Two people ride horses along a Western Kentucky shoreline at sunset

Western Waterlands

Bordered by the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and home to the two largest lakes in Kentucky, the Western Waterlands offer an inviting mix of outdoor recreation, arts and culture, history and family fun.

Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley and the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area form a popular vacation destination with all the water recreation imaginable: fishing, skiing, sailing, tubing, kayaking, jet skiing, swimming, and just relaxing. Head for a Kentucky state park or a National Scenic Byway to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, ATV trail riding and other area attractions.

Western Waterlands Region Map

Paducah flood wall murals at night


More Things to Do in the Western Waterlands Region

The friendly communities and historic hamlets of the Western Waterlands are packed with opportunities for entertainment, activity and inspiration. Play golf in the #1 retirement destination in the U.S., visit Kentucky’s largest Amish community, shop in a railroad town transformed into an antique shopper's heaven, travel through lush farmland rich in Native American history, and visit a "living house" museum complete with immersive historical exhibits. Take a walking tour of historic downtowns like Paducah, where you can get a dose of culture at the National Quilt Museum and River Discovery Center

Dine in restaurants overlooking the lakes, enjoy live entertainment at Grand Rivers Badgett Playhouse, take in a movie at an old fashioned drive-in, shop at the largest single antique mall between St. Louis and Nashville, visit art museums and play with us at one of our award-winning festivals and events. And when it's time to turn in, the Western Waterlands also offers lodging ranging from rustic tent and RV campsites to luxurious hotels and resorts.

Western Waterlands

Regional Cuisine

A bowl of banana pudding from Western Kentucky

From country ham to fresh-caught fish, from banana pudding to locally distilled bourbon, the Western Waterlands boast a distinctive – and delicious – regional food culture.

Immerse yourself in Kentucky Community Highlights

Explore More Regions of Kentucky

24 24
  • Kentucky Appalachians

    Discover a region where inspiring natural beauty, varied outdoor recreation, rich country music heritage and fascinating folk culture beckons visitors to leave the hustle and bustle behind.

  • Bluegrass, Blues & BBQ

    As the birthplace of bluegrass, this region draws visitors from around the world to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Come hungry, ’cause Owensboro is also the "BBQ Capital of the World."

  • Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon & Boone

    In the heart of Horse Country, bluegrass landscapes melt into vibrant cities like Lexington and Berea, offering legendary horse farms, historic distilleries, handmade art, and genuine Southern hospitality.

  • Bourbon, Horses & History

    The thrill of the Kentucky Derby. The sizzle of Louisville’s culinary scene. The buzz of the Bourbon Capital of the World®. Iconic Kentucky experiences abound in this diverse region.

  • Caves, Lakes & Corvettes

    Above and below ground, discover some of Kentucky’s most magnificent natural wonders and full-throttle adventures, from Mammoth Cave National Park to the National Corvette Museum.

  • Daniel Boone Country

    With its dramatic scenery and unbridled adventure, frontiersman Daniel Boone may have had this ruggedly beautiful region in mind when he said "Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place."

  • Southern Shorelines

    Splash into the region that’s home to the “Houseboat Capital of the World,” Lake Cumberland. You’ll also find bucolic farms and vineyards, Civil War history and all the local fried fish you can eat.

  • Northern Kentucky River Region

    Just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, the “Top of the South” delights with exciting cities, culinary gems and popular family attractions such as the Ark Encounter and Newport Aquarium.

  • Western Waterlands

    Home to Kentucky’s two largest lakes and the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, this scenic region also teems with small-town charm and a thriving arts scene in Paducah.


Plan Your Trip to the Western Waterlands



Sort by
Explore More Regions of Kentucky