This Enormous Man-Made Lake Is A Kentucky Gem Ideal For A Scenic Summer Getaway

With the onset of summer, we're all looking for the best destinations to beat the summer heat. In the United States, summer is synonymous with trips to the lake. All across the country families and groups of friends pack up their car with swimsuits and tasty snacks and embark on weekend getaways where they will spend endless hours soaking up the sun, boating, waterskiing, and enjoying nature's beauty. If you're looking for the perfect escape, it's time to plan a trip to Kentucky's iconic Lake Cumberland. Cumberland is one of the nation's largest created lakes with miles and miles to explore, and it attracts millions of people each year.

In all directions, the lake is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs, lush forests, and waterfalls. There are countless hidden coves that allow boaters to pull off of the main lake and enjoy a private place to swim, picnic, and soak up the sun. Despite its popularity, it's easy to carve out a little slice of paradise that you'll have all to yourself for the entire day. On land, you can enjoy the hiking trails at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park and explore charming lake towns. You can bring your own boat, or rent a pontoon once you arrive. Waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, and fishing are some of the most popular ways to spend days on the water. As evening falls, take in breathtaking sunset views from your boat or enjoy dinner at a marina while listening to live music.

Experience Kentucky's natural beauty on Lake Cumberland

If you're a fan of visiting beautiful lakes around the world, Lake Cumberland deserves a spot at the top of your bucket list. The massive reservoir winds through the beautiful Kentucky landscape like a snake, covering almost 65,000 acres. It stretches over 100 miles in length across seven counties with rugged, rocky shores. The creation of Lake Cumberland began in the 1940s with the construction of the Wolf Creek Dam along the Cumberland River by the Corp of Engineers. An entire town had to be moved to higher ground in preparation of the project. World War II halted the construction temporarily, and the lake was finally completed and opened in 1952.

Diverse flora and fauna thrive in the area and along the shores, you'll see flowering trees, hardwoods, and pines. You may spot bald eagles soaring overhead, and recently bears have begun to repopulate the area and have been spotted cooling off in the lake. Fishing is excellent and you can catch species like Trout, Catfish, Bass, Walleye, and Crappie.

Waterfalls are abundant around Lake Cumberland. Seventy-Six Falls is an extremely popular spot that boaters can access from the lake, and many visitors climb the cliffs and take a heart-pumping plunge. Hope in the car for a quick day trip to Cumberland Falls, where you can visit a 60-foot tall waterfall nicknamed the Little Niagara of the South. It's one of the most beautiful places in America's State Parks. 

Where to stay at the lake

One of the best ways to experience Lake Cumberland is to gather a group of friends or family and rent a houseboat. The lake is often referred to as the Houseboat Capital of the World and many of the marinas scattered around the lake offer rentals. You can sleep in comfortable beds and cook in fully equipped kitchens without ever having to leave the water. Some of the houseboats you'll see on the lake are truly deluxe with multiple levels, spacious balconies, slides, and more. You should expect to pay at least a few thousand dollars for a houseboat. Most sleep between four and eight people and have multiple bathrooms, making it an ideal option for large groups. It's the perfect way to make the most of your time on the water. 

If you'd rather return to dry land for the night, there are plenty of cozy cabin rentals available all around the lake. Lake Cumberland Resort offers one, two, and three-bedroom cottages and you can find plenty of additional options on short-term rental sites like Airbnb and Vrbo. Cabin rentals start at around $100 per night. Lake Cumberland State Resort Park has an expansive lodge with comfortable rooms, cottage rentals, and campsites, and Cumberland Point Campground also has simple but great campsites near the lake that you can book online.