How to Spend a Perfect Day in Burkesville, KY

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Sun rise over a blue lake from vantage point of a canoe

Looking for a city with small-town charm that’s hidden in the hills? Burkesville, KY, offers incredible fishing, breathtaking landscapes, and some of the friendliest folks you’ll ever encounter.

Whether you want to hike, boat, or celebrate at one of their annual festivals, you can make some great memories in this small town. Let’s look at how you can spend a perfect day in Burkesville, KY. Let’s get started!

About Burkesville, KY

The city of Burkesville is small–very small. According to the 2019 census, the town has a population of 1,789. However, from 2010 to 2019, the city saw a 16% increase in population, so the secret may have gotten out to this hidden gem of a small town.

The Cumberland River provides the southern and eastern borders of the city. The river provided a natural barrier between the Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War but now provides a tremendous opportunity for outdoor recreation. Whether you’re going boating, fishing, or hiking along its banks, the Cumberland River is a popular spot to visit for locals and tourists.

Burkesville has a humid subtropical climate and experiences hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters. If you plan to visit in the summer, the warmer weather makes the Cumberland River, lakes, and other water sources an attractive spot. While the winter months typically aren’t freezing, you’ll want to bundle up with a hat, gloves, and winter coat.

Hear about the history of and life in Burkesville, KY.


The key to making the most of your day is starting early. While it may be tempting, you don’t want to waste any time. You’ve got a fun-filled and adventurous day ahead of you. So let’s get to it!

Enjoy Breakfast at Annie Ruby’s Cafe

Start your day off right by visiting Annie Ruby’s Cafe. You can fill up on delicious food to fuel the exciting day you have ahead of you! Check their Facebook for their daily specials!

Address: 204 Courthouse Sq, Burkesville, KY 42717

Menu Options: If you love homemade biscuits and sausage gravy, look no further on the menu. Locals praise their biscuits and gravy, and it likely deserves an award. Yes, it’s that good!

However, if you want a lighter breakfast, you’ll be happy to hear they offer breakfast wraps, omelets, and a create-your-own breakfast option. Wash it all down with a glass of juice or a hot cup of coffee, and you’ll be ready for a fun-filled day of adventuring.

Why You Should Go: Annie Ruby’s Cafe calls the former Smiths Pharmacy home. You can get a feel for the history of Burkesville by looking at historical memorabilia on the walls around the cafe. The food is excellent, and the servers treat you like a local. It’s the perfect spot to start your perfect day!

Homemade biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

Take a Morning Canoe Ride

One of the best ways to experience Southern Kentucky is by water. You can float down the river or the lake of your choice and enjoy the natural beauty. Bring sunscreen and your camera so you can share the landscapes with your friends and family later.

Why You Should Go: 

Mutt E. Waters offers canoe and kayak rentals. You can book 2.5 and 4-hour kayak and canoe river excursions. When you book a canoe excursion, you can leave all the details to them. They have everything you need for an epic day on the water. With water temperatures averaging 48 to 64 degrees, you’ll have no trouble cooling off during the summer.

Traveler’s Tip: Just 25 minutes from Burkesville, stop in to the town of Albany, KY, for some homemade BBQ and a swim at Seventy Six Falls.


You’ll work up quite an appetite and likely be a tad tired after your morning adventures. Luckily, Burkesville offers some tasty foods and options for a laid-back afternoon. Let’s look at how you should spend the afternoon!

Grab a Quick Lunch at Tastee Foods

Delicious food doesn’t have to break the bank. At Tastee Foods, you can get delicious food with excellent service. They’re a small cash-only burger joint that makes your food fresh when you order. You’ll likely forgive the minimal wait when you take the first bite. Walk up to the window and order from their menu full of classic burger joint foods.

Address: 203 Glasgow Rd, Burkesville, KY 42717

Menu Options: Tastee Foods offers many classics you expect to see on a burger joint’s menu. In addition to burgers, you’ll find tenderloin sandwiches, chicken strips meals, and fish sandwiches. Pair them with some onion petals, mozzarella sticks, or french fries, and you’ve got yourself a meal for a quick bite to eat. Wash it all down with sweet tea, soda, or water. What better way to end your meal than with a delicious ice cream cone or milkshake?

Why You Should Go: Tastee Foods is a quick stop in your day of adventure. You don’t have to sacrifice quality just because you’re getting an inexpensive meal. Tastee Foods makes it easy to grab a bite to eat and please your taste buds on your way to your next adventure.

