The 5 Best Kayaking Spots in Kentucky You Can't Miss

Kayaking on Kentucky River waterfall

Kentucky, often dubbed the “Bluegrass State,” is not just about horse racing and bourbon; it’s a haven for nature enthusiasts, especially those who love kayaking. With its intricate waterways, sprawling lakes, and the majestic Kentucky River, it promises adventurers an unparalleled paddling experience. If you’re scouting for the best kayaking destinations in Kentucky, you’re in for a treat. Without further ado, here are the 5 best kayaking spots in Kentucky.

We’ve included distances from Cummins Ferry RV Park if you’re staying here, as it already has Kentucky River access. The spots listed in this guide are a quick drive, just in case you’re looking for some different scenery from your backyard.


1. The Kentucky River

The Kentucky River is undeniably one of the state’s crowning jewels. Spanning over 260 miles, this river offers diverse experiences, from serene paddles amidst limestone palisades to more challenging rapids for adrenaline junkies.

One of the prime access points is the Cummins Ferry RV Park and Campground, a picturesque spot that not only boasts waterfront access but also offers kayak rentals. Paddle downstream and you’ll be greeted by scenic cliffs, wildlife, and a sense of tranquility that only nature can provide.

The Bluegrass River Run has quickly cemented its place as one of the most awaited events for water enthusiasts and adventure lovers alike. This event promises more than just the thrill of the water; it’s a fusion of culture, adventure, and Kentucky’s innate love for the outdoors. For info and to sign up, visit Explore Kentucky.

View of Palisades from Cummins Ferry RV Park
View of Palisades from Cummins Ferry RV Park

2. Cedar Creek Lake

Just a stone’s throw away from Stanford, Cedar Creek Lake is, indeed, an overlooked hidden-gem. Covering 784 acres, it’s the state’s second-largest state-controlled lake. Its unique “no wake” zones ensure a peaceful kayaking experience, and anglers will be delighted to know it’s well-stocked with bluegill, catfish, and trophy-sized bass. One trip here will make it obvious why it’s dubbed as the best kayaking in Kentucky.

More information on fishing, boating regulations, and launch points can be found at the official Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.

Directions from Cummins Ferry RV Park: Click here. Head west on Cummins Ferry Rd toward KY-33 N. Take US-127 S and KY-78 W to US-27 S in Stanford. The lake will be on your right. Approx. 40 miles.


3. Taylorsville Lake

Tucked amidst the rolling landscapes of Spencer County, Taylorsville Lake offers 3,050 acres of clear water. Known for its abundant fish population – especially bass – it’s a popular spot among anglers. Several miles of trails alongside the lake also make it a favorite among hikers.

For information on boat rentals, marinas, and more, visit the Taylorsville Lake State Park site.

Directions from Cummins Ferry RV Park: Click here. Head west on Cummins Ferry Rd toward KY-33 N. Follow KY-33 N, US-127 S, and KY-44 E to Taylorsville. Approx. 45 miles.

View of Taylorsville Lake 


4. Cumberland River

Flowing through the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Cumberland River is renowned for its clear waters and abundant fish, making it a popular spot for anglers. Beyond fishing, the river boasts several waterfalls, adding to the overall experience.

This massive body of water spans through both Kentucky and Tennessee. There is no shortage of things to do and see, with Cumberland Falls ranking high on that list. Cumberland Falls is the second-largest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains and the largest waterfall by water volume in the Eastern United States.

The National Park Service offers insights into the best paddling routes, safety tips, and more.

Directions from Cummins Ferry RV Park: Click here. Take KY-33 N and then turn right onto US-127 S. Take Blue Grass Parkway heading towards Elizabethtown/Lexington. Exit the parkway using exit 59B for US-127 S toward Danville/Harrodsburg. Follow the signs and continue on this route until you reach Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. Approx. 100 miles.

Waterfall at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park Waterfall at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

5. Herrington Lake

Located near Harrodsburg, Herrington Lake is one of the oldest reservoirs in Kentucky. Its deep blue waters are surrounded by limestone cliffs, making it a beautiful kayaking location. The lake is also home to several species of fish, including catfish and hybrid striped bass.

More details on fishing spots and marinas can be found on Herrington Lake KY.

Directions from Cummins Ferry RV Park: Click here. Head west on Cummins Ferry Rd toward KY-33 N. Take KY-152 W and KY-33 S to Herrington Lake in Garrard County. Approx. 20 miles.

best kayaking spots in Kentucky Herrington Lake 

Staying “on-land” more your speed? Explore our crazy world of bourbon – click here for a detailed guide on our favorite spots!


For a water enthusiast, these 5 best kayaking spots in Kentucky are some of the most picturesque spots in the state. Whether it’s fishing or just floating, you have an epic adventure planned out for you here. Even just these 5 spots will keep you busy for days. Need a place to stay? Bring your family and your RV down to Cummins Ferry – they have a boat ramp, dock, and waterfront lots on the Kentucky River to paddle your heart out. They offer rental deals for guests, so you don’t have to bring your own!