Being labeled the Houseboating Capital of the world tells you a lot about Kentucky. The idea of the houseboat actually originates in Kentucky, where the first ones were built in 1953. This is a place of abundant water, luxurious summers, rolling green hills, and lush hardwood forests. The people here value family time, summer work vacations, cooking their grandparent’s recipes, and inviting all their friends to join in the fun.
With 52,000 acres of water, Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, near Somerset, is in the center of the boating world. And instead of making this place expensive, exclusive, or feeling out-of-reach, Lake Cumberland continues to be one of the best places in the country to take the whole family camping and get out on the water. Whether you’re coming for water skiing, jet skis, houseboats, or simply swimming from the shore or poking around on a paddleboard, everyone is welcome here.
The state park is open year-round and incorporates rental cottages, hotel rooms, and an upscale restaurant with a traditional tent and RV camping in a 129-site campground. The State Dock rents every water toy you could want and is an ideal launching point for fishing, kayaks, jet skis, and wake boats.
Lake Cumberland is also a beautiful place to visit in the off-season. When the trees shed their leaves, it opens up incredible views of the lake for hikers and boaters. It is often dry and warm enough to enjoy camping here well before the summer season starts to get busy.
Located at the tip of a peninsula that juts out over the Cumberland River, Lake Cumberland State Resort Park is easy to find just off US-127 less than 15 miles south of Jamestown, KY. The park is less than 100 miles from Bowling Green, where you can visit the Beech Bend Amusement Park and Raceway, Kentucky Museum, or the Barren River Lake State Resort Park.
No matter which way you are coming from and what you are driving, you’ll be able to stay on the highways, which are wide, paved, and mostly flat. Although there may be some curvy or narrow roads before getting into the area, the park and its surrounding county are known for its stellar road care and ease of travel. Being a resort park, Lake Cumberland is prepared for rigs and trailers up to 60 feet long throughout the park.
Visitors have noted that the campsites at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park can be challenging to level big rigs and trailers in. The heavy tree cover in the summer can also be an issue for satellite dishes and solar panels. Each campground area ends in a convenient loop, and though the park roads are a bit narrow and winding, all visitors feel welcome here.
Enjoy this award-winning campground near Lake Cumberland and Cumberland Falls, the “Niagara of the South," the Russell Springs KOA. The campground is located less than a mile from the lakeshore, boat ramp, boat rentals, and fishing. Be sure to visit Mammoth Cave National Park. There’s plenty to do at the campground itself, including a recreational hall with video games, picnic tables, a swimming pool, and a playground. The campground provides concerts and movie nights at the amphitheater, sports and recreation facilities, miniature golf, a camp store, a pet walk, and additional planned activities.
Tucked into the woods and surrounded by Pumpkin Creek and Lake Cumberland, the Lake Cumberland State Resort Park Campground offers 129 expansive campsites. With electricity and water offered at 91 of the sites, you can cook indoors or outside on the provided campfire ring. There is room for all size rigs with parking pads up to 55 feet. However, the length limits vary greatly, so you will need to check that when making reservations, which can be done up to a year in advance.
Centrally located, you can find modern restrooms with running water, hot showers, and potable water spigots. The kids will love the two playgrounds as well. In the northwestern section of the park, the campground is close to horseback riding, hiking trails, miniature golf, and a disc golf course. The park is extremely popular during summer holiday weekends and is nearly empty in the off-season. Go ahead and bring your furbabies along too. Pets are welcome, as long as they are leashed or otherwise restrained at all times during your stay.
Lure Lodge (also known as Pumpkin Creek Lodge) has 63 rooms overlooking Lake Cumberland with an indoor pool, restaurant, and a community room with a fireplace and large flatscreen TV for everyone to enjoy. There are even a game room and playground for the kids. You can choose between a double with two queen beds, a single with one queen bed, or a king with one king bed.
Each large room has a nice dining area, refrigerator, full bathroom, Wi-Fi, and a flatscreen television with cable. You can also sit outdoors on the balcony and enjoy the view of the lake. Your pooch can tag along because the lodge is pet-friendly as well. Reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance. Since the park is so popular, it is best to book a room as early as possible, especially if you are planning a summertime visit.
If you were thinking of staying in a cottage at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, be sure to make your reservations ahead of time because there are only 30 of them, and they are very popular all year long. You can choose from a one-bedroom king cottage with a full kitchen, a two-bedroom cottage with a full bath and kitchen, or a two-bedroom deluxe cottage with a flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, and a deck with a grill for outdoor entertainment.
Located in three different areas in the park, the Wildwood Cottages and cottages 511 – 520 are in the far northeastern section of the park right on the shores of Lake Cumberland. Cottages 501 – 510 are in the northwestern section of the park along the banks of Pumpkin Creek. Near the Lure Lodge, these cottages are also near the four-mile Lake Bluff Nature Loop Hiking Trail. Take a walk along this path to the tip of the peninsula, where there is a scenic viewing area where you can take some selfies. Pets are welcome, so go ahead and bring your pup.
The State Dock and other nearby marinas offer about every toy that floats. Lake Cumberland has wide-open sections of water for loud fun with wake boats, water skis, and jet skis. But there are also hidden coves and narrow lake fingers to provide fishing holes and quiet explorations for pontoon boats, kayaks, and paddleboards. The park rents all of this equipment and more. Be sure to make reservations for their very popular houseboats and wake boats in advance.
Be sure to pack the raft in your motorhome before heading to the park. This is the place to party if you’re looking for a gathering on the water. The Lake Cumberland Raft Up happens in August. This gathering entered the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records for the most boats tied together with 1,500 boats. A large floating stage hosts live music each year to an audience of thousands of people floating in the lake. Get a commemorative T-shirt and epic tan lines, but don’t forget the sunscreen.
Do you like horses but don’t have one of your own? Lake Cumberland State Resort Park provides guided horseback rides that depart every hour from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The ride covers 1.5 miles that stay high on the bluff with views down across the lake. This is an easy and affordable way to introduce the kids to riding. Personal horses are not allowed in the park, so this feels like a special treat.
Within Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, there is an 18-hole miniature golf course and a 15-hole disc golf course with affordable prices and rental equipment on-site during the summer season. Miniature golf is great fun for the whole family to enjoy while visiting the park, and disc golf is becoming more popular with outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. There are also several public golf courses around the area, and many of them offer a family-friendly and fun atmosphere.
With the best lake fishing in Kentucky all year round, Lake Cumberland has the sort of variety that will reveal new adventures each time you visit. The lake is famous for catfish, trout, walleye, bream, crappie, and five species of bass. The State Dock at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park is a perfect launching point for either a rental boat or your own fish-machine. Make sure you get a Kentucky fishing license before tossing that line in the water, though, so you don’t get a ticket.
Check out the Lake Bluff Nature Loop hiking trail while you are at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park. Hemlock, beech, and hickory trees line the four-mile trail, which follows along miles of high ridges and open areas for many viewpoints of the lake and the marinas below. After the leaves drop, there are even better views, and this trail is still popular in the winter and spring with a good pair of boots. Bring along your camera so you can get some good selfies to share on your favorite social media sites.