Kentucky Tourism
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Western Waterlands

Western Waterlands Sunset

Kentucky shores make for idyllic family lake vacations

Are the great outdoors and water recreation your passion? Then Kentucky’s Western Waterlands have everything you dream of – plus an exciting mix of authentic Kentucky arts, leisure, culture, national recognized historic sites and plenty of family-friendly entertainment. This “waterland wonderland” is the perfect family fun destination where you can experience 3,000 miles of shoreline, 170,000 acres of protected forest, hundreds of miles of trails and the nationally recognized and award winning LowerTown Arts District. Did you know that “Only Kentucky” has the third largest body of water (canal-connected Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley) besides the Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico? They are not only major vacation destinations, but were designed for flood control and hydropower. The lakes are internationally known for competitive and recreational fishing. Big Lakes! Big fish!

DAY 1 of your Family Fun Adventure

Your “waterland wonderland” family fun adventure must start aboard a rented houseboat, pontoon, motorboat, jet skis or any other recreational water vehicle. Since the opportunities are amazing and bountiful – we highly recommend that you start your travel search on page 76 of the Kentucky 2013 Official Visitor’s Guide “Western Waterlands Marinas” so that you can select your water recreational vehicle that best meets the needs of your family for cruising the Kentucky shores.

After experiencing one of the region’s finest family lake vacations, you may be ready to get your legs back on the ground at the Kentucky Shores Family Fun Center in Gilbertsville. This facility offers many attractions including: Go-Karts, Mini-Golf, Arcade, Batting Cages, Water Wars, Krazy Kars, Carriage Rides, Bumper Boats and more. Kentucky Shores Family Fun Center also offers 8 zip lines, 2 sky bridges in which you fly at speeds of 20-30 mph. They have three lines that measure 550 to 600 feet long .This is one family-friendly destination where every member of your family can find something they would like to do. For dates/times of operation, admission and questions regarding age appropriateness, visit their website or call (270) 362-4774. We strongly recommend that you visit their website for specific weight, attire and release form information for the Zip lines.

Estimated driving time between Kentucky Shores Family Fun Center and Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park is 10 minutes.

Make lodging reservations at the hotel of your choice in the Gilbertsville area or if your family is looking for a wide variety of recreational activities throughout the evening you may want to make reservations at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park in Gilbertsville.

DAY 2 of your Family Fun Adventure

Kentucky Dam Village State Resort ParkWhat a great way to start the day by addressing some of the recreational activities that you couldn’t fit into your evening at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park. As one of Kentucky’s premiere recreational areas, the state park offers a wide variety of activities including boating rentals, camping, eagle watching, fishing, shopping, golf, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and tennis.

Are you ready for a truly unique Kentucky culinary experience? Visitors to Western Kentucky feel as though they have missed out on a major life experience if they don’t make lunch reservations at Patti’s 1880’s Settlement Restaurant in Grand Rivers. (Reservations are mandatory by calling (888) 736-2515.) Voted #1 by Southern Living Magazine Reader’s Choice Award for Best Small Town Restaurant in Southeast United States – you can clearly understand why reservations are required. Famous for their mile-high pie, strawberry butter and 2” pork chops, they were an obvious Blue Chip Award winner given by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. For dates/hours of operation, menu and shopping info, visit their website

Estimated drive time between Patty’s Restaurant and Downtown Paducah Cell Phone Walking Tour is 30 minutes.

Downtown PaducahDowntown Paducah been designated as a Great American Main Street City by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Paducah Cell Phone Walking Tour is a memorable way to view this beautiful historic Ohio Riverfront town by just dialing (270) 854-3050, listen and experience Paducah’s amazing architecture, locally owned restaurants, art galleries, downtown bed & breakfast, farmer’s markets and performance and movie theatres. One of the tour highlights will be the Paducah wall-to-wall flood wall murals which portray Paducah’s past as captured by renowned artist Robert Dafford. The tour originates at 128 Broadway. Historic downtown Paducah has the largest selection of locally-owned restaurants within their community and you’ll find downtown is a shopping, dining, lodging and cultural arts district.

Make lodging reservations at the hotel of your choice in Paducah

DAY 3 of your Family Fun Adventure

What a great way to start your morning by grabbing a cup of joe and window shopping at the nationally-acclaimed and award-winning LowerTown Arts District just a short four-minute drive from downtown Paducah. Often you will see the artisans hard at work in their galleries creating new pieces of art. Here you can download a list of LowerTown galleries and businesses

National Quilt MuseumReady to visit Kentucky’s most recent attraction to receive the 2012 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence – then Kentucky’s Only One National Quilt Museum in downtown Paducah is your next destination. View the elegant displays at this 30,000-square-foot museum which highlights the vigorous rebirth of quilt making that began in the 1970s. Enjoy quilts and the stories they tell throughout the year. The Museum showcases contemporary, miniature, and antique quilts in its impressive facility. The lobby features quilt-patterned stained glass windows and an exciting gift and bookshop. Be sure to note that kid’s activities and classes are also available at the National Quilt Museum For hours of operation, exhibits, classes and admission information visit their website or call (270) 442-8856.

Estimated drive time between Kentucky’s Only One National Quilt Museum and Lloyd Tilghman House is 5 minutes.

Your final destination is in honor of the Civil War Sesquicentennial as you visit the Lloyd Tilghman House and Civil War Museum in Paducah. This 1852 home was once residence of Lloyd Tilghman, CSA. Exhibits highlight western Kentucky’s role during the War Between the States. For seasonal dates/hours of operation and admission information, visit their website or call (270) 575-5477.