If someone tells you to go jump in a lake in Kentucky, it’s not an insult: It’s advice.
Lake Cumberland, often dubbed the “houseboating capital of the world,” has plenty of activities to satisfy any traveler, particularly boating, fishing, other watersports and enjoying the outdoors.
“It’s so family oriented … take a picnic lunch, go out with friends, start at one marina and go over to have lunch at another spot, putz around for the evening,” says Nancy Bigelow, owner of Lake Cumberland Realty.
There are also five 18-hole golf courses, parks, antique shopping, and vineyards and wineries.
“The lake is surrounded by beautiful coves [with] places to pull a houseboat up that are absolutely breathtaking. And the marinas have great restaurants,” says Carolyn Mounce, executive director of the Somerset-Pulaski County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
With all the things to do in the area, you’ll want to stay awhile to have fun in and out of the water.
Dotted along Lake Cumberland’s 1,255 miles of shoreline, there are tons of accommodations that provide everything from fine linens to gourmet breakfasts, private access to the lake for fishing and swimming to recreation facilities.
For peace and quiet, the upscale Acorn and Fox Inn in Bronston sits atop a cliff overlooking the South Fork of Lake Cumberland. The romantic, country décor complements the cozy, antique furnishings. If you want to spend your morning lounging in bed but don’t want to miss the 9 a.m. breakfast with biscuits, bacon, quiche and fresh fruit, don’t worry—breakfast can be served to you in bed.
Expect comfort and elegance at the Eagles View Bed & Breakfast in Burnside. You’ll have access to freshly baked brownies and cookies as soon as you arrive. You’ll also sleep on fine linens, cuddle in cozy comforters and eat on fine china. The Eagle View’s deck has a view of the Bear Waterfalls and heart-shaped garden pond, and each room has a private indoor balcony with a view of the lake.
If you’re taking the whole family, the Villager Resort will keep you and your kids active. The resort includes a swimming pool, tennis court, basketball and volleyball courts, shuffleboard, horseshoes and a playground area. Located on private streets, the Villager is a safe area for kids to ride bikes and skateboard. It’s also the only resort that has a tram to take you and your gear to and from the cabins to its private dock.
Woodsen Bend Resort sits on a 455-acre peninsula and offers private and quiet cabins with fireplaces, screened-in porches, grills, and towels and linens.
“Everybody loves that place,” says Bigelow. “It’s more of a community, but it offers everything. It’s very family oriented.”
Woodsen Bend also has its own restaurant, 18-hole championship golf course and a 136-slip boat dock.
Although Lake Cumberland’s water level had been lowered to fix the dam starting in 2007, it was raised to 705 feet above sea level in 2013.
“It was still the third largest lake while they were working on the dam,” says Mounce.
“It’s a beautiful lake,” says Bigelow, who has lived with her husband, Bill, at Woodsen Bend for 38 years. “We’re from Michigan, and we know lakes.”