Best Campsites in Kentucky

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: Solomon Parker / 500px

If you’re looking for your next camping adventure, you should put these campsites in Kentucky at the top of your list. Those who choose to camp in the Bluegrass State will be treated to picturesque locations, thanks to its proximity to the Appalachian Mountains and the world’s longest cave system. In addition, rivers also dot the state allowing you to camp with fishing and boating access right outside your tent flap. With more than 40 state and national parks, the state is a bucket-list destination for outdoor lovers.

Many of the popular campgrounds are situated near Kentucky’s many state parks. Most offer full-serviced campsites with full or partial hook-up for RVs and trailers. At the same time, those who wish to rough it can also camp at primitive tent sites.

From the underground wonderland of Mammoth Cave to the sandstone cliffs of Red River Gorge, exploring Kentucky also means being in a land of natural beauty. So whether you want to pitch your tent in the Daniel Boone National Forest or along one of the many lakes and rivers, these campsites below will keep you returning to the Bluegrass State for years to come.

Mammoth Cave Campground

For those who want to explore the world’s largest cave system

Location: Located in Mammoth Cave National Park in West-Central Kentucky
Campground Contact: (270) 758-2424
Park Hours: Open 24 hours
Campground Website

Quietly lurking just under the surface of Kentucky is Mammoth Cave, the world’s most extensive known cave system. With over 400 miles to explore, Mammoth Cave draws tourists in from all over the globe. The Mammoth Cave Campground, located inside the iconic park, also gives campers an exquisite location to explore this underground utopia. While there are five campgrounds in the park, Mammoth Cave Campground boasts 105 seasonally available sites, two of which are ADA accessible.

As for location, you really can’t get any better than this. The campground sits just a quarter of a mile from the Mammoth Cave Visitor’s Center, making this the closest place to pitch your tent or park your RV when visiting the natural wonder. However, before you arrive, it’s important to know that this is a basic campground with no electrical or water hookups.

However, some spots can accommodate RVs up to 38 feet. If you visit during the summer months, campers can get ice and basic supplies from the on-site store and use the seasonal laundry facilities.

Campground Breakdown
• 111 Total Campsites
• Single Sites: $25 per night
• Group Sites: $40 per night, can accommodate 16 people
• VIP Sites: $50 per night, include full water, sewer, and electric hookups

Mammoth Cave Amenities: Seasonal staff on-site, camp store, ice, and firewood for sale, laundry facilities, potable water, showers, restrooms, leashed pets allowed

Reserve a Mammoth Cave Campsite Here

 Big Bone Lick State Park

For those who want to combine education with camping

Location: Located at Big Bone in Union, Kentucky
Campground Contact: (859) 384-3522
Park Hours: Open 24 hours
Campground Website

If you want a unique camping excursion with an educational element, it’s hard to beat the Big Bone Lick State Historic Site campground. Firstly, the Visitor’s Center at the historic site offers interesting exhibits to excite minds of all ages with factoids about ice-age mammals, geology, and history.

To get the most out of your trip, pack your tent or RV and spend a few nights in the campground, which includes serviced campsites, a swimming pool, playgrounds, showers, as well as laundry facilities. In addition to getting glimpses of the resident bison herd, you can also spend time fishing, boating, hiking, swimming, and mini-golf.

If you’re wondering about the unusual name, in summary, Big Bone Lick State Park comes from the Pleistocene era fossils found in the region. It’s believed that many years ago, mammoths went to the location by nearby salt lick deposits.

Campground Breakdown:
•  62 Total Campsites
• All sites come with standard electricity: $40 per night
• Each site accommodates up to eight people

Big Bone Lick Amenities: Utility hookups, grills, swimming pool, playground, showers, restrooms, laundry facilities, campground grocery store on-site

Reserve a Big Bone Lick Campsite Here

Zilpo Campground

For those who want lakeside views

Location: Located in Salt Lake, Kentucky
Campground Contact: (606) 768-2701
Park Hours: Open seasonally from March 19 to October 27
Campground Website

Zilpo campground is perched on a sandy peninsula of Kentucky’s beautiful Cave Run Lake. Here, you can camp next to groves of hardwood trees. Visitors can also try their hand at swimming, water skiing, boating, and hiking. In addition, the surrounding lake is home to a wide variety of different species of fish, offering world-class fishing. The campground also has various hiking trails that range from easy to challenging through the Daniel Boone Forest.

For accommodations, you can rent cabins, RV sites, or tent sites, each offering basic amenities such as shower access, a fire pit, and lantern poles. In addition, each RV site has access to electricity, water, sewer hookups, and cabins offer a deck with lakefront views. In addition, for those who can’t live without their beloved pets, some Zilpo cabins allow fur babies.

