Morehead is a city in Kentucky under Rowan County, known as a trail town because of its proximity to lush forests and mountain ranges.
Morehead is situated at the foot of the Appalachians Mountains in Kentucky, making this a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, especially mountain hikers.
You’ll get access to Cave Run Lake, one of the best lakes in the southeastern region of the United States.
Besides Cave Run Lake, there are several other scenic spots in the city, with a couple of other urban destinations to add diversity to your itinerary.
Here’s a list of the best things to do in Morehead, Kentucky, to give you a glimpse of what to expect in this underrated city:
Go Swimming or Boating at Cave Run Lake
Cave Run Lake is Morehead’s pride when it comes to their tourism.
In partnership with Morehead and Rowan County, Cave Run Lake has been the point of emphasis in revving the tourism of Morehead and other neighboring communities.
There’s a lot to do at this unique lake, characterized by a zigzag shape that runs across several other cities south of Morehead.
Tons of activities are available at this lake, including boating, swimming, fishing, and more.
It’s particularly famous as a swimming destination, as its pristine waters and its beaches make this a perfect place to relax.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you may go boating and fishing in the deeper portions of the lake.
Cave Run Lake can be accessible at several points, primarily along Kentucky Route 801.
Hike along the Sheltowee Trace Trail
Sheltowee Trace Trail is one of the longest trails in Rowan County, stretching 20 miles long.
The trailhead begins along Cranston Road and stretches deep into the south portion of the woods.
The main attraction of Sheltowee Trace Trail is its untouched forestry, making it an amazing experience that will surely immerse you in the natural wonders of Morehead.
The trail is sprawling with trees and several creeks and streams, so gear up properly, as it can get rough.
The place is well-maintained and even features welcome signage with a phone stand for group photos.
An underrated hiking spot in Morehead, Sheltowee Trace Trail is one of the best-kept secrets in the state.
Take a Break at Morehead Rowan County Community Park
Morehead Rowan County Community Park is a great place to spend a slow day in the city.
It has some baseball fields where you can watch a game, but it also has some walking trails that make it a perfect spot to walk your dogs should you bring them during your trip.
There’s also a nice splash pad here for the kids if you’re visiting during the hotter months.
Morehead Rowan County Community Park is also conveniently located along Flemingsburg Road, giving it excellent access to several famous diners and restaurants in the city.
Easily accessible and laid back, Morehead Rowan County Community Park is a tranquil option should you want to take a break.
View a Wide Range of Local Art at Kentucky Folk Art Center
Kentucky Folk Art Center is one of the few destinations in the city proper, located along 1st Street.
The art center is managed by Morehead State University and features a wide range of collections that exhibit American folk art.
It has both permanent and rotating exhibits, so don’t miss out on visiting this place if you’re passionate about art.
You’ll also see a lot of relevant displays here that depict the culture of Kentucky, alongside other exhibits from local artists.
A gift shop is also present in Kentucky Folk Art Center, making this a great place to shop for a cool souvenirs.
Visit the Morehead Railroad and Historical Museum
Morehead Railroad and Historical Museum should be your next destination after Kentucky Folk Art Center.
You can easily spend an hour or two in this quaint museum, as it’s managed by volunteers that offer invaluable knowledge about the history of Kentucky’s industrialization.
There’s so much to see at Morehead Railroad and Historical Museum, ranging from railroad dioramas to vintage vehicles, like trucks and tractors from the 19th Century.
You’ll see a lot of vintage locomotive engines here, along with an actual replica outside the museum.
With so many fun and interactive displays, it’s the perfect family destination.
There’s a lot more to discover in this sizable museum, so add this to your can’t-miss destinations in Morehead.
Do Recreational Activities at Morehead City Park Complex
Morehead City Park Complex is one of the most bustling parks in the city, thanks to its wide array of amenities.
It’s a perfect place to immerse yourself with the locals, as many go here to play a wide variety of sports like basketball, baseball, and skating.
While lots of teenagers and kids play sports, many adults enjoy other activities here, like going on picnics, walks, and fishing.
Speaking of fishing, Morehead City Park Complex is along Triplett Creek, a stream of water that runs through Morehead City.
Because of this, the park gets a nice breeze as well.
Blending fun and beauty, Morehead City Park Complex is a fun addition to your itinerary.
Attend the Poppy Mountain Music Festival
The Poppy Mountain Music Festival is one of the most awaited annual events in Rowan County.
Situated in Morehead’s Poppy Mountain, found northeast of the city proper, Poppy Mountain Music Festival features bluegrass musicians complemented by an assortment of food vendors.
It doubles as an event venue and a campsite, giving the festival a unique countryside experience.
The place also has a quirky aesthetic, as its sprawling grassy fields are littered with vintage junk cars, adding a unique charm to the area.
If you’re into bluegrass music with a rural campsite ambiance, the Poppy Mountain Music Festival generally happens every September.
Go Fishing at Pelfrey’s Paylake
Pelfrey’s Paylake offers a straightforward experience to go angling without having to go hiking or trekking in Morehead.
Located along Sugarloaf Mountain Road, it gives you access to a rich private pond where you can simply sit back and wait for a good haul.
What Pelfrey’s Paylake is known for is the large presence of catfish—boasting lengths of around 2-3 feet long.
