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Kentucky’s Family Favorites

Groups can experience a true getaway at one of Kentucky’s 49 magnificent state parks. Each park offers its own distinct qualities, from lakeside views to caving adventures and towering natural stone arches. Whether visitors are avid hikers or prefer to admire nature from afar, they can all enjoy the comfort and modern amenities of state park lodges with nature right at their doorstep.


Lake Barkley State Resort Park

Western Kentucky

Overlooking the sweeping, blue waters of Lake Barkley, Lake Barkley State Resort Park has one of the state’s largest and most impressive lodges, designed by acclaimed architect Edward Durell Stone. Constructed with cedar and Douglas fir, the lodge contains nearly three and a half acres of glass windows, providing great views in every direction.

“We consider it to be one our crown jewels in the parks department,” said Gil Lawson, information officer for the Kentucky State Parks Department.

The park is near the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, a 170,000-acre strip between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake; there, visitors can hike, camp and perhaps catch a glimpse of one of the resident bison or elk.

Lake Barkley Lodge offers 120 rooms, four suites, nine cottage properties and a 78-site campground with access to bathrooms and showers. To spend an afternoon on the water, guests can rent a boat from the marina, which is less than a mile from Lake Barkley Lodge. Other amenities include an 18-hole golf course, horseback riding, racquetball, tennis, volleyball, trapshooting and nine miles of hiking trails, seven of them accessible to mountain bikers.

“You walk out the back door and you’re right at the swimming pool and lake,” said Lawson. “Whether you’re there for business purposes or bringing your family to the lake, there are plenty of things to do.”

The Windows on the Water restaurant earns its name by providing a panoramic view of the lake and wooded shoreline. The restaurant strives to use locally sourced meats and produce, serving traditional Kentucky fare like fried green tomatoes, catfish fillets and Kentucky hot browns.

Groups planning a reception or a corporate event can take advantage of the park’s recently renovated 6,300-square-foot conference center.

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park

Southern Kentucky

Every summer, thousands of water-sports enthusiasts flock to Lake Cumberland State Resort Park to enjoy activities like swimming, water tubing and fishing. Though it is not the largest lake in the state, Lake Cumberland’s expansive qualities make it a boating paradise.

Near the marina, groups can lodge in one of Lure Lodge’s 63 rooms and 29 cottage properties. The lodge restaurant, Rowena Landing, features a sweeping view of the marina below, and guests can watch boats traveling back and forth from the docks as they eat their fill of savory Southern cuisine, like fresh biscuits, fried apples and tender country ham. The name Rowena derives from the local Rowena Ferry Crossing that existed prior to the construction of Wolf Creek Dam, which created the lake during the 1950s.

For a change of pace from lake activities, groups can play shuffleboard, miniature golf or tennis. Others enjoy exploring the park’s nine miles of lush hiking trails or lounging in the lodge’s indoor swimming facility.

Just down the road from Lure Lodge, the Pumpkin Creek Lodge provides a more intimate lodging space; it features 13 rooms, a central gathering area with a large stone fireplace and a short walking path down to the waterfront.