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Kentucky's Western Waterlands region [1] is at the western edge of the state, and is home to popular outdoor recreation areas around Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley and Land Between the Lakes. The region is bounded on the north by the Ohio River and on the west by the Mississippi River. Kentucky's two largest lakes, Kentucky Lake, 160,000 acres and Lake Barkley, 58,000 acres, provide 600 square miles of waterways and parks with 2,390 miles of shoreline. There are fishing, boating and camping opportunities to satisfy the most avid outdoorsman. There are seven state parks in this region as well as Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area.


Whether you like to swim with the fish or catch them, Kentucky’s Western Lakes & Rivers Region offers ideal opportunities for outdoor recreation. The Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers, combined with Lake Barkley & Kentucky Lake, create a virtual playground of recreation in the 15 counties of Western Kentucky. Fishing, hunting, boating, hiking and wildlife viewing are just a few of our many outdoor opportunities. Naturally, there are unlimited opportunities for fun on the water, but on land you can enjoy the beautiful parks and privately owned resorts, quaint bed and breakfasts and hotels/motels around the region. Enjoy trips to history museums and art galleries, golf, tennis, horseback riding and more. Make plans to attend some of the one-of-a-kind festivals and other special events that add to the unique heritage and culture throughout the region. Get your bags packed. Then sitback, relax, prop up your feet and stay for a while. Your friends in Kentucky’s Western Lakes & Rivers Region welcome you with Southern hospitality.

The name "Western Waterlands" and similar terms are used only for tourism promotion—locals do not use the term to describe this area, and also do not consider the area to be a single region. Instead, locals universally divide the region into two:

  • Jackson Purchase, or just The Purchase — The region west of the Tennessee River. Locals in some counties on the east bank of the river, especially Livingston and Lyon Counties, often see themselves as part of the Purchase in spirit if not in geography.
  • The Pennyrile — The rest of the "Waterlands" region; the name comes from the local pronunciation of "pennyroyal", a plant common to the area. Almost all of the region lies on the Pennyroyal Plateau, named after the plant.


  • Hopkinsville Area - Todd County & Christian County
  • Cadiz / Lake Barkley Area - Trigg County & Caldwell County
  • Lakes Area - Lyon County, Livingston County & Crittenden County
  • Murray / Kentucky Lake Area - Calloway County & Marshall County
  • Paducah Area - McCracken County, Ballard County & Carlisle
  • Mayfield Area - Graves County, Hickman County & Fulton County


  • Aurora
  • Grand Rivers - Located on both Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley and at the North entrance to Land Between the Lakes; This is a village filled with authentic charm, surrounded by water and the great outdoors.
  • Hopkinsville - From rural rolling farmland adored by bikers, to steep terrain with expansive vistas enjoyed by hikers, to golf, parks and loads of water sports, outdoor enthusiasts can always find something to do in Christian County. If a museum, community theatre, or antique shopping sound more intriguing, there is plenty of indoor entertainment options, too. Explore it all in Hopkins-Christian County.
  • Murray - Influenced by Western Kentucky charm, a strong art and theater presence, and a progressive university town attitude, Murray is the perfect place to stay a day. . . or spend a lifetime.
  • Paducah - Enjoy thriving arts district, wide variety of cultural pursuits, rich history, fine dining, and eclectic accommodations.
  • Benton - Just imagine an area where the people are friendly, life is easy, and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. You have just pictured Kentucky Lake! You can choose peace and quiet or be in the center of the action. Stay on the water's edge or venture inland to a unique bed and breakfast. Anchor in a bay to yourself or head for the golf courses. Whatever your choices may be, you will have the vacation you'll always remember on the lake you'll never forget.
  • Cadiz - If you take a step back in time and walk downtown Main Street before the late 1800's and early 1900's you would find the same buildings dominating the city. After all these years the important elements of the city and county landscape still remain. The present day courthouse, completed in 1922 stands today, both serving as a center of county government and a witness to times past. Buildings built before we were born, reminiscent of days gone by. And yet they remain the basic building blocks of the city and its landscape. [2]
  • Eddyville / Kuttawa - Simply irresistible Lake Barkley Combined with Kentucky Lake, you will find 160,000 acres of water and expansive shorelines ideal for boating, fishing, hunting, golfing, hiking, camping shopping, wildlife viewing and relaxing.
  • Mayfield - Unfold the pages of time and discover the graciousness of Mayfield and Graves County, Kentucky. It is here that sporting events, cultural activities and historical districts attract visitors and residents alike. This small Kentucky town abounds with unforgettable shops and restaurants. Enjoy the diversity of Mayfield. A warmhearted welcome awaits you.
  • Oak Grove - Kentucky’s “Rising Star” is located on the border of Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee. Whether you’re planning a visit in the near future or a move to this area, we are happy to show you what Oak Grove has to offer and look forward to offering you some of that famous Southern Hospitality.

