Maintained by the Kentucky Department of Parks, Kentucky's system of 49 state parks has been referred to as "the nation's finest" and experiences more repeat business annually than those of any other U.S. state. The state's diverse geography provides a variety of environments to experience. From mountain lakes to expansive caves to forests teeming with wildlife, park-goers have their choice of attractions, and they are all within a day's drive of each other.
Unless otherwise specified, data in the following lists are taken from Kentucky State Parks by Bill Bailey.
Although the Kentucky Horse Park is owned by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, it is administered separately from the Department of Parks. Breaks Interstate Park is also separate, administered under an interstate compact with the state of Virginia, in partnership with the parks departments of both states.
State recreational parks
State resort parks
|Barren River Lake State Resort Park||Barren County||Park: 2,187 acres (8.9 km2)|
Lake: 10,000 acres (40 km2)
|Blue Licks Battlefield State Park||Robertson County||148 acres (0.60 km2)|
|Breaks Interstate Park||Pike County, Kentucky;
Dickenson and Buchanan County, Virginia
|Park: 4,600 acres (19 km2)|
Lake: 12 acres (0.05 km2)
|Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park||Perry County||Park: 856 acres (3.5 km2)|
Lake: 1,200 acres (4.9 km2)
|Carter Caves State Resort Park||Carter County||Park: 1,600 acres (6.5 km2)|
Lake: 45 acres (0.18 km2)
|Cumberland Falls State Resort Park||Whitley County||1,657 acres (6.7 km2)|
|Dale Hollow Lake State Park||Cumberland County||Park: 3,398 acres (14 km2)|
Lake: 27,700 acres (112 km2)
|General Butler State Resort Park||Carroll County||Park: 809 acres (3.3 km2)|
Lake: 30 acres (0.12 km2)
|Greenbo Lake State Resort Park||Greenup County||Park: 3,300 acres (13 km2)|
Lake: 192 acres (0.78 km2)
|Jenny Wiley State Resort Park||Floyd County||Park: 1,771 acres (7.2 km2)|
Lake: 1,100 acres (4.5 km2)
|Kenlake State Resort Park||Calloway and Marshall Counties||Park: 1,795 acres (7.3 km2)|
Lake: 160,300 acres (649 km2)
|Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park||Marshall County||1,351 acres (5.5 km2)|
|Lake Barkley State Resort Park||Trigg County||Park: 3,600 acres (15 km2)|
Lake: 57,920 acres (234 km2)
|Lake Cumberland State Resort Park||Russell County||Park: 3,117 acres (13 km2)|
Lake: 50,000 acres (202 km2)
|Natural Bridge State Resort Park||Powell County||Park: 2,300 acres (9.3 km2)|
Lake: 54 acres (0.22 km2)
|Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park||Hopkins County||Park: 863 acres (3.5 km2)|
Lake: 56 acres (0.23 km2)
|Pine Mountain State Resort Park||Bell County||1,520 acres (6.2 km2)|
|Rough River Dam State Resort Park||Breckinridge, Hardin, & Grayson counties||Park: 637 acres (2.6 km2)|
Lake: 5,000 acres (20 km2)
State historic sites
Ten of Kentucky's recreational parks and two of its resort parks are simultaneously designated as state historic sites. An additional eleven state historic sites are also maintained by the Kentucky Department of Parks.
|Big Bone Lick State Historic Site||Boone County||Park: 712 acres (2.9 km2)|
Lake: 7.5 acres (0.03 km2)
|Butler-Turpin State Historic House||Carroll County|
|Dr. Thomas Walker State Historic Site||Barbourville||12 acres (0.05 km2)|
|Isaac Shelby Cemetery State Historic Site||Stanford|
|Jefferson Davis State Historic Site||Fairview||19 acres (0.08 km2)|
|Old Mulkey Meetinghouse State Historic Site||Tompkinsville||60 acres (0.24 km2)|
|Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site||Perryville||669 acres (2.7 km2)|
|Waveland State Historic Site||Lexington||10 acres (0.04 km2)|
|White Hall State Historic Site||Richmond||13 acres (0.05 km2)|
|Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site||Wickliffe||21 acres (0.08 km2)|
|William Whitley House State Historic Site||Stanford||10 acres (0.04 km2)|
- Bailey, Bill (1995). Kentucky State Parks. Saginaw, Michigan: Glovebox Guidebooks of America. ISBN 1-881139-13-1.
- "Kentucky State "Recreation" Parks". Kentucky Department of Parks. 2005-10-10. Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
- Kleber, John E., ed. (1992). "Parks, State". The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Associate editors: Thomas D. Clark, Lowell H. Harrison, and James C. Klotter. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1772-0.
- Kentucky State Parks - History Archived 2008-01-26 at the Wayback Machine
- "Pine Mountain Trail Home Page". Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- "Kentucky State Resort Parks "The Nation's Finest"". Kentucky Department of Parks. 2005-10-10. Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
- "Breaks Interstate Park: About Us". Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- "Breaks Interstate Park: Activities & Attractions". Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- "Kentucky State Historic Sites". Kentucky Department of Parks. 2005-10-10. Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2007-02-11.