As the second-largest lake in Kentucky, Lake Barkley contains 57,900 acres of water, is 134 miles long, and boasts 1,000 miles of shoreline. It is a water, outdoors, nature and beach lover’s paradise due to the many activities available on the lake’s shore and beyond. It also serves as the east border of the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. Moreover, It is a world-renowned location for fishing professionals and boating enthusiasts. Having a spring adventure on this behemoth of a lake is more than possible without even leaving the area. 

Lake Barkley’s History

Lake Barkley is a manmade lake that was formed when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the Barkley Dam in 1966 to control the flow of the Cumberland River. The water overflowing from the river formed the lake. It is the second largest in the state, second only to Kentucky Lake, which incidentally was also manmade by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Today, Lake Barkley is one of the most popular recreational areas for camping, hunting, ATV riding, horseback riding, hiking, fishing and more. 

Planning Your Spring Adventure at Lake Barkley

When planning your upcoming visit to this beautiful lake, consider adding stops to the following notable attractions/destinations. Include some or all of them on your spring adventure itinerary when visiting the area:

Lake Barkley State Resort Park & Lake Marina

Featuring an impressive lodge of glass and wood, the lodge at Lake Barkley State Resort Park is the largest and most impressive structure east of the Mississippi River. Designed by Edward Durrell Stone, it seamlessly blends from the water to the wooded shoreline. The lodge also features private balconies with commanding views of the expansive lake. Suites and cottages are also available. 

In addition to the lodge and cottage, while visiting Lake Barkley State Resort Park, you can also stay in one of the 78 campsites, some of which have grills, water and electricity. Some of the sites are primitive for those who prefer tent camping. The campground also provides guests with two bathhouses, showers and laundry facilities. Birding is an immensely popular activity at the resort overall, thanks to the over 200 species of birds, including eagles, that live or visit this beautiful area. 

Of course, there are countless other activities to enjoy as well, including swimming, tennis, racquetball, trap shooting, hiking, golf, and much more. Located inside Lake Barkley State Resort Park, Lake Barkley Marina allows you to enjoy many water activities on the lake. You can rent a boat by the hour or by the day at the marina or grab a bite to eat on the water at Cap’n Jim’s. And if you’re looking for a home for your boat, the marina also has boat slips available year-round.  

spring adventure at Lake Barkley
Prizer Point KOA

Prizer Point Marina & Resort on Lake Barkley is another destination that you can visit that is full of family activities. As a KOA, it is arguably the area’s finest destination if you want a family gateway. Here, you can rent condos or cabins or enjoy the camping sites. Golf cart rentals help you get around easily from activity to activity. 

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One of the most anticipated upcoming events, the North American solar eclipse, will take place on Apr. 8, 2024. Visiting during this time will allow you to witness a truly unique celestial event and create unforgettable memories with your family. There are even eclipse-related discounts and vacation packages you can enjoy when booking during this time. Even if you don’t visit during this time, there are plenty of onsite activities to enjoy, including The Pier, a floating restaurant. 

Making Your Way Inland 

Known as the friendliest little town in all of Kentucky, Cadiz is worth a visit as you make your way slightly inland when visiting Lake Barkley. The charm of the main street is ideal, while the mixture of dining options, galleries and shops is a perfect getaway when you want a break from the water. Be sure to visit the Cadiz Family Restaurant, winner of the Best of Kentucky award, along with Triplets BBQ or the Harper House for the best and most authentic regional BBQ. Triplets is a more mid-week casual restaurant, while its sister eatery is a more sit-down weekend stop that is more upscale. Debbie Kaye’s Restaurant will take you back to Grandma’s with a taste of home cooking that can’t be beaten. Try any of these or choose from others that are situated in Trigg County as part of a well-rounded spring adventure at Lake Barkley.