RVing Through the Bluegrass

Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Horses, fried chicken, bourbon, and fields of bluegrass best describe Kentucky state but let these not lead one to think that the "Bluegrass State" offers nothing more. On the contrary, Kentucky has numerous offerings for the average tourist, particularly RVers even though it may be largely an agricultural land. These include rolling hills, green fields, and pristine lakes that make for great outdoor fun.

Seeing Kentucky in Regions

The "Bluegrass State" can be generally divided into four regions based on geographical terms. These include the Western Region (Mississippi Embayment), the Eastern Region (Eastern Coal Field), the Southern Region (Pennyrile Region), and the Northern Region (Bluegrass Region). While every region is distinctively unique, they nevertheless carry several attractions that should be of great interest to most RV-boarded tourists.

Mississippi Embayment

Western Kentucky also goes by another name, the "Jackson Purchase", in reference to its purchase in 1818 by then US President Andrew Jackson from the people that at that time occupied the land, the Chickasaw Indians. Sitting on the Gulf Coastal Plain, the Mississippi Embayment is also called the Western Waterlands Region to most travelers largely due to several wildlife centers found in its midst complemented by various scenic routes.

Columbus, Eddyville, Fairview, and Henderson are the cities in the Western Region that RVers should try to keep tabs on as these offer attractions that are best suited to their interests. Eddyville comes particularly recommended owing to its hosting of the Venture River Water Park, a leisure park where swimming in various types of pool like wading and wave is highly anticipated. The water park also features waterslides and a tube river, attractions that will definitely catch the attention of RVers who come in along with their families. And for more water fun, RVers can check in at nearby Eddy Creek Marina Resort where an outdoor pool is waiting and where boat launches are among the most common outdoor activities.

Eastern Coal Field

Encompassing the eastern area of Kentucky, the Eastern Coal Field begins at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains and ends at Pottsville Escarpment. To travelers, however, Eastern Kentucky is more popular as the Eastern Higlands Region where two historic sites officially reside. These include the Daniel Boone National Forest and the Red River Gorge. Shopping centers and numerous museums likewise adorn the Eastern Kentucky landscape.

When visiting the region, RV riders should give special attention to the cities of Corbin, London, Slade, and Middlesboro as these areas boast of either resort parks or wilderness areas where diverse outdoor opportunities can be explored. In London, Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park awaits the arrival of many RVers with its offer of hiking paths and swimming activities. The 800-acre park also features several in-house attractions like the Mountain Life Museum, McHargue's Mill and the Defeated Camp Pioneer Burial Ground.

Concerns about RV parks in the eastern Kentucky area is easily answered by Holly Bay Campground with its 94 RV sites. Found on the western corner of Laurel Lake, the RV campground also features wooded sites complemented by paved roads and excellent lake views, with picnic tables and lantern poles found in various areas.

Pennyrile Region

Set upon a vast plateau area, the region encompasses the Land Between the Lakes western edge up to the eastern corner of the Pottsville Escarpment. The tag Pennyrile Region was given to describe the abundance of pennyroyals in various areas. Essentially known as aromatic plants, pennyroyal leaves produce oils that are effective insect repellents. This is probably the reason why the area is also called the Southern Wonderlands Region though the presence of several major Kentucky attractions here may likewise have something to do with that. RV-boarded trippers will definitely be thrilled once they get to see Mammoth Cave National Park, Lake Cumberland, and Cave Country, attractions that are actually the prime attractions of Southern Kentucky.

Among the cities within the region that RV-boarded travelers will be particularly hooked on are Bowling Green, Cave City, Horse City, Mammoth Cave, and Park City. The latter should be particularly interesting since it plays host to the Diamond Caverns, a historic Kentucky cave that is considered the most splendid in the entire "Bluegrass State". The caverns carry innumerable stalagmites and stalactites adorning the cave walls and is most definitely an underground wonder.

Diamond Caverns sits right next to another major Southern Kentucky attraction, the Mammoth Cave National Park, and RVers can have convenient access to both attractions via the Diamond Caverns Campground. Situated about seven miles away from the Mammoth Cave National Park, the RV campground features a spacious camping area including fully hooked-up sites for ultra-big RVs. Common activities available here include picnicking, fishing, and paddle boating.

Bluegrass Region

Northern Kentucky sits atop a plateau that is characterized by rugged edges and is restricted on its northern side by the vastness of the Ohio River. Its eastern end, meanwhile, is guarded by a series of hills collectively called the Knobs.