Two glasses of red and white wine at a winery.

Enjoy a Tasting at Up The Creek Winery

Your next stop will be at Up the Creek Winery. Here you can sample some of their finest wines made from their 1200 wine grapevines and 700 trellised blackberry and red raspberry bushes. Your tastebuds will love each of their handcrafted wines. 

Address: 930 Norris Branch Rd, Burkesville, KY 42717

Why You Should Go: While you may not think of Kentucky when you think of wine, at one point, it was the leading wine producer in the United States. They use various grapes to create their wines, including Gold Muscat, Chambourcin, Seyval Blanc, Vignoles, and Marquette. It’s a great way to taste some of the finest wines in all of Kentucky.


As we stated, there’s plenty to do in Burkesville to fill an entire day. With the setting sun, start thinking about dinner and how you’ll spend your evening. Luckily for you, we’ve got a couple of great suggestions.

Enjoy Dinner at El Rey Mexican Restaurant

You don’t have to head south of the border to experience authentic Mexican cuisine. Burkesville is home to El Rey Mexican Restaurant and creates authentic Mexican dishes. You’ll find a wide variety of dishes and drinks that not only taste great but are affordable as well.

Address: 225 N Main St, Burkesville, KY 42717

Menu Options: At El Rey Mexican Restaurant, you’ll find an extensive menu of burritos, enchiladas, and Mexican specialties. They also offer a massive list of specialties, including nachos, steak, and fajitas. Wash down your dinner with their selection of beers and specialty drinks, and you’ll have a fantastic dining experience.

Why You Should Go: El Rey Mexican Restaurant offers authentic Mexican food and an atmosphere that feels like you’re dining in Mexico. 

Take a Night Hike at Dale Hollow Lake State Park

Grab a flashlight or headlamp, and let’s do some hiking! There are over 15 miles of trails at Dale Hollow Lake State Park. These trails follow old logging roads for exploring the narrow ridge tops throughout the park. 

Address: 5970 State Park Rd, Burkesville, KY 42717 

Why You Should Go: What better way to end your day than a stroll through the park? You can make the hike as long or as short as you like, but it’s a fantastic way to walk off your dinner and talk about the memories you’ve made in Burkesville.

Two hikers wish a flashlight at night under the stars.

Where to Stay?

You’re going to need a place to stay while you’re visiting Burkesville. Don’t expect any big corporate hotels. However, there are a couple of fantastic AirBnbs you should consider.

Cozy Cabin Retreat AirBnb

This cabin is an outdoorsman’s paradise. This is a 1,650 square foot cabin with trophy smallmouth bass fishing nearby and miles of hiking trails. There’s plenty of room for your entire family to relax and rest during your time in Burkesville.

This AirBnb has three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a fully equipped kitchen. You’ll enjoy the comforts of this house inside, but the real treat comes in the outdoor dining space. Sit outside and listen to the sounds of nature on the deck and stargaze. The house offers free WiFi, a massive 65” TV, a fenced-in yard, and four rocking chairs to relax on the enormous deck.

Why You’ll Love Staying Here:
If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a luxury cabin in the woods, this is it. The cabin has space for everyone in your family to spread out and relax. You may even find yourself extending your stay to enjoy the spave a little longer.

Southern Farm Mansion AirBnb

Have you ever dreamed of sleeping in a mansion? This AirBnb can make your dreams come true. This Southern mansion is close to Dale Hollow Lake and is incredibly private. Staying here allows you to enjoy the laid-back and small-town atmosphere.


This southern mansion has room for eight guests. Inside you’ll have four bedrooms and two full baths. When you make this reservation, you get the entire farm to yourself. The house has a kitchen, WiFi, washer/dryer, and all the essentials you could need during your stay.

Why You’ll Love Staying Here:
You’re only a few miles from some of the best antique stores, boutique stores, and local restaurants when you stay here. You can easily go kayaking or play a round of golf. It makes it easy to enjoy Burkesville and several neighboring towns as well.

A couple holding hands as they watch the sunset over the hills in Kentucky (KY)

A Day in Burkesville, KY

While some like the hustle and bustle of a busy city, small towns like Burkesville, KY, offer something special. Whether you want a relaxing weekend getaway or outdoor adventures, you’ll find it in Burkesville. Plan your time here before word gets out about this hidden gem. 

What’s your favorite hidden gem to visit?

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