Ah, Kentucky – home of bluegrass, horse racing, and delicious fried chicken. There’s a lot to be said about this quirky state, and a lot more to explore. From deep, sprawling caves to wide open grasslands, Kentucky sure has plenty of variety. In fact, it’s one of the wildest states in the nation. With two national forests, 45 state parks, and a whopping 82 protected wildlife areas, it’s safe to say that The Bluegrass State has a lot more to see than just bluegrass.
The land isn’t the only part of Kentucky worth exploring, either. The state has more navigable waterways than almost every other state in the nation, coming in second only to Alaska. As you can imagine, outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds flock to Kentucky. And if the outdoors isn’t your thing, there’s a ton of city life to experience, as well. Whether checking out Corvettes at the national museum in Bowling Green or taking a Bourbon Tour in Louisville, you’ll get your fill of authentic Kentucky character.
Due to its plethora of opportunities for outdoor recreation and cultural exploration, Kentucky is a magnet for RVers in particular. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go RVing there? With so many state parks and amazing Kentucky RV parks, you won’t have to look far for an interesting place to stay. It’s no wonder, then, that Kentucky is home to a handful of popular RV shows. We’ll give you the scoop on a few of the best ones in this article.
Louisville Boat, RV, and Sportshow
The Kentucky Exposition Center hosts this 5-day, annual show. Located just minutes from historic Old Louisville, the Expo Center is convenient to a wealth of attractions and places to stay. The facility itself is quite impressive. Taking up more than 1 million square feet of space, it’s been named in the top ten largest expo centers in the country. If you’re attending the show for the full five days, you’ll likely have a lot of downtime between shows. Luckily, there’s plenty to do in the area, including the Kentucky Derby Museum and the Louisville Mega Cavern. That is if you don’t get lost in the massive Expo Center first!
What You’ll Love About the Louisville Boat, RV, and Sportshow
With such a big venue, you can probably imagine how big this show is. You’ll find hundreds of booths selling everything from boats and boating accessories to camping gear and travel destinations. And, of course, there are countless RVs for you to tour, including Class A motorhomes, pop-up campers, and everything in between. Don’t worry about finding stuff for the kids to do, either – there’s a handful of activities they’ll love, like free fishing at the trout pond, trampoline wall demos, and a boating simulator.
Information About the Louisville Boat, RV, and Sportshow
Location: 937 Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY 40209
Dates: Jan 22 – 26, 2020
Contact: Kimberly Muncy (502)957-0471
Tickets: $12 for adults, free for kids 12 and under
Discounts: $10 for seniors over 60, Free for active military. For discounts, you must pick up tickets at the box office and show ID.
East Kentucky Sport, Boat, and RV Show
Our next show takes place at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville. The Building sits right in the center of town on Main Street. Pikesville is a small, quiet city in the heart of the Kentucky Appalachians. The Levisa Fork waterway winds through the town and creates a natural border. It’s a quaint city with historic homes in the residential districts and brick buildings lining Main Street. Pikeville is a lovely place to get away for the weekend, take in the mountain views, and visit the annual RV show. If you’re looking for a place to camp, there are a handful of RV parks and campgrounds just outside of town.
What You’ll Love About the East Kentucky Sport, Boat, and RV Show
This show may be on the smaller side, but it’s certainly diverse. You’ll find a collection of RVs of all types, including massive toy haulers, motorhomes, and compact travel trailers. You can even stop by an exhibit and purchase a new dirt bike or ATV to load into the back of your new toy hauler! The show also features boats, camping gear, and outdoor gear from a number of local dealers. Once again, there’s plenty of things for the kids to do, like fishing at the Lawton Trout Pond.
Information About the East Kentucky Sport, Boat, and RV Show
Location:126 Main St., Pikeville, KY 41501
Contact: (606) 444-5500
Tickets: $5 for adults, free for kids ages 12 and under
Kentucky Sport, Boat, and Recreation Show
The Kentucky Sport, Boat, and Recreation Show occurs annually at the Rupp Arena in the bustling city of Lexington. The Arena is just north of the University of Kentucky and just a short walk from the beautiful Lexington Cemetery (which makes for a nice spot to take a break from the crowds). Lexington is a fast-growing city that’s packed with things to do, especially if you love horses. A 1,200-acre Horse Park welcomes guests to explore museums and galleries, and observe roughly 50 different breeds of horses in the pastures. There’s also a Horse Farm Tour where you can see famous local horses roaming about their country estate farms.
