the dyrt
THE BEST CAMPING IN
Kentucky
688 Reviews 305 Campgrounds

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.

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Recent Reviews in Kentucky
Great Campground

Nice COE campground. Plenty of trees . Clean and quiet

Great Campground

Fishing Creek Campground is an very nice campground. Located on the Fishing Creek portion of Lake Cumberland. This is a Corp of Engineers facility. Well maintained and shady. Lots of trees. Both RV and primitive camping. Playground, bath house and boat ramp are available. Some sites have a lake view. This is a nice quiet place to stay.

Great place to camp

Very nice place to camp great sites well maintained

Great Place

I have camped at this campground for over 58 years. It has been improved over the years and still needs work. More RV sites have been added. More are needed. Great place to go camping and priced well.

Beautiful scenery at a great price

We camped at the water front and my only complaint is they didn’t allow swimming away from the beach, we swam anyway because Merica. All in all a great place to camp

Not just a campground

Great place to visit. We go there a lot with friends and family. A lot of sightseeing.

Small quiet dispersed

Very quiet. Two fenced dog runs that were slightly overgrown when we first arrived but were cut when the rain allowed. Paved roads throughout but very few paved sights. WIFI and cell service very limited would advise a antenna for long term. Office personnel were extremely helpful and understanding. I had truck problems and it extended our stay so I just had to move trailer to different site. Ft Knox is just a few miles away.

Overall this is a great FamCamp. Will definitely stay again.

Super friendly very close to lake

sites r spacious

beautiful views

I have been going to this campground my entire life. It has 10 sites that are spread out on kind of a peninsula sticking out in the lake. It is up on a hill,so the walk to lake is a hefty one from some of the sites. The sites are level and spacious, also they feel secluded. The ramp is a steep grade as are most of the ramps at this lake. The showers and bathrooms are clean and updated. There is a dump station on site. There is a playground and plenty of walking to do. The sites have electric and I think water on each site. The hosts were wonderful. It is out in the middle of nowhere, but worth it. We drove out and bought ice and vegetables on the honor system at a little stand. There are stores to restock supplies not too far away and it is about 20 minutes to Conley Bottom Marina which has a restaurant and general store. We love this place and will definitely go back.

Trees of fun

Clean bathrooms easy spots for my rig to park. Well maintained camping quiet and away from it all.

Awesome

I've camped here many times with my kiddos and have always had a great time with no trouble

Good basecamp for surrounding activity, not the best for camping with kids

Pros:

Secluded campground

Beautiful area

Cons:

You're camping basically in a ravine.

No fire pit

We had site 15 and my in-laws had site 16 over Labor Day weekend 2018.

It took us over an hour to try and level our pop-up camper because the site was so steep. Our neighbors had the same problem. We took the advice of a fellow camper on here and brought an extension cord and we were so glad we did, I think my in-laws ended up needing it.

When we arrived I was disappointed to find that we didn't have a firepit, only an old grill that had a hole in the bottom, rendering it useless. Luckily my in-laws had a firepit so we had our fires over there. We do most of our cooking in cast iron over the fire, so a fire pit is a huge requirement for us. Our site was so steep it was hard for our two young children to walk and play on our site (4yo and 1.5yo) so we spent most of the time at their site anyway. The campsite we were on just wasn't that great for small children, but wouldn't be bad if you were in a tent without small children. Site 16 was great though.

Saturday night, we could hear a drunken group of about 20 with their speakers blasting music across the campground, so loud we couldn't hear each other talking around the campfire. I'm not normally one to complain about music at a campground, but this was overkill and was well into after quiet hours. Every so often you could tell that they were told to turn it down, but it only lasted a few minutes before it was cranked up again. It shut down probably around mid-night, but with two small kids it made for a long night.

The bathrooms were decent, one toilet would shoot water out of the top when you flushed. I didn't use the showers but they looked clean for a campground shower.

