Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Hazard, KY

  • Published 2023/02/03

Enjoy a healthy dose of fun and adventure in Hazard, Kentucky.

Adventure tourism is a trademark to this city and seat of Perry County, which the Kentucky Department of Tourism has designated as a Kentucky Trail Town.

Hazard’s location on the North Fork Kentucky River is perfect for outdoor lovers.

The 7.6-square-mile area of the city spreads on the Cumberland foothills, with the Daniel Boone National Forest just east of it.

However, there’s more to Hazard besides the outdoor delights its trails offer to hikers, bikers, and horse riders.

Founded in 1821, Hazard has molded many historical attractions, such as fun festivals featuring original arts and crafts.

The city annexed its neighboring community of Lothair in 1965, thereby adding more points of interest in Hazard’s city limits.

The Hazard Community College, established in 1968, adds to the city’s attractions.

Find out more about these on the following list of best things to do in Hazard, Kentucky.

Explore Perry County Park

One of the largest parks in Perry County, this park can be explored via trails designed with varying difficulty levels.

Perry County Park, located just east of Kentucky Road 550, boasts a 10-mile loop trail with segments ranging from easy to challenging.

It also offers visitors other recreational facilities, including an outdoor swimming pool, skateboarding area, horse ring, basketball courts, and ball fields.

Visiting families can enjoy bonding in the park’s picnic shelters and putt-putt golf area.

Watch out, too, for the many special events hosted on the Perry County Park stage, such as music concerts.

Tackle the North Fork Kentucky River via the Hazard City Ramp

Visiting boaters, including paddlers, can easily access the North Fork Kentucky River via the public Hazard City Ramp.

This facility is conveniently located behind Hazard City Hall on Main Street.

The ramp here is paved and can accommodate any light trailerable recreational boat.

It is good for up to 25 watercraft and is available 24/7 year-round with no ramp fee.

Parking is also provided nearby, and those without one can check out boat tours from Hazard.

May through October are the ideal months to tackle the North Fork Kentucky River.

One experience most memorable for boaters is a trip to where the North, Middle, and South Fork Kentucky Rivers converge at Beattyville, some 55 miles northwest of Hazard.

Go Fishing on the North Fork Kentucky River

Boatless anglers eyeing the North Fork Kentucky River can access several onshore fishing spots in Hazard.

One of the most popular and easily accessible is the fishing pier near the boat ramp behind Hazard’s City Hall on Main Street.

Anglers’ potential catches in the North Fork Kentucky River include muskellunge, smallmouth bass, rock bass, spotted bass, and channel catfish.

Hazard also boasts a selection of lakes and ponds for fishing, with Buck Branch Paylake as one popular choice.

This family-owned anglers’ destination on Buck Branch Road offers a two-acre lake stocked with various fish species like flatheads.

Visit the Bobby Davis Park & Museum

The Bobby Davis Park & Museum is a serene destination on Walnut Street overlooking the downtown area of Hazard.

Lawrence Davis, a prominent city resident, established it as a memorial to his son, Bobby Davis, and other fallen American heroes of World War II.

A waterfall and an herb garden grace the grounds of this park which also features benches and tables for community events.

Admission is free to this park which is one of Hazard City’s venues for special summer events.

The park hosts the city’s “Cocktails in the Garden,” typically in October, featuring original recipes.

Artifacts depicting life in Perry County from 1850 to 1950 are housed in the Bobby Davis Park & Museum.

Pick a Fun Activity at the Hazard Pavilion

Built in 1988, the Hazard Pavilion offers several recreational facilities on Broadway Street.

Its offerings include a 25-meter heated swimming pool and a 1.5-mile track for runners.

Sports buffs can choose from the center’s two tennis courts and three racquetball/handball courts.

Physical fitness enthusiasts, on the other hand, can level up their training regimen at the Hazard Pavilion’s weight room and cardiovascular equipment.

For socials, visitors of the pavilion can gather for picnics, parties, and special events at the center’s sun deck and patio.

Have a Photo Shoot at Mother Goose House

Proceed to North Main Street, where you can have a photo shoot at the unique Mother Goose House.

Completed in 1940, this house is a striking city landmark with its goose-shaped structure.

The house, which has been featured in prominent national media like the New York Times, is the product of the rich imagination of a local resident George Stacy.

The architectural design of the Mother Goose House is a standout with its goose theme, complete with egg-shaped windows.

As another quaint touch, automobile lights were installed as the eyes of the goose atop the structure.

Visitors of the Mother Goose House can also see its expansive collection of rocks from across the U.S. and Canada.

Drop by Holliday Farm and Garden

Holliday Farm and Garden, established in 1855, organizes annual family farm days worth watching out for.

This vintage farm is located on Kentucky Highway 476 at the northern edge of Hazard.

A trip to the farm during its special events will allow you to enjoy plenty of fun activities for all family members.

These delights were mainly the result of the generations of families who developed Holiday Farm and Garden and promoted agriculture’s importance.

Visitors during the annual farm days can enjoy hay rides and pumpkin painting, as well as purchase farm products like beef from cattle fed with purely organic hay.

Dine at Big Blue Smokehouse

Years of experience in dishing out steak and barbecue during Perry County festivals became the launching pad for Big Blue Smokehouse.

This restaurant is one of the standouts among the dining venues at the Hazard Village Shopping Center off Hal Rogers Parkway.

