By Haley Jena
The beginning of the spring season awakens a lifestyle previously buried by the winter in all of us. We pack up our snow boots and don our favorite warm-
weather apparel. We cheer on the Reds as baseball season officially begins. And this spring, we can plan a getaway to Land Between the Lakes.
Land Between the Lakes is a family-friendly national recreation area consisting of over 170,000 acres of forests, wetlands, hiking trails and more in Golden Pond, Ky. Since 1963, Land Between the Lakes has offered one of the largest blocks of undeveloped forest in the eastern United States.
“We have all the outdoor activities folks can do,” says Emily Cleaver, the communications resource assistant at Land Between the Lakes. “Hiking, biking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, boating—all those good things.”
In addition to plenty of lively nature activities, Land Between the Lakes also enjoys plenty of indoor activities and programs, like its Woodlands Nature Station, Elk and Bison Prairie, Homeplace 1850s Working Farm and Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory.
“The nature center and the homeplace and the planetarium are all really easy for places to go for families,” Cleaver says. “You’re not really getting off road; you’re going to get to visit and have a good time…We see a lot of families getting out and enjoying the area and recreation.”
For those who can’t make it down to Kentucky this spring for a day or week trip, Cleaver says the area is a pleasant travel destination year-round, especially for its many special programs.
“We have a lot of special events throughout the year,” Cleaver says. “There’s a children’s day, a free astronomy day, Cool Critters Day in the nature center, the Hummingbird Fest in August when hundreds of hummingbirds come [through] while they’re migrating back…There’s a lot of things to do.”
With 1.5 million visitors each year—including at least one person visiting from each of the 50 states and at least one person visiting from 50 different countries last year alone—Land Between the Lakes continues to draw people to the area.
“We get a lot of return visitors,” Cleaver says. “Some folks come back and bring their families every single year. They enjoy their experience, and they return to come back and visit us.”
While Land Between the Lakes indeed enjoys hundreds of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, plenty of quintessential boating lakes and picnic spots, 1,400 campsites, four surrounding state parks and cities, and more, perhaps what keeps visitors coming back is its genuinely friendly atmosphere.
“It’s very welcoming… We try to keep things safe for everyone and make sure everyone has a good time,” Cleaver says. “We have something for everyone. From one extreme to the next, there’s a little bit of something for everyone to do here.”