Louisville, Kentucky might be best known for its Louisville Slugger baseball bats and as the home of the Kentucky Derby, but this southern city on the Ohio River has so much more to offer. From the Kentucky Zoo to the city’s bourbon distilleries, there’s something to keep the young and old entertained in Louisville. Boutique shops, charming restaurants (don’t miss brunch at Harvest Louisville) as well as plenty of venues to see live music all make Louisville a great place to escape for a night or two—and with plenty of camping options near Louisville, don’t forget your tent or RV on your visit.
The Best Camping Near Louisville, KY
Downtown hotels can get pricey, especially on weekends, but don’t let that stop you from planning a trip to Derby City. There are plenty of great places to camp just outside of Louisville. These campgrounds provide quick and easy access to all that Louisville has to offer but still let you to pitch your tent for a fraction of the cost of a hotel.
Less than an hour outside of Louisville is one of Kentucky’s premier historical sites—and one of the best places to go camping near Louisville, KY. My Old Kentucky Home State Park, featuring the 1818 mansion that Stephen Foster sings about in his ballad, “My Old Kentucky Home,” is the mainstay of this park. Kentucky’s longest-running outdoor drama is held at the park, featuring period costumes and choreography and showcasing more than 50 of Foster’s finest songs. Enjoy what the park has to offer before heading into Louisville for some urban entertainment.
The campground at My Old Kentucky Home State Park has 39 campsites with utility hookups, a shower house and restrooms, and a dump station. Across the street, campers will find a laundry house and a grocery store. The campground is open seasonally from mid-March to mid-November.
Located just 25 minutes south of Louisville’s center, Louisville South KOA is one of the most convenient places to go camping near Louisville, KY. This campground is open year-round and offers something for everyone, from RV and tent camping sites to deluxe camping cabins featuring full kitchens and bathrooms. Amenities include a pool, bike rentals, a fishing pond, jumping pillow and 2 miles of nature trails. There’s so much to do at Louisville South KOA that you’ll be tempted to spend all of your time at the campground. Don’t succumb to the urge, however, because all of Louisville’s top attractions are just a short drive away.
This campground features RV camping sites with full hookups for any size RV, grassy tent camping sites (primitive or water and electric sites), deluxe cabins with full kitchens and bathrooms and camper cabins without bathrooms. The campground has shower houses and flush toilets, an on-site convenience store, dump station and laundry facilities.
Situated just across the river in Indiana, Charlestown State Park is a quick 25-minute drive to downtown Louisville. This park offers visitors views of the Ohio River and also has rugged hills and steep ravines great for hiking. There are 72 species of birds in the park, so make sure to pack your binoculars. You may even get lucky and spot a bald eagle.
Charlestown is one of only two state parks in Indiana that offer full hookup campsites. The park has nearly 200 campsites in total and has a shower house, flush toilets and a dump station. The campground also features a playground for kids and hiking trails accessible directly from the campground. Charlestown State Park campground is open all year long.
Twenty-acre Lake Shelby is a great place to fish (bluegill, crappy, bass and catfish), canoe and kayak. The lake’s small and quiet campground has some of the best camping near Louisville, KY. The lake offers canoe, paddle boat and rowboat rentals. It’s just a 40-minute drive from the city, so it makes a quiet and peaceful home base for exploring all that Louisville has to offer.
The campground at Lake Shelby has 10 RV sites and 20 primitive tent sites along the lakefront. One of the RV campsites has full hookups, including sewer, and the other nine sites have electric and water only. The 20 tent sites are primitive, with no water or electricity. The campground has hot showers and flush toilets and is open year-round.
Forty-five minutes southeast of Louisville, this park has a lot more to do than just fishing and boating, though there’s plenty of that to be had on 3,050-acre Taylorsville Lake, too. The park’s 24-mile trail system is open to hikers, bikers and equestrians and has some of the most scenic horse-riding trails in the state. Kids will enjoy the two park playgrounds.
The campground has 45 RV sites with electric and water hookups, 15 primitive tent sites and 10 equestrian sites with electric and hookups. The campground has bathhouses and laundry facilities and is open April 1- December 15.
Things to do in Louisville
When you’re ready to leave the campground and explore the city, check out these fun things to do in Louisville.
- The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory offers bat factory tours, baseball artifacts, and interactive exhibits. If you’re a baseball fan, the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory should be your first stop in Louisville.
- Churchill Downs is the home of the Kentucky Derby, but even if you aren’t in town derby weekend, stop by to catch a different race or to tour the Kentucky Derby Museum.
- Kids and adults alike will love visiting the Louisville Zoo, which features botanical gardens as well as animals from around the world such as gorillas, monkeys and elephants. Kids will love taking a spin on the antique carousel and cooling off in the splash park.
- Feeling adventurous? Check out Mega Cavern & Mega Zips , which is located underground in a former limestone mine. The facility features six underground zip lines and an underground bike park with 45 trails.
- The Muhammad Ali Center is a place where visitors can learn about the great boxer Muhammad Ali and the important impact he had on the world. The goal of the center is to inspire others to do great things in the world and to commit to personal growth.
- If you want to stroll through leafy green streets with stately mansions and fine dining restaurants, visit the Old Louisville neighborhood, which also encompasses the University of Louisville’s main campus. Take a walking tour or just stroll the 45 blocks of Louisville history on your own.