Boasting a family-friendly ambiance, Big Blue Smokehouse offers various dishes at reasonable prices.

Besides its steaks and barbecues, this restaurant boasts a one-trip salad bar where the picks are always fresh.

Working under the slogan “We only rub the best butts,” Big Blue Smokehouse draws not only Hazard locals but also patrons across East Kentucky.

Shop at Cute&Boujee

The city of Hazard promotes the concept of buying locally, leading to the growth of shops like Cute&Boujee.

Located on Laurel Street, this home-grown shopping destination offers fashionable women’s and men’s outfits.

This store tempts customers with its wide variety of brands sold in every price range.

You can easily pick items here suited to your style preference, as the store has separate sections for different styles.

Besides clothing, Cute&Boujee also sells accessories, such as women’s bags and handbags, scarves, and men’s wallets and belts.

Check Out Appalachian Quilt and Craft

The Appalachian Quilt and Craft is a prime destination for ladies with a passion for the art of sewing.

It is located on North Main Street across the Hazard City Hall parking lot.

Appalachian Quilt and Craft has grown as a community gathering place.

It offers a pleasant atmosphere for exchanging ideas among those interested in the art of quilting.

Both quilting pros and novices frequent this unique store selling quality quilting and craft materials.

With such a winsome combination, the store has grown as a prime mover of the art of quilting in Kentucky.

Hunt for Bargains at Factory Connection

Hazard hosts one of the outlets of the retail chain Factory Connection, offering sharply discounted fashion items.

The city’s Factory Connection store is located at the Hazard Village Shopping Center on Hal Rogers Parkway.

In this store, customers can choose from the latest fashion apparel at 25% to 70% below regular retail prices.

The store can offer big discounts because Factory Connection sources stocks directly from the leading fashion manufacturers.

The items’ selection in Factory Connection includes brand name fashions for juniors, misses, plus, and men.

Shoes, accessories, and home décor are also sold at Factory Connection. ​

Pick Fresh Goods at Perry County Farmers Market

Triangle Park on Hazard’s Main Street is home to Perry County Farmers Market, touted as one of the longest-running farmers markets in southeastern Kentucky.

The farmers market operates during summer and fall, with afternoon schedules on Thursdays and morning on Saturdays.

The homegrown seasonal produce available during these days includes tomatoes, corn, squash, melons, peppers, beans, and honey.

Producers of handmade crafts also sell their wares in the Perry County Farmers Market.

Their customers can pick from quality goods such as linens, fashion accessories, and birdhouses.

Visit The ArtStation

Located on Main Street, The ArtStation is home to the Appalachian Arts Alliance, promoting creative expression and special events in the Appalachian region.

Inside The ArtStation, you can check with the Arts Alliance staff about upcoming cultural events in and around Hazard.

Artistic and creative activities typically hosted in The ArtStation include music lessons and dance classes.

It also hosts a Community Art Night wherein you can join in creating community art with all supplies provided free to all participants.

KinderMusic for toddlers is another endearing activity to experience at The ArtStation.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park

Swimming pool at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park

Malachi Jacobs /

A nature lovers’ delight, Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park is located in eastern Kentucky’s Appalachian foothills, about 24 miles northwest of Hazard.

You can stay at an affordable lodge here just along the periphery of the Daniel Boone National Forest.

The resort park features nature trails with commanding views of the 1,200-acre Buckhorn Lake and its surrounding mountains.

Scenic sunset at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park

Malachi Jacobs /

During summer, swimming is enjoyable either in the lodge’s pool or the lake, which is also open to fishing.

At the lodge, guests can have lunch or dinner at Bowlingtown Country Kitchen’s dining room.

They can also see in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park handcrafted replicas of the buildings in Bowlingtown that were submerged when Buckhorn was created in the 1960s.

Explore the Trails at Mine Made Adventure Park and Campground

Experience the thrills of the various trails of Mine Made Adventure Park and Campground, a facility developed from a former coal mine.

This repurposed mining area is located off Sutton Memorial Drive in the unincorporated community of Leburn within Knott County, 27 miles northeast of Hazard.

The park offers miles of trails for Side by Sides and ATVs, with markers on the tracks defining the skill levels from beginner to advanced riders.

Horseback riding is another exciting activity that the park offers on its trails, where you can ride for days without a repeat of the path.

Mine Made Adventure Park and Campground provides a barn with corrals and stables on its site.

The park’s trails are also open to hikers who can view elk sheds along the way.

Extended stays are convenient at this park which boasts family-friendly, full-service RV campsites, cabins, and tent sites.

Rough It Out at Buffalo Camp & Ride

Hardy visitors of Hazard are likely to be drawn to the outdoor adventures that Buffalo Camp & Ride offers.

This adventure travel destination is located on Dusty Fork Road in Buckhorn, about an hour’s drive west of Hazard.

Buffalo Camp & Ride offers unlimited primitive camping at a very affordable price.

It also provides RV camping sites with water and power available.

Campers new to the area will enjoy the guided ATV rides that the camp offers.

Holiday weekends are ideal to visit Buffalo Camp & Ride, as it hosts exciting events like Easter Egg Trail Hunt.

Final Thoughts

Many of the best things to do in Hazard, Kentucky, are suited for visitors who love outdoor activities.

At the same time, the city also provides plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy urban pleasures.

Keep Hazard in mind if you want a vacation offering a mix of destinations that the whole family can enjoy.

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