An interior shot of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, with stained glass "quilt" windows

Interstate 24

  • Western Waterlands
86 miles

Lake cruises, butterfly gardens and fine dining from a Top Chef finalist are just a few of the reasons to turn your I-24 drive into a mini-vacation.

For those passing through Kentucky’s Western Waterlands region, I-24 offers plenty of delightful diversions. This drive takes you past some of our largest lakes, state parks and natural playgrounds, including Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley and the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area – all great for stretching your legs or casting a line. You’ll also pass by cities like Paducah and Cadiz, home to cultural and culinary gems that offer a unique taste of Kentucky.

Whether you’re looking for a side trip to break up your drive or just a quick stop on your way, discover the must-see attractions along I-24.

Must-Stops on Interstate 24

National Quilt Museum Photo

National Quilt Museum

215 Jefferson St.
Paducah, KY 42001

Freight House Photo

Freight House

330 S. 3rd St.
Paducah, KY 42001

Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park Photo

Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park

113 Administration Dr.
Calvert City, KY 42044

Mineral Mound State Park Photo

Mineral Mound State Park

48 Finch Ln.
Eddyville, KY 42038

Lake Barkley Cruises Photo

Lake Barkley Cruises

Lake Barkley Marina
Cadiz, KY 42211

Viceroy Butterfly Garden Photo

Viceroy Butterfly Garden

101 Walter Garrett Lane
Oak Grove, KY 42262

Viceroy Performing Arts Center Photo

Viceroy Performing Arts Center

101 Walter Garrett Lane
Oak Grove, KY 42262

Paducah

Entering Kentucky from Illinois, travelers will cross the Ohio River into Paducah, one of the most vibrant arts communities in Kentucky and a UNESCO Creative City. Make your first stop the Whitehaven Welcome Center, housed in a stately 1860s Classic Revival mansion. 

In walkable downtown Paducah, take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the river, pop into art galleries throughout the city, and stop at the National Quilt Museum—the world’s largest and most prestigious museum devoted to quilting and fiber arts. A few blocks away, savor sustainable, farm-to-table cuisine at Freight House; chef and proprietor Sara Bradley was a runner-up on season 16 of Bravo’s Top Chef
Read More: Exploring Paducah’s Outstanding Food & Drink Scene

Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park

I-24 skirts the shore of the largest body of water in the state, Kentucky Lake. Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park in Gilbertsville is an excellent place to stretch your legs or stop for the night, with lodge rooms, cottages, camping, a golf course and an on-site restaurant with water views. The park boasts the largest marina in the park system, and is a mecca for boating and fishing. Other activities include hiking, paddling and orienteering. 
Read More: Swing Into a Kentucky Golf Vacation

Grand Rivers

The city of Grand Rivers marks the north entrance to the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. You could spend days exploring this 170,000-acre inland peninsula, but it also makes for a fine quick driving break. Bordered by Kentucky Lake on the west and Lake Barkley on the east, Grand Rivers has earned its nickname of “the village between the lakes,” and the town is a popular stock-up spot for anglers, boaters and other water sport enthusiasts. Off the water, Grand Rivers is home to must-stop eateries like Patti’s 1880’s Settlement and Restaurant and Knoth’s Bar-B-Q, unique shops and the Badgett Playhouse Theater. 
Read More: How to Explore the Land Between the Lakes: One of the Most Interesting and Adventure-Filled Places in the South

Kuttawa

Explore more of Western Kentucky’s history and scenic beauty at Mineral Mound State Park in Kuttawa. This former farm on the shores of Lake Barkley was once owned by the grandfather of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald. These days, the leisurely life of the Gatsby Era is alive and well, with laid-back lake cruises and an idyllic waterfront golf course that Golf Digest once crowned one of the “Best Courses You Can Play.”

Cadiz

More opportunities for lake excursions – plus a quaint, historic downtown – await in the city of Cadiz. Browse antique stores, consignment shops and a variety of unique boutiques on Main Street. If you’re hungry, Reva’s Place serves up generous portions of homestyle cooking.

Cadiz is a popular place for fishing and boating, as well. Get geared up at the local bait and tackle shops and cast a line on Lake Barkley or Kentucky Lake. Or, board a yacht cruise with Lake Barkley Cruises, offering sunset, full moon and sightseeing adventures.

Oak Grove

The last (or first, depending on which direction you’re driving) stop on I-24 is Oak Grove – and it is worth a stop indeed. No matter which way you’re going, the Christian County Welcome Center in Fort Campbell offers a wealth of local information. 

Nearby, the Viceroy Butterfly Garden is a perfect stop for families traveling with kids, but visitors of every age will enjoy the peaceful setting and colorful flora, which attract butterflies in every life phase. The Viceroy Performing Arts Center features an outdoor amphitheater with ground seating for up to 5,000 people, and hosts an assortment of family-friendly performances throughout the year.

Explore More Kentucky Interstates & Highways