The 10 Best Things to Do in Harlan, United States

August 9, 2017 Leida Jutras

Harlan is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Harlan County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 1,745 at the 2010 census, down from 2,081 at the 2000 census.
Restaurants in Harlan

1. Kentucky Coal Mining Museum

Benham, KY +1 606-848-1530
Excellent
50%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 56 reviews

Kentucky Coal Mining Museum

Visitors to this special-interest museum can see many aspects of coal mining activities, including floor plans of typical underground mining operations.

Reviewed By Krr1975 - Smoky Mountain, Tennessee

This 4 floor museum has great artificats starting in the early 1900's to present. See different areas set up such as a hospital, school, church, kitchen, ect. There are also many other artifacts throughout the years. Don't miss the basement as you can see what a mine is like. They have a small area set up as a mine replica that you can enter. Purchase the combo ticket and don't miss Portal 31! Both of these attractions are a great piece of history and an honor to miners everywhere!

2. Martins Fork Lake

Smith Recreation Area, Smith, KY 40831-5415
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 5 reviews

Martins Fork Lake

Bass, trout, and catfish are only some of the fish you'll catch at this mountain lake.

Reviewed By Nickm24 - Owensboro, Kentucky

The lake looked really nice and clean I didn't go to it but I passed by it several times.

3. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

91 Bartlett Park Rd, Middlesboro, KY 40965-5011 +1 606-248-2817
Excellent
73%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 458 reviews

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Contains the original trail marked out by Daniel Boone in 1775.

Reviewed By Pam M - Spanish Fort, Alabama

Go to the Visitor's Center and watch the film about Daniel Boone and the opening of Cumberland Gap to settlers. Wander through the interactive exhibits and let the kids dress up like Colonial era children. Then head up to the Pinnacle overlook where you can see 3 states (on a clear day). If you are a hiker, there are miles and miles of trails to traverse.

4. Portal 31

Number 1 Portal 31 Circle, Lynch, KY 40855-0727 +1 606-848-3131
Excellent
72%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
4%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 62 reviews

Portal 31

Reviewed By Stefan B - Dallas, Texas

We have seen pictures, we have seen movies, we have read about it, but we never enjoyed a tour through a mine highlighting its past from the beginning to the end. The tour takes approx 40 min. It's a constant 52 degree in the mine, so plan accordingly. It was well worth it in our opinion.

5. Kingdom Come State Park

Box M, Cumberland, KY 40823-4020 +1 606-589-2479
Excellent
65%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 47 reviews

Kingdom Come State Park

Reviewed By Curt P - Versailles, Kentucky

Stopped in this park on a lark just to see what it had. Very glad we did, the park is not one of Kentucky's better state parks but what it lacks in amenities it makes up for in views, trails, picnic areas and solitude. Very steep drive on curvy road to top, great views from the overlooks. Several nice picnic areas with shelters. Small lake with gift shop (closed) and not much else (including traffic and visitors) This was mid week so it may pick up on the weekend so be warned. Want to go back when the leaves start changing.

6. Wilderness Road State Park

8051 Wilderness Rd, Ewing, VA 24248-8574 +1 276-445-3065
Excellent
68%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 30 reviews

Wilderness Road State Park

Reviewed By Jason C

It doesn't look like much as you drive by, but trust me it's worth the visit. Take time to watch the short movie in the visitors center before driving around back to visit the fort. There are reinactors there seasonally from 10-5pm. A black smith who showed our kids how to start a fire from steel and flint and then made them a nail for them to keep. Also a gunsmith who fashioned guns by hand. He was so patient answering all our young children's questions and posed for a picture with them. There are also farm animals and furnished log cabins for young children to explore. We spent about 4 hours here. Then went to the playground for a picnic lunch and some play time. It was a great way to spend the day. Lots of fun with education stuck in.

7. Elrod Falls

Elrod Falls Road, Sneedville, TN
Excellent
38%
Good
46%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
5%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 18 reviews

Elrod Falls

Reviewed By IMTheTruth - East Tennessee

A beautiful multi fall waterfall. Swimming and wading holes. Not isolated but remote. Covered pic nic shed within walking distance. Walk to falls from parking lot not bad or steep at all. Family friendly. Now the locals don't respect the place because of the trash and beer bottles are always present. Typical of what you see when hillbillys have access to places. I am a hillbilly but don't litter, ever! Don't go after sundown when the local riff raff has gathered to hide and drink. Hidden but simple to get to, but here again the locals have taken down the road signs. Except for the Clinch River, this is the ONLY other thing of value in Hancock County.

8. Lilley Cornett Woods Appalachian Ecological Research Station

91 Lilley Cornett Br, Hallie, KY 41821-8953 +1 606-633-5828
Excellent
50%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
25%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 4 reviews

Lilley Cornett Woods Appalachian Ecological Research Station

Reviewed By KentuckyBreezing - Dublin, Ohio

Lilley Cornett Woods is a rare gem in the state of Kentucky. It is a rather unvisited, off the beaten path piece of biological history. The old growth trees are a wonder to see.

Let me give you a few suggestions for visiting.
1. You need to make a reservation with the visitor station if you wish to hike the woods. You must have a guide with you. The guide is free. (But be kind enough to tip the guide.)
2. You can choose a 2 hr or a 4 hr hike. This hike is up hill so make sure you understand the demand. That being said, I am not physical specimen but made the hike fine with resting along the way
3. Do not hike without a walking stick. You might want to take a small bottle of water with you.
4. This is not a touristy hike. This is the real deal. The visitor center is nice and if you don't want to hike, stop and learn about the woods. The station has rest rooms and a nice picnic shelter.
5. You are in the boonies. Have your food with you if it is going to be around lunch. We went on the 10 am hike and had our picnic lunch we enjoyed when we returned to the station.

9. Hurricane Creek Mine Disaster Memorial

Hurrican Creek Road, Hyden, KY 41749
Excellent
67%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 12 reviews

Hurricane Creek Mine Disaster Memorial

Reviewed By Keifer W - Berea, Kentucky

This memorial was certainly off the beaten path, but that isolation only made it all the more powerful. Even though I know little about the miners who lost their lives in that fateful explosion, the effort that was put into crafting the sculptures really brought out the courage these men had. I could see it on the strong lines of their faces; I could feel it resonating from within the many hard hats that lined the wall. This memorial is a testament to men who gave their lives providing for their families. The ultimate sacrifice for the greater good.

10. Visit Harlan County

Main St, Evarts, KY 40828 +1 606-837-3546
Excellent
80%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 5 reviews

Visit Harlan County

Reviewed By Prest0n2014 - Evarts, Kentucky

With ATV, Zip Lines, Jeep Trails, Mtn Biking, Hiking, festivals, ATV Friendly Town fishing, hunting, lakes, golfing, and festivals, this location has it all for those who want a nice location to get away and enjoy the outdoors, or visit some of the oldest festivals in the nation.

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