Two hours to the northwest is a water playground that is perfect for a weekend trip from Nashville. Located at the top of Kentucky Lake, Kentucky Dam State Resort Park is in the perfect location to play on the lake, visit the Land Between the Lakes, or even venture into Paducah, which is only 30 minutes away.
When I think about staying at a state park, I always think camping. However, Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park (and it really is a resort) has all kinds of options for lodging.
Rooms in the Resort Lodge
The Village Inn Lodge has 72 rooms that are very similar to hotel rooms. You can choose from two double beds or a king bed with a sofa bed. Some rooms have a balcony or a patio. There are even rooms with full wet bars.
Also located at the Lodge is the pool, restaurant, and large patio, which is perfect for viewing the spectacular sunrises over Kentucky Lake.
The Village Green Inn, located near the golf course, has 14 rooms and can be rented all together in one reservation. It is a great option for a large family gathering, reunions, and even for a wedding.
Stay in a Cabin or Cottage
Cabins are available in several sizes ranging from one to three bedrooms. All the cabins have fully furnished kitchens, towels, cable TV, and Wifi. There are several cabins in each size that are fully handicap accessible.
We spent the weekend in a two bedroom, two bath cabin. It had two double beds in each bedroom plus the sleeper sofa so there was plenty of room.
Camp in a Tent or an RV
There are 214 spots available for RV and tent camping, with the majority (187) being standard electric spots for RVs up to 54 feet.
There are nine spots that are specifically for tent camping. Some of the spots have a picnic table and grill.
When you make your booking you can select the camp site that has the amenities that your family needs for a great visit.
Things to Do at Kentucky Dam Village
There is something for everyone at Kentucky Dam Village. Of course the big attraction is Kentucky Lake, but there are also trails to explore, horses to ride (in the summer), boats to rent, and much much more!
Take a Swim
If you visit Kentucky Dam Village in the summer, make sure you bring your swimsuit. There are opportunities throughout the park to swim and cool off.
Visit the Sandy Beach
Near the Dam is a large sandy beach area where you can build sand castles and enjoy a designated swimming area. There is no lifeguard on duty so keep that in mind. If you have young children, consider bringing a life jacket and some sand toys.
There are also sand volleyball courts nearby along with a large shaded picnic shelter.
Swim in the Pool
In addition to the beach, there is also a large outdoor pool located at the lodge. The pool is open seasonally and available to guests of the lodge and cottages.
Go Hiking and Mountain Biking
Walk across the Kentucky Dam on a paved path. There are both walking and bike lanes that are fenced and protected from vehicle traffic. The path starts at the parking lot in front of the sandy beach area.
At the end of the path, furthest away from the parking area at the beach is a lock system for barges and vessels to go in and out of the lake. If you have never seen a lock in action, it is worth spending some time watching a barge go through the lock system.
There are a total of 10 to 12 miles of hiking trails to explore at the park.
One of the newest attractions is the 8.5 mile Gobbler’s Knob mountain biking trail. This trail is good for both beginners and experienced mountain bikers. It was constructed completely by volunteers and it is also good for walking (just keep an eye out for passing bicycles).
Unfortunately, the park doesn’t have bikes to rent, so plan to bring your own bike from home.
In addition to the trails available at the state park, there are over 200 miles of trails in the Land Between the Lakes, which is a short 12 mile drive.
Watch for Birds and Take Some Photos
There are over 260 different species of birds that make their home in the Kentucky Lake area. Bring some binoculars and see how different birds you can spot. Pelicans can be found in the spring and summer. In the fall and winter, you can see both Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles in the area.
In 2020, Kentucky Dam Village will offer Eagle Weekends in the winter including viewing tours on a luxury yacht. Find more details and book your trip by clicking here.
Challenge a Friend to a Game of Tennis
Bring a racket and some tennis balls and play a game or two with your family on the courts at the park.
Play a Round of Golf
The golf course is a par 72 on gently sloping terrain. It was designed by Kentucky native Perry Maxwell, with four sets of tees so players of all skill levels can enjoy the beautiful course.
You may even see a notable figure or two. Hank Williams, Jr., among others have played the course.
The course is open year round and has a well equipped pro shop for all your golfing needs. You can rent carts, pull carts, and clubs.
Ride a Horse at the Stables
If you visit Kentucky Dam Village between Memorial Day and Labor Day, make sure to bring some jeans so your family can go for a trail ride.
Gentle horses will take you on a two to three mile trail ride through the beautiful forest land around the lake.
I was impressed there are stairs built specifically so riders can easily mount their steed before their adventure.
Visit the Marina and Go Boating
Kentucky Dam Marina has all kinds of boats to rent and enjoy on Kentucky Lake. From kayaks to house boats, you can rent them for an hour or a week or more.
A pontoon rental would be a great choice for an afternoon tour of the lake or an entire day of fun on the water.
We took an afternoon ride and saw many different kinds of birds and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
Or consider a vacation on the lake. The houseboats are huge and could accommodate 2 or 3 families depending on size.
You will want to reserve those boats far in advance especially if you’re planning a trip during a holiday weekend.
Tour the Kentucky Dam with the TVA
Have you ever wondered how dams function, control water flow, and generate electricity? You can learn all that and more on a free tour of the Kentucky Dam.
The Visitor’s Center at the Dam is free to visit and open April through October. The Center is staffed with TVA retirees who lead tours of the facility and can answer any question you may have.
Special Events at the Park
In addition to all the outdoor amenities, the park is host to special events almost every weekend. Live bands regularly perform at the Lodge on Friday and Saturday nights. There are also activities for families planned during the summer. Check out the park’s event calendar to see what is happening during your visit.
Enjoy Dining at The Harbor Lights Restaurant
All cabins and cottages offer a full kitchen so you can cook, but there is another option – The Harbor Lights Restaurant.
Harbor Lights is located on the bottom floor of the lodge building and has a wall of windows that over look the lake. It is a beautiful place to eat and watch the sunset.
The restaurant is open daily from 7 AM to 8 PM and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition to the full menu, there is a breakfast buffet, and seasonal dinner buffets available.
Lunch and Dinner
During our visit in late summer, Harbor Lights had an all you can eat Seafood buffet on Friday nights. There was a large selection of fish, shrimp, and even frog legs.
A large soup and salad bar is also available with the buffet.
Start your day with the breakfast buffet. It includes fruit, oatmeal, eggs, french toast, an assortment of breakfast meats and more!
Taste Some Bourbon
A visit to Kentucky is not complete without a sampling of bourbon. Kentucky Dam Village has a large selection of bourbon and whiskeys. There are several different tasting menus available so you can have samples of several and pick your favorite.
Next time your family is looking for a weekend of rest and relaxation, consider a trip to Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park. There are lots of options to keep or busy or just enjoy the natural setting and relax. And don’t forget to visit nearby Land Between the Lakes.
Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park
Address: 113 Administration Drive, Gilbertsville, KY 42044
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