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What’s the Best Lake in Kentucky?

There are over 40 lakes in the state of Kentucky; which is the best?

After spending last weekend on Center Hill Lake, my dream of one day owning a lake house is back in full force. After scrolling through lake houses on Zillow yesterday, I put out a Twitter poll asking you guys what the best lake in Kentucky is. Not surprisingly, it sparked a very lively debate. Lake Cumberland won by a lot, but Twitter only let me list four options, so let’s carry that fun over to today with an expanded version.

Vote for what you believe is the best lake in Kentucky below:

My criteria: clean water, pretty scenery, and nice marinas. Boat drivers that aren’t assholes are a plus. Be ready to defend your pick in the comments.

Let the debate begin…

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

25 responses to “What’s the Best Lake in Kentucky?”

  1. knowitall

    I have been on most of these lakes and all are good, I would have gone with Lake Cumberland but overcrowding is becoming more a problem every year and the number of drunken idiots is also increasing. I went with Cave Run.

  2. Sentient Third Eye

    By the stated criteria, it has to be Lake Cumberland, but there are a lot of other, different criteria people have (various kinds of fishing, for example).

  3. secrick

    Dale Hollow by far but please stay at Cumberland.

  4. az1006

    In my younger days, I was looking for a party, so Kentucky and Cumberland were easily top dogs in that regard. But, nowadays, I prefer clean water and quiet…Dale Hollow wins that.

  5. RealCatsFan

    Lots of great memories from tooling around on LC. For sheer beauty and endless coves to overnight in, it can’t be beat. But it is getting tough to navigate the lake on a weekend without getting the hell beat out of you if your boat is not 35′ plus. Too many cruisers halfway up on wake creating huge wakes. For a better family experience, Dale Hollow works better.

    Green River is a relatively undiscovered gem that has some scenery similar to Cumberland, but a lot smaller and quieter. For a quick weekend getaway, it has become my choice. Too bad the boat has not been out of the barn all summer. 🙁

  6. meeksfor3

    I have to agree that there are too many people with huge cruisers plowing through the waters of Cumberland causing havoc for small boats. I’m not sure if they don’t know how to drive a boat or are just that big of a douche to those around them. I have our boat on Cumberland just because I live close but honestly like Dale Hollow better. It’s a more enjoyable experience.

  7. JHFrauenhoffer

    Lake Herrington is the best lake to contract hepatitis or schistosomiasis or flesh eating bacteria.

    1. yoshukai

      JHFrauenhoffer , you’re either ignorant or a liar . The state tests all public lakes and rivers water monthly and the results are publicly posted on their website. Herrington lake has NEVER had any restrictions on swimming or fish consumption and is ALWAYS well within the guidelines set by the EPA . So which is it , are you a liar or just ignorant?

  8. katmandue2you

    Grew up on Lake Barkley pleasure boating there and on Kentucky Lake. Fishing i would have to give them the nod. For beauty and clean water quality of marinas and general overall ambiance Dale Hollow and Cumberland have to be the leaders. I’ve been to most all these lakes at some point and i voted for Cumberland because it belongs solely to Kentucky, but I’d have to say in my book Dale Hollow and Cumberland are co-numero unos!

  9. BettyBleedsBlue

    I love Lake Cumberland but agree that it’s too crowded! Dale Hollow is beautiful and the fishing is better too!

  10. Mjones32

    Green River Lake is really nice.

  11. AirRaid98

    Cumberland stripers are hard to beat!

  12. Kindsey Bernhard


  13. yoshukai

    I think being able to have your own private boat dock should have been part of the criteria. Nothing like being able to get in your boat go for a ride and stop and visit at your friends boat dock . LOTS of times a party breaks out!

  14. W.C.

    I have seen all but one of the lakes on your list and Green River Lake should be on the list. It is easily ahead of four or five of them. I wont list them and start a debate.

    1. 4everUKblue

      I grew up near Green River and Dale Hollow and spent a lot of time on both. Green River is too small. Having been on just about every lake in KY, Dale Hollow is by far the best!

  15. stoopstroops

    Which lake is pictured above???

  16. ClutchCargo

    Aside from holiday weekends, Cumberland is my choice. Dale Hollow is hard to beat anytime.

  17. bcfromky

    Ms. Tyler, you’re not far from Dale Hallow Lake. Do yourself a solid and spend some time there.

  18. njCat

    Grew up camping and boating on Dale Hollow. Very quiet and beautiful.

  19. 4everUKblue

    Dale Hollow is the best, beautiful and cleanest water by far. If you’ve never been there you’re missing out!

  20. 4everUKblue

    Buckeyes and Hoosiers ruin the lake experience with their big speed boats. They have no idea what “No Wake” means! They are really bad on Dale Hollow, it was so peaceful before they started coming down.

  21. Bluegrass79

    Wood Creek Lake in Laurel County is my #1. This lake holds the record for the largest largemouth bass ever caught in Kentucky. That’s my lake for fishin’ anyway.

  22. BigBlueBass

    For pure fishing purposes #1 is KY Lake followed by Barkley & Barren. But if you want to look cool & go boat riding Cumberland is probably #1. It all depends on what your perspective of s Great Lake is. I’ll take KY Lake over the rest of the field all day long.