What You’ll Love About the Kentucky Sport, Boat, and Recreation Show
Don’t be fooled by its name: this show has more RVs than you can count! It’s the longest-running expo of its kind in the state and has been around for more than 30 years. The show features RVs, boats, and camping gear from multiple dealers in the area. There are seven RV dealers alone at this show, so you know you’ll have plenty of options! The show is full of things to do and see, whether educational or just plain fun. There are several seminars throughout the weekend, covering topics like fishing, kayaking, and outdoor living tips. This show has hands-down the best attractions, including pony rides, an indoor zip line, a climbing wall, and live music and cocktails. It’s definitely a must-see!
Information About the Kentucky Sport, Boat, and Recreation Show
Location: 430 W Vine St., Lexington, KY 40507
Dates: February 7 – 9, 2020
Contact: (859) 566-1206
Tickets: $12 for adults, $5 for kids ages 3-13, free for kids ages 2 and under. All tickets are one-day passes only.
Ultimate Outdoor Expo
Lexington is home to yet another outdoor expo and RV show, except this one is at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena outside of the city. It’s a large, indoor/outdoor show with more than 15,000 attendees each year. The show takes place in late August, giving guests a chance to enjoy the beautiful Kentucky summer while they mingle, visit the show’s many attractions, and tour RVs. The show is convenient to the city, but in a more rural area, far from city traffic and crowds. The best part? There’s plenty of RV camping spots right at the Horse Park. The campground offers both paved and primitive sites, usually starting at $24 for a basic site during peak season.
What You’ll Love About the Ultimate Outdoor Expo
The Ultimate Outdoor Expo is all about outdoor fun. Sure, there are a bunch of RV’s, boats, and camping gear there, but the attractions are what really take the cake at this show. Bouncy houses, kids fly fishing competitions, and free monster truck rides are just a few of the things your kids will surely want to do. There’s also a petting zoo and a Splash Dogs tournament for all the animal lovers in your family. If you need a break from all the action, you can hang out and watch one of the many educational seminars on fishing, camp cooking, and more. There are a handful of special guests at this show, too, including Ted Nugent and Discovery Channel’s Moonshiners.
Information About the Ultimate Outdoor Expo
Location: 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511
Dates: TBA but last year’s was 24 – 25, 2019
Contact: Kim (859) 329-8727
Tickets: $12 for one adult ticket, $6 for one kids ticket (under 12) | $20 Two-day pass, $29 three-day pass
Discounts: $10 for Military, Police, and Firemen. Must purchase a ticket at the door and show ID.
Make Your RV Dreams Come True in the Bluegrass State
Kentucky is a state for outdoor enthusiasts, and boy do their RV shows make that clear! Needless to say, the RV show in Kentucky offers an endless amount of fun, any time of year. But that’s not all; the state’s RV shows are in some of the most exciting parts of Kentucky. From the Horse Capital of the World to Kentucky’s largest city, you’ll have as much to explore outside the shows as you do inside.
Don’t forget to enjoy Kentucky’s natural beauty, either. There are scores of parks throughout the state with outdoor recreation like fishing, hiking, and swimming in the largest man-made lake on the planet. Oh, and don’t miss the underground dance hall and bat caves at Carter Caves State Resort Park! See? We told you that Kentucky is so much more than just bluegrass!
RV shows are a fun way to research different RV layouts and features before committing to a purchase. However, shows can also be hectic, and it can be tough to spend enough time in the RV to make an informed decision. Another viable option is to rent an RV from a site like RVshare and spend a few days or weeks traveling in it. You’ll be able to test out the RV in real life, get a feel for how it drives, and make sure the layout suits your lifestyle. Check out our inventory for a list of available RV rentals in Kentucky. Happy camping!