For a truly unique, unforgettable vacation experience, consider houseboating in The Kentucky Wildlands. No special training or skills are required to operate a houseboat — if you can drive a car, you can operate a houseboat. All rental companies provide a short tutorial before undocking.

The Kentucky Wildlands is home to the official Houseboat Capital of the World. Beautiful Lake Cumberland, one of the largest in the eastern United States, is known the world over as the houseboating capital and offers endless vacation possibilities for the ultimate getaway and retreat on the water. With thousands of private coves surrounded by more than 1,200 miles of gorgeous federally protected shoreline, the 65,000-plus pristine acres of Lake Cumberland are home to the world’s greatest concentration of houseboat manufacturers and rentals, as well as the largest single fleet of houseboats in the United States.

Vacationers can float along the lake’s clear waters taking in its scenic shores, swimming or fishing from the boat’s deck, or cruise along the Cumberland River into the rugged Daniel Boone National Forest. The lake’s marinas provide gas, supplies and dining options, such as the State Dock Tiki Bar & Grill. Lake Cumberland State Resort Park offers hiking, birding, mini golf, dining and other recreational activities. Weekly and weekend rentals can be found at four different marinas on Lake Cumberland.

Countless houseboat rental options are available to accommodate any size party and all types of budgets. From houseboats built for two to those big enough for large, extended families, these floating hotel homes allow you to enjoy everything a lake vacation has to offer without ever needing to leave the water. Amenities run the gamut from standard, such as air conditioning, TV, kitchens, grills, water slides, linens and bedrooms, to the more luxurious, such as private hot tubs, premium sound and entertainment systems, state rooms, flybridges with party tops and bars, multiple slides, and more.

You also can rent a houseboat to explore other lakes in The Kentucky Wildlands. Dale Hollow Lake, a fishing haven that straddles the Kentucky/Tennessee border, hosts several marinas with houseboat rentals. Rental houseboats that can accommodate up to 14 people are available on crystal-clear Laurel River Lake, a popular destination for fishing, scuba diving and year-round wildlife viewing.

Hidden Gems in the Kentucky Wildlands

Historic Greensburg Courthouse

One of the oldest public buildings still standing in Kentucky, the courthouse was...

Harlan County Coal Miners Memorial Monument

Memorial honoring the coal miners in Harlan county who have lost there lives in the...

Lawrence County Park and Conference Center

Lawrence County Park offers a great day of leisure activities. The park also has...

Two Places Worth Adding to Your Kentucky Bucket List

Country Music Highway

Running through seven far eastern counties of The Kentucky Wildlands, the Country Music Highway is the 150-mile stretch along U.S. 23 that has produced more million-selling artists that any other region per capita in the world.