The region adopted the nickname Bluegrass Region to describe the abundance of the Kentucky bluegrass in its midst. The grass has traditionally been the staple food of early and present pasture animals here, leading some references to call the region as the "Bluegrass Heartlands Region".

Regardless of how it is called, Northern Kentucky carries several cities under its fold where RV-boarded tourists can possibly find the ultimate outdoor enjoyment. The cities of Boonesboro, Carrolton, Danville, Fort Knox, and Harrodsburg offer an assortment of attractions in the form of state parks, county museums, and historic landmarks that should encourage significant interest among RVers visiting this particular region. Specifically, in Harrodsburg City, two attractions await the typical RV traveler. One is the Shaker Village, where the unique lifestyle of the Shakers, a celibate sect in Kentucky, is displayed in the form of furniture, household items, and in various activities like weaving, coopering, spinning, gardening, and woodworking. The other is the Old Fort Harrod State Park, which exhibits the early contributions of the earliest permanent settlers of Kentucky, including the first Kentucky schoolhouse and ancient cabins.

Visiting these regional attractions ought to be an amazing trip down memory lane for most RV riders and they can fully enjoy this by settling in at Chimney Road RV Park which, by itself, is already an attraction since it is perched along the banks of Herrington Lake where one can take a dip in its cool waters. Alternatively, RV-boarded travelers can opt for a swim at the resident swimming pool of the RV campsite or enjoy a game of basketball or horseshoe. They can even sway to the music of the monthly entertainment shows being hosted by the park.

The Cities of Kentucky

The major cities of Kentucky namely Frankfort, Louisville, and Lexington, offer a wide array of natural and man-made attractions that are truly worth visiting. However, RVers should not discount the possibility that the smaller Kentucky towns may also have something unique to offer that are not necessarily found elsewhere in the "Bluegrass State".


Frankfort, the state capital, sits atop the so-called Kentucky River double curve area and is renowned for its state capitol building that is considered by many as among the most magnificent in the US. The city started out as a fortress constructed by an early Kentucky settler named Frank. From this evolved an area that eventually became a prominent agricultural district producing high-grade grains and tobacco products.

There are many points of interest in Frankfort and a tour of these areas should prove to be quite eventful for most tourists, especially RV-boarded travelers. Leading the list is the State Capitol Building that is designed out of Neo-Classical architecture. Established in 1910 out of pure Indiana limestone, the structure replaced the Old State Capitol building of 1830 and is coated with marble interiors and adorned with paintings. A tour of the building can be quite memorable as visitors are presented a glimpse into the early days of Kentucky.

Of course, for RVers, the outdoors offer the more exciting opportunities and the state capital is not really without its share of great outdoor attractions. Actually, Frankfort boasts of two specific places where RVers can engage in several outdoor recreational pursuits. One is the Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary, essentially a bird sanctuary where bird-watching is a major activity through its biodiverse bird blinds. The other one is the Salato Wildlife Education Center, another Frankfort bird sanctuary where interactive exhibits of local flora and fauna are displayed. In both animal shelters, hiking paths are offered, opening up various opportunities for lovers of outdoor sports.

Getting to see the two bird sanctuaries and the other attractions of Frankfort need not really be a problem for RVers since they can always park the RV at Elkhorn Campground. From the park, Buckley and Salato are only about five and seven miles away respectively. Other nearby attractions include Canoe Kentucky set at a distance of five miles from Elkhorn Campground where visitors can explore the area aboard a canoe, and the Starway Family Fun Park with its offering of bridges, streams, waterfalls, and an 18-hole golf course.


Lexington City is the home of the University of Kentucky but its most significant title is that of being the "horse capital of the world" due to its more than 450 farms that are the breeding ground of what is perhaps the largest selection of thoroughbreds worldwide, including prominent ones like Man O' War, Smarty Jones, and Nashua.

For the typical RVer, seeing these thoroughbreds being groomed to perfection is an awe-inspiring experience and they can actually do this by heading off to the Kentucky Horse Park, where they can take a walking tour and catch harness makers, wagoners, and blacksmiths go about their craft or otherwise watch thoroughbreds go on parade.

For a more action-packed tour, RVers can opt for a hiking adventure at the Raven Run Nature Sanctuary where the path stretches for about eight miles. The area, covering 470 acres, is also popular as a bird shelter where RVers can observe various bird species through the resident bird blinds.

