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10 BEST Lakes in Kentucky with Cabins & Cottage Rentals

10 BEST Lakes in Kentucky with Cabins & Cottage Rentals

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Known as the Bluegrass State, Kentucky is famous for its bluegrass music, horse racing, and bourbon, and it is also home to 45 significant lakes!

Kentucky’s landscapes are lined with dozens of lakes that are enough to tempt your inner adventurer! Spend your lazy summer days in Kentucky renting a secluded log cabin, fishing for perch and bass, or learning to jet ski. Below, I’ve listed some of my favorite full lakes in Kentucky with cabin recommendations to help you plan your romantic or family getaway!

My favorites are Lake Barkley for its four-wheeling and hiking trails and quiet retreats such as Horseshoe Hill House or Taylorsville Lake for its Bourbon Country Cabin getaway.

Infographic showing the best lakes in kentucky with nearby lake accommodation
Map of 10 lakes in Kentucky with nearby accommodations

1. Kentucky Lake

Sitting along the Tennessee River and neighboring Tennessee is Kentucky Lake, one of the largest lakes located east of the Mississippi. This 64,900-acre lake consists of an endless shoreline and is lined with cabins, campgrounds, and a full-service marina. 

Kentucky Lake is one of many lakes in Kentucky with cabins filled with great fishing, white bass and yellow perch in particular, and water sports such as kayaking and jet skiing. Along the lake are Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park and Kenlake State Resort Park, two areas perfect for hiking nature trails such as Cedar Grove Trail and Campers Path. 

The cabins and water-view cottages at Kentucky Lake range from small, quiet cabins to country-chic homes. With proximity to the marina, many of its cabin rentals have boat ramps to launch small boat rentals or jet skis to explore the rest of the lake.

Best Cabins at Kentucky Lake

  • Lakefront with Dock and Boat Ramp - Located in rural Steward, this lakefront waterfront rental sleeps 15, includes an indoor and outdoor fireplace, and is perfect for family or friends who want to relax and unplug.
  • Kentucky Lake Cabin with Private Dock - Enjoy coffee in this cozy cabin featuring an outdoor fire pit and private dock for swimming, boating, and fishing.
  • Cozy Dover Home With Deck - Experience lakeside living with this three-bedroom, two-bedroom rental with stunning views and a furnished deck, offering top attractions like Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. 
Lake front with dock and boat ramp at lake kentucky
Lake front with dock and boat ramp / VRBO

2. Barren River Lake

Currently, one of the most popular recreational destinations, Barren River Lake, has over 227 kilometers of shoreline and was created during the creation of Barren River Lake Dam by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. 

Barren River Lake’s main attraction is fishing, although water skiing and boating are also offered. Visitors not into water recreation can go horseback riding, biking, or hiking along the Lewis Hill trail. For families with young children, there’s also a nearby playground, picnic areas, and golf courses for the adults.

The cabins and cottages at Barren River Lake range from Glamping in a shed to romantic honeymoon getaways. Many rentals have grills and an outdoor fire pit for outdoor barbecues.

Best Cabins at Barren River Lake

  • Simply Sailing - This quaint cottage sleeps four and features a drive-thru carport to protect your jet skis or boat.
  • Glamping in the Man Cave - Located only a 10-minute drive from the Plaza Theatre, this small “man cave” sleeps 5 and features a play area for outdoor games, making it ideal for families with small children.
  • Private Rustic Hideaway - Located only a short 9-minute drive from Barren Lake, this rustic log cabin is surrounded by abundant wildlife and conveniently close to Walnut Creek Marina. 
Private cabin hidden in woodlands on the barren river lake, kentucky
Private and Luxurious Rustic Hideaway / VRBO

3. Nolin Lake

Spanning across three counties, Nolin Lake features two prominent recreational locations conveniently located on each side of its lake. 

This 135-acre lake offers a wide range of activities that include hiking, picnicking, fishing, swimming, and boating. Nolin Lake also has more than 25 primitive sites scattered along nearly every pull-off along the gravel roads. I highly recommend the Gorge area for a great escape to nature and stellar night skies. Just north of the lake is Moutardier Recreation Area, which features a campground perfect for fishing and canoeing.

The cottages and cabins at Nolin Lake range from Amish-built cottages to pet-friendly retreats, with some rentals located directly on the lake.

