From the underground caverns of Mammoth Cave National Park to the sandstone cliffs of Red River Gorge, camping in Kentucky means immersing yourself in land of natural wonders. Whether you decide to pitch your tent in the 708,000 acre Daniel Boone National Forest or along one of the dozens of lakes and rivers in the state, these campgrounds in Kentucky will keep you coming back.
The Best Campgrounds in Kentucky
Can’t decide which campgrounds in Kentucky will become home base for exploring the Bluegrass State? We’ve turned to the Kentucky camping experts for campground recommendations:
1. Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Tucked inside the green oasis of Daniel Boone National Forest is Natural Bridge State Resort Park, a 2,200-acre expanse of towering trees and otherworldly rock formations. The park itself has 22 miles of trails and a 60-acre lake as well as two campgrounds in Kentucky that can accommodate RVs and tents.
A hike out to the natural bridge, a 65-foot tall natural sandstone arch, can’t be missed, but make sure to spend some of your time under the trees exploring the adjacent Red River Gorge National Geologic Area as well.
“Natural Bridge is full of hiking and lots to do, the campground was nice and the bathhouse was clean as can be. We are already planning to go back, the hike to the bridge is great and we took the sky life just for fun!” – Campground review from Todd C. on The Dyrt Camp Here
Prepare for your next adventure by downloading maps. The Dyrt PRO lets you download maps and campgrounds without cell service. “My alternative to using pro would be to drive back out to cell service”.
2. Mammoth Cave Campground
It’s hard to believe that lurking just under the surface of the Blue Grass State is Mammoth Cave, the world’s largest known cave system. With over 400 miles of cave explored, some of which are open for public tours, Mammoth Cave draws visitors from around the world.
The Mammoth Cave Campground, located inside of the park, gives campers a prime location from which to explore this “grand, gloomy, and peculiar place.” While there are five campgrounds in the park, Mammoth Cave Campground is the developed camping area, offering 105 seasonally available sites, two of which are ADA accessible.
“This is a great family campground. There is no electricity or water at the sites, but they are spacious and close to other activities at Mammoth Cave and the surrounding park.” – The Dyrt camper Rodney G. Camp here
3. Cumberland Falls State Park
Known as the “Niagara of the South,” Cumberland Falls, which lends the state park its name, is the largest waterfall south of Niagara. Those that camp at Cumberland Falls State Park often come for the waterfall but stay for the canoeing and whitewater rafting opportunities, as well as the 17-miles of hiking trails.
The two campgrounds in Kentucky’s Cumberland Falls State Park are open year-round and can host both tent and RV campers. If you can make the timing work, reserve a site during a full moon and then make sure to see the waterfall’s “moonbow,” a lunar rainbow and natural phenomenon that exists nowhere else in the western hemisphere.
“We traveled here just to see the moonbow and were not disappointed. We were happy to find good trails plus many modern and resort facilities and activities, and a great visitor’s center. Campground and campsites are on the small side but feel private and are shaded.” – The Dyrt camper Dan N. Camp here
4. Big Bone Lick State Park
The peculiar name of Big Bone Lick State Park comes from the Pleistocene era fossils found here. It’s believed that many years ago mammoths were drawn to the location by nearby salt lick deposits. While mammoths no longer roam this land, visitors today can see a small bison herd that live in the park.
The popular Kentucky campground offers 62 seasonal campsites with utility hookups, grills, a swimming pool and a playground. Make sure to check out the visitor’s center and museum, which feature exhibits that tell of the prehistoric history of the park.
“This campground is in a quiet area with amazing scenery. The access to hiking trails is wonderful.” — The Dyrt camper Lisa S. Camp here
5. Koomer Ridge Campground
The Red River Gorge is a canyon system in east-central Kentucky and an outdoor lover’s paradise. Climbers, campers, mountain bikers, kayakers and hikers flock to the area to enjoy the unique natural beauty of the sandstone cliffs and limestone rocks that jut from the ground along the Red River.
Smack dab in the middle of this natural wonder sits Koomer Ridge Campground, a semi-primitive campground in a peaceful forest setting. Campers have access to 4 on-site hiking trails and are just a close drive away from other Red River Gorge trailheads. If you want to camp at Koomer Ridge it’s best to arrive early.
Campsites cannot be reserved and are available on a first come, first served basis. There are 54 tent sites for camping year-round and 15 sites that can accommodate RVs up to 35-feet but no water, electric hookups, or RV dump station.
“So much hiking and kayaking in this area and this campground is pretty central to a lot of it. There are lots of hikes very close to the campground, easy and moderate difficulty and all lengths and amazing views of the gorge, especially in the fall. Make sure to check out the Rough Trail and Ridge Trail right from the campsite.” – The Dyrt Camper Amber A. Camp here
6. Zilpo Campground
Located in the heart of Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest is Zilpo campground, one of the largest and most popular campgrounds in Kentucky on the shores of Cave Run Lake. It’s great for families and large groups looking for a fun-filled getaway. The campground sits on a peninsula that juts into the middle portion of 8,270-acre Cave Run Lake and provides direct access to swimming and water sports or lakeside activities like sunning on the soft, sandy beach.
The campground has 168 sites for both tents and RVs, including some sites with electric hookups. It also has 12 cabins available to rent. For a birds-eye view of the surrounding area climb nearby Tater Knob, a fire tower lookout with extraordinary views that makes a great destination for a sunrise or sunset hike.
“So great we took two trips! There are so many beautiful hiking and biking trails. Zilpo is still one of my favorite places to go!” – The Dyrt camper Justin W. Camp here
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- Mammoth Cave Camping
- Great Smoky Mountains Camping
- Big Bone Lick State Park