Top Campgrounds and RV Parks in Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most iconic events in all of America, and the biggest draw in all of Kentucky. Getting to see the famous horse race up close is one of those once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list trips.

Why not arrive in style with an RV rental in Louisville Kentucky? Staying in RV parks and campgrounds is one of the best ways to experience the festive spirit and fun of the days leading up to the big race.

While it’s known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports”, you won’t just be there for the first Saturday in May. The entire two-week long Kentucky Derby Festival leading up to the Kentucky Derby is filled with events and spectacles to enjoy, from the moment you finally pick out the perfect Derby dress and hat to the moment the horses cross the finish line. The two week festival includes the world’s largest air show and fireworks display, a balloon race, a steamboat race, and the Pegasus Parade.

You can watch races all week at Churchill Downs, sample the best food and drinks from Kentucky and beyond at the Taste of Derby, sip on mint juleps and watch live music at Thurby, and check out Dawn at the Downs, where you’ll get to watch racers practice as you enjoy a breakfast buffet. The elegant, formal Opening Night, filled with art installations, live performances, and racing is not to be missed.

If you can find the time, there’s plenty more to explore outside of Churchill Downs in the greater Louisville area, the largest city in Kentucky. After hitting up the Kentucky Derby Museum, be sure to check out the Louisville Slugger Museum for any baseball fans in the family. Take a stroll along the waterfront park for playgrounds, great skyline views, and lovely scenery.

As a city with a thriving music scene, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to see live music in one of the area’s many local venues and bars. For bourbon-lovers, this city is a paradise, filled with fantastic whiskey bars and mint juleps galore. It’s worth the road trip out to one of Kentucky’s many bourbon distilleries, but if you want the experience in the heart of Louisville, check out Maker’s Mark Bourbon House and Lounge.

Being one of the most popular sporting events in all of the United States, and arguably the world, things sell out quickly. Be sure to purchase tickets to both the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Derby Festival events you want to attend well in advance.

Likewise, it’s smart to reserve your campground or RV park in advance as well. RV camping is a very popular way to see the Kentucky Derby — so much so, that the neighborhood near Churchill Downs with all the RV parks is nicknamed “RV Row” during the Derby.

To make it easy for you, we’ve compiled a list of the ten best campgrounds and RV parks near the Kentucky Derby. Check it out!

Derby Park Expo Five

Just blocks from Churchill Downs, this events venue and flea market space turned RV park for Derby weekend is the place to be if you want to enjoy the festivities up close and persol. Not only can you walk down the street and be at the race in minutes, but the park is just a 10 minute drive to downtown Louisville and close to public transportation.

Why You’ll Love Derby Park Expo Five

If you want to live and breath the Derby celebration all weekend long, this is the place to do it. You can see Churchill Downs from your RV, and you don’t even have to leave the campsite to enjoy live music, home cooked food, and top notch beverages as well as fun activities for the whole family. This RV park has a real community feel where everyone is there for the Derby, and it attracts visitors from all over the world.

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Louisville South KOA KOA Logo ARVC Logo

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Louisville South KOA is a great place to stay if you’d prefer to be close enough to all the action without being right in the middle of it. This family-friendly park is in Shepherdsville, Kentucky just minutes from Churchill Downs and downtown Louisville. Although it takes significantly longer, it is possible to reach Churchill Downs via public transportation. This is necessary as parking in the area is nearly impossible during the Derby.

Why You’ll Love Louisville South KOA

The kids will love this park, complete with a massive pool, a mini-golf course, bike rentals, a large, modern playground, and even a blow-up outdoor movie screen. The campground even features a tive american cave dwelling inside limestone cliffs on-site. They hold fun events and activities like tie-dying shirts and Halloween parties. If you’ve got the whole family in tow and want to stay in a place that will keep the kids entertained while you enjoy the Derby, this is a great place to do it.

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Kentucky Exposition Center

Home to the Kentucky State Fair and other major events, this large expo center has an RV park that transforms into a giant celebration during Derby weekend. The grounds are only a mile from Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby, making it easy to walk or take public transportation to the event.