Best Cabins at Nolin Lake

  • Log Cabin - Located in the gated community of Logsdon Landing, this log cabin sleeps 12, features an ample living space tree swing, and is only a 1-minute walk to Nolin Lake.
  • The Loft at The Fruit of the Spirit - Situated among Amish farms, this loft is located on 80 private acres where you can discover multiple caves, waterfalls, and rock formations.
  • The Robins Nest - An Amish-built cottage featuring a covered porch only 30 minutes from Mammoth Cave. 
Log cabin with large outdoor balcony, kentucky
The Robins Nest / VRBO

4. Lake Barkley

Featuring hundreds of miles of shoreline, Lake Barkley sits on Kentucky’s eastern shore and was created after the construction of the Barkley Dam, both named after Vice President Alben Barkley.

The 6,900-acre area is known for golfing, hiking, horseback riding, boating, sailing, fishing, and swimming. Barkley Lake is also home to attractions such as wild refugees, historical sites, and water parks. It also passes through the Civil War battlefield, which has now been preserved as Fort Donelson National Battlefield. 

The cabins at Lake Barkley range from balcony lounging to luxury log cabins. These lakefront vacation rentals in Kentucky are spacious, well-maintained, and ideal for large gatherings. Compared to Green River Lake, which only has accommodations to benefit couples, Lake Barkley is more accommodating for family reunions. 

Best Cabins at Lake Barkley

  • New Construction Log Home With Boat Slip - Experience a beautifully decorated log cabin that sleeps 8, has a custom laundry chute for hassle-free laundry days, and a convenient breakfast bar area.
  • Horseshoe Hill House - This quiet Barkley retreat has a water view, a barbecue grill for outdoor cookouts, and is close to boating and a health/beauty spa.
  • Lakefront Cottage With Private Sandy Beach - Enjoy gorgeous lake views from this cozy cove, featuring a screened porch and your private sandy beach. Close by, you can enjoy hiking trails and four-wheeler trails. 
Horseshoe hill house with front deck and yard, kentucky
Horseshoe Hill House / VRBO

5. Lake Cumberland

Known as a prominent tourist hot spot, Lake Cumberland has miles of sandy beach that spans across six counties and attracts approximately 4 million tourists each year.

Lake Cumberland has an abundance of recreational activities, which include rafting, kayaking, rowing, and, for the genuine adrenaline seekers, white water rafting, water skiing, and wakeboarding. Along its northern shore sits Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, where visitors can go horseback riding, hiking, and swimming. The best hiking trail is Baugh Branch Trail, a 3-mile out-and-back trail with a moderately challenging hike, best visited through March and December.

The cabins at Lake Cumberland range from secluded cabins to water-view bungalows that provide the comforts of home. Most of these cabin rentals on the lake in Kentucky offer lake access with hot tubs and fire pits.

Best Cabins at Lake Cumberland

  • Cozy Cumberland Cottage - The perfect getaway to relax and recharge, featuring a large back deck close to restaurants and a drive-in movie theater.
  • Bigelow’s Water View Bungalow - Enjoy an open-concept bungalow while spending time with loved ones and playing a round of golf on the championship golf course.
  • Somerset Cabin - Features a modern, well-equipped kitchen and covered porch with outdoor seating close to historical sites, golf courses, and hiking trails.  
Inside somerset cabin kitchen and living area
Somerset Cabin / VRBO

6. Dale Hollow Lake

Known for its water recreation, Dale Hollow consists of 620 miles of shoreline with natural rock formations and the flowing river of Arch Lake at Pickett State Park. It’s one of the few lakes that give a clear view of nature due to the restriction of private boat docks and tree-lined shorelines. Dale Hallow Lake features Big South Fork Recreation Area, A perfect trail riding location that boasts miles of sandstone bluffs and scenic gorges.

Dale Hollow Lake also features four hiking trails excellent for horseback riding, cycling, and hiking. My favorite is hiking, which allows you to explore its gorges, cliffs, vast timberlands, and unique rock formations such as the Twin Arches. Featuring 145 campsites, Dale Hollow Lake State Park features 60 lodge rooms on the lake, in addition to an on-site amphitheater and driving range.

The cabins at Dale Hollow Lake consist of cozy boating cabins to country cottages and are only a 10-minute drive to Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park Golf Course.

Best Cabins at Dale Hollow Lake

  • Boating Mecca - Experience countryside vacationing that’s only a short drive from boat launches and Dave Hollow Park.
  • The Bear’s Den - A quiet cabin in the woods only 2 miles from Eagle Cove Marina.
  • Just Up the Hill - A traditional log cabin featuring a jetted tub and wood-burning fireplace.
Outdoor view of just up the hill cabin surrounded by woodland, kentucky
Just Up the Hill / VRBO

7. Taylorsville Lake

Sitting along the Salt River is Taylorsville Lake, known for its popularity for weekend getaways and day trips by the locals. This 1,200-acre lake is famous for its water activities, including wakeboarding, tubing, water skiing, and fishing, mainly perch and catfish.

