Discover 9 Must-Visit Attractions: Best Things to Do in Somerset KY

Are you in Somerset, KY and looking for exciting things to do in Somerset KY? Whether you’re into outdoor adventures, rich historical exploration, or just good, clean family fun, Somerset has an activity to match. Discover stunning natural landmarks, spirited community events, and recreational hotspots that cater to all ages and interests – without the fluff, just your gateway to a memorable Kentucky stay.

Experience the Beauty of Lake Cumberland

Lake Cumberland, with its impressive 1,250 miles of shoreline, is the jewel of Somerset KY. This breathtaking natural landscape offers endless opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves in outdoor activities, including:

  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Camping at General Burnside Island State Park

The beauty of Lake Cumberland is just waiting to be explored!

Boating and Fishing Excursions

Are you aware that Lake Cumberland holds fame for bass fishing? Its multiple bays and coves make it a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, you can take advantage of professional fishing guide services such as Andrews Outdoor Adventure and Cumberland Trout Guide. These services offer an all-inclusive experience, providing covered and heated boats, equipment, and even food, ensuring a perfect day out on the water.

Hiking Trails and Scenic Views

Should you fancy terra firma over aquatic pursuits, don’t worry! The Lake Cumberland State Park offers a range of hiking trails such as the favored Baugh Branch Trail and the scenic Lake Bluff Trail. With an average 4.5-star rating from over 200 reviews on, these trails promise beautiful overlooks and scenic views that will leave you in awe of nature’s splendor.

Lakeside Camping Spots

Once your day of adventure concludes, what surpasses the tranquility of sleeping under the starlit sky? Somerset offers a range of lakeside camping options, from secluded spots perfect for those seeking tranquility to structured campgrounds with various recreational activities. Many of these areas provide direct access to the lake, allowing you to enjoy the water just steps away from your campsite. And with facilities such as restrooms, showers, picnic areas, playgrounds, and designated swimming areas, you are assured a comfortable and fun-filled stay.

Immerse Yourself in Nature at Daniel Boone National Forest

Merely a hop, skip, and a jump away from Lake Cumberland, you’ll discover the Daniel Boone National Forest. This majestic forest spans over 700,000 acres and is characterized by its rugged terrain and impressive water features, including the Laurel River Lake.

The forest is also home to the Cumberland Falls, a striking waterfall that stands 69 feet high and 125 feet across, earning it the nickname ‘The Niagara of the South’.

Cumberland Falls: The Niagara of the South

Undeniably, the Cumberland Falls present a spectacle worth marveling at. But what makes it truly unique is:

  • the moonbow – a natural phenomenon that occurs on nights of a full moon, where the mist from the falls creates a rainbow under the moonlight
  • the opportunity for hiking and camping in the surrounding area
  • the chance to witness the beauty of the falls from various viewpoints
  • the rich history and folklore associated with the falls

These factors combine to make Cumberland Falls a must-visit destination.

The Cumberland River, which features this magnificent waterfall, holds the Kentucky State record for both Rainbow and Brown trout, making it a paradise for anglers.

Hiking and Wildlife Watching

The Daniel Boone National Forest serves as a sanctuary for both hikers and fans of wildlife. With over 600 miles of trails suitable for day hikes and extended backpacking excursions, you can explore the forest at your own pace. A notable hiking destination is the Vanhook Falls Trail, a five-mile path leading to a scenic waterfall.

As you traverse these trails, keep your eyes peeled for the rich array of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and various birds.

Picnicking and Camping

If you’re looking to spend more time in this beautiful wilderness, why not set up a picnic or camp overnight? The national forest provides visitors with designated picnic areas, equipped with amenities such as grills, tables, and restroom facilities for your convenience.

And for those wishing to extend their stay, there are multiple campgrounds available, catering to a range of preferences from primitive camping to sites that offer more amenities.

Family Fun at Pulaski County Park

Transitioning from the raw allure of the Daniel Boone National Forest, we now venture to a location teeming with boundless family joy – Pulaski County Park. Nestled on the shores of Lake Cumberland, this park has something for everyone, making it the perfect spot for a family day out.

Whether you’re looking for beach and water activities, comfortable cabins and campgrounds, or walking trails and playgrounds, Pulaski County Park has it all!

Beach and Water Activities

What’s a visit to a park on the shores of Lake Cumberland without some fun in the water? At Pulaski County Park, you and your family can indulge in a variety of beach and water activities. Whether it’s building sandcastles on the beach, taking a refreshing dip in the lake, or indulging in thrilling water sports, there’s no shortage of ways to make a splash!

Cabins and Campgrounds

For those looking to extend their stay, the park offers cozy cabins and well-equipped campgrounds. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or prefer the comforts of a cabin, Pulaski County Park has got you covered.