The LBL area is what made the trip worth it. We basically used the campground as a base camp to explore the area, which is a beautiful. We saw several deer within the park. The bison and elk prarie is a must see, the kids loved it. We drove to the Golden Pond visitors center and spent several hours at the Homeplace Living history village. Since it was Labor Day weekend they had a lot of events going on. We're now planning another trip back to the LBL area, just not at the same campground.

Full hookups available. Horses welcome.

This is one of 5 organized campgrounds with full hookups that accept reservations. There are many other smaller campgrounds with toilets and the entire recreational area allows dispersed camping with a permit.

Great little state park

Try to stay in the front area if possible. Some of the sites in the back get muddy if it rains. Stay clear of site 13 & 15 as they tend to flood. All others are great.

Not for us!

Too much road noice. Area is low and when it rains the camping area and wet for days.

Nice scenery, very strict

The campground in tucked in the middle of the state park and seems pretty secluded (no cell service). The primitive camping sites are pretty packed in and don't have a lot of privacy, and not a lot of flat land to set up a tent. $25 a night is a bit steep for the amenities you receive.

The campground is very strict about the rules - you are NOT allowed to gather firewood (of any size - which seems odd to me) but then they are also very strict about what firewood you can bring in. I guess you should plan on buying it there - although they charge $6 a bundle. Another strange thing is that you must have your dogs on a leash at all times. We were literally the ONLY campers there and they still felt the need to enforce this. Our dogs are very friendly and well-behaved. I could understand this if they had gone up to the ranger car, were barking, or not listening to us, but it just seems odd to me to enforce this.

I don't think this would be a park where we will return as it would not have been enjoyable if there had been a lot of other people.

We were able to enjoy the beautiful lake and the fall views.

One last thing to add - there is a cemetery in the middle of the campground which I find a bit creepy!

The place to stay in the Gorge

Always a great place to plot your adventure.

1st time at KOA

Lots of long term campers with stuff outside camper, but great walking and hiking trails, great ck in process, as well as camp store. Very hospitable.

Great camping for all ages

Much like the name says there are horses but this campground is much more than horses. I noticed that whenever I pulled in the campsites are large and spacious. Great for RVs or tent campers alike. I was very excited to stay in this area based on the location it’s self. This location is close to the Bourbon Trail and very close to Lexington it self and all of the activities that await you while there. Their local he is a mail which mills their own flower with a water wheel that still runs from the early 1900s. My site was Both level and grassy it made for a great night and despite the fact that the camp was pretty full it didn’t seem overly crowded.

Seasonal Campground With Great Pricing

Something that sets this place apart from others in the area is long term tent camping!! Yes you read that right, LONG TERM TENT CAMPING! For most of those who travel you know they often offer long term services for those in RVs which provides a discount for staying more than a night or two, but at this campground you as a tent camper can find a location that suits your Kentucky home needs on the road for a day, a week or even a month!

But what does that entail exactly?

This site is really nice, with level sites for RVs or tents, padded grass which is well maintained, nice gravel roads around camp and a river frontage with views which will make you just want to stop and take in the scenery.

When I visited I noticed a lot of people staying here near the weekend were visiting to launch their boats and troll the river fishing for what looked like some pretty large fish. It was pretty cool to see some of the people setting up their campground fish fry, and they were even friendly enough to invite me to join, though I don't eat fish so it didn't really work out that way.

The tent sites were shaded and had several different options, you could choose primitive which is only $17 or for a few dollars more you could have electricity. All sites come with a picnic table and fire ring and a pull in to keep you and your things closely together.

There was a playground and volleyball, but I didn't see anyone using these when I was there. A small camp store has a lot of the essentials in case your forgot something or just needed to pick up a snack. There was also firewood available, a big plus!!

This place is a bit older looking in appearance but it is charming and the owner is very cool. I didn't meet a single person there that wasn't just enjoying life.

