Alternative Break Program

We are so excited that you are interested in Land Between the Lakes (LBL) as your Alternative Break site! You will find some general information on this page about our Alternative Break Program that will hopefully help you consider us as a host site.

Land Between The Lakes’ Alternative Break Program

Land Between The Lakes (LBL) is a national recreation area and environmental education area administered by the USDA Forest Service. Located in Western Kentucky and Tennessee, LBL offers 170,000 scenic acres of forest, 200 miles of scenic roads, 100 miles of trail, and 4 environmental education facilities, there are limitless opportunities for service as well as adventure.

About Alternative Break

    • An Alternative Break is an opportunity for a group of college students to engage in volunteer service, typically for a week, as an “alternative” to the party atmosphere associated with traditional college break trips.
    • Each year, Alternative Break volunteers are involved in restoring, protecting, and managing the natural beauty of our public lands. Alternative Break volunteers help provide a high-quality outdoor experience for visitors from all over the world.
    • Land Between the Lakes has been hosting Alternative Break groups since 1995 and have accommodated up to 8 groups per year. We have had the opportunity to work with many Alternative Break groups from colleges across the country. Past projects have included tree planting, restoration projects, archaeology, farm work, housing restoration for our animals, office work, trail building and restoration, shoreline cleanup, and environmental education.  


Our site has increased in popularity over the years, so please be aware that we will reserve dates on a first-come, first-serve basis. College groups interested in dates for their fall or spring break may make reservations by contacting the Friends of Land Between The Lakes Volunteer Coordinator at 270-924-2007 or email at

Alternative Break Program

Minimum Participants

Groups must commit to a minimum of eight (8) working participants. Please indicate the average number of expected participants to our Volunteer Coordinator so that it can be factored into tailoring your volunteer

Type of Work

The Land Between the Lakes is a large area with a wide variety of outdoor opportunities for service projects. There are opportunities for historical, ecological, biological, educational, conservation, restoration, and recreation projects. Depending on the project, work can range from moderately to very strenuous. Our Volunteer Coordinator will be in contact with you in order to match volunteer projects with your group’s personal goals and mission. Past Projects have included tree planting, restoration projects, archaeology, farm work, housing restoration for our animals, office work, trail building and restoration, shoreline cleanup, and environmental education.

Work Schedule

We prefer groups to work at least four (4), eight (8) hour days while you are here—generally 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a ½ hour for lunch. This schedule has allowed most groups to work around a potential rain day, take a day to enjoy Land Between The Lakes or explore the area. Trip length can be discussed with our Volunteer
Coordinator and may be extended or shortened based on a group’s needs and interests.


Housing will be arranged by our Volunteer Coordinator according to availability and group numbers. LBL has several options for housing such as Brandon Springs Group Center and cabins at several of our campgrounds as well as several tiers of campsites. Since our housing is limited, be advised that men and women may be housed together. If a group exceeds 12 people, arrangements may be made to accommodate larger groups.


Meals are not provided. Purchasing food before you arrive is recommended since grocery stores are not located close by. Since many of our service projects are pretty far away from our housing accommodations, it is best to be prepared to pack a lunch each day that can be eaten at the work site such as small portable lunch pails, and simple lunch foods (sandwiches, crackers, yogurt, fruit, canned drinks, chips, etc.) make lunchtime much easier! On the days you volunteer for us, we will provide drinks.

Leadership and Transportation

Our Volunteer Coordinator will arrange your projects, provide your tools, and lead you to your work sites. Participants must provide their own transportation to LBL and to work sites.

Free Time

While you are here, you may visit Woodlands Nature Station, The Homeplace 1850’s Working Farm, Elk and Bison Prairie viewing area, and the Golden Pond Planetarium at no charge. Some other activities like canoeing and horseback riding may require a charge. Murray, Kentucky (a college town) is about 25 miles away, it is a good place for pizza and a movie. Nashville is about 100 miles away and Mammoth Cave National Park is a 3-hour drive away.

Other Considerations

Participants with severe plant or animal allergies should not participate. Our staff will work hard to make your visit diverse, educational, and fun, but each participant should be reminded that Alternative Breaks are meant to have a service focus rather than a recreational focus.

For More Information

Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions or concerns you may have via phone at (270) 924-2007 or email at

We can’t express enough how thankful we are that you are interested in giving your time to such a worthy cause. We look forward to hearing from you!

Suggested Packing List

Long pants and long-sleeved shirts
Work clothes (i.e., old clothes for painting, getting muddy, etc.) *
Hiking boots (extra pair suggested, if possible)
Work gloves (if you have a favorite pair) **
Lots of socks
Hat or bandanna
Personal toiletries
Flashlight and batteries
Bug repellant
Water bottle
Sleeping bag and/or linens
Hand/dish towels
Quarters for coin laundry (to dry clothes in case it rains)
Dishwashing liquid soap for cleaning dishes by hand
Laundry detergent
Small portable lunch pail
Plates, cups, and utensils
Camping-style food
Lunch foods that can be packed
Large coolers for camping food (ice is provided)
Grilling and cooking utensils
Charcoal and lighter fluid for grilling (wood is provided)
Reflection journal and pen
Camera and film
Playing cards/games/books (in case of very unfavorable weather)

* Please remember that paint could get on your clothes, coats, and boots if your service projects involve painting.
** We will provide any personal safety equipment that will be needed for all service projects, such as gloves, safety glasses, etc.