Breaks Interstate Park is one of only two parks in the U.S. that span more than one state. Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the South,” this park operated jointly by Kentucky and Virginia has plenty to keep families busy, from camping to . These tips will help you cram more adventure into your visit.

Breaks Interstate Park

Find your adventure at Breaks Interstate Park.

Overlook at Breaks Interstate Park. Photo by Allison Taylor

Every time I turn around someone is telling me about a new place to visit, which leads me to Breaks Interstate Park. It is often referred to as the ‘Grand Canyon of the South’ due to the sheer volume of visitors that the park enjoys on a yearly basis. This park is only one of two interstate parks in the entire U.S. The term interstate park means that the two states (in this case Kentucky and Virginia) equally share responsibility for running and maintaining the park.  There are so many great things to do that you might need to visit a few times to fit it all in!

Breaks Interstate Park straddles the Virginia/ Kentucky line and is located near Pikeville, Kentucky. If you are coming from the Virginia side of the park it is near the town of Clintwood.

Entering Breaks Interstate Park.

Entering Breaks Interstate Park. Photo by Allison Taylor


Making a trip to this park is a great choice for active and adventurous families. If you decide to go all out and want to squeeze all the adventure that you possibly can into your trip I would recommend reading these tips first!

Don’t worry if you and your crew prefer to take it slower, which is absolutely an option. In fact if my kids would have allowed it I would have spent half of the day just gazing at the beauty of my surroundings!

Where to Stay Near Breaks Interstate Park

The first decision to make is regarding accommodations.

Will you be camping? The park supports both primitive camping (tent) and RV camping. The prices range from $15 all the way up to $122 for ‘group camping’.

If camping isn’t in your wheelhouse (don’t worry, it isn’t in mine either) there are some other options as well.

A room at Breaks Interstate Park.

A room at Breaks Interstate Park. Photo by Allison Taylor

The lodge at the park has 81 rooms and are very basic, but they do come with a kitchenette, pots & pans, and dishes. This for my family is key. My children are 4 and 6 years old, so often times on a very busy trip we can’t get it together to go back out for dinner, because attitudes need adjusting. If you are in a different season of life having a kitchen is helpful because there aren’t an overabundance of restaurants around!

If you are traveling with a bigger group or just really need some space to spread out there is also an option to rent a lake front cabin or a woodland cottage. Just note, that if you opt for this during peak season be prepared to rent the space from Friday to Friday.

Finding Adventure at Breaks Interstate Park

A beautiful river at Break Interstate Park.

Find your adventure white water rafting at Break Interstate Park (if your kids are big enough). Photo by Allison Taylor

There are so many things to get into with your family that choosing will most likely be the hardest task! The park has more than 25 miles of hiking trails to explore and the best part for my little family is that most trails are less than a long mile long (which makes it much easier on little legs!), but if your group opts to go further the trails cross over into each other. So, that one mile trail can easily become a 5 mile trail and it did with my husband leading us!

White water rafting is also an activity that needs to be added to your list for this trip. I didn’t get to go because our kids are a bit small. Kids need to be 8 or older to participate in a white water rafting trip.  The park’s website claims that the rapids are some of the best in the Eastern part of the U.S. If you have the chance to participate, do it for me!

Photo by Allison Taylor

Photo by Allison Taylor

If your family is into geocaching or even if it is your first chance to give geocaching a try, the 60 different geocaches hidden in the park will be right up your alley! Geocaching is a high tech treasure hunt that uses a GPS to help locate a small waterproof container that typically has a log and pens inside. If you are unfamiliar with geocaching this article explains it really well!

If you get hot and sweaty exploring the park, which you will! During the summer months head over to Splash in the Park, a (small) water park inside of Breaks Interstate Park, there is a zero entry pool, 4 different waterslides, a splash park just to name a few of the features. There is a modest admission fee of $10 for everyone over 4 feet tall and $8 for those 4 feet and under.

When to Visit Breaks Interstate Park

A waterfall at Breaks Interstate Park.

A waterfall at Breaks Interstate Park. Photo by Allison Taylor

Breaks Interstate Park is a fantastic choice no matter the time of the year, because there is always something to see and do. There are various special events that happen throughout the year so I would recommend taking a peek at the schedule to see if there is something extra going on that your family would really enjoy. You can see that here.

This particular trip would be best suited for families with slightly older children, my 4 year old loved it but personality plays a lot into the enjoyment factor (doesn’t it always?!). If you and your family are looking for a luxurious vacation this isn’t going to be what you are looking for!

However, also located in Kentucky is a great glamping destination, called Popes Creek Ranch that is worth looking into!

I can’t wait to hear all about your experience at Breaks Interstate Park. If you decide to go make sure to comment and let me know!

This post was written by Allison Taylor. Here’s what she says about herself: “I am a born and bred Kentucky girl. I have lived in the state my whole life and at this point I don’t see that changing anytime soon. My family and I love to explore our great state and the fact that there seems to be a never-ending list of places to check out, makes Kentucky perfect for my active family.  I am married to a firefighter and we have 2 boys ages 4 and 7.”

Breaks Interstate Park: Get tips for visiting the "Grand Canyon of the South" on the Virginia and Kentucky state line.