Situated in the Appalachian foothills between Paintsville Lake and Dewey Lake, the historic town of Paintsville is the center of Kentucky’s music legacy as the birthplace of one of country music’s biggest icons and home to the U.S. 23 Country Highway Museum. From here, you can boat and fish in ample, well-stocked lakes, hike and bike across rail lines and through tunnels, discover unique downtown merchants and eateries, and even walk on the world’s longest plastic bridge.
Head to Butcher Holler, the rustic birthplace and home of Loretta Lynn. Then learn about Kentucky’s musical heritage and be amazed by all the country music artists who have called the area home at the U.S. 23 Country Highway Museum.
Gear up for adventure with 18 miles of hiking, biking or horseback riding down the Dawkins Line Rail Trail. This converted coal-hauling railroad corridor through the Appalachians crosses 24 scenic trestles and passes through a tunnel, national park and elk viewing sites.
You’ll find boating and camping at Paintsville Lake State Park, along with pedal and fishing boat rentals, campgrounds with hookups, and fully accessible RV sites. Also at Paintsville Lake State Park is the Mountain Homeplace, an authentic replica of a mid-19th century eastern Kentucky farming community featuring a blacksmith shop, barn, church and one-room schoolhouse. Abundant largemouth bass and crappie fishing can be found at nearby Dewey Lake. At 420 feet, the pedestrian-only Forest and Maxine Preston Memorial Swinging Bridge spanning the Big Sandy River is fun to cross as the world’s longest bridge made of plastic.
Stroll through the charming downtown, home to the annual Kentucky Apple Festival in the fall, with its nationally registered architecture, such as the Mayo Mansion, The Stafford House and Historic Sipp Theater. Grab a freshly brewed cup at The Coffee House and browse the unique finds at Treasures on Main and Good Old Days Antiques.