Western Waterlands Region
Far western Kentucky offers an inviting mix of arts, culture, history, family fun and outdoor recreation. Bordered by the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, the area is convenient for travelers from Louisville and Bowling Green as well as Nashville and St. Louis. Below we’ve highlighted a few of the main towns and attractions in the area to help you plan your next road trip!
Downloadable Road Trip Ideas
Columbus-Belmont State Park
Nestled on the shores of the Mississippi River, this park near the tip of western Kentucky is a great place to relax and explore. Hike trails running through Civil War earthworks and see a massive anchor and chain that was once stretched across the river during the war. Grab some bites at the park’s snack bar, then set up camp to sleep under the stars!
Be sure to make time to tour the Hotel Metropolitan in Paducah, a restored hotel that once hosted famous African American sports figures and entertainers, including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, B.B. King and Thurgood Marshall. The historic 1908 property now serves as a museum of African American heritage.
Paducah-area breweries & winery
Looking to enjoy an alcoholic beverage in the Paducah area? Why not go to the sources. Enjoy a brew or two at Dry Ground Brewing Company, located inside The Coke Plant, a Paducah landmark. Or sidle up to the bar at Paducah Beer Werks, a craft brewery located downtown, inside a refurbished Greyhound bus terminal. Visit Kentucky’s largest winery – Purple Toad Winery – and see where grapes are turned into award-winning wines.
National Quilt Museum
One of the greatest artistic treasures in Kentucky is the National Quilt Museum in Paducah. It’s the only museum in the world dedicated to highlighting the work of today’s quilt artists and boasts the largest collection of contemporary quilts and fiber arts in the world. Visit to see the main gallery with 600+ quilts, special traveling exhibits and take in a workshop taught by master quilters.
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
Western Kentucky is home to one of the state’s largest outdoor playgrounds full of fun for people of all ages, with forests, wetlands, open lands and beaches. Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (LBL) is located on a peninsula between Kentucky and Lake Barkley lakes, offering biking, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, off-roading, wildlife viewing and more. Imagine telling friends that you went horseback riding along the beach…in Kentucky! Families will enjoy the Golden Pond Planetarium, where visitors can take in an educational show in the 40-foot dome of the theater.
Patti’s 1880s Settlement
Patti’s 1880’s Settlement in Grand Rivers serves up 2” thick pork chops, mile-high meringue pies, flower pot bread and more delicious home-cooked fare at the award-winning restaurant. But it’s more than just a restaurant – it’s an unforgettable destination with unique gift shops in a recreated historical log cabin village, beautiful gardens, gazebos, a wedding chapel, winding streams, miniature golf, remote control boats, a rock wall and more.
Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park
As the newest of the four state parks located along the edges of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park in Calvert City offers a comfortable overnight stay with a view. Guests can fish or boat 160,000 acres of Kentucky Lake and enjoy the panoramic lake view from the comforts of the lodge. Feeling more adventurous? Head on down to the Kentucky Dam Marina and rent a houseboat to have a fun, luxurious getaway on the water.
Casey Jones Distillery
Casey Jones Distillery near Hopkinsville produces authentic bourbon and moonshine, serving up a taste of history, too. The legend of Casey Jones began in prohibition-era when he built more than 250 illegal-production copper stills around Golden Pond. A.J., Casey’s grandson, used granddad’s last work to create the still used in the distillery today, providing an extra measure of historic family authenticity to their premium distilled spirits.
Enjoy a tour or show at the Alhambra Theatre, a historic landmark and community performing arts center in Hopkinsville. Take in the original archway entrance, tile floor and chandelier – all from the theatre’s completion in 1928. Now a performing arts center with a 650-seat proscenium theatre that offers a variety of performances, it’s a small-town delight for art and culture lovers.
Visit Murray for small-town charm, soulful food and Southern spirit. This small southwestern Kentucky community is known for being home to Murray University, but there’s also a pretty cool local experience that combines art, history and a country drive – the Calloway County Quilt Trail. More than 60 quilt squares are painted on local barns, homes and businesses, helping tell local stories through art. Whether you’re looking for an art adventure or girlfriend getaway, you’ll find all that and more in Murray.