Kentucky destinations, parks and attractions
Are you going on a road trip to Kentucky, looking for tips about the destinations so you and your party can enjoy it, be comfortable and not spend a fortune?
Here are some of the top destinations in Kentucky and tips about visiting them
National parks and monuments in Kentucky
- Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park:,
For over a century people from around the world have come to rural Central Kentucky to honor the humble beginnings of our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. His early life on Kentucky's frontier shaped his character and prepared him to lead the nation through Civil War. The country's first memorial to Lincoln, built with donations from young and old, enshrines the symbolic birthplace cabin.
- National River and Recreation Area:
- Big South Fork
Encompassing 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area protects the free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries. The area boasts miles of scenic gorges and sandstone bluffs, is rich with natural and historic features and has been developed to provide visitors with a wide range of outdoor recreational activities.
- Camp Nelson National Monument,
Established as a supply depot and hospital during the Civil War for the U.S. Army, Camp Nelson became a large recruitment and training center for African American soldiers (USCTs), and a refugee camp for their wives and children. Thousands of enslaved people escaped to this site with the hope of securing freedom and ultimately controlling their futures by aiding in the destruction of slavery.
- Cumberland Gap National Historical Park:,
At Cumberland Gap, the first great gateway to the west, follow the buffalo, the Native American, the longhunter, the pioneer... all traveled this route through the mountains into the wilderness of Kentucky. Modern day explorers and travelers stand in awe at this great gateway and the many miles of trails and scenic features found in the park.
- National Battlefield
- Fort Donelson
Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant was becoming quite famous as he wrote these words following the surrender of Confederate Fort Donelson on Sunday, February 16, 1862. The Union victory at Fort Donelson elated the North, and stunned the South. Within days of the surrender, Clarksville and Nashville would fall into Union hands. Grant and his troops had created a pathway to victory for the Union.
- Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail,
Sixteen States: IA,ID,IL,IN,KS,KY,MO,MT,NE,ND,OH,OR,PA,SD,WA,WV.
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is approximately 4,900 miles long, extending from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the mouth of the Columbia River, near present day Astoria, Oregon. It follows the historic outbound and inbound routes of the Lewis and Clark Expedition as well as the preparatory section from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Wood River, Illinois.
- Mammoth Cave National Park:,
Mammoth Cave, KY.
Rolling hills, deep river valleys, and the worlds longest known cave system. Mammoth Cave National Park is home to thousands of years of human history and a rich diversity of plant and animal life, earning it the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.
- Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument,
The Union won a significant victory early in the Civil War at The Battle of Mill Springs. Explore the rolling fields of Kentucky where the battle took place and learn about that state's strategic importance to both sides of the fight.
- Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail,
Remember and commemorate the survival of the Cherokee people, forcefully removed from their homelands in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee to live in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. They traveled by foot, horse, wagon, or steamboat in 1838-1839.
Kentucky State parks and historic sites
- BARREN RIVER LAKE STATE RESORT PARK 270-646-2151 Caves, Lakes and CorvettesGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- BIG BONE LICK STATE HISTORIC SITE 859-384-3522Northern Kentucky River RegionGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- BLUE LICKS BATTLEFIELD STATE RESORT PARK 859-289-5507Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon and Boone RegionGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- CARR CREEK STATE PARK 606-642-4050Daniel Boone CountryGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- CARTER CAVES STATE RESORT PARK (606) 286-4411, Kentucky AppalachiansGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- COLUMBUS-BELMONT STATE PARK 270-677-2327, Western WaterlandsGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- CUMBERLAND FALLS STATE RESORT PARK 606-528-4121, Daniel Boone CountryGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- DALE HOLLOW LAKE STATE RESORT PARK 270-433-7431, Kentucky's Southern ShorelinesGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- FORT BOONESBOROUGH STATE PARK (859) 527-3131, Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon and Boone RegionGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- GENERAL BURNSIDE ISLAND STATE PARK 606-561-4104, Kentucky's Southern ShorelinesGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- GENERAL BUTLER STATE RESORT PARK 502-732-4384, Northern Kentucky River RegionGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- GRAYSON LAKE STATE PARK 606-474-9727, Kentucky AppalachiansGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- GREEN RIVER LAKE STATE PARK 270-465-8255 Kentucky's Southern ShorelinesGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- GREENBO LAKE STATE RESORT PARK 606-473-7324 Kentucky AppalachiansGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- JENNY WILEY STATE RESORT PARK 606-889-1790 Kentucky AppalachiansGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- JOHN JAMES AUDUBON STATE PARK 270-826-2247 Bluegrass, Blues and BBQGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- KENLAKE STATE RESORT PARK 270-474-2211 Western WaterlandsGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- KENTUCKY DAM VILLAGE STATE RESORT PARK 270-362-4271 Western WaterlandsGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- KINCAID LAKE STATE PARK 859-654-3531 Northern Kentucky River RegionGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- LAKE BARKLEY STATE RESORT PARK 270-924-1131 Western WaterlandsGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- LAKE CUMBERLAND STATE RESORT PARK 270-343-3111 Kentucky's Southern ShorelinesGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- LAKE MALONE STATE PARK 270-657-2111 Bluegrass, Blues and BBQGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- LEVI JACKSON WILDERNESS ROAD PARK 606-330-2130 Daniel Boone Country GET DIRECTIONS
- MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME STATE PARK 502-348-3502 Bourbon, Horses and HistoryGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- NATURAL BRIDGE STATE RESORT PARK 606-663-2214 Daniel Boone CountryGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- NOLIN LAKE STATE PARK 270-286-4240 Caves, Lakes and CorvettesGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- PAINTSVILLE LAKE STATE PARK 606-297-8486 Kentucky AppalachiansGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- PENNYRILE FOREST STATE RESORT PARK 270-797-3421 Bluegrass, Blues and BBQGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- TAYLORSVILLE LAKE STATE PARK 502-477-8713 Bourbon, Horses and HistoryGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
- YATESVILLE LAKE STATE PARK, 606-673-1492 Kentucky AppalachiansGET DIRECTIONS RESERVATIONS
Kentucky Seasons, bugs, topography and climate
Kentucky has relatively hot, humid, rainy summers, and moderately cold and rainy winters. Mean maximum temperatures in July vary from 83 to 90 °F (28 to 32 °C); the mean minimum July temperatures are 61 to 69 °F (16 to 21 °C).
Kentucky Camping tips
There are 30 campgrounds in the Kentucky State Park system, spread out across the state so you’re not too far from being able to enjoy the outdoors.
Four parks - Dale Hollow Lake, Pennyrile Forest, Taylorsville Lake and Carter Caves - also offer equestrian-friendly sites.
Each public campsite facility offers amenities such as restrooms, trail access, RV electric and water hookups, a fire ring, table and more - all in a beautiful setting with affordable rates.
Kentucky State Parks have year-round campgrounds. CLICK HERE for a compiled list. Due to weather, Kentucky State Parks cannot guarantee the availability of water or other resources at our campgrounds during inclement weather months when freezing temperatures are possible. Please contact the park directly for available resources if traveling during months that are conducive to freezing temperatures. Water restrictions may apply.