As the new year draws closer, thoughts turn to New Year’s resolutions and goals for the months ahead. If your resolutions involve exercising, spending more time in nature and less time on screens, we have the perfect solution for you: booking a Kentucky State Parks winter cottage.
In the winter, you can embrace the crisp atmosphere and avoid mosquitoes on the trails. With fewer crowds, you are better able to hear and see birds and wildlife. Bare branches also allow for unparalleled views of the scenery.
The cottages at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, John James Audubon State Park, Natural Bridge State Resort Park and Pine Mountain State Resort Park are all well-equipped for your winter stay. With kitchens, fireplaces, and other amenities, the cottages provide a cozy welcome from the cold.
At Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, 17 miles of hiking trails wind through the park, providing breathtaking views. The famous Moonbow Trail connects with many backpacking paths in the Daniel Boone National Forest. Be sure to check Parks.ky.gov for 2024 Moonbow dates.
Cook a hearty dinner in your cottage’s kitchen, which contains full sized-appliances and a coffee pot, along with flatware, cookware, and dishware. Or venture to the lodge’s Riverview Restaurant for meals.
Winter is a prime time to visit John James Audubon State Resort Park as well. Birdwatchers can view seven types of woodpeckers, waterfowl, mixed flocks, and more. The Audubon Wetlands boardwalk provides a wonderful location for viewing beavers, otters, turtles, frogs, fish, and many other wild creatures. Be sure to stop by the museum, which includes the Audubon family story and displays over 200 objects, including Audubon’s stunning masterwork, The Birds of America.
The Nature Center sits on the edge of the park’s nature preserve and includes a wildlife observation room, the Audubon Theater, and the Discovery & Learning Center. Book a one-bedroom cottage or an ADA-accessible two-bedroom cottage at Audubon, all of which contain a fireplace, cooking utensils, tableware, and linens.
Breathe in the clean mountain air at Natural Bridge State Resort Park, where one-bedroom and two-bedroom cottages are available. Additionally, the Hemlock Lodge is open year-round. The Sandstone Arches Restaurant boasts gorgeous scenery, and the Trails End Tavern serves Kentucky wine and spirits.
In addition to the famous Natural Bridge, you can explore the Red River Gorge area and enjoy the historic Nature Center. Winter birdwatching can make it easier to spy various species of woodpeckers, kinglets, nuthatches, wrens, and sparrows. Year-round residents include the northern cardinal, American goldfinch, indigo bunting, great blue heron, and wild turkey, among others.
Revered for being the first Kentucky State Park, the historic Pine Mountain State Resort Park is an ideal winter weekend destination. From hiking the famed Chained Rock Trail to relaxing in a rocking chair in the Herndon J. Evans Lodge, you can be as active or relaxed as you like. Enjoy the scenery in the Mountain View Restaurant as you dive into a hot brown.
Afterward, curl up by the stone fireplace in one of the pet-friendly cottages, and venture onto the porch or deck for wildlife sightings. One and two-bedroom cottages are available, along with a one-bedroom log cabin.
Whichever park you choose for your winter weekend, you have excellent options.
Book your winter getaway at Parks.ky.gov. Explore Kentucky’s 44 state parks, including 17 resort parks with restaurants, 30 campgrounds, and 13 golf courses.