Outdoor Activities in and Around Bowling Green

hiking trails Bowling Green

Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a diverse range of activities that cater to all interests and age groups. Whether you’re into exploring caves, enjoying family-friendly farms, or seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures, Bowling Green has something for everyone. Let’s dive into some of the best outdoor activities you can enjoy in and around this vibrant city.

Key Takeaways

  • Bowling Green offers a variety of outdoor activities suitable for all ages, from exploring caves to enjoying family farms.
  • Lost River Cave provides unique underground boat tours, nature trails, and opportunities for wildlife spotting.
  • Families can have fun at Chaney’s Dairy Barn with activities like petting baby Jersey calves, enjoying homemade ice cream, and utilizing the playground and picnic area.
  • For thrill-seekers, the NCM Kartplex offers high-powered kart racing with a focus on safety and group events.
  • Nature and art lovers will appreciate the Downing Museum and Baker Arboretum, featuring a sculpture garden, diverse tree varieties, and art exhibits.

Exploring Lost River Cave

Bowling Green is home to one of the most unique caves in the country, Lost River Cave. This hidden gem has a rich history, having served as a hideout for outlaws and even a nightclub in the 1930s. Today, it offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy.

Family Fun at Chaney’s Dairy Barn

Chaney’s Dairy Barn is a delightful destination for families looking to enjoy a day out in Bowling Green. This Dairy Farm offers homemade ice cream and other goodies from their own Jersey Cows. Individual and group farm tours are available seasonally. They also have a playground for the kids, a jumping pillow, tons of fun, and an on-site restaurant. This is also a perfect place to hold a birthday party or an event.

Racing Thrills at NCM Kartplex

High-Powered Kart Racing

For those who crave speed and excitement, the NCM Kartplex offers an exhilarating experience. Drive high-powered karts on a challenging track designed to test your skills and provide an adrenaline rush. Whether you’re a seasoned racer or a beginner, the Kartplex promises a thrilling adventure.

Safety Measures

Safety is a top priority at the NCM Kartplex. Before hitting the track, all drivers receive a comprehensive safety briefing and are provided with necessary safety gear. The track is monitored by professionals to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Group Events and Parties

Looking for a unique venue for your next event? The NCM Kartplex is perfect for group events and parties. Host your birthday, corporate event, or family gathering here and enjoy exclusive access to the track. Customizable packages are available to make your event memorable.

Experience the thrill of racing in a safe and controlled environment at the NCM Kartplex. Perfect for both individual racers and group events, it’s a must-visit for anyone seeking adventure in Bowling Green.

Art and Nature at Downing Museum and Baker Arboretum

Sculpture Garden

Wander through the captivating sculpture garden at the Downing Museum, where art and nature blend seamlessly. The garden features a variety of sculptures set against the backdrop of Bowling Green’s lush landscape, making it a perfect spot for reflection and inspiration.

Tree Varieties

The Baker Arboretum, spread over almost 115 acres, is home to over 600 species of trees, plants, and shrubs. Designed by Mitchel Leichardt, the arboretum showcases magnolia trees, dogwoods, and Japanese maples, among others. Each season offers a unique display of colors, from the bright blooms of spring and summer to the warm hues of fall and winter.

Art Exhibits

Inside the Downing Museum, you’ll find a collection of beautiful art from the late Joe Downing, a Kentucky native. The museum’s exhibits are easy to navigate and comprehend, making it an enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages. Don’t miss the special exhibits like "Styles & thegiftsofit" and "Gazing Deeply: The Art and Science of Mammoth Cave."

The Downing Museum and Baker Arboretum offer a serene escape where you can appreciate both art and nature in one visit. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, this destination is a must-see in Bowling Green.

Camping Adventures in Bowling Green

camping in Bowling Green

Bowling Green KOA Holiday

For a classic camping experience, head to Bowling Green KOA Holiday. This campground offers a variety of amenities including full-hookup sites, a swimming pool, and even a dog park. It’s a perfect spot for families and pets alike. Whether you’re in an RV or a tent, you’ll find a welcoming environment here.

Tailwater Campground

Located along the Barren River, just below the dam, Tailwater Campground is a serene riverside retreat. With 48 sites available, you can enjoy fishing, kayaking, or simply relaxing by the water. The peaceful setting makes it an ideal spot for a weekend getaway.

Camping Essentials

Before you set out on your camping adventure, make sure you have all the essentials:

  • Tent or RV
  • Sleeping bags and pillows
  • Cooking supplies
  • Food and water
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlights and batteries

Remember to check the weather forecast and pack accordingly to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience.

Kayaking and Canoeing on Local Rivers

Bowling Green offers a variety of scenic rivers perfect for kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a beginner, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on the water.

Barren River

The Barren River is a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing, offering calm waters and beautiful scenery. It’s an ideal location for both beginners and experienced paddlers. Don’t miss the chance to explore this natural wonder.

Drakes Creek

Drakes Creek provides a serene paddling experience with its gentle currents and lush surroundings. It’s a great place to unwind and connect with nature. Perfect for a relaxing day on the water.

Kayak Rentals and Safety

For those who don’t own a kayak or canoe, there are several rental options available in Bowling Green. Safety is paramount, so always wear a life jacket and follow local guidelines. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

  • Always check the weather forecast before heading out.
  • Inform someone about your paddling plans and expected return time.
  • Carry a whistle or other signaling device in case of emergencies.

Kayaking and canoeing on Bowling Green’s rivers offer a unique way to explore the area’s natural beauty. With the right preparation and safety measures, you’re sure to have an unforgettable adventure.