Located in the northern region of Taylorsville Lake is Taylorsville Lake State Park, which locals and tourists frequently visit for its abundance of hiking trails that are enjoyable during the summer.

The cabins at Taylorsville Lake range from lakeside cottages to bourbon country cabins and are a short drive to The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass.

Best Cabins at Taylorsville Lake

  • Lakeside Cottage - Perfect for horse lovers, this cottage in a gated community features a Jacuzzi J-235 hot tub.
  • Bourbon Country Cabin - Located in the heart of Bourbon Country, this loft-style cabin is close to local distilleries.
  • Lakefront Home - A cozy lake house only 15 minutes from Wild Turkey Distillery and features a private floating dock.
Bourbon country cabin at night with outdoor fire
Bourbon Country Cabin / VRBO

8. Rough River Lake

Rough River Lake consists of 1,200 acres, with its main attraction being the Rough River Dam State Resort Park, which sits on its shores.

Rough River Lakes boasts numerous activities, including swimming, hiking, and boating, and is famous for its bass fishing. Linked to its shoreline is the Lake Ridge Trail, a one-mile hiking adventure that connects with motels, cottage areas, and a full-service marina.

The cabins at Rough River Lake range from secluded log cabins to creekside retreats and are only a 40-minute drive to Pine Knob Theatre.

Best Cabins at Rough River Lake

  • Lakefront Home - Enjoy the sounds of nature from your screened-in porch, featuring a two-level deck that overlooks the lake.
  • Swiftwater - Situated in a quiet lake area and sleeping 6, this cabin is close to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
  • Creekside Retreat - A secluded Creekside getaway with easy access to boat launches and golf carts for easy transportation.
Creekside retreat hidden in woods near lake, kentucky
Creekside Retreat / VRBO

9. Green River Lake

While initially used for flood control, Green River Lake is a 3,000-acre lake and a significant attraction known for preventing millions in catastrophic flooding damages since 1969.

Visited by thousands of tourists yearly, Green River Lake has a 539-acre park home to over 200 boat slips, miles of hiking trails, and 157 campsites. Around the lake, guests can visit a sandy beach, picnic areas, and fishing piers that are great for catching channel catfish and largemouth bass.

The cabins at Green River Lake range from historic farmhouses to custom cabins and are only a 5-minute walk to Green River Lake State Park.

Best Cabins at Green River Lake

  • Foster Lodge - Situated in a quiet neighborhood, this cozy lodge features a keypad garage entry to park your vehicle.
  • Log Cabin by the Lake - A perfect getaway for a romantic couple, this little cabin sleeps 2, features a small kitchenette, and is only minutes away from sightseeing, fishing, and watersports.
  • The Grand Escape - This 1,200-square-foot loft provides all the amenities needed for a relaxing vacation and is perfect for weekend getaways or canoe trips. 
Foster lodge with large outdoor yard with colourful surrounding trees
Foster Lodge / VRBO

10. Cave Run Lake

Situated by Daniel Boone National Forest, Cave Run Lake was constructed as flood control for the Licking River Valley.

The unique water flow of Cave Run Lake makes it an excellent destination for canoeing, jet skiing, and sailing. Its most popular water activity on the lake is fishing, where you’ll catch an abundance of panfish, catfish, walleye, trout, and bass. In addition to endless water activities, Cave Run Lake has several hiking trails perfect for horseback riding and cycling. Hike Cave Run Loop using the Caney Trail for a 6-mile scenic hike, consisting of gravel roads and many creek crossings.

The cabins and cottages at Cave Run Lake range from small family cabins to honeymoon getaways and are only a short drive to Morehead State University and Red River Gorge.

Best Cabins at Cave Run Lake 

  • A Gracious Haven - A secluded retreat featuring a fire pit and back deck within walking distance to Licking River and The Daniel Boone National Forest.
  • Sugar Shack - Made for nature lovers experience serenity and peacefulness, featuring a peaceful balcony, large porch, and beautiful views.
  • The Getaway - Located in a rural escape, this rustic log cabin sleeps 6 and is one of the few pet-friendly rentals.
Cosy sugar shack cabin with surrounding woods and seating area, kentucky
Sugar Shack / VRBO

I hope you’ve been inspired to explore one of the many secluded or romantic cabin rentals available in Kentucky! 

Kentucky offers an abundance of lakes for every type of outdoor enthusiast; from tubing, boating, and horseback to fishing, there’s a lake to meet the craving of every tourist who’d rather spend their days on the water.

Ready for more? I've written many more travel guides to find lakeside cabin retreats across the USA. Take your pick below.

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.