Other destinations

  • Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park is one of three state resort parks near Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, a 170,000-acre wooded peninsula bound by Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.
  • Lake Barkley State Resort Park, [5], Lake Barkley State Resort Park rests on the shores of one of the world’s largest man-made lakes and provides for an array of outdoor activity.
  • Kenlake State Resort Park, [6], Located on the mid-west shore of Kentucky Lake, with the longest shoreline of any man-made lake in the eastern United States, Kenlake is the perfect spot to enjoy the great outdoors.
  • Mineral Mound State Park, [7], This peaceful setting on the shores of Lake Barkley is historically linked to the author F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site, [8], The Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site is an archaeological site of a Native American village of the Mississippian culture.
  • Columbus-Belmont State Park, [9], Columbus-Belmont State Park Columbus, often called the "Gibraltar of the West" by the Confederates, was considered by them the key to their defense of the upper Mississippi River valley.
  • Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, [10], Named for the tiny Pennyroyal plant found in the woodlands surrounding this resort, Pennyrile Forest is the perfect back-to-nature hideaway.


Tourist information

There are multiple websites online today that provide information about the Wester Waterlands region. Whether you want to learn about Kentucky Lake & Lake Barkley fishing, golf courses, area restaurants, boating information, hunting information, community information, or more, the following websites can help you do research about where to go and what to do in the Western Waterlands region:

Fishing licenses in Kentucky

Resident Licenses-

  • Fishing License (annual) $20.00 (resident), $50.00 (non-resident)
  • One (1) Day Fishing License $7.00 (resident), $10.00 (non-resident)
  • Joint Fishing License (husband & wife) $36.00
  • Combination Hunting & Fishing License $30.00
  • Senior/Disables Licenses $5.00

Other Non-Resident Licenses-

  • 7-Day Fishing License $30.00
  • 15-Day Fishing $40.00

No Closed Angling Season in Kentucky


Get in

By car

The Western Waterlands region is accessible by car using Interstate 24, US Hwys 62, 68 & 641, the Western KY Parkway, the Purchase Parkway and KY 80.

By bus

There is a Greyhound [11] Bus Terminal in Paducah.

By train

There is an Amtrak [12] train terminal in Fulton, KY, 50 southwest of Benton at the end of the Purchase Pkwy.

By air

  • Small Craft Airports
    • Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park Airport - Gilberstville - M34 [13]
    • Lake Barkley State Park Airport - Cadiz - 1M9 [14]
    • Marion - Crittenden County Airport - Marion - 5M9 [15]
    • Mayfield - Graves County Airport - Mayfield - M25 [16]
    • Murray - Calloway County Airport [17] - Murray - CEY [18]
    • Hopkinsville - Christian County Airport - Hopkinsville - HVC [19]
    • Princeton - Caldwell County Airport - Princeton - 2M0 [20]
  • Nearest Scheduled Airline Service - Barkley Regional Airport [21] in Paducah.
  • Nearest International Airport - Nashville International Airport [22] in Nashville.