Why You’ll Love Kentucky Exposition Center

While this RV park doesn’t offer as many amenities as others, chances are you won’t be spending much time in your RV anyway. When you are hanging out at the RV park, you’ll be surrounded by other Derby-goers, making it a great spot for celebration. It’s one of the most conveniently located RV parks to Churchill Downs, and walking distance is important when parking near the Derby can cost upwards of $100+ per day.

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Louisville North Campground

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If you can’t stay at one of the two campgrounds within walking distance of Churchill Downs, this is your next best bet. It’s the closest year-round campground to downtown Louisville. Located right across the bridge into Indiana, it’s just off I-65 and just minutes to Churchill Downs. It’s also right next door to the Atlantis Water Park and Derby Dinner Playhouse.

Why You’ll Love Louisville North Campground

Aside from being only 7 miles from Churchill Downs, this RV park is also just 1 mile from the Falls of the Ohio State Park, and a few miles from the Louisville Slugger Tour and the Howard Steamboat Museum. It’s perfectly situated for exploring downtown Louisville, and it’s incredibly affordable, even during the Derby. This lovely, clean campground has modern, updated facilities and plenty of amenities, including guest access to a heated indoor pool at the hotel next door.

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Horseshoe Southern Indiana

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Just across the state line in Elizabeth, Indiana, Horseshoe Southern Indiana RV Park is only 35 minutes from downtown Louisville and 40 minutes from Churchill Downs. As part of a casino, guests have immediate access to all casino amenities. Because it sits right on the Ohio River, the RV park also offers lovely views.

Why You’ll Love Horseshoe Southern Indiana

For those who love casino camping, this is the best place to stay in close distance to the Kentucky Derby. This casino is very modern and filled with activities and very nice, updated facilities, making up for the fact that RV camping is just pavement parking with no hookups. The on-site steakhouse is very highly-rated, and the nightlife is plenty.

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Brooks Mobile Home & Louisville RV Park

Located in Brooks, Kentucky near the intersection of I-65 and I-265, this RV park is just 10 minutes from downtown Louisville and Churchill Downs. Because it’s near two interstates, the immediate area offers many options for dining, gas, shopping, and more. It’s also very close to the Jefferson Memorial Forest.

Why You’ll Love Brooks Mobile Home & Louisville RV Park

This is one of the closest RV parks to Churchill Downs and the center of Louisville. Although it’s lacking in amenities, the park is under new management and the owners are constantly updating the facilities and adding more to the park. The majority of people here are long-term residents but they are making more room for temporary RV guests.

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Trackside RV Park

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One of two RV parks immediately next to Churchill Downs, this is a great place to stay for the Kentucky Derby. The park is directly outside of the race track and just a few blocks from the University of Louisville and the Cardinal Stadium.

Why You’ll Love Trackside RV Park

This incredibly small RV park is hard to reserve during the Kentucky Derby, but if you can snag it, you’re in for a great deal. It’s one of the most affordable RV parks in the area, and you couldn’t get any closer to Churchill Downs. You could probably even watch the derby from your RV! The park also has activities going on during the weeks leading up to the derby.

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Add-More Campground & RV Park

Situated in Clarksville, Indiana at the intersection of I-65 and I-265, this park is directly across the river from downtown Louisville. It’s only a 20 minute drive to Churchill Downs and even closer to many other nearby attractions. The area directly surrounding Add-More Campground and RV Park is full of restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, and shopping.

Why You’ll Love Add-More Campground & RV Park

It’s hard to beat the value that this park offers, being just 10 minutes from downtown Louisville and yet offering clean, updated RV sites for very reasonable prices. The park itself is calm and peaceful, surrounded by 35 acres of old growth trees and a fishing pond. You’ll find all the necessary amenities here as well as very personable and hospitable park hosts.

