From the first day of Memorial Day weekend to the last day of Labor Day weekend each year, sun worshippers and weekend escapists head to Cumberland Mountain State Park to enjoy a few hours of summer fun on Byrd Lake—whether it’s by canoe, kayak, paddleboat, or stand-up paddleboard.
What Makes It Great
Sharing the lake with anglers and onlookers alike, it’s popular with both locals and those just passing through. The 35-acre lake is just large enough not to bump elbows, but small enough to foster a cozy sense of community for those who visit. Whether renting a canoe or bringing a kayak/stand up paddleboard from home, summer revelers love to spend time on the man-made Byrd Lake during the stretch of time between the two long weekends that effectively act as the season’s bookends. For visitors to Cumberland Mountain State Park, those are the precious months during which the boat dock is open and rentals are available.
Open from 7 am to 7 pm through mid-August, the dock welcomes park guests each day for some fun in the sun on the Cumberland Plateau. The last boat has to be out of the water by 6:45 pm, which is a perfect time to grab a bite from Homestead Harvest, the restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows onsite overlooking the lake and woods beyond, before calling it a day. Then, for the rest of the season, the dock’s days and hours are slightly abbreviated as the warmer months come to a close.
Who is Going to Love It
People who love being on the water without too much of a hassle tend to appreciate the park’s no-fuss atmosphere, with easy lake access, and a laid-back but family-friendly attitude.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Accessible via US-127, follow the signs into the park and toward the visitors’ center for further instructions on parking and lake access. Boat ramp access is only available from late May through early September.