Carter Caves State Park RV & Campground Guide

Kentucky

Carter Caves State Park

is tucked away in the northeastern corner of Kentucky on the outskirts of Olive Hill. In addition to its 20 different limestone cave systems, this park features 146 acres designated as nature preserves. Carter Caves State Park is also home to a resort, which features a lodge, cottages, miniature golf, and full-service campground. This 2,000-acre park lies 84 miles east of Lexington, KY, and 156 miles east of Louisville, KY. 

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Weather
Spring 28-73 F
Summer 58-83 F
Fall 30-77 F
Winter 20-45 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Carter Caves State Park

If you want to enjoy traveling to northeastern Kentucky with all the amenities of home, head out in a recreational vehicle. You can always rent a motorhome or camper in Olive Hill via RVshare.

Carter Caves State Park Campground

Despite its rural location, Carter Caves State Park Campground is very accessible. Though the park's focus is on the cave systems, there are several other activities in the surrounding area that families enjoy. Along with the cave spelunking opportunities at this park, there is an 18-hole miniature golf course, 26 miles of trails for hiking and biking, guided hiking, spelunking, and canoeing trails, and plenty of streams and lakes large enough to accommodate boats, canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats. There are 129 campsites at the park, 90 of which have electrical and water available for RVs.

  • Water Hookup: Yes
  • Electric Hookup: 30/50 amp
  • Sewer Hookup: Yes, for 18 of the 90 RV campsites
  • Wi-Fi Available: Yes, but only in the office
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fee: $30-$37 per night
  • Office hours: The office at the resort is open 24/7

Zilpo Campground

Zilpo Campground is part of the Danial Boone National Forest Recreation Area. The campground offers 169 campsites, of which 150 are available for RV camping. Only 30 of the sites have electricity provided for an extra charge. The campground sits on the shore of Cave Run Lake. Amenities include restrooms with flush toilets, showers, picnic tables, and fire rings. A camp store serves as the office for the campground. The whole of the campground sits on a peninsula with several sites near the shore of the lake. Fishing, waterskiing, boating, canoeing, hiking, biking, and kayaking are among the favorite activities found at this campground.

  • Water Hookup: No. Central drinking water are located in every loop
  • Electric Hookup: 30/50 amp
  • Sewer Hookup: No. A dump station is available
  • Wi-Fi Available: No
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fee: $30-$35 per night
  • Office hours: 8:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. daily

Twin Knobs Campground

Twin Knobs Campground also sits on the shores of Cave Run Lake, about 30 miles southwest of Carter Caves State Park. The campground has over 200 sites, some with electrical hookups only, others with water hookups added, and a few with sewer hookups. Amenities include a swimming area, a concrete boat ramp, showers, restrooms with flush toilets, and a camp store. The favorite activities found at this campground are hiking, biking, boating, fishing, swimming, and canoeing.

  • Water Hookup: Yes, at 51 sites
  • Electric Hookup: 30/50 amp
  • Sewer Hookup: Yes, at 20 locations. A dump station is available for those sites without sewer hookup
  • Wi-Fi Available: No
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fee: $35 per night
  • Office hours: 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. daily

4 Guys RV Park

About 50 miles southwest of Carter Caves State Park is the 4 Guys RV Park. This park offers 45 RV sites with amenities that include a fishing pond, bathhouse with private baths, flush toilets, showers, a swimming pool, and picnic areas. The 4 Guys fishing pond is well stocked with largemouth bass and other gamefish. Angling lessons and guides are available for kids. The area is covered with trails for hiking and biking opportunities.

  • Water Hookup: Yes
  • Electric Hookup: 15 amp
  • Sewer Hookup: No
  • Wi-Fi Available: No
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fee: $39 per night
  • Office hours: 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. daily

RV Rentals Near Carter Caves State Park

Nearby RV Rentals

Restaurants

What to Do at
Carter Caves State Park

Inside Carter Caves State Park

Carter Caves State Park offers you 20 cave systems to explore. Some cave tours, which are generally accompanied by a guide, include tight-fit places that make you crawl through small openings. One cave has a 30-foot waterfall, a picturesque sight that elicits glee from children. If you want to get out in the open air, there are 26 miles of trails through the surrounding densely packed forest. A 45-acre lake hides in the center of the park; boating is allowed but without any motorized assistance. 

Outside Carter Caves State Park

There are no large communities around Carter Caves State Park. However, Olive Hill and nearby Morehead provide excellent shopping opportunities and a variety of tasty restaurants for families to visit. The surrounding region is also rich in geological and historical sites. A family on vacation in this area can’t go a day without a new adventure to enjoy. 

Restaurants