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Grandma’s RV Camping

Right off the Kentucky Turnpike, Grandma’s RV Camping is just a straight shot up I-65 into downtown Louisville. You can easily get to Churchill Downs in under 30 minutes from here, while you’re also minutes from the Bernheim Arboretum and Fort Knox. Located in Sherpherdsville, Kentucky, you’re also amidst plenty of dining and shopping options as well as a massive flea market.

Why You’ll Love Grandma’s RV Camping

This minimal RV park offers a great deal for people who want to be within a quick drive to the Derby without paying sky-high rates for camping. Although the facilities are somewhat limited, they have everything you could need, including full hookups, big-rig friendly sites, wifi, and laundry.

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Charlestown State Park

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Located in Charlestown, Indiana, just across the Kentucky state line, Charlestown State Park is the best place to stay if you want to be immersed in nature while still being only a short drive from downtown Louisville. Churchill Downs is just 30 minutes away. The town itself, Charlestown, is charming and offers plenty of nearby amenities.

Why You’ll Love Charlestown State Park

This beautiful state park is home to the birthplace of the Ohio River, formed during the ice age. The river itself offers a wide range of recreational activities, from water skiing and rafting to catfishing and swimming. Other outdoor activities abound, and include bicycling, boating, and ample hiking. The park is filled with wildflowers, stunning views, and even a waterfall. Park rangers offer educational programs such as archeology lessons. Meanwhile, you’re less than a mile from town and about 20 miles from the center of Louisville.

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Cloud Nine RV Park

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Cloud Nine RV Park welcomes overnight summer travelers or winter snowbirds on their way south. The park offers full hookup sites that are roomy with great amenities. Consider planning a family reunion, a summer gathering of friends or a rally at this Malvern, Arkansas, campground.

Why You’ll Love Cloud Nine RV Park

In addition to extra-wide and long RV sites with full hookup service, Cloud Nine RV Park also provides an exercise room, a large gathering room, a coffee room, laundry facilities and a dump station to make your stay even more convenient.

What People Are Saying About Cloud Nine RV Park

“Cloud Nine RV park is literally the very best park I have ever stayed in. The park is extremely clean. The bathrooms and showers are probably cleaner than at one’s home. Very quiet park and within 15 miles of all of Hot Springs. I would stay at Cloud Nine as my first choice when traveling through Hot Springs National Park. The camp hosts are friendly and always available. I just can’t say enough good things about my experience here!” – Barry, Google Review

“The owners were great. Bathrooms and showers are clean. Very quiet. Never had a problem with receiving mail. Other campers were nice. It was a great experience. Will definitely stay again. Also, the sites are nice and pretty level.” – Gary, Google Review

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Inspire Communities Silver Lakes

With mature shade trees and beautiful views, Silver Lakes offers residents 335 modern home and RV sites with all utility hookups. With acres of picturesque land perfect for a picnic, residents also enjoy three fishing lakes, a playground, a basketball court, a picnic area, as well as a brand new clubhouse for socializing with family, friends and neighbors!

Why You’ll Love Inspire Communities Silver Lakes

Green Tree Mall and several exceptional schools are minutes away. With a bus and school bus stop at the community entrance, life is even easier! Churchill Downs and Downtown Louisville are also in close proximity. Check out all the new shops and restaurants on Veteran's Parkway or take a day to see the world famous Kentucky Derby!

What People Are Saying About Inspire Communities Silver Lakes

“Very well kept mobile home park. Quiet neighborhood with a couple of small lakes to enjoy.” -William, Google Review

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Canby Ferry Campground

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This quiet RV park is riverfront and located next to a brand new public boat ramp. Canby Ferry Campground is family-friendly and provides a relaxing scene. There are concrete and gravel pads that can accommodate up to a 50' RV on concrete pad.

Why You’ll Love Canby Ferry Campground

This RV campground is riverfront and offers amazing views of the water and background. You will feel right at home and comfortable. You can bring your own boat, kayak, canoe, or jet ski and use the new boat ramp next to the campground.

What People Are Saying About Canby Ferry Campground

“No reviews yet!”

