Kentucky State Parks: Last Minute Christmas Shopping in Kentucky

Genuinely Kentucky Gift Ideas!

Rough River Dam State Resort Park Gift Shop

Looking for original and unexpected last minute Christmas gifts your family and friends will love? Look no further than your nearest Kentucky State Park’s gift shop.  The one pictured above is the beautiful gift shop at Rough River Dam State Resort Park in Falls of Rough, Kentucky.  Rough River has one of my favorite gift shops. Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, Lake Barkley State Resort Park (gorgeous lodge, gorgeous gift shop!), and Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park also have great gift shops.

One of the friendliest people I think I’ve ever met was a woman working in the Pennyrile Forest State Park’s gift shop.  Her smile lit up the entire lodge.  She has a warmth about her that made you think, “I wish there were more people like you in the world.”

To be perfectly honest, I’m somewhat obsessed with Kentucky State Park gift shops (just ask my husband) and could, literally, spend hundreds of dollars in one trip (again…. just ask the husband).  I don’t care who’s on your gift list, you’ll find something that’ll blow them out of their chair.

Kentucky State Park gift shops have a little bit of everything. Things like…

  • Kentucky Cookbooks –  with recipes you absolutely will not find anywhere else.  These are true, legit Kentucky cookbooks featuring recipes passed down from generations of Kentucky cooks like our grandparents and great grandparents.  As a cookbook collector (with a collection numbering in the hundreds), I promise you, these cookbooks are the best in the world. Why? Kentucky food is the best in the world.  I’ve also found a lot of other types of books in Kentucky State Park gift shops – historical books, bird guides, regional guides, etc.  Great stuff for book lovers.
  • Toys and Candy – perfect stocking stuffers.
  • Kentucky food! I always, always, always have at least 3 jars of jams, jellies, preserves, and local  honey I’ve bought at a Kentucky State Park.  You’ll also find BBQ Sauce, relish, and other food items that’d be fantastic as gifts and equally fantastic on your holiday table.  Don’t tell, but here’s something I’d love to do for my aunt and uncle this Christmas: Grab a great looking basket, line it with colorful tissue paper, and fill it with Kentucky food from Rough River Dam State Resort Park’s gift shop (the park closest to us).  They would have enough jams, jellies, honey, coffee, relish, and BBQ sauce to last all year – and they’d think of us each time they enjoyed them.  Win/Win!
  • Coffee Mugs.  This is something else I collect and I’ve found some of my favorite coffee mugs in these gift shops. They’ll often have the most amazingly gorgeous pictures of local wildlife and birds on them along with “Kentucky” or the name of the state park.  Packaged with a bag of coffee beans (or ground coffee), one or two mugs makes a perfect gift.
  • Candles, Soaps, and Other Kentucky Crafts. Who doesn’t love candles?!
  • T-Shirts, Hats, Etc.  You can also find clothing and accessories in a lot of the Kentucky State Park gift shops.
  • More Kentucky Handcrafts, Dishes, Knick Knacks….  I couldn’t possibly list all of the beautiful gifts you could find in these gift shops.  Suffice to say, you’ll find more than you could ever hope for.   You’ll know you’re giving a great, high-quality gift that’s also unique and completely unexpected.  That’s my favorite kind of gifts to give!

If you have the time, try to hit several Kentucky State Resort Park gift shops.  Here’s a perfect day, in my book:

  1. Have breakfast (and coffee) at one state resort park, enjoy the scenery, take a few pictures, and shop in the gift shop.
  2. Head for your second resort park – have lunch in the lodge’s restaurant (the hamburgers and catfish sandwiches are awesome, but so are the soup and salad bars), look around, take pictures, and shop in the gift shop.
  3. Take off for the third resort park! Eat dinner in the lodge’s restaurant, shop in the gift shop, then head home with your loot!

Awwww… what a perfect day. 

See the Kentucky State Parks Official Website for Resort Park locations, so you can map out your big day.  You’ll also learn more about their gift shops and restaurants.  We wish you and your loved ones the most magical and beautiful Christmas ever!

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