TIPS:

  • If you are trying to check in the office has kind of strange hours. They are only open until 2 Sunday through Tuesday, not sure why but call in advance if you are running later than this time and want to check in.
  • Check their online event schedule! This campground host tailgating for UK so you can find a good tailgate party if you plan in advance, right at your campground!!
  • This is nearby the Bourbon Trail as well as so many other places where you will find activities. I was here to check out the Castle (I have attached a few photos) Can't miss this stop!!!
Great Stay

Enjoyed my time staying at Tailwater in Kentucky. It was about an 8hr drive from where I live, so we decided to stay here for a long weekend with friends. We ended up renting out 2 campsite spots to fit 8 of us and luckily we were able to get a spot right next to each other. We had 2 huge 6 person tents, so 4 stayed in one and 4 in the either. We fit comfortably! Thankfully the campsite were fairly large to fit our cars and 2 big tents. The attendants working in the front were super nice and helpful. They helped us find our spots, and then gave us recommendations on where to hike in the mornings. Because we came in the summer, it was pretty busy. The Barren River is right next to the campground and makes for a beautiful day to head down to the river and cool off. The campground is fairly large- I believe it has close to 50 spots. Campground was easy to find, and the signage for the campground was great. Cost was $20 a night per site, so for us it was $40 sense we had 2 sites but we split it 8 ways so it was super cheap. We brought tons of food, and snacks, so at night we just hung around each other- some in hammocks or in chairs and just talked. The hiking was really great- super awesome views. The trails were in such great condition!! Would definitely come back.

Quiet campground across the river from the caves

Like most, we were here to visit Mammoth Cave National Park. We stayed on the Maple Springs side of the Green River to be closer to the mountain bike trails and are glad we did. The trails were great for both of us and we could ride straight from the campground. If you are in a RV note that you can't go across the ferry with your rig!!! You have to go around the park to access this campground. We are so glad we realized that ahead of time and didn't have to back track. The campground was quiet and we had it completely to ourselves one night. The campground had pit toilets but no shower. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we almost stayed an additional night! If you plan to visit the cave, be sure to book your tour ahead of time. The tours were all sold out when we got there!

Backcountry camping

Green River is located in Mammoth Cave National Forest near Brownsville, Ky off I65.

This NF is within 30 minutes of my residence and I visit often. You can backcountry camp but first you have to check in at the main area. Then you are pretty free to camp where you want within the guidelines. There are some sites already out there , if you choose to make your own follow “bug protocols”! I messed up and got to suffer through chiggers for a week after our adventure, not fun.

Mammoth offers the cave and Green River of course but many people don’t realize how extensive and unique the hiking areas are. Get a good map and pack your bag you can hike, bike or horseback to several secluded areas that offer a backcountry feel, good for practicing for longer duration hikes. Once you cross the Green River by ferry you are in a whole other world that is not crowded with tourists (usually;)

We set up in chigger central and explored the area which had several small rivulets and a nice little pond that reminded me of some horror movie or other (lol) I saw a family of four and a couple hiking through but otherwise the area was mine.

Not Good

Stayed at Middle Fork Oct 25, 26, 27 (Thu, Fri, Sat) although we were forced to pay for Sunday too because it was some kind of special weekend having to do with Halloween. IMO this is just a BS way to make more money. The majority of people who do the whole trick or treat and Halloween stuff, do it for kids, and those people most likely have to leave on Sun to go back home for school on Mon. So why be forced to pay for Sunday night?!
Our water spigot sprayed water everywhere when our hose was hooked up. They sent a plumber over who tried to fix it with a wrench and a propane torch which didn't help at all. Fortunately we had no neighbors so we hooked to the other sites spigot. It sprayed too. The next day the campground turned off all the water to the campground, brought in an excavator and were excavating a broken pipe elsewhere in the campground. They didn't bother to let anyone know they were turning off the water, there were probably 5 campers in the entire campground. I wonder if they are aware that if a hot water heater runs out of water, but the heating element stays on, that it can destroy the element?? Fortunately we were there when we ran out of water and turned our water heater off.
The light. The damn 30,000 watt LED security light that lights up the night like a spaceship coming in for a landing, 10 feet behind our site. Forget having the cozy campfire experience, it's like sitting in daylight when that sucker is blasting down on you. The dump station. You have to park your camper on the wrong side of the road, facing uphill into on-coming traffic to dump your tanks, the water spigot to hook up and flush your tanks wasn't working so no water. The girl working at the check-in booth was clueless, saying she "didn't know nuthin about it". And didn't offer to pick up the phone and find out if there was a way to turn the water on. In addition, because we were parked facing uphill our gray water tank wouldn't dump at all. We had to stop at another campground on our way home and pay to dump and flush our tanks.
Overall, this campground was a negative experience and we will not be back.

