk on. Once I. The water was fine, but if you plan to lay out and tan bring something padded to lay on. Also. The goose poop.. Man was there a ton of goose poop on the beach. I mean all over the place. There is another sand beach that's a boat up to beach by the boat dock that's also accessible by shore but depending on the water level may not be that great. It was sand not gravel and didn't have much "beach. More like field next to water. It was much better. Still goose poop but not as much. The lake water was close to clear and clean. The staff was nice. There are a moderate amount of shower house bathrooms but some site may have a decent walk. There is one store in the campground by the beach but didn't have much in it. Boat traffic for the time didn't seem bad. Overall it was a good trip, and we will probably be back.
To find the campground, follow your GPS to Horine Reservation at 12304 Holsclaw Hill Rd. If you follow GPS to Jefferson Memorial Forest, you will end up at the zipline & welcome center. Once on Holsclaw Hill Rd, follow the road & signs to the campground until you reach a gate. A 4 digit code is given to you when you make a reservation. The gate gives a nice sense of privacy & security for the campsite. The camp sites are easy to find and well marked with big signs. I was at Group Site 1This site is huge! Just a guess, but I would say around 1.5 acres. About 2/3 of this site is open, grassy field. The other 1/3 is shaded. The shaded area has 3 large picnic tables, water, fire ring & a private latrine. I purchased firewood in advance & it was delivered to our site before we even arrived. The dumpster is conveniently located near this site. The private latrine is a small, open-air structure near the shaded area of the site. There are 2 composting toilets & the toilet paper was fully stocked. The building is partially open the elements, so it was a little dirty (to be expected) but we used our hose and sprayed the floor clean. The toilets are "squatting" toilets. Which mean they are close to the floor (see pic). There are plenty of wooded areas to explore & hiking trails nearby & several great areas for hammocks. The site looks well maintained & had recently been mowed prior to our arrival. There are enough trees & space to give plenty of privacy between sites. This site is perfect for a large group or family wanting to tent camp together. The picnic tables are the large, sturdy kind. The fire ring was huge with an attached grill. There was another fire ring and 2 more picnic tables in the open grassy area, closer to the road. Designated parking is near the road, which is a bit of distance for carrying a lot of gear. However, since the ground was completely dry, we dropped our gear at the shady area and then parked our car at the road. Overall, this is a great space with unexpected beauty!
Great place to camp right on the river! I would suggest bring your own fire wood and do not by it there at the camp the wood they gave us was not good and wouldn't catch fire. But other than that I would go back in a heartbeat. With trails close by to explore!
Great getaway. You can fish off the banks of the Cumberland river or take a swim. Close to trails and a waterpark too. Love the peace and tranquility. We will be going back again.
They have horse sites to bring your horses .and you can camp right with your bourses.They also have RV sites and tent camping. You can fish in the river and go tubing and Canoeing in the river. They even have Primitive camping. They are right on the river. The owners are really nice. It’s a very peaceful campground where you can connect with your soul.
Everything about this campground is what everyone needs its beautiful and quiet and lots to do. The owner is polite and amazing to work with if you need anything she will try her best to get it or find resources for you. You can have fires down there and watch the water it's so amazing. I love going there and I know you would to. <3
Sanded, river front tent sites. The camp sites are also shaded, very comfortable even in July. Great place for canoe, kayak & swimming activities. Fishing, hiking and more. The Horseman’s Camp is also nice, miles of trails to be discovered just at the dead end of the road. The owners are friendly, accommodating. Local guy delivers firewood for a great price.
Another successful camp in the books
We camped here and enjoyed our time fishing and going on the go carts. It was also nice to ride the golf cart around the park to get around. We brought ours but you can also rent. The swimming pool stays pretty full but is nice. The only negative I guess is sites are pretty close together at the sites we stayed at (there were some larger ones ) and we enjoy a little more room.
Campsite was tight, no room to open awning. Overpriced $70 for weeknite, $80 Weekend. They need to weed eat and spray round up. It looked like they were trying to clean up the permanent sites, which was good. Nice trail to walk on to a pond, a cave and the river.
My family stayed here because we were visiting the Ark Encounter. I’m not sure if there are closer campgrounds, but we chose to primitive camp here for our visit. We arrived with just enough time to set up up our tent and head back towards Alexandria for dinner and supplies at Walmart. There is not much variety and choices very close. The RV and tent area is very hilly. Our tent ground sloped but it didn’t bother us very much. The campsites are very close to each other but there was only two other tent campers and they were both over 4 sites over from us. The tent area has portable toilets. I chose to drive to the shower house when I needed to use the restroom. The shower house is typical of most campgrounds, a few cobwebs but generally clean with shower and toilet stalls. There are two shower houses for the entire campground. The lake is very pretty, a few camp grounds are right off the shore. The only thing I didn’t like was that there was no water spigot in the main tent camp area.
