Labor Day Vacation Ideas in Kentucky

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Because it is set on the first Monday in September, Labor Day weekend is still a hot and humid time in Kentucky. A logical choice for a Labor Day, long-weekend vacation in the Bluegrass State is one that involves some soothing relief from the late summer heat. Thankfully, with its mountain rivers and lakes, deep shady forests and miles of underground passages, Kentucky has Labor Day vacation ideas that offer a well-needed break from the early September weather.

Going underground is just one Labor Day vacation option in Kentucky.

Going underground is just one Labor Day vacation option in Kentucky.

Mammoth Cave National Park

One way to beat the heat on a Labor Day vacation is to go underground, where the temperature is typically in the mid-50s. As the world’s largest cave system, with over 367 miles of explored passages and more that remain unmapped, Mammoth Cave has been drawing visitors since the early 19th century. Cave tours are available at the park, ranging from easy, 30-minute Mammoth Cave Discovery Tour to the more than six-hour Wild Cave Tour, essentially an introduction to the sport of spelunking. Mammoth Cave National Park also offers boating, fishing and hiking.

Accommodations are available at the park itself: rooms at the park’s hotel, rental cabins and camping. Roughly 5 miles from the park entrance is Cave City, which offers a further selection of hotel and motel accommodations.

Mammoth Cave National Park

1 Mammoth Cave Parkway

Mammoth Cave, KY 42259


Whitewater Rafting

Getting wet in a rushing mountain river always offers a cool contrast to the September heat, and southeastern Kentucky’s Cumberland Falls State Park offers whitewater rafting suitable for beginners in the stretch of river below the falls through their tour operator, Sheltowee Trace Outfitters. Book well in advance, however, as Sheltowee Trace Outfitters labels the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend a Premium Day.

Cumberland Falls, the centerpiece of the state park, is a 125-foot-wide waterfall that is sometimes referred to as “The Niagara of the South.” The park also offers horseback riding; 17 miles of hiking trails; and fishing for bass, catfish, panfish and roughfish in the Cumberland River. For accommodations, the park has a campground, rooms in its lodge and one- and two-bedroom rental cottages.

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

7351 Highway 90

Corbin, KY 40701


Laurel Lake

A lake retreat is another time-tested escape from Kentucky’s late summer heat, but Labor Day draws thick crowds to destinations like Lake Cumberland and the Land Between the Lakes. A quieter lake venue is Laurel Lake, inside the boundaries of Daniel Boone National Forest just a few miles from Corbin, Kentucky. Two marinas on the lake, Grove and Holly Bay, rent power boats, fishing boats and pontoon boats to service the needs of any kind of lake vacation. A range of hotels and motels are available in nearby Corbin, which is also the site of the original Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant, now enshrined as Sanders Cafe and Museum.

Holly Bay Marina

P.O. Box 673

London, KY 40743


Grove Marina

P.O. Box 1483

Corbin, KY 40702



Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.


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