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Burnside Island

Take in scenic views and enjoy the cool lake breeze on Kentucky’s only island park, Burnside Island, located 7 miles and less than a 15-minute drive from the cabin. This 430-acre island is surrounded by Lake Cumberland, the largest man-made lake in the United States, and is a tranquil setting packed with fun outdoor activities for everyone in the family.

Year-Round Things to Do

  • Camping: Burnside Island features a 102-site campground (94 of which have utility hookup) spanning 75 acres and is open from mid-March to mid-November. There are two central service buildings with showers and restrooms, and a dump station. Book a campsite here or call 606-561-3625 for more details.

  • Fishing:  Lake Cumberland, surrounding Burnside Island, offers some of the best fishing in the US. Cast your line for crappie, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and striped bass. Always check the daily limits before going and make sure to bring your KY fishing license (you can get one online)!

  • Boating: Burnside Marina is adjacent to the park and has all you need for a day on the water. Use their six-lane launching ramp to get your own boat in the water or grab a rental slip for one of the many boats available for rent. Whether you are looking for a pontoon, ski boat or houseboat, you can find it here.

  • Golfing: Voted the best place to play golf in Kentucky, General Burnside Island State Park golf course is an 18-hole regulation course and a must see for pros or casual players. Brian Ault, the designer of two courses recognized by Golf Digest, brought this waterfront course to life with Zoysia fairways, large boulders and bent grass trees. Questions? Reach out to General Burnside Island's pro shop at 606-561-4104.

  • Hiking: Step into nature, listen to the birds, observe the wildlife and snap memorable photos. Burnside Island offers wooded areas allowing you to get connected to nature. Just make sure to wear appropriate footwear and don’t forget the bug spray!

Special Annual Events on Burnside Island

Burnside Island Halloween Spook Out 

Taking place during the last two weekends in October, Burnside Island’s Spook out event is a pure treat. Activities include games, pumpkin rolling, spooky stories, roasting marshmallows by the campfire, costume and campsite decorating contests for all ages, and even trick or treating for the little ones.

Christmas Island


Experience fun for the whole family with homemade concessions, Santa & Grinch appearances, and local craftsmen’s Vendor Village (open Thursday-Sunday), along with the must-see drive-through light show. The Burnside Island transforms into Christmas Island from November through December. We've got details and tips here about Christmas Island.

The History of Burnside Island

First settled by pioneers from the Carolinas and West Virginia, General Burnside Island State Park was originally named Point Isabel when it was settled around 1800. During the Civil War, the Union army used the area as a supply base and location for troops to assemble in preparation for the East Tennessee campaign of General Ambrose E. Burnside. The area became known as Camp Burnside in official dispatches and the name “Burnside” stuck.

The landscape of the area surrounding Burnside Island changed dramatically in the 1950’s when Wolf Creek Dam was built and Cumberland Lake was formed. All the sudden, Burnside, having been a high point of land, became an island right in the middle of the lake. The land became a state park in 1958 and a causeway was built to reach what is now known as Burnside Island.

Overall, General Burnside Island State Park is a beautiful and serene setting for outdoor recreation. Whether you're camping, fishing, golfing, or simply enjoying the scenic views, the park provides a memorable experience in the heart of Kentucky's lake country.

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