Imagine waking up to the beautiful sunrise over Lake Cumberland, with the sounds of nature as your morning alarm. It’s an experience you wouldn’t want to miss!

Walking Trails and Playgrounds

But the fun doesn’t end there! Pulaski County Park also offers a variety of walking trails that let you explore the park at your own pace. And for our young adventurers, the park features playgrounds where they can run, jump, slide, and swing to their heart’s content.

After all, what’s a family outing without some family friendly things, like fun and games?

Explore the Rich History of Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument

Following the merriment and excitement, we journey back into Somerset’s vibrant past. Our next stop is the Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument, known as the first significant Union victory of the Civil War. Here, you can embark on a self-guided driving tour, explore a hiking trail, and visit the Visitor Center to learn more about this historic battlefield.

Driving Tour and Hiking Trail

The Mill Springs Battlefield provides a self-guided driving tour complete with informative signs, allowing you to explore the historic site at your own pace. The tour features 10 stops, starting at the Visitor Center and concluding at the National Cemetery, marking significant locations from the Battle of Mill Springs.

For hiking enthusiasts, there’s a trail approximately 10 miles long, where you can traverse the paths once walked by soldiers during the Civil War.

Visitor Center and Exhibits

At the Visitor Center, guests can explore the ‘Combat on the Cumberland’ exhibit, showcasing interesting artifacts from the era. The center also houses a library and a Community Center to supplement the core story of the Battle of Mill Springs. Whether you’re a history buff or just curious, these exhibits and educational programs offer a glimpse into the past that’s both informative and engaging.

Civil War History and Significance

The Battle of Mill Springs was instrumental in securing Kentucky for the Union and was a pivotal moment early in the Civil War. Today, the battlefield stands as a testament to the Civil War’s impact, serving as a site for both commemoration and reflection.

It’s an opportunity to understand the Civil War’s impact on Kentucky and the significance of the Battle of Mill Springs in shaping the course of the war.

Adventure Awaits at Buck Creek Outfitters

Switching from revisiting historic battles, we now embark on a different sort of adventure – kayaking! Buck Creek Outfitters offers:

  • Thrilling kayaking adventures amidst beautiful natural surroundings
  • Guided tours
  • Shuttle service
  • Rentals

Whether you’re looking for a guided tour, shuttle service, or just want to rent a kayak, Buck Creek Outfitters has got you covered!

Guided Kayak Tours

Imagine paddling through calm waters, surrounded by the rich greenery of Buck Creek’s beautiful water trail. That’s exactly what you can expect from the guided kayak tours offered by Buck Creek Outfitters. These tours cater to all skill levels, inviting both beginners and experienced kayakers to explore these tranquil waters. And along the way, you might even spot local wildlife such as herons and river otters.

Shuttle Service and Rentals

Buck Creek Outfitters provides a complete rental and transportation service for kayaking enthusiasts. Their comprehensive one-price package includes:

  • The kayak
  • Paddle
  • Life-jacket
  • Vehicle parking
  • Round-trip shuttle transportation

This service is designed to cater to individuals and small groups of up to five, ensuring a personalized experience.

Buck Creek’s Natural Beauty

As you paddle, take a moment to soak in the natural beauty of Buck Creek Wildlife Management Area. With its predominantly forested habitat and high-quality streams, Buck Creek provides an immersive kayaking experience amidst nature.

It’s not just about the adventure, it’s about connecting with the beauty that nature has to offer.

Dive into Aquatic Fun at SomerSplash Waterpark

Following such exhilaration, it’s time for a cooling respite accompanied by amusement at one of the best water parks, SomerSplash Waterpark. This family-friendly park offers various water attractions, reservable cabanas for privacy, and shaded seating for comfort.

With entry fees under $20 when using a coupon, visiting SomerSplash Waterpark is an affordable experience that promises a day full of fun and laughter!

Thrilling Water Slides

At SomerSplash Waterpark, thrill-seekers are in for a treat! The park features several exhilarating water slides, including a straight-down speed slide, body slides, and a 50-foot drop bowl slide. And don’t worry about safety – all water slide participants are required to be at least 48 inches tall.

So, are you ready to make a splash?

Wave Pool and Lazy River

If you’re looking for a more relaxing water experience, then the wave pool and lazy river are just for you. The wave pool spans nearly 20,000 square feet and is equipped with spray flowers and massive water sprays, creating an ocean-like wave experience.

And the lazy river, one of the largest in Kentucky, offers a tranquil float around the park, surrounded by rolling hills. What could be better on a hot summer day?

Family-Friendly Atmosphere

But the best part about SomerSplash Waterpark is its family-friendly atmosphere. The park features a shallow water playground with small slides and a dumping bucket, as well as a dedicated kiddie area, both designed specifically for the safety and entertainment of young children.

With covered seating areas and zero entry in the wave pool, the park ensures an enjoyable and safe experience for the whole family.

