Whether you’re planning an extended vacation or just a short getaway, Red River Gorge is an ideal spot for getting out of the city and away from the daily grind. A mere two hours from Cincinnati to the north and two hours from Louisville to the northwest, vacation rentals range from cozy mountain chalets to spacious modern homes. Fun-loving families find adventure zip lining through the Daniel Boone National Forest, canoeing down Red River by moonlight, hiking, rock climbing, and more. Many facilities welcome pets, so bring your adorable pooch or beloved kitty along. Here’s a list of the 11 best Red River Gorge vacation rental locations.

1. Red River Gorge

stone arch
Source: Flickr / The Cut

You won’t have to wait to exhale because the awesome sandstone arches towering above the forests at Red River Gorge will take your breath away. Among the estimated 150 arches in Red River Gorge, Princess Arch features a hiking trail that is about a mile out and back. Located near the town of Stanton, the trail’s forest setting and year-round accessibility appeal to hikers of all skill levels. Dogs may walk the trail with their owners. With your vacation rental as the epicenter of your adventures, you can include fishing, swimming, horseback riding, spelunking, and nature photography on your itinerary.

2. Slade

stone bridge
Source: Flickr / Cédric Boismain

Over millions of years, nature worked to carve out the sandstone arch-natural bridge, which is 65 feet high and 78 feet long. Natural Bridge State Park features 19 miles of trails, a 60-acre lake, campgrounds, and a skylift. Hikers enjoy making their way to the top of the arch to enjoy the view of the gorge. For everyone else, the skylift serves the same purpose. When you book your vacation in Slade, small town charm and big time adventure wait for you every morning just outside your door.

3. Campton

stone mountain
Source: Flickr / pmuellr

Are you ready to uncomplicate your life for a few days? You can do just that when you stay in the quiet little town of Campton. It’s a great place for hiking, climbing, and just finding your private space to meditate or rest. Finding solitude has never been easier when you consider the thousands of acres of Daniel Boone National Forest at your doorstep. Campton can be your little slice of heaven on earth.

4. Pine Ridge

rock climber in action
Source: Flickr / ShedBOy^

If you’ve ever wanted to go mountain climbing in the Alps, you’ll thoroughly enjoy a trip to Pine Ridge. Kentucky Rock and Adventure Guides courses instruct guests at five levels, including beginner, gym-to-crag, top rope, sports climbing, and traditional climbing. Take regular courses to learn the basics so you can climb on your own, or request customized courses if you want to brush up on your skills.

5. Clay City

golf flag

If you and your family members love golf, you are in luck if you’re heading to Clay City, as there are two nine-hole courses in town. Meadows Golf Course features straight fairways, a few trees, and some water, and you don’t have to worry about sand traps. Beechfork plays just over 2,885 yards. After you stash the clubs in your vacation rental after a long day of golf, take the family to listen to live bluegrass concerts at the Meadowgreen Park Music Hall.

6. Beattyville

trees and waterfall

Beattyville is in a valley, nestled between mountains of forests and cliffs, with country roads, trails, and meadows. Just at the edge of town live the squirrels, rabbits, foxes, black bears, and deer. When you stay in one of the rustic mountain cabins, you’re likely to see wild turkeys, quail, eagles, and hawks. If you prefer civilization, you can rent a house or apartment in town, where you can mingle with local artists as they paint, weave baskets, sculpt, and work with textiles. For a change of pace, anglers find the plentiful streams and ponds in and around Beattyville teeming with bass and catfish. If you have equestrians in the family, Whisper Valley Trails horseback trail rides can introduce you to amazing views of creeks, rock shelters, and the waterfall. There’s even a beginner trail around a pond for the little kids.

7. Mount Sterling

concrete monument

Why not surprise your family with a vacation in Mt. Sterling, known as one of the most haunted small towns in America? Actual Paranormal investigators lead the Mount Sterling Ghost Walk tours, sharing the area’s haunted history. The guides tell true stories about war, murder, betrayal, curses, and mysteries. Some of the local celebrity ghost stories include the judge’s ghost, Anne Mitchell and her curse, and the headless searcher. After the tour, you can retreat to your vacation rental to get a good night’s sleep. You may leave the light on if you wish.

8. Morehead

old house made of wood

The Morehead area is a sightseer’s treasure trove of scenic backroads and byways. In the foothills of the Kentucky Appalachians, you can experience an amazing tour of beautiful barn quilts along the Appalachian Trail. Called the Quilt Trail, many barns decorated with quilt squares dot the hills and valleys of Rowan County, displaying the artistry of the community’s quilters. The quilters draw the designs, which are transferred and painted on wood for durability. You can pick up a map at the Morehead Tourism office to plan your drive while relaxing in your home-away-from-home.

9. Bowen

paddle boat on the river

It’s time to shake out those jangled nerves and reclaim your zen in peaceful Bowen. Imagine stepping out your back door and having your morning coffee on the banks of the Red River as the sun rises and the mist wafts over the water. When the kids wake up, your plans might include a leisurely canoe float along the river. With kids 12 and older, you can try a moonlight canoe tour with Red River Adventures.

10. Frenchburg

tree arch
Source: Flickr / LouisvilleUSACE

If boating or fishing is your passion, Frenchburg is a great place to book your vacation rental. It is almost entirely enveloped by the Daniel Boone National Forest, and Cave Run Lake on the county’s northern border draws visitors from far and wide who enjoy boating and fishing. Can’t you picture yourself cooking your catch of the day over the fire pit in your backyard?

11. Rogers

tree top hideout
Source: Flickr / abarndweller

The perfect place to kick back for a leisurely vacation is Mariba, just over 2 miles southwest of Pine Ridge. You can find your ideal vacation hideout nestled among the trees where respite finds you. Now, if you develop a need for an adrenaline fix, Red River Gorge Zipline is only 6 minutes south of town. Riders zip along five separate zip lines and walk across four canopy bridges.