Go boating in Kentucky – it’s easy to get on the water when there are lakes and rivers flowing all throughout the state. Kentucky offers the perfect landscape for boating and fishing! And there’s more good news: The boat launch ramps and boat rental facilities on Kentucky’s most popular lakes and rivers are all within easy reach of most towns and cities. Awesome.
So whether you’re from a big city in KY like lovely Lexington in Derby Country or flashy Louisville, or maybe you’re from a cozy, historic place like Bardstown, there’s sure to be a boating opportunity for your crew around the next bend! Oh, and in case we forgot to mention it, the fishing is really, really good in Kentucky!
Marina’s and Launch Ramps
Looking for a boat launch ramp? A marina that sells ice cream cones? A lakeside campground? a place to fuel up or maybe a boat storage facility? Visit the official Kentucky Tourism website to see a complete list of the marinas in your state region!
Best Boating Lakes
With so many popular boating lakes in Kentucky, like Lake Cumberland, Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake, the bluegrass state has become a serious boater destination for boaters and paddlers!
If you’re looking for a fun-filled vacation of boating in Kentucky, nothing beats Lake Cumberland. Lake Cumberland is 101 miles long with 1,255 miles of wooded shoreline and more than 63,000 acres of open water and relaxing coves.
Four full-service marinas on the western or northern side of Lake Cumberland provide easy access to our crystal clear lake. An abundance of boat slips, fuel piers, restaurants and ship stores make for an easy launch for your fun day of boating, skiing, fishing and just good laid back fun on Lake Cumberland. Many of the marinas offer a selection of boat rentals, so if you are traveling in for a weekend or planning a vacation of boating in Kentucky, there is no need to trailer your own because Lake Cumberland boat rentals are easy to arrange, from jet skis or pontoons, to ski boats, fishing boats, or family-sized luxury houseboats.
Kentucky Lake is well known as a water lover’s playgrounds. Common types of watercrafts that frequent the lake are personal watercrafts (PWC), deck boats, pontoons, runabouts, houseboats, speed and powerboats, ski boats, and fishing boats of all sizes and types. The 184 mile lake is bordered on the east by Land Between the Lakes, one of Kentucky’s most visited attractions. Inside this 170,000-acre play land you can live out any type of outdoor recreational activity imaginable. Hike, bike, hunt, fish, camp and relax inside this non-commercialized haven of nature’s preserved beauty.
Covering over 160,300 acres of land, there is room for everyone, Kentucky Lake was created upon the completion of Kentucky Dam, a 206-foot embankment built in 1944. Kentucky Dam’s construction was part of a federal plan to control floods in the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and develop their tributaries. Located in the Western Kentucky, beautiful Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake are within a day’s drive from most of Middle America, making these beautiful lakes a popular boating and watercraft destination.
Eagles nesting in the winter months can be spotted from the Lodge lobby or dining room. Both the Leatherwood and Moonshine Hollow Trails are great opportunities to hear and see many Woodland Species. As spring arrives, so does the Warbler migration. You can also see water foul such as the Belted King Fisher, Red-Winged Black Bird and the Great Blue Heron.
Water sports enthusiasts will find entertainment on Buckhorn Lake. The marina has 95 open slips, two launching ramps, rental pontoon boats, and fishing boats. Open May – October, based on water level.
You can cast away your cares at Buckhorn Lake – the lake is home to largemouth and Kentucky bass, crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, and muskie.
Hikers can explore the natural beauty and resources of Buckhorn Lake with a stroll along a 1.5 mile, self-guiding, moderately strenuous walking trail.
Barren River Lake
Here lies 20,108 acres for wildlife, fisheries, and recreation at Barren River Lake, which is situated between Louisville and Nashville in Allen and Barren counties in south-central Kentucky. Barren River Lake was created with an earth and rock fill dam built across the Barren River. It was constructed for flood damage reduction on the river. The lake covers 10,000 acres at summer pool and 20,150 acres at the maximum flood control pool.
You’ll find 100 open slips, 40 covered slips, a launching ramp, rental boats, and Jet Ski rentals at the marina. In the widest part of the lake, there are two large islands, each about one square mile in size. The smaller island is located near the main boat ramp and camp-site. A third island is partly connected to adjacent shores, but — depending upon water levels — it sometimes is surrounded by water.
Carr Fork Lake
The 710-acre Carr Creek Lake, previously known as Carr Fork Lake, is located 20 miles east of Hazard on Kentucky Route 15 in Knott County. You’ll encounter rough, mountainous terrain, primarily forested with big hardwoods, and some brushy areas. Camping is allowed in the campgrounds only.
Carr Creek Marina is a full service marina offering boat ramp, boat rentals, boat launch, resturant, fuel, and supplies.
Carr Creek Lake’s dam is an earth-and-rock fill dam located 8.8 miles above the mouth of Carr Fork River, which is a tributary of the North Fork Kentucky River. The lake is the main attraction of Carr Creek State Park. You can enjoy a full range of recreational opportunities on the 29-acre Carr Creek State Park, including a beach, bathhouse, fishing, picnic areas, and 39 camp sites.
Nearby attractions include Daniel Boone National Forest, Carr Creek State Park, Bad Branch Falls Nature Preserve, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, and Buckhorn Lake and Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park.
Dale Hollow Lake
Dale Hollow Lake covers portions of Clay, Pickett, Overton and Fentress Counties in Tennessee and Clinton and Cumberland Counties in Kentucky. It consists of nearly 30,000 acres of surface water and over 600 miles of shoreline.
Dale Hollow’s pristine waters are the nation’s favorite for scuba divers, boaters, and anglers. The lake abounds with fish to include; Largemouth Bass, Kentucky Bass, Musky, Catfish, Bluegill, Crappie. The lake is also the home to one of the largest wintering Bald Eagle populations in the area.
Go Fishing in Kentucky
Kentucky boaters will find endless creeks, rivers and streams and two of the largest man-made lakes in the United States – Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake. In these waterways you can catch everything from crappie, bass and giant blue cats, to muskie and trout! Find out where the best places are to go fishing in this state, by visiting the official Kentucky Tourism website. Make sure you learn about Kentucky’s Fishing Regulations before you go.