The 5 Best Places to Camp in Kentucky this Summer

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: August 23, 2022
© Irina Mos/Shutterstock.com
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For some of the best camping in Kentucky you have many options! Are you looking for some time by the lake? A more primitive hike-in site to get back to nature? Maybe you want the best of downtown Louisville, but still the freedom of camping nearby. Here are the 5 best places to camp in Kentucky this summer.

1. Red River Gorge Geological Area: Koomer Ridge Campground

Yahoo Falls Kentucky
Located in the Daniel Boone National Forest is the Red River Geological Area. Two rare bird species are only found in this park.

©iStock.com/alexeys

One of the most amazing areas in Kentucky is the Red River Gorge Geological Area, located in the Daniel Boone National Forest. After looking at a few photos you will understand what makes this area so unique. The miles of trails will bring you to sandstone arches, jagged cliffs and beautiful overlooks. There are two very rare birds that live in the park including the white-haired goldenrod (which only lives in this park) and the red-breasted nuthatches. Larger birds of prey like hawks and eagles also live in the park.

The Koomer Ridge Campground is located in the park and has access to several of the best trails in the park. Take the 1 mile Hidden Arch tour to see one of the rock formations this park is known for. Back at the campground you can rest up for another day of exploring!

Koomer Ridge Campground
LocationNorth central Kentucky
Nearest CityStanton and Campton, KY
RV Sites19 sites, RV’s up to 35 feet, no hookups
Tent Sites54 sites
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesFlush toilets in the summer, vault toilets all year, showers,
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsNo, first come first serve
What makes it one of the bestSome of the best hiking in Kentucky!

2. Cave Run Lake: Twin Knobs Campground

Cave Run Lake Kentucky
Cave Run Lake is a popular place to fish for muskie. You can also take a kayak out to explore all the marshy coves.

©Irina Mos/Shutterstock.com

Twin Knobs Campground is on a peninsula in Cave Run Lake with water on three sides. You can hike the shoreline trail and look for Canadian geese, great blue heron and osprey. Many of the campsites are lakeside so you can wake up and have your morning coffee overlooking the cool blue lake. With 199 campsites there are plenty to choose from with some that can accommodate large campers and 141 of the sites have electric. There is a boat ramp right in the park so you can set sail for some early morning fishing for bluegill, bass, crappie and muskie. Or launch your kayak to explore some of the marshy coves that are on Cave Run Lake. A great option for camping this summer!

Twin Knobs Campground
LocationCentral Kentucky
Nearest CityMorehead, KY
RV/Tent Sites199 sites, 141 have electric
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, camp store
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestBest lakeside camping!

3. Mammoth Cave Campground

Mammoth Cave National Park
Look at the amazing cave skylight at Mammoth Caves. This is definitely one of the best places to camp in Kentucky this summer!

©Ko Zatu/Shutterstock.com

The world’s longest known cave system is the Mammoth Caves in the town with its namesake. You absolutely can tour the caves and explore the dark, cool caverns, but you do need to have a tour guide. Tickets are available online and sell out quickly, especially in the summer, so plan ahead. Remember that the temperatures in the cave can get cool, around 54°, so dress accordingly. You should also know that you will see bats on the tour (cool for some, not so cool for others!). There are 13 different species of bats in the park including three endangered species. The Indiana bat, gray bat and Northern long-eared bat. Unfortunately, some bat populations are being affected by white-nose syndrome (WNS) which is a fungal infection that eventually kills the bats. Conservationists are working together to stop the spread of WNS.

After a cave tour you can head over to the campground to settle in. There are three campgrounds to choose from as well as backcountry and riverside primitive sites. The main campground, Mammoth Cave Campground is only a quarter mile from the visitor center and has 111 sites for RV and tent camping. There are modern restrooms, showers and laundry on-site. Definitely one of the best places to camp in Kentucky this summer!

Mammoth Cave Campground
LocationCentral Kentucky, south of Louisville
Nearest CityMammoth Cave, KY
RV/Tent Sites111 sites
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry, visitor center
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestThe best campground for cave exploring!

4. Louisville South KOA Holiday

Bonfire
Not exactly roughing it, but still camping, the Louisville South KOA offers a swimming pool, jumping pillow and outdoor movie screen!

©iStock.com/Dmytro Aslanian

For a resort-like camping experience you have to stay at the Louisville South KOA. It is only a short drive south of Louisville so you have the best of both worlds. After a day exploring the Louisville Slugger Museum or the famous Churchill downs take a minute to change into your suit at your campsite and jump in the swimming pool. There is a large jumping pillow for the kids, a giant chess set and bike rentals for checking out the trails. In the summer they play outdoor movies on the mega screen so pop some popcorn over the campfire and head to the outdoor theater. There is a small pond on the property where you might see a family of ducks waddle by.

The campground has everything from RV sites with full hookups to tent camping. There are also cabins available for rent. Join in the scheduled activities for a fun summer camping trip!

Louisville South KOA
LocationJust south of downtown Louisville
Nearest CityLouisville, KY
RV/Tent SitesYes, some with full hookups
CabinsYes
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry, swimming pool, jumping pillow,
Pet FriendlyYes, fenced in off-leash dog park!
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestSo close to Louisville!

5. Green River Lake State Park

Green River Lake
The campground is right on the lake with walking distance to the sandy beach. Everything is right there for your enjoyment.

©iStock.com/Derick Johnson

Another lakeside campground in Kentucky is the Green River Lake State Park Campground. The campsites are kind of close together but you can walk right to the beach, boat ramp and dock. Take advantage of the close proximity to the trail access for hiking, biking or horseback riding. Watch for deer coming to the water’s edge to get a drink of water or scan the sky for eagles and hawks that nest in the park.

At the campground there are 167 sites for RV’s and another 60 tent sites. The facility has restrooms, showers, laundry and an 18-hole miniature golf course! Very fun!

Green River Lake State Park Campground
LocationCentral Kentucky
Nearest CityCampbellsville, KY
RV Sites167 sites
Tent Sites60 primitive sites
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, Showers, playground, miniature
golf
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestClose to everything…boating, swimming,
fishing and hiking!

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The Featured Image

Cave Run Lake Kentucky
Cave Run Lake situated in the northeastern corner of Kentucky is a fishing hot spot known for monster-sized muskie
© Irina Mos/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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Sources
  1. , Available here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/dbnf/recarea/?recid=39458
  2. , Available here: https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/bats-endangered-species-of-mammoth-cave.htm
  3. , Available here: https://www.nps.gov/maca/planyourvisit/cave-tours.htm
  4. , Available here: https://koa.com/campgrounds/louisville-south/recreation/
  5. , Available here: https://parks.ky.gov/campbellsville/parks/recreation/green-river-lake-state-park
  6. (1970)