Western Waterlands Family Itinerary
Ready to experience the lake life, Western Kentucky style? Featuring two gigantic bodies of water and hundreds of miles of shoreline, Kentucky’s Western Waterlands region offers a wonderland of outdoor recreation for kids – and the kid in everyone.
Day 1: Dive into the Lake Life
Start your vacation in this special place on the water, of course! Rent a houseboat, pontoon, motorboat, jet ski, kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard at one of the many marinas surrounding Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. The large canal that connects the two is perfect for sailing, and lessons at Lighthouse Landing will even teach you how. After a great day on a great lake, get your feet back on the ground at Kentucky Shores Family Fun Center & Ziplines in Gilbertsville, offering a lineup of Go Karts, mini-golf, batting cages, carriage rides, ziplines and sky bridges. Check into a local hotel to rest up for the next day, or take advantage of even more recreational activities with a stay at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park.
Day 2: Paducah...and Pie!
We know you couldn’t check everything off your bucket list yesterday, so spend part of today catching up on what you missed! Known as one of the state’s premier recreation areas, Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park offers a bounty of activities including boat rentals, camping, eagle watching, fishing, golf, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and tennis.
All of that play will work up a hearty appetite, which you can satisfy in a uniquely Kentucky way with a hearty meal and a delicious slice of pie at Patti's 1880s Settlement in Grand Rivers. Welcoming more than 300,000 diners a year, this regional hot spot offers everything from 2” pork chops to “mile high” pies. After your meal, stroll through the village’s unique shops.
After lunch, head to charming Paducah, a UNESCO Creative City of Crafts & Folk Art that also offers incredible architecture and expansive flood wall murals that retell the city’s past. Grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant, then check into a local hotel, inn or B&B for a cozy night’s rest.
Day 3: National Quilt Museum & More
Ease into your morning with a stroll through the nationally acclaimed and award-winning Lower Town Arts District, just a short drive or walk from downtown Paducah. As you browse the shops here, you’ll often see artisans working in their galleries to create new pieces.
After enjoying a nice lunch back in Paducah’s picturesque downtown, head over to the National Quilt Museum to marvel at elegant displays that highlight the history of quilt-making through contemporary, miniature and antique quilts on display. The museum’s lobby features stunning quilt-patterned stained-glass windows, plus a gift and bookshop to enjoy. Kids can have a ball here, too, through periodic children’s activities and classes offered throughout the year.
Cap off your afternoon with an enlightening stop at Paducah's Lloyd Tilghman House & Civil War Museum, an 1852 home full of exhibits highlighting Western Kentucky’s role during the War Between the States.