Get around


  • 1 Mineral Mound State Park, 48 Finch Ln. Eddyville, KY 42038, +1 270 388-3673, . This peaceful setting on the shores of Lake Barkley is historically linked to the author F. Scott Fitzgerald. The property was once the farm of Willis B. Machen, grandfather of the author's wife, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. It’s not hard to imagine the serene, Gatsby-style era from this park, with idyllic days of playing golf and cruising the lake.
  • 2 Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site, 94 Green St. Wickliffe, KY 42087, +1 270 335-3681, . 10AM to 4PM April - October, Thursday - Sunday. A Native American village once occupied the site of Wickliffe Mounds, about A.D. 1100 to 1350. Here, people of the Mississippian culture built earthen mounds and permanent houses around a central plaza overlooking the Mississippi River. Today, this Native American Indian archaeological site features mounds surrounded by abundant wildlife, museum exhibits, a walking trail, welcome center, a gift shop and picnic areas. Adults $5 Seniors and Children 5-15 $4 Active Military $3.




  • Bee Spring Lodge, 573 Spring Road, Benton, KY 42038, +1 270-354-6515. 6AM to 2PM F-M. What a fun place to be for breakfast and/or lunch. Come and experience the excellent food at Bee Spring Grill. We are known for the best breakfast on Kentucky Lake!! (Lunches are pretty darn good too!) Enjoy breakfast or lunch inside at our cozy counter, or take in the atmosphere outside on our beautiful brick patio.
  • The Big Apple Cafe, 1005 Arcadia Circle, Murray, KY 42071, +1 270-759-8866. Monday - Saturday 11AM - Midnight. Enjoy unique Mexican food, deli sandwiches, BBQ, Cajun Specials, Fresh Salads, and a full bar at this one-of-a-kind restaurant. Private Dining Rooms available for parties and meetings.
  • Brass Lantern Restaurant, 16593 US 68 E, Aurora, KY, +1 270-474-2773. Opan at 5 pm. Charbroiled steaks, prime rib, lobster tail. Children’s and lite menus starting at $2.99. Casual atmosphere. Call for reservations and/or days of seasonal operation.
  • Broadbent B&B Foods, 257 Mary Blue Road, Kuttawa, KY 420 (I24, Exit 40), +1 270-388-0609. 8AM to 4PM Monday - Saturday. Whether you are looking for country sliced bacon, country sausage, delivious spiral sliced ham, a variety of dry cured meats, or if you are looking for country baked ham, or turkey; we have all of your meat needs covered. Visit our Broadbent Kentucky Proud Gourmet Market at the address above, featuring Broadbent country ham, smoked bacon, and smoked sausage. Or shop our site to find all of the finest breakfast meats cured country style."


  • The Oasis Southwest Grill, 42 Day Inn Dr, Kuttawa, KY 420 (I-24, Exit 40), +1 270-388-0777. Known for great steak & ribs, but also featuring bison, fish, chicken & pasta dishes. Full-service bar with draft & premium beer, wine & specialty drinks. 359-seat restaurant with TV’s, & music.
  • Buzzard Rock Cafe, 985 Buzzard Rock Road, Kuttawa, KY, +1 270-388-7925. Open March - October Seasonal Hours. Breakfast, lunch and dinner with view of Lake Barkley. In season weekend breakfast buffet, super salads and specials featuring the big 1/2 lb. Buzzard Burger. Cold beer, wine and spirits.

Stay Safe

Useful phone numbers in case of emergency.

  • Fire/Police/Ambulance: 911
  • KY State Police Emergency: 800 222-5555.
  • Poison Control Center: 270 753-7588.
  • Marshall County Rescue Squad: 270 527-9092.


By phone

Most telephone numbers in this region consist of +1 270 plus a seven-digit number, but the region is now served by an overlay complex of two area codes, with +1 364 being the second. A local or in-state telephone call requires all 10 digits of the local number be dialed (omitting just the leading +1 from a local landline call).

Signage on many established businesses may still display the original seven-digit numbers; dial 270 before these if no area code is indicated.

Go next

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