Private Campground

Gravel and grass FHU sites mostly level. Great pool and bathhouse with full bath suites in beautiful tile. Very clean.

highly recommended, close to Lexington and the Ark encounter.

State Park Campground

Only water and electric. Dumpstations available. Sites are pave but rarely level front to rear. Next to horse park with many events thru the year. Close to Lexington and the Ark encounter. Lots to do and see.

BEST Tent Campground

Let me just say, it is nice to find a campground that not only welcomes tent campers but seems to be designed for them exclusively. This campground is primarily a tent site. There are a handful of RV sites, but over 3/4 of the camp is set up for tents only which makes for a better overall outdoor feel without the humming of generators, the height of large RVs blocking your tree views and the overall feeling the you are squished in next to someone.

The closest campground to the Visitor Center, this campground has narrow roads through camp, flushing toilets and hot showers. Preparing for tent campers, the amenities are vast enough to not feel like you are stuck waiting for a shower because they have not properly accommodated you. It is a great feeling to have.

Seasonally there is a small camp store which offers ice and firewood along with some basic items. I even picked up an ice cream here on a hot evening.

My site was $20 and was well shaded, almost nestled into the trees.I was in site 46 which was on the bend and seemed a bit closer to other campers, yet I still had plenty of space for my activities as a solo camper. Had I have been in a larger group or even not camping as a single I might have opted for a site a bit further around the loop.

TIPS:

  • If you are a senior and have an access pass you can present this when booking and get 1/2 off your site.

  • Look at the campground map in advance, you wlll be happy to have done so when looking for larger sites or sites which offer pull through options.

Backcountry Camping - Free Permit

Mammoth Cave has several camping options depending on what type of camping you enjoy. I decided to check out several of those to get a full understanding of just what all was out there. Amongst these options are permitted backcountry camps which are hike in camps accessed by free permits.

To get one of the permits you must register with a valid ID and the make and model of your vehicle. This keep unattended vehicles from being towed from parking areas. Camps are as close as half a mile from public use camping areas but scatter over a vast area. They are large enough for groups but also accessed by individuals.

I hiked out to the first of the group camps positioned on my map, which was given to me at the Visitor Center when I registered, no one appeared to be there so I checked it out fully and determined it was perfect for what I needed. There were plenty of trees for coverage or for those wanting to set up a hammock. Fire rings are located at each of the sites and they have been very minimally cleared making for a great area to set up a tent or several small tents.

The first camp is not very deep into the backcountry, yet is still very quiet and perfect for someone who wants a little adventure without a full day of hiking just to get to camp. There was a nearby flow of water and you could use a lifestraw or purification tabs for converting this water, however they do recommend you bring your own water to drink.

All in all, of the backcountry camps I have visited this one was one of the better ones. I didn't check out others on the map on this trip because I didn't want to be as deep into the woods where there was even more chance of encountering bears.

TIPS:

  • Get your permit earlier in the day - They issue permits up to 15 minutes before close but only issue certain amount per day, best to get your permit early.
  • Tie up your food and trash - This area is known for wildlife so you will want to secure your items up high at your camp to not attract animals into your campsite.
Awesome campground for climbers

Miguel’s is a great place to camp if you are climbing in the Red River Gorge. I have stayed here many times and really enjoy it. Great campground with awesome people. It offers so many things such as a basketball court, quite heated areas, covered cooking, bathrooms, etc. I highly recommend if your in the area.

Beautiful and Fun Campground

Great location with tons of fun stuff to do on site and nearby. Shady and level sites all located near the well maintained bathhouses and other top notch facilities. Highly recommend visiting this campground.