Department of Tourism
Discover Your Own Backyard... Ky. Water Adventures
As the spring temperatures warm up across the state, many Kentuckians begin looking at the calendar to make plans for a trip or adventure that involves water.
Whether it’s boating, rafting, fishing, swimming or some other water-related event, Kentuckians don’t have to go far to find water. With 170 public lakes and reservoirs, 34,000 miles of streams, and 114 miles of waterways designated as wild rivers, the choices are plentiful. For example, there’s whitewater rafting along the Cumberland River in southeastern Kentucky.
“It’s an excellent way to get away, spend some time with your family and friends, see some beautiful scenery and have a lot of fun,” said Dania Egedi, general manager at Sheltowee Trace Outfitters near Whitley City. “It’s really a pleasant way to spend the day.”
Sheltowee offers guided raft rides every day during the summer season starting in mid-May as well as canoe trips. For more information, visit www.ky-rafting.com. Sheltowee is one of several rafting and canoe operators around the state. For information about other locations, visit the Kentucky Professional Paddlesports Association web site at www.kyppa.org
Several Kentucky State Parks also offer canoe trips as well as boat rentals and plenty of lakes and streams with fishing opportunities. During 2008, the following parks will offer overnight canoe trips: Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, and Jenny Wiley State Resort Park.
The state parks have 15 marinas where pontoon and fishing boats can be rented by the hour or for the day. The marinas also provide a variety of services including fuel, fishing licenses, ice and slip rentals. And many parks have canoes and paddle boats as well. In early June, several parks are holding fishing derbies for children. For information about canoe trips, marinas and other state park events on the water, visit www.parks.ky.gov. Information on other marinas across the state is available at the Kentucky Marina Association’s web site at: http://marinas.wilkesweb.us/KMA/index.htm.
The state agency that regulates boating on Kentucky waters, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, has a few tips to pass along for boaters. They include:
- Alcohol is prohibited on Kentucky waters. It’s illegal for the boat operator and passengers to be drinking alcohol.
- Life preservers must be worn by anyone under the age of 12.
- Boater education is required for anyone 12 to 17 years of age to operate a vessel with over 10 horsepower. This includes personal water craft.
For a different kind of boating experience, visit the Lost River Cave Underground Boat Tour – the only kind of its type in Kentucky. The guided tour includes a beautiful, historic river walk which leads you to one of the largest cave entrances east of the Mississippi River. Upon arriving at the cave, visitors embark on their journey into the unique world that exists beneath the city of Bowling Green. For more information, visit www.lostrivercave.com.
BB Riverboats in Newport offer riverboat cruises on the Ohio River ranging from one-hour sightseeing trips to day-long tours. Dining cruises, special event cruises and charters are also offered. Visit www.bbriverboats.com for more information.
If you’d rather observe from the shoreline, Rough River Dam State Resort Park near Leitchfield is hosting the Rough River Rumble Wakeboarding Tournament on June 7. This is a National Wakeboard League event that will benefit a local high school athletic program. There are different levels of competition and prizes. The event is free for spectators. For information, call the park at 1-800-325-1713.
And for those who really want to get wet, there are waterparks. They include: Kentucky Splash Water Park at Williamsburg, SomerSplash Waterpark in Somerset, Splashwater Kingdom at Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Splash Lagoon at Beech Bend in Bowling Green and Venture River at Eddyville.
This “Discover Your Own Back Yard” travel column is produced twice monthly by the Department of Tourism to help promote Kentucky events and travel destinations. For more information about these and other tourism opportunities, visit www.kentuckytourism.com
Editors: To obtain photographs related to this column, please click here.
The Kentucky Department of Tourism, an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, exists to promote The Commonwealth as a travel destination, generate revenue and create jobs for Kentucky’s economy.