My family and I went on a last-minute trip last week to Lake Barkley. I am hopefully starting a new job in the next few weeks, so we decided to take a family vacation before life gets too crazy. Originally, we wanted a beach trip, but after just traveling to see family 12 hours away we decided to stick closer to Chattanooga. After a little searching online, I found Lake Barkley State Park Resort.
Lake Barkley is the perfect compromise: it’s only about three hours from Chattanooga and is on the water!
The resort itself is nice and there are many activities in which you can take partake. The resort was built in 1964 and you can tell it is a little run down and hasn’t had much work done to it since it was built. The rooms were nice and clean, and every lodge room offered beautiful views of Lake Barkley.
The resort has an amazing swimming pool that overlooks the lake, however it was out of commission while we were there due to the filter exploding. On the resort, there is horseback riding, trap shooting, a golf course, hiking and biking trails with scenic views, boating, fishing, a fitness center, game room, gift shop, racquetball, tennis, and a basketball court. There’s also a beach, which is where we spent most of our time. The beach is a good size, was never crowded, and the water was very shallow and gradually got deeper. The shallow water was perfect for our two- and four-year-olds to play in without us having to be overly cautious.
The resort is only two miles from the local marina where they have daily boat rentals and fishing licenses. 15 miles down the road is Prizer Point Marina and Resort. Prizer Point has a Lagoon Family Fun Zone. In the lagoon, they have an inflatable water park, ropes course, and zip lining. We had a newborn with us, so these weren’t things we could enjoy but we may be back in a few years to try this area out!
One of our favorite areas we explored was The Land Between the Lakes.
This is a 170,000 acre recreation area that lies between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. Here, we drove through an elk and bison pasture, went to a nature preserve where we got to see more wild animals including the Red Wolf, and our favorite thing here was exploring a farm from the 1800s. The farm was set up the way it would’ve been in the 1800s. All of the buildings were buildings that were built in the 1800s that were all found in an 11-mile radius. The workers on this farm were so knowledgeable and they really were working as if it were the 1800s, farming tobacco and making quilts.
Each resort and marina have their own restaurant as well as many local restaurants. I am not a fish fan, but my husband said it’s some of the best catfish he has ever had!
As I said, the resort was old and a little run down (it is State run, after all), but we were overall pleased with the room, the staff, and the amenities it offered. The room rates were less than $80 a night for a last minute booking. We would’ve loved for the pool to be open, but our kids had a blast playing on the beach.