Camping in Kentucky
By Alex Murphy
The Bluegrass State offers a lot of history, including historic cities like Frankfort and Louisville, plus quick access over the Ohio River to Cincinnati, Ohio.
With dozens of state parks and Mammoth Cave National Park, there's plenty to do, so pack your camping gear for some of the best stops in Kentucky.
Kentucky State Parks
There are 45 Kentucky State Parks, each unique in its own way, from golfing to lakes and rivers and even ancient history.
Campers can stay in the dense trees at My Old Kentucky Home State Park with easy access to a popular golf course. For a mix of history and science, Big Bone Lick State Park is home to a bison herd and artifacts from the Ice Age, including a display of prehistoric animals trapped in a pit. Taylorsville Lake State Park is a short drive from the famous Kentucky Derby and offers equestrian-friendly camping along with a lake for fishing and boating.
National Parks in Kentucky
There are two great National Parks to check out while camping in Kentucky.
Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the world's longest-known cave system. In addition to touring the caves, visitors can enjoy hiking trails, kayaking, and canoeing.
Campers looking for tent sites and RV spots within the park can check out either Mammoth Cave Campground or Maple Springs Campground. Another popular spot just outside the park with RV hookups is Singing Hills RV Park & Campground in Cave City.
Another big attraction in Kentucky is Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. This unique park is essentially a piece of land located between two lakes on the Kentucky and Tennessee border.
Kentucky RV Parks
If you're visiting the Blue Grass State with a camper, there are plenty of notable Kentucky RV Parks.
For camping near art and popular food spots in Louisville, check out the Derby Park Campground & RV Park. Visitors looking for nature on the southern side of the state can check out Conley Bottom Resort which sits on the Cumberland River.
Free Camping in Kentucky
Free camping in Kentucky is heavily focused on the state's National Forests, but there are a few roadside areas for travelers and other parks with free camping worth checking out.
Wilson Creek Recreation Area has five campsites, picnic tables, and a vault toilet and is close to Green River Lake in the central part of the state.
Those driving through have several options at businesses like Walmart and Cabela's and other spots like the I-24 Welcome Center. Be sure to ask permission from the store manager before settling in for the night.
Kentucky National Forests
Kentucky is home to two National Forests and one wilderness area, each with some distinct differences.
Daniel Boone National Forest, home to the Red River Gorge, is known for some of the world's best rock climbing. The area is known for its rugged land and rolling hills. Tent campers can find secluded spots in S-Tree Campground, while those with a camper may have better luck with an RV site at Turkey Foot Campground.
Jefferson National Forest shares an area with Virginia and West Virginia and is home to a section of the Appalachian Mountains. Many of the best spots to camp are found over the state line in Virginia.