Touring Lexington for most RV trippers is expected to be quite convenient since the city holds one RV park, the Kentucky Horse Campground, where 260 campsites are waiting to be occupied. The park is set within the Kentucky Horse Park expanse, making a planned area visit relatively easy.


Named after King Louis XVI of France, Louisville is the largest Kentucky city and is the official residence of many prominent companies. RVers will have a grand time touring the premises of such companies as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Philip Morris Tobacco, United Parcel, and American Tobacco, all of which are situated in Louisville.

For outdoor attractions, Louisville offers the Louisville Extreme Park where skateboarders, in-line skaters, and bikers are known to converge. Another city attraction is the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, a leisure park that features the Hurricane Bay Water Park and the Loonie Tunes Movie Park apart from its seven exciting roller coaster rides.

RVers in search of a nearby campground can check out Beech Bend Park, a camping site that also doubles as an amusement park, an oval field, and a drag strip. A nearby park attraction is the Lost River Cave and Valley where an amazing underground boat trip awaits the interested rider. The Lost River is said to be the deepest and the shortest worldwide as per Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Mammoth Cave National Park

The Mammoth Cave is considered as the longest cave system worldwide, boasting of over 365 explored and recorded caverns. Along with the river valleys surrounding the Nolin and Green Rivers, the cave falls under the jurisdiction of the Mammoth Cave National Park specifically created to help preserve these natural Kentucky attractions.

Having a park tour should be quite enjoyable for most RV travelers since a campground is in operation within the park vicinity. These sites lie beneath a canopy of trees and highlighted by numerous picnic tables and fire grates.

Daniel Boone National Forest

Named after Daniel Boone, the adopted son of the Shawnee tribe war head Blackfish, this state forest is variously composed of a public park, a natural bridge, and several rivers and streams that offer several outdoor opportunities like fishing and hiking. For the latter activity, the Sheltowee Trace ought to be an awesome adventure as it covers 269 hiking miles encompassing the entire forest length. As for a convenient resting ground, Twin Knobs Campground and Recreation Area offers the perfect solution. The area hosts 216 campsites and can accommodate large RVs aside from providing exquisite views of nearby Cave Run Lake.

Kentucky and Visiting Time

Mild climate is typical in the "Bluegrass State" with cool evenings quite common even during warm summer days. A visit during the spring season and even in the midst of autumn is highly recommended although it is always ideal to bring along a jacket.

Several state parks and nature centers in Kentucky welcome visitors anytime of the year. In the Bluegrass Region, for example, the Jim Beam Nature Preserve is surrounded by magnificent limestone cliffs called palisades that are quite picturesque during autumn. Winter months offer the same view with the additional attraction of migrating birds and blossoming wildflowers.

Lake Cumberland RV Park

Lake Cumberland is the principal attraction of Lake Cumberland RV Park and this is not really surprising since the lake, renowned for having a shoreline extending to as long as 1,200 miles, offers numerous opportunities for such outdoor activities as fishing, boating, canoeing, and many others.

The RV campground itself offers a wide range of outdoor sports, including a round of golf games and water-based activities like fishing. Elsewhere, there are flea markets, boat rentals, and over 50 stores housed in a nearby mall.

Located in Bronston town, Kentucky, Lake Cumberland RV Park also offers a set of natural attractions where access is quite easy. These include Somerset Falls, Cumberland Falls, and the Mill Springs Battlefield.

Camp Nelson RV Park

Boasting of over 80 modern RV sites, Camp Nelson RV Park is the proud host as well of about 30 other camping areas of the primitive type that nevertheless stand along the sides of the majestic Kentucky River. The bathhouse comes with a laundry area while the large pavilion nearby is intended for family gatherings.

Outdoor attractions include a river front area large enough to accommodate both anglers and hikers and from afar, the Applebees Park Baseball area and the Peninsula Golf Course, along with the Widow Watch Golf Course, beckon to sports enthusiasts.

For nature-centered attractions, the Lancaster, Kentucky-based RV campground is quite near such places as the Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, the High Bridge Peak, and the Wolf Run Animal Sanctuary aside from being close to man-made wonders like the Bluegrass Train Museum, the Camp Nelson National Cemetery, and the Kentucky Horse Park. RVers who prefer a wide and diverse array of Kentucky attractions will certainly have their fill in this RV park.

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