Camping and activities abound in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
Land Between the Lakes
Our 2017 Spring Break was a camping trip to the Land Between the Lakes. LBL (Land Between the Lakes) is a 170,000-acre national recreation area in Kentucky and Tennessee. It sits been Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, which are the damned Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers respectively. LBL is run by the USDA Forest Service.
Land Between the Lakes is a free access recreation area that includes 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline, 261 miles of hiking trails, 70 miles of bike trails, off-road vehicle area, equestrian trails, picnic areas, and numerous animal and plant species. There are 21 camping facilities that vary from primitive to full hookups. There are four special attractions that can be enjoyed for a nominal fee. While LBL is open year round, some of the attractions are only open March-November.
We camped at Piney Campground, which is located on the south end of LBL. This full-service facility has over 350 sites, most with a view of Kentucky Lake. You can read our full review of Piney Campground and see our sunset photos here. Please note: Piney is the only campground we visited, although we’ve heard good things about others too.
Attractions in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area include an Elk & Bison Prairie, the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm, the Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory, and the Woodlands Nature Station. Each of the attractions cost between $3 and $5. The Elk & Bison Prairie is 700-acre wildlife habitat that has elk and bison. You pay $5 to drive through on a paved road in an enclosed vehicle. We visited midday and were able to see the elk. No bison were visible at the time, but we did see several dozen bison at the South Bison Prairie which is located along the main road. Viewing at the south prairie is free.
The Homeplace 1850s Working Farm was our favorite attraction at LBL. You can read our full account of this visit here. The Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory is located at the main visitor center. There is a different show on the hour from 10 am to 4 pm. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Right now they are ramping up to the Total Solar Eclipse that will be occurring on August 21, 2017.
We also visited the Woodlands Nature Station which is located on the north side of the park. This learning center lets you get up close to rescued wildlife and see many birds and other creatures native to the area. We really enjoyed walking around in the backyard of this attraction. Our favorite animal was the bobcat. We relaxed in the garden and watched a nice variety of birds coming to the feeders. There are daily programs and naturalists on hand to answer questions. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children.
We recommend the Land Between the Lakes!
Overall we were very impressed with the Land Between the Lakes. It’s a well-maintained recreation area. We drove around on several roads which were in excellent shape. Signage is abundant, and there are plenty of pull-offs to stop and see things. The forest around the roads is well maintained. Roadside picnic areas are clean and include an outhouse or vault toilet. We highly recommend LBL for camping, exploring, or just to day trip to explore the attractions. Make sure to check out the Civil War sites around Dover, Tennessee which lies just to the southwest of the park. This entire region would be magnificent in the fall! Get more information about the Land Between the Lakes here.