Lakes in Kentucky for Boating.

5 Best Lakes in Kentucky for Boating

Written by Boatsetter Team
July 18, 2023

Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Boatsetter Team

Renowned for its natural beauty, rolling hills, and friendly locals, Kentucky is a must-see state for outdoor enthusiasts. With abundant lakes and reservoirs, Kentucky also offers a special escape for boaters.

We’ve created a quick guide to 5 of the best lakes in Kentucky for boating to help you discover the beauty of Kentucky’s waterways and have an unforgettable experience.

  1. Barren River Lake
  2. Kentucky Lake
  3. Lake Barkley
  4. Lake Cumberland
  5. Laurel River Lake

Explore TOP boat rentals in Kentucky

1. Barren River Lake

Barren River Lake, Kentucky.

With over 10,000 acres of water surface and 141 miles of shoreline, Barren River Lake is one of the best lakes in Kentucky for boating.

Boaters can take panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from the comfort of their vessel or the water! Dive in and enjoy water activities such as swimming, kayaking & paddle boarding, and motor boating. Anglers can expect to find bass, crappie, catfish, walleye, and bluegill.

Barren River Lake’s shoreline hosts many beaches, perfect for coming ashore for a picnic and sunbathing. Hike through the Barren River Lake State Resort Park for the more adventurous!

Location: Allen and Barren counties

2. Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake, Kentucky.

As one of the largest manufactured lakes in the eastern United States, Kentucky Lake spans an impressive 160,309 acres. Its vastness makes it a prime boating spot in Kentucky. Boaters can enjoy water skiing, tubing, or tranquil cruising along the scenic shoreline.

Fishing enthusiasts will find an abundance of bass, crappie, catfish, and sauger, among other species. And if you’re interested in even more wildlife, come ashore and explore the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.

Location: Marshall, Livingston, and Lyon counties

3. Lake Barkley

Lake Barkley, Kentucky.

You can find Lake Barkley adjacent to Kentucky Lake. With 58,000 acres of water surface to explore and 1,004 miles of shoreline, beaches, and coves, Lake Barkley is one of the best lakes for boating in Kentucky.

Powerboating and sailing on Lake Barkley offer visitors a fast-paced adventure. If paddling around is more your speed, you can slip into the water on a kayak, paddleboard, or tube – perfect for navigating inlets and hidden coves.

Anglers can cast lines for bass, white bass, crappie, catfish, and bluegill. Lake Barkley’s proximity to the Land Between the Lakes area allows visitors to enjoy wildlife viewing, hiking trails, and camping.

Location: Trigg, Lyon, and Marshall counties

4. Lake Cumberland

Lake Cumberland, Kentucky.

Lake Cumberland is best known as the “Houseboat Capital of the World”. Breathtaking vistas, numerous coves, and clear blue waters create the perfect backdrop for boating adventures in Kentucky. 65,530 acres of water surface provide ample space for water skiing, cruising, and fishing. Cast a line for striped bass, black bass, walleye, crappie, and catfish.

When you’re ready for a break from the water fun, come ashore and visit the Daniel Boone National Forest and Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. Both locations offer unforgettable hiking opportunities, camping, and nature photography.

Location: Clinton, Russell, and Pulaski counties

5. Laurel River Lake

Laurel River Lake, Kentucky.

Nestled within the Daniel Boone National Forest, Laurel River Lake presents an excellent opportunity for boaters to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. Spanning 5,600 acres, Laurel River Lake presents a more intimate experience than some of our other features.

The serene ambiance, natural splendor, and crystal-clear waters create the perfect conditions for swimming, diving, and kayaking. Anglers can test their skills with opportunities to reel in black bass, rainbow trout, walleye, muskie, and crappie.

Since the lake is surrounded by nature, boaters can come ashore for scenic hiking, quiet picnics, and wildlife observation.

Location: Laurel and Whitley counties

Kentucky’s lakes offer a unique blend of breathtaking scenery and diverse boating experiences. From the expansive Kentucky Lake to the tranquil, intimate beauty of Laurel River Lake, each destination has its distinct charm – perfect for making lifelong memories.

Make the most of your next visit to a Kentucky lake by setting sail with a Boatsetter boat rental. Start planning your adventure when you click here.

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