Hiking Trails for All Skill Levels

Bowling Green offers a variety of hiking trails that cater to all skill levels, making it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, there’s a trail for you to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Fishing Spots Around Bowling Green

Bowling Green offers a variety of serene fishing spots perfect for a relaxing day in nature. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just looking to spend some quiet time by the water, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from.

Barren River Lake

Barren River Lake is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. The lake is well-stocked with a variety of fish species, making it an ideal spot for both novice and experienced anglers. Don’t forget to bring your fishing gear and enjoy a day surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Shanty Hollow Lake

Shanty Hollow Lake is another excellent fishing location. Known for its peaceful environment, this lake offers a great opportunity to catch bass, bluegill, and catfish. It’s a perfect spot for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Fishing Licenses and Regulations

Before you head out, make sure you have the necessary fishing licenses. Kentucky requires all anglers to have a valid fishing license, which can be easily obtained online or at local retailers. Always check the latest regulations to ensure a safe and legal fishing experience.

For a leisurely day in nature, explore the historical sites of Bowling Green – don’t worry, go travel. Enjoy the rich history and beautiful fishing spots the area has to offer.

Cycling Through Warren County Countryside

cycling Warren County countryside

Exploring the beauty of southern Kentucky on two wheels is a delightful experience. U.S. Bike Route 23 is a must-ride for cycling enthusiasts, winding through several Kentucky counties, including Warren. This route takes you near charming small communities like Oakland and Smiths Grove, eventually leading you to the breathtaking Mammoth Cave National Park.

Popular Bike Routes

For those who prefer a more enclosed route, Bowling Green offers several options. Every Tuesday night from June to September, you can join the "Trek at the Track" event at the NCM Motorsports Park. This 3.2-mile curving road track is open for bikes, scooters, and skateboards, providing a unique experience without the roar of engines. Additionally, the Recreational Greenways offer a scenic ride from I-65, exit 26 on Cemetery Road, through Kereiakes Park, down to Riverwalk Park. Lost River Cave’s paved trails are also part of this system, making it easy to explore the area on your bike.

Cycling Safety Tips

Safety is paramount when cycling through the countryside. Always wear a helmet and ensure your bike is in good working condition. It’s also important to stay hydrated and carry a map or GPS device. If you’re exploring new routes, let someone know your plans and expected return time. Remember to follow all traffic laws and be mindful of your surroundings, especially when riding on roads shared with vehicles.

Bike Rentals and Repairs

If you don’t have your own bike, there are several rental options available in Bowling Green. Local shops offer a variety of bikes for rent, from road bikes to mountain bikes. They also provide repair services to keep your ride smooth and safe. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, you’ll find everything you need to enjoy a day of cycling in Warren County.

Golf Courses in Bowling Green

Bowling Green offers a variety of golf courses that cater to both beginners and seasoned players. Whether you’re looking to improve your swing or enjoy a leisurely day on the greens, you’ll find a course that suits your needs.

CrossWinds Golf Course

CrossWinds Golf Course is known for its well-maintained fairways and challenging layout. Golf enthusiasts will appreciate the course’s design, which offers a mix of difficulty levels to keep the game interesting.

Paul Walker Golf Course

Paul Walker Golf Course is a favorite among locals for its friendly atmosphere and accessible location. The course is perfect for those who are new to the game or looking to enjoy a relaxed round of golf.

Golfing Tips for Beginners

For those new to golf, here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Start with the basics: Learn the fundamental rules and etiquette of golf.
  2. Practice your swing: Spend time at the driving range to improve your technique.
  3. Take lessons: Consider taking lessons from a professional to get personalized guidance.
  4. Stay patient: Golf can be challenging, but with practice, you’ll see improvement.

Bowling Green is a community that is geared for outdoor adventure, and its golf courses are no exception. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the game.

With these tips and the variety of courses available, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a great day of golf in Bowling Green.

Seasonal Events and Festivals

Bowling Green is a hub of excitement all year round, with a variety of seasonal events and festivals that cater to all interests. Whether you’re a music lover, a foodie, or someone who enjoys cultural celebrations, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss out on these fantastic events!


Bowling Green is a treasure trove of outdoor activities that cater to all ages and interests. From the thrill of underground boat rides at Lost River Cave to the serene beauty of the Downing Museum at Baker Arboretum, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re racing high-powered karts at the NCM Kartplex or enjoying a peaceful day of fishing and camping, the natural beauty and diverse attractions of Bowling Green make it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. So pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and embark on an adventure that promises lasting memories in and around Bowling Green.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the operating hours for Lost River Cave?

Lost River Cave is open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM, with the last underground boat tour departing at 5 PM.

Is there an entrance fee for Chaney’s Dairy Barn?

There is no entrance fee for Chaney’s Dairy Barn. However, activities like the petting zoo and playground have individual charges.

Do I need to book in advance for kart racing at NCM Kartplex?

It is recommended to book in advance for kart racing at NCM Kartplex, especially on weekends and holidays.

Are pets allowed at the Downing Museum and Baker Arboretum?

Pets are not allowed inside the Downing Museum, but they are welcome in the outdoor areas of Baker Arboretum.

Where can I rent kayaks for paddling on local rivers?

Kayak rentals are available at various local outfitters near Barren River and Drakes Creek. It’s advisable to book in advance.

What are the best times for fishing in Bowling Green?

The best times for fishing are early morning and late afternoon. Seasonal variations may apply, so check local guidelines.

Are there any bike rental shops in Bowling Green?

Yes, there are several bike rental shops in Bowling Green that offer a variety of bicycles for all skill levels.

What should I bring for a camping trip in Bowling Green?

For a camping trip, you should bring essentials like a tent, sleeping bags, cooking supplies, water, and weather-appropriate clothing.

Recent Posts