In December 2021, tornadoes ripped through parts of Kentucky, causing extensive damage. Eighty people lost their lives. Dawson Springs, KY, was one of the decimated towns during those two days. Fourteen people died, and 75% of the town was destroyed.
Since then, the people of Dawson Springs have been restoring their beloved town. Their spirit is strong, and their bonds are unbreakable. It’s a beautiful sight to witness. And if you want to visit Dawson Springs, KY, there are a few ways you can join the locals and enjoy this Southern town.
Let’s take a closer look at this western Kentucky town and explore five ways to celebrate the history and community of Dawson Springs.
Where Is Dawson Springs, KY?
Home to about 2,400 people, Dawson Springs is located between Highway 62 and Interstate 69 in western Kentucky. Lake Beshear is directly south, and the city of Nortonville is directly east.
Louisville is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive northeast. Evansville, Ind., is about a 70-minute drive north along Interstate 69.
5 Best Things to Do in Dawson Springs, KY
Dawson Springs is worth making a pit stop here to explore the outdoor recreation, dine on local cuisine, and learn about its history. Travelers of all ages will enjoy a visit to Dawson Springs, KY. And you’ll experience the beautiful spirit of the locals who call Dawson Springs home.
1. Relax at Riverside Park
Address: 901 W Arcadia Ave, Dawson Springs, KY 42408
Why You Should Visit: Built in 1914 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Riverside Park was originally a spring training facility. It was made entirely of wood, a rarity in western Kentucky.
In 1999, it was rebuilt to preserve the history of the park. Like the original park, the renovated park was constructed entirely of wood to make it as authentic as possible. If you’re bringing your RV to Dawson Springs, KY, there are six RV spots available for overnight camping.
2.Spend the Day at Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park
Address: 20781 Pennyrile Lodge Rd, Dawson Springs, KY 42408
Why You Should Visit: Only a short 15-minute drive south from Riverside Park, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park offers plenty to do. From hiking to swimming and fishing, outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring the area’s scenic beauty.
There are numerous trails in the park, from short 0.2-mile linear trails to a longer 13.5-mile linear trail. Enjoy plenty of water activities on the lake, such as boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, and pedal boating.
An 18-hole golf course is also within the park and mini-golf and playgrounds for the kids. Stay at the stone lodge or reserve a campsite while you’re there.
Traveler’s Tip: Full of natural beauty and southern charm, learn five of the best things to do in Eddyville, KY.
3. Grab Some Pie at Ms. Becky’s Place
Address: 309 E Arcadia Ave, Dawson Springs, KY 42408
Why You Should Visit: If you want to chow down on good ol’ home cooking with quality Southern hospitality, you can’t skip Ms. Becky’s Place. Open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. except for Sundays, choose from daily specials like meatloaf, roast beef, and country fried steak.
And you might just meet Ms. Becky herself. She’s usually there answering the phone, serving up dishes, or cooking in the kitchen.
In December 2021, when tornadoes decimated almost 75% of Dawson Springs, KY, Ms. Becky’s Place became a safe haven for residents to escape the tragedy of their circumstances and enjoy a meal with people they’ve known their whole lives.
If you don’t want to stop for the food (which is amazing), stop to support this local small business and the people who live in Dawson Springs, KY.
4. Visit the Dawson Springs Museum & Art Center
Address: 127 S Main St, Dawson Springs, KY 42408
Why You Should Visit: Less than half a mile from Ms. Becky’s Place is Dawson Springs Museum & Art Center. The area of Dawson Springs has a long history of people traveling to visit the springs’ healing waters, and the museum was established to preserve this history.
The old Commercial Bank of Dawson, built in 1907, houses the museum. Admission is free. You can visit Tuesdays to Fridays between 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. And if you visit during the right time of year, you can view the local high school art exhibit on display.
5. Go Fishing in Lake Beshear
Address: US 62 & W KY Pkwy, Dawson Springs, KY 42408
Why You Should Visit: Located inside Pennyrile Forest State Park, Lake Beshear is home to white crappie, bluegill, green sunfish, longear sunfish, channel catfish, and blue catfish. If you’re a fisherman and enjoy baitcasting, spinning, or fly fishing, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to cast your line here.
The lake also provides plenty of space for boating and water skiing. Spend the whole day here or just a few hours.
Is Dawson Springs, KY, Worth a Visit?
If you’re driving along the Western Kentucky Parkway between Paducah and Lexington, plan on stopping in Dawson Springs for at least a few days. It’s an area of natural beauty and plenty of fun activities to enjoy the outdoors.
Although the deadly tornadoes ripped apart buildings and stole lives, they didn’t destroy the community’s spirit. When you visit Dawson Springs, you’ll encounter a people of strength and purpose. The bonds there might be so strong that you’ll return for another visit.
What are you most looking forward to during your visit to Dawson Springs, KY?