Standard (tent/RV)
Dispersed
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Allowed
Water Unknown
About Smith Bay - LBL
Operator
National Forest
Access
Drive In
Walk In
Hike In
Features
ADA Accessible
No Alchohol
Fires Allowed
No Firewood Available
No Market
Pets Allowed
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Toilets
Trash Available
No WiFi
Location
Smith Bay - LBL is located in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky
Latitude
36.897 N
Longitude
-88.146 W
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4 Reviews of Smith Bay - LBL
2nd visit in 2 weeks

Returned to Smith Bay to tent camp with our adult boys. Same campsite on the water and with it's own pebbly beach. Unlike last week when both Smith Bay and Birmingham Ferry were quite busy, we have been the only campers here! I'm guessing that the rain over the weekend scared folks away. We returned with the beautiful weather, but no one else did. The only negative is that the pit toilet has not been cleaned since before we arrived a couple of days ago, and there have been plenty of boaters using it. (Note: this out of the way boat ramp stays busy from early until late.) On a side note: this is a great place to launch a drone.

2nd visit in 2 weeks

Returned to Smith Bay to tent camp with our adult boys. Same campsite on the water and with it's own pebbly beach. Unlike last week when both Smith Bay and Birmingham Ferry were quite busy, we have been the only campers here! I'm guessing that the rain over the weekend scared folks away. We returned with the beautiful weather, but no one else did. The only negative is that the pit toilet has not been cleaned since before we arrived a couple of days ago, and there have been plenty of boaters using it. (Note: this out of the way boat ramp stays busy from early until late.) On a side note: this is a great place to launch a drone.

Peaceful shoreline

This is one of my favorite LBL camping areas most of the time.

We visited Smith Bay for 4 days last week and plan on returning with our adult children next week.

Smith Bay is back to being a self-serve $10/night facility. (A little aggravating as we still have a few months left on our annual pass.) Nothing else has changed. It's a bit off the beaten path, on a gravel off-shoot from the Birmingham Ferry Campground drive. (Usually, we will check for a spot at BF 1st, and then head to SB if all the prime spots are taken. Both tend to be very quiet midweek but fill up on weekend. However, we may see a change this summer. Since the big campgrounds were closed until a little over a week ago, it was not surprising to find more campers at these smaller locations that had remained open. It's really too early to say with any certainty, but they appear to be staying busier than in the past.

Like BF, there are only a handful of camp sites. Some are spread apart and quite large, while others are smaller and close together. Some have lots of shade and others sun. All have fire rings and picnic tables. 2 sites on the water have wonderful pebble beaches. A short paddle away are some sandy beaches. (These can get quite busy on weekends!)

There is still a central pit toilet that is cleaned regularly but can still get smelly during the heat of the day. There's also a dumpster that tends to be overflowing after the weekend. There is a fairly primitive boat ramp but no dock of any kind. Raccoons and skunks visit the campsites nightly, so you must keep everything put away or risk a big mess like some we saw who had left there food out on a screened gazebo/tent.

Most campers here are in tents. I suspect this is because the sites are not very level. (Note: BF has much more level sites for RVs.)

Speaking of campers, generators are only allowed during the day. However, there is no one to enforce this. Thus, our visit last week was cut short by a rude RVer who fired up his extremely loud generator at 11 pm and left it sputtering away until 8 am. Ugh! We've run into similar issues at other LBL campgrounds but never a generator quite so loud or a camper so rude! This fellow was right on top of us despite other sites being available, and the generator was so loud that we couldn't get a bit of sleep. Here's hoping that he's gone by the time we return. There is a 14-day limit on stays - again, not enforced very often.

First to Review
Back Country hideaway primarily for lake access

Land Between the Lakes tends to be very back country, there is very often not any cell service, and you have to travel at least 20 miles to a small town if you need anything (but every small town in western Kentucky has a Dollar General!) so you need to pack in everything you need, to include drinking, cooking and cleaning water. Smith Bay is very primitive, with a vault ("pit") toilet and a boat ramp readily available. Smith Bay is popular for tent camping and often used for launching small water craft like kayaks. It is accessable by paved road with the camp ground roads being gravel and compacted rock, making it available to small RVs and campers too. The campground slots run the perimeter of the area, and are spaced far enough apart to give privacy without being too far from the water front. Some areas are wooded and well shaded, others are in direct sun without shade. All sites have a picnic table and fire ring, are first come first serve, and require a back country camping pass (available at either LBL Welcome Station or Corps of Engineers campground) or you may pay a daily fee.