Campground Breakdown:
• 101 Total Campsites
• Cabins with Electric: $75 per night
• Standard Electric Sites: $30 per night
• Standard Nonelectric Sites: $22 per night
• Standard Nonelectric Double Sites: $33 per night

Zilpo Amenities: Showers, restrooms, grills, fire rings, picnic tables, fire pits, leashed pets allowed

Reserve a Zilpo Campsite Here

Cumberland Falls State Park

For those who want to see the iconic “moonbow”

Location: Located in Corbin, Kentucky
Campground Contact: (606) 528-4121
Park Hours: Open 24 hours
Campground Website

Dubbed the “Niagara of the South,” Kentucky’s Cumberland Falls State Park is home to the serene Cumberland Falls, which is the largest waterfall south of its New York counterpart. You can bring your RV or pitch your tent at one of the campground’s 49 sites and spend time relaxing in the gorgeous area. The park is also an excellent choice for both water sports and hikers, and you can explore more than 17 miles of scenic hiking trails. Water sports lovers can also enjoy guided canoeing excursions, whitewater rafting, tubing, swimming, and fishing. You can also play tennis, horseshoes, or shuffleboard.

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.

Campground Breakdown:
• 49 Total Sites: $30 per night
• Each site accommodates eight people

Reserve a Cumberland Falls State Park Campsite Here

Koomer Ridge Campground

For every outdoor enthusiast

Location: Located in Pine Ridge, Kentucky
Campground Contact: (606) 663-8100
Park Hours: Open all year round
Campground Website

Kentucky’s Koomer Ridge Campground is perched in the Red River Gorge. The gorge is a canyon system in east-central Kentucky and an outdoor lover’s haven. Climbers, campers, mountain bikers, kayakers, and hikers from all over make the pilgrimage to the area to bask in the unique natural beauty of the sandstone cliffs and limestone rocks that protrude from the ground along the Red River.

Directly in the middle of this natural spectacle sits Koomer Ridge Campground, a semi-primitive campground in a tranquil forest environment. Here, campers have access to four nearby hiking trails and are also just a few minutes away from other Red River Gorge trailheads.

However, it’s important to know that campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are 54 tent sites for camping year-round and 15 sites also accommodate RVs up to 35 feet. However, there are no water, electric hookups, or RV dump station.

Campground Breakdown:
• 54 Tent Sites
• 19 RV Sites
• Non-Electric Tent Sites: $20 per night
• Non-Electric Double Sites: $30 per night
• $8 for every extra vehicle

Koomer Ridge Amenities: Potable water, seasonal showers, seasonal restrooms, picnic tables, leashed pets allowed

Learn More About Koomer Ridge Campground Here

 Natural Bridge State Resort Park

For those who want to walk along a natural, arched bridge

Location: Located in Slade, Kentucky
Campground Contact: (606) 663-2214
Park Hours: Open 24 hours
Campground Website

Also located in the Red River Gorge is Kentucky’s Natural Bridge State Resort Park. The 2,200-acre park also features massive trees and stunning rock formations. The park boasts 22 miles of trails, a 60-acre lake, and two campgrounds that welcomes both tent campers and RV owners.

While visiting, it’s a must to hike the 65-foot tall natural sandstone bridge. Also, venture under the trees and explore the adjacent Red River Gorge National Geologic Area.

As for the campsites, they’re dispersed beneath giant shady trees. The campground offers everything you need for a home-away-from-home visit with 52 pull-through or back-in RV sites, an electric hookup, cable service, laundry, a dump station, as well as a large swimming pool. Campground activities also include boating, hiking, fishing, picnicking and nature watching. In addition, staff present daily nature and history programs during the summer, and you may catch a live concert.

Campground Breakdown:
• 86 Sites in Total
• 52 Standard Electric Sites: $27 per night
• 34 Tent-Only Sites: $18 per night

Natural Bridge State Resort Park Amenities: Bathhouse, boat ramp, fire rings, grills, picnic tables, playground, restaurant, on-site camp store

Reserve a Natural Bridge State Resort Park Campsite Here

Kentucky Horse Park Campground

For those who like to horse around

Location: Located in Lexington, Kentucky
Campground Contact: (859) 259-4257
Park Hours: Open daily from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Campground Website

Kentucky Horse Park Campground welcomes over 40,000 visitors a year, making this campground altogether one of the state’s best campgrounds.

Here in horse country, visitors can opt for unique equestrian activities that will take you off the beaten path from your typical camping adventure. You can also spend your time here on horseback rides, playing polo, and attending fairs, horse shows, and parades. Kentucky Horse Park is also home to the International Museum of the Horse, the largest of its kind on the planet.

Once you’re done riding, you stretch your legs or take a bike ride on the 12-mile hike that will lead you from the campground to downtown Lexington. The campground also features a playground, tennis, basketball, volleyball courts, and a seasonal swimming pool.

For camping, you can also choose from 260 water and electricity hookup sites with 20/30/50 amp service. For those who want a more undeveloped experience, there are also electric primitive and primitive sites.

Campground Breakdown:
• 260 Sites in Total
• Paved Sites: Prices range from $30-$40 per night
• Primitive Electric Sites: Prices range from $30-$33 per night
• Primitive Sites: $24 per night

Kentucky Horse Park Campground Amenities: Grocery store/gift shop, two bathhouses, tennis, basketball, volleyball courts, swimming pool, picnic tables, fire rings, grills, leashed pets allowed