Pelfrey’s Paylake also has a well-stocked store that offers all kinds of fishing equipment, like rods, baits, and other gear.
A niche location catering to passionate anglers, Pelfrey’s Paylake makes for a convenient but fun outdoor excursion.
Explore Eagle Lake
If you’re looking for a smaller alternative lake, Eagle Lake is a scenic spot that lets you appreciate the natural beauty of Morehead.
While nowhere as big and fun as the activities you can do in Cave Run Lake, Eagle Lake offers more tranquility without compromising on beautiful aesthetics.
The lake is picturesque, covered with beautiful foliage and pristine waters, making it the perfect place to spend intimate time with friends or family.
Its hiking trails are easy and offer great views throughout, so it’s an excellent alternative for those looking for a less strenuous outdoor excursion.
Fishing is also famous here, as the lake is brimming with all sorts of aquatic life.
Eagle Lake can be accessed along Evan Branch Road, behind Morehead State University.
Buy Local Honey at The Honey and Bee Connection Store
The Honey and Bee Connection Store is a fantastic place to buy homemade honey, whether as a gift or as a souvenir for yourself.
Besides their pure honey products, The Honey and Bee Connection Store also has other cute bee-related merchandise, such as T-shirts, bags, and home decor.
The owners here do a great job of informing you about their products, so you know what goes behind the process of extracting honey.
If you’re interested in beekeeping yourself, they’ll also offer invaluable knowledge in that regard.
A quaint store that offers delicious honey, The Honey and Bee Connection Store is one of the best souvenir shops in Morehead, found along the fork of Emory Branch Road and Cranston Road.
Watch a Movie at Morehead Cinemas 6
If there’s a movie you’re interested in watching during your visit, Morehead Cinemas 6 is the place to go.
This humble theater is highly rated by Rowan County locals for its cleanliness, professionalism, and modern facilities that lets you watch a movie comfortably.
It has comfy seating and a great sound system, and its widescreens also have 3D capability for some movies.
There’s also popcorn and drinks available, making this cinema a good all-rounder.
Morehead Cinemas 6 has tons of parking available, too—found along West Wilkinson Boulevard near Triplett Creek.
Play a Round of Golf at Eagle Trace Golf Course
If you’re a golfing enthusiast, Eagle Trace Golf Course utilizes the rich topography of Morehead that gives your game an excellent, challenging experience.
Eagle Trace Golf Course is owned by Morehead State University and is one of the few golf courses in Rowan County.
The layout and design of Eagle Trace Golf Course is unique, offering smaller and more angled greens than usual, along with plenty of elevation changes.
The fairways here are beautifully maintained and nicely positioned, making it a great beginner’s level golf course.
While owned by the state university, Eagle Trace Golf Course is located in a separate location, along Eagle Drive West of Morehead’s city proper.
Trek Rodburn Hollow Park
Rodburn Hollow Park is another trailhead that lets you experience the rich outdoors of the city.
What makes Rodburn Hollow Park an attractive option is its proximity to the city proper, as it’s easily accessible through East Main Street.
Maintained by a small group of passionate individuals, Rodburn Hollow Park has several amenities that make it a family-friendly trek.
In fact, it has a children’s path where each station has a book page, incentivizing children to complete the trek to finish reading the book.
They have swings for children, shelters, and grill sites, which make it a good place to picnic.
Dogs are also allowed for fur parents looking to bring their pets.
An easy hike full of lush vegetation, trekking Rodburn Hollow Park is an enjoyable experience for all kinds of families.
Shop Local Produce at Rowan County Farmers’ Market
Rowan County Farmers’ Market is found in both Morehead and the county’s go-to place to shop for local produce and other homegrown items.
Typically held on Saturdays near Triplett Creek by the corner of Bridge Street and U.S. Route 60, Rowan’s Farmers’ Market is easily accessible during your stay.
You’ll see a wide range of products here, as many vendors congregate to sell products like vegetables, fruits, flowers, honey, herbs, and large crops.
Rowan County Farmers’ Market is also where locals hold their annual Tractor Show, where you can see some cool tractors displayed.
With many locals congregating here during the weekends, it’s also a great way to immerse yourself in the laid-back community of Morehead.
Bring the Kids to Sheltowee Splash Pad
Right across Morehead City Park Complex lies the Sheltowee Splash Pad, found along Triplett Street.
This is a famous attraction for children, boasting several fun mini slides and strong water fountains that will surely cool down children on a hot summer day.
There are also plenty of chairs and benches for adults while kids run along the splash pad.
Like Morehead City Park Complex, Sheltowee Splash Pad is also by Triplett Creek, giving it a serene creekside ambiance.
If you have some downtime and you’re traveling with children, Sheltowee Splash Pad is a great way to cool down.
Morehead is a quaint little city packed with interesting outdoor fun if you’re traveling to Kentucky.
While not necessarily a tourist haven, the city manages one of the finest lakes in the region, making it an exciting destination.
It’s also situated by the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, giving you access to all sorts of trails.
Beyond that, Morehead also has a nice local community with several museums and parks, making it a great week-long countryside destination.
Tranquil but fun, the best things to do in Morehead, Kentucky, are hidden gems awaiting your visit!