Discover Art and Culture at Carnegie Community Arts Center

Transitioning from aquatic enjoyment, we now immerse ourselves in Somerset’s extensive arts and culture scene at the Carnegie Community Arts Center. Located in the heart of downtown Somerset, this historic establishment is dedicated to promoting local arts and culture. Whether you’re a fan of visual arts, live performances, or cultural events, the Carnegie Community Arts Center has something for you.

Art Exhibits and Workshops

At the John Sherman Cooper Community Arts Center, you can:

  • Support local artists by attending art exhibits
  • Participate in hands-on workshops
  • Take painting classes using the Bob Ross method for all ages
  • Rent studio space in the third floor Loft for artists and crafters, encouraging continuous creation and collaboration.

Performances and Events

But the arts center is not just about visual arts. It also serves as a stage for live performances and cultural events throughout the year, including the Master Musicians Festival. From art receptions and exhibitions to unique cake decorating sessions hosted by Mixing with MJ, the Carnegie Community Arts Center promises a cultural experience like no other.

And for the paranormal enthusiasts, the center also hosts ghost investigations, adding an eerie twist to the offerings.

Downtown Somerset’s Cultural Hub

The Carnegie Community Arts Center serves as a cultural cornerstone in downtown Somerset. But the cultural scene extends beyond the arts center. Downtown Somerset also boasts:

  • Unique shopping experiences at the Somerset Peddlers Mall
  • Unusual attractions like the International Paranormal Museum
  • Monthly events like the Somernites Cruise.

So, when you visit Somerset, don’t forget to explore all that downtown has to offer!

Hunt for Treasures at Somerset Peddlers Mall

On the topic of shopping, one cannot miss the Somerset Peddlers Mall! This treasure trove houses a vast array of vendor booths offering a diverse mix of items, from vintage goods to modern treasures.

With its treasure-hunt atmosphere, the mall promises a shopping experience that’s both exciting and rewarding.

Antiques and Collectibles

Whether you’re a serious collector or just looking for unique items, Somerset Peddlers Mall has got you covered. The mall specializes in a wide array of vintage items, furniture, and oddities, attracting those who have a fondness for historical and unique items.

So, are you ready to unearth some hidden gems and discover the joy of growing your own apples?

New Arts and Crafts

But it’s not just about the old! The Somerset Peddlers Mall is also a hub for local artisans and crafters, providing a dedicated space for their handmade products. From jewelry and woodwork to textiles, these handmade items reflect the creativity and skills of Somerset’s residents.

Unique Shopping Experience

The Somerset Peddlers Mall offers a unique shopping experience that stands apart from conventional retail stores. With an ever-changing inventory and a community-focused environment, every visit to the mall promises new discoveries and treasures waiting to be found.

Take to the Skies with Shark Aviation

From land to cloud, Somerset brims with unexpected delights. Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, Shark Aviation offers thrilling seaplane flights over Lake Cumberland.

This unique experience gives you the opportunity to enjoy spectacular views of the lake and its sinuous wooded shores from a bird’s-eye view.

Seaplane Flights and Tours

Shark Aviation’s seaplane tours take off from Lake Cumberland Regional Airport, providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience water landings and take in the stunning views from above. The tours are available during the weekends from April through October, and safety is always a top priority, with Shark Aviation fully authorized by the FAA to conduct air tours.

Breathtaking Aerial Views

As you soar through the sky, you’ll witness breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Cumberland’s expanse and surrounding dense forests. Key sights on the flight include the Wolf Creek Dam, numerous marinas, and the intricate pattern of coves and inlets that make up the landscape of Lake Cumberland.

It’s a sightseeing experience like no other!


From breathtaking landscapes and thrilling outdoor activities to rich history and cultural experiences, Somerset, Kentucky, truly has it all. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, an art lover, or an adventure seeker, Somerset promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting to come back for more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top attractions in Somerset, Kentucky?

You should definitely check out Lake Cumberland, Daniel Boone National Forest, Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument, SomerSplash Waterpark, and the Carnegie Community Arts Center when visiting Somerset, Kentucky. Enjoy your trip!

What activities can I do at Lake Cumberland?

You can enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, and camping at Lake Cumberland for a fun outdoor experience.

Can I go hiking in Daniel Boone National Forest?

Yes, you can definitely go hiking in Daniel Boone National Forest, with over 600 miles of trails to explore.

What can families do in Somerset?

Families in Somerset can enjoy a day out at Pulaski County Park or SomerSplash Waterpark, explore local art exhibits at the Carnegie Community Arts Center, or go shopping at Somerset Peddlers Mall. There are plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy!

What is a unique experience I can try in Somerset?

You can try the unique experience of taking a seaplane tour with Shark Aviation in Somerset, offering breathtaking aerial views of Lake Cumberland.