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Hoosier/Indian-Celina Lakes Recreation Area

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The Indian-Celina Lakes Recreation Area is a tranquil resting place in the Hoosier National Forest. Both the 152-acre Indian and the 164-acre Celina Lakes are close by, offering boating, fishing, hiking, and tours of the historic Rickenbaugh house site. This natural respite is only 25 miles from Holiday World.

Why You’ll Love Hoosier/Indian-Celina Lakes Recreation Area

This is a great park for getting back to nature and finding a quiet space. It is set in dense forest with plenty of privacy. The Rickenbaugh House historic center is a great place to spend a little time, then take a walk along the 1 mile Rickenbaugh Interpretive Trail or the Two Lakes Loop National Recreation Trail that circles the lakes.

What People Are Saying About Hoosier/Indian-Celina Lakes Recreation Area

“One of the prettiest parks I have ever been in. Excellent experience in my 27 foot Class A. Very friendly host guided me into my level, long site, albeit surrounded by poison ivy. Then he brought me some tomatoes from his (nearby home) garden. A nice treat. Interior roadways are nicely paved but narrow, but navigable. Electric only. Limited air antenna reception, but I sure didn’t care, it was so beautiful.

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Indian-Celina Recreation Area

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Evansville is just about an hour’s drive from the Hoosier National Forest, home of the Indian-Celina Recreation Area. This is one of the most desirable areas for camping and outdoor activities in the Midwest. It is one of the highest rated campgrounds in the state because of its surrounding beauty the tranquil atmosphere.

Why You’ll Love Indian-Celina Recreation Area

If you are looking for a quiet getaway in the heart of the most beautiful part of the state, the Indian-Celina Recreation Area might be the place for you. Campers always seem to leave with smiles on their faces. It is a particularly good match for campers looking for a true camping experience without all of the extraneous bells and whistles.

What People Are Saying About Indian-Celina Recreation Area

“A pleasant, quiet campground. Some good hiking trails in the park. We stayed on the South Loop and enjoyed it much. We camped at Hoosier / Indian-Celina Lakes Recreation Area in a Tent Trailer.” – Memphis Camper, RV Park Reviews

“Pros: -Campsites were spacious & private -Nice bathrooms” – Taylor, TripleBlaze Review

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In Summary

Attending the Kentucky Derby is truly an unforgettable experience, whether you’re a horse racing afficionado or a first-timer. Derby Weekend is a cultural experience that’s fun for everyone.

There’s no better way to experience this massive event than by staying in one of the area’s many RV campgrounds. Not only are they convenient, with several in walking distance of Churchill Downs so you don’t have to ever worry about traffic and parking, but they’re also the most affordable way to see the event during a time when hotel prices in Louisville are very inflated.

Convenience and price aside, RV camping is arguably the most fun way to experience the Derby. You’re surrounded by other people participating in the event, and the festivities — from live music to home cooking to drinking mint juleps — all seep into the RV parks surrounding Churchill Downs.

Even if you’d prefer to stay a ways outside of the action, there are plenty of nearby RV parks in Kentucky and Indiana that offer quick access to Louisville and lovely surrounding scenery. With several KOA parks nearby and a beautiful state park just across the border, the options are varied.

Wherever you stay, the Kentucky Derby and Louisville itself have plenty to offer to keep you and the whole family entertained for weeks. Remember, things book up quickly for this hugely popular event, so get to planning now!

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Explore other Campgrounds & RV Parks near Kentucky Derby

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to camp in Kentucky Derby?

The top 10 campgrounds we selected all show daily, weekly and monthly rates for you. Pricing will vary.

How much does it cost to RV park in Kentucky Derby?

Pricing will vary. The top 10 RV Parks we selected all display daily, weekly and monthly rates for you.

How long can you stay at an RV Park in Kentucky Derby?

Staying at an RV Park for a long period of time will vary on the campground & RV Park you choose. View our post for more information.

Are there pet friendly RV Parks & Campgrounds in Kentucky Derby?

Yes. The majority of campgrounds we selected in this blog allow pets.