Camping, Pontooning, and Cliff Jumping at Dale Hollow Lake
After an amazing week spent at Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee, we decided to be spontaneous and extended our trip by a few days so that we could go play on Dale Hollow Lake. We found a campground on the lake called Sulphur Creek Resort that had available sites for the next two nights, so we booked one with a lake view and drove a couple of hours over to Dale Hollow Lake in Kentucky.
Dale Hollow is a HUGE lake! It covers around 27,000 acres and has near 650 miles of shoreline between Kentucky and Tennessee! There are tons of little fingers of the lake with countless coves full of natural beauty. Much of the shoreline remains untouched and is very secluded and not built on. The lake has several marinas located throughout it and they are known for renting houseboats that people can drive all over the lake and park wherever they’d like each night.
This is how Dustin had experienced it with his family when he was younger but since we didn’t have the money to rent a houseboat after having vacationed for a week already, we opted to rent a double decker pontoon boat with a water slide off of the upper deck for the following day.
Until then, we grabbed some lemonade at the marina store and went swimming near our campsite. The water was so warm! Hot even. I was amazed that such a huge lake could be so hot! It felt like bath water!
That night, we took a drive around the lake and found ourselves at Dale Hollow State Park.
We got out and walked around the docks there for a bit, admiring the expansive houseboats that lined the docks.
When we got back, we had dinner at Sulphur Creek Resort’s marina restaurant, Mike’s Landing, and enjoyed a pizza and some pina coladas with a gorgeous view. We couldn’t wait to go boating the next day!
The next day, Dustin was like a little boy on Christmas morning! He had been wanting to show me Dale Hollow Lake since forever and was so excited to finally be able to! We were ready and waiting at the marina store at 8am to pick up our rental.
We picked up some hot dogs, drinks and snacks to take with us out on the boat and then Dustin got the boat situated while I went back to get Bailey and Bella. Dustin picked up the three of us on the beach near our camper and we headed out for the day.
We drove around a bit at first so Dustin could show me the lake and we ended up seeing a bald eagle fly by!
There were little islands dotted all over the lake and more inviting little coves than I could count!
There were tons of houseboats on the lake, but the lake was so big that there was a private cove for each of them! It was so cool! After seeing the lake a bit, we anchored the boat and went swimming, anxious to try out our waterslide! We had a blast jumping off the top deck and going down the water slide!
The puppies even went for a swim with us in their doggie life jackets! Bella didn’t really know what to think at first but Bailey was in heaven! He loves boating with us! It was really nice because if it got too hot for them (or us) we would just stop and swim for a bit to cool off.
About halfway through the day, we found our own cove and anchored the boat to it to let the dogs out and decided to grill up some food for lunch. The grill was built right onto our boat and it was so fun having the area all to ourselves!
After lunch and another swim, we took the boat as far as we could and actually drove it into Tennessee! We saw the dam that we had stopped at on the way down and near there, also saw some cliffs that were begging to be jumped off from! We anchored the boat to the rocks and Dustin dove in to test the depth to make sure it would be safe to jump from the cliffs. He came up and said it would be deep enough so we put our life jackets on and climbed up to the top of the cliffs. When we got to the top, the water looked a lot further down than we had originally thought and we both got a little bit scared to jump. Right when we would think we had the nerve to jump, one of us would chicken out. Then we would start to go again and the other one would chicken out. It was actually pretty funny because another boat drove by and saw us contemplating the jump and yelled “Chickens!” When Dustin heard that, he had to secure his man card so he got up his nerve and jumped in. After waiting for him to move out of the way, I followed shortly after. It felt like I jumped from a mile in the air but really it was only about 20 feet up! It was so much fun! I even climbed back up and did it a second time so Dustin could video it! I love doing things that scare me!
We ended up stopping at several of the marinas on the lake to check out their gift shops because we were looking for a Dale Hollow bumper sticker for our camper and we finally found one at Mitchell Creek Marina. On the way back, we stopped at one of the little islands in the middle of the lake and anchored for a bit to let the dogs out. It was kind of nice because we didn’t even have to put the dogs on a leash since they didn’t really have anywhere to go other than in a circle!
After an amazing trip with our heart’s full, we were all a little tired (including the puppies) so we spent our last evening tucked in our camper, cozied up as a family watching movies before heading back to Michigan the next day.