We were excited to check out this campground on a big trip from Michigan to Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana but we were very disappointed in it! The campground was overly packed - 2-3 cars per site on most. Our site was so dirty, we picked up a Walmart bag full of trash and we didn't get close to all of it - so much was buried sticking out of the dirt. The staff was not friendly. We also found it to have a ton of road noise. We ended up leaving after only one night (forfeiting the additional two nights we booked - they stated they couldn't refund because we booked online and They don't have our money)
We did love going through the fort and kids enjoyed that but pool was a long ways from our site so we didn't go check it out - drove by looks nice.
There was other sites that were grassy and looked cleaner - ours was dirt and in back
They do have nice paved areas to park your camper on.
We have camped several times at the Koomer Ridge Camp ground but it had been at least 10 years since we had and it is almost frozen in time. Great camp ground with simple amenities, water available without having to walk miles and miles. Bathrooms were clean, sites have a nice distance between them so you don’t feel like you are on top of your neighbor campers. Plenty of trees over head so even though it was hot the shade keeps you cool. And this camp ground is close to Red River Gorge and miles of great trails several start at Koomer ridge camp ground.
There was lots to do at this KOA. There was corn hole, ladder ball, pool, walking trails, access to the river, cat fish pond, small dog park, and washers & dryers. You could bring your RV, travel trailer, tent camp, or rent a cabin. I’m sure I’m forgetting something. The spots were close together. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The park was clean and well maintained.
The sites are hard to back in with a camper, we had to buy longer extension cables and a longer water hose, sites are very close together, the activities were good had to pay for them not very much. The miniature golf course was good but a little expensive. The beach was amazing but it’s first come first serve regardless if u camped there. It opens up at 10am. The lodge restaurant was amazing buffet and the banana pudding was amazing as well. They do serve a sandwich called Hot Brown I guess it known in Kentucky was good.
When we arrived, the check in process was very easy and staff were helpful and friendly. Ice and firewood can be purchased on site. The efficiency cabin we stayed in was very clean and just perfect for 4 people. The cabin had a bunk bed and a futon bed. The kitchen had a small stove, sink and fridge. The bathroom was small but had a shower and toilet. There was a fire pit and picnic table. The jump pad was fun for the kids. The mini golf course needed a little cleaning/maintenance for the rocks and leaves on the course. The planned fall activities were so much fun for my kids. They did painting, bingo and games. All the staff we came in contact with were friendly. The cabin was situated in a convenient location to all activities. Our stay for this trip was awesome and I would recommend staying at this campground in the fall.
We tent camped for Father's Day and there were plenty of regular activities and extra fun "fathers day" activities! I'll start with the bad and end with the great! The bad: We were given site 49. This site is not for tents. There is zero shade and there is zero grass. There is only gravel. I broke my mallet attempting to stake my tent. We had to put down 2 tarps so the bottom of my tent wouldn't get punctured by the sharp rocks. Now, the good: This place is awesome! when we checked in, the staff were friendly and very helpful. Sites are properly and clearly marked. There are 2 pools. The older one is small but nice. The newer pool is bigger and has a splash area. The site we were at was located about halfway through the campground, so it's convenient to most activities. The restrooms were very close and clean. The big slide was so much fun for the kids and we spent most of our time here. The extra Father's Day activities were appropriate for guests and super fun! We were engaged the whole time! The food at the snack bar was good and the service was awesome! There are plenty of restrooms located around the entire campground. We did the arcade and mini golf and jump pillow. All were fun! Overall, this campground is well maintained and fun!
First, the good: Lake Shelby was easy to find. The signs were easy to see and tent sites are well marked. The office, RV area and restrooms were easy to find and also well marked. The tent sites were shaded by nice trees and were located right next to the lake. The group tent sites looked nice and had shade and open areas. You can rent a paddle boat or canoe. However, there has to be an adult in the canoe for rental. There are several docks and a boat ramp. You have to pay to launch and there is an honor box for that. The campsite itself, was mostly flat and partially shaded. The fire pit was nice as well. Now, the bad: The lake was brown and had an oily film across the top. It smelled of dead fish and something else that I couldn't identify. I saw people fishing, but I never saw anyone actually catch anything. The tent sites were down a dead end road, however the amount of cars that went past our site made me feel like there was a parade that lasted almost the entire time we were there. The paddle boat lost steering when we were halfway around the lake. The only thing we could do was go in a circle. It took 20 minutes for them to send someone to assist us. There was a trash can next to our site, however, it was nearly full when we arrived and no one ever emptied it. The restrooms are located at the RV parking area, so we had to drive to use them. In my opinion, the restrooms should have been built in between the RV sites and tent sites to make them easier to access by walking. Overall, I didn't hate my time at Lake Shelby, but there was nothing great enough to make me return or recommend it to friends.
Decent campground a short drive from a ton of nearby climbing crags. Love that the showers are not pay by the minute like others, though tent camping sites are pretty close together and most don’t have platforms. Staff are super friendly and it’s a nice alternative to the hustle and bustle of Miguel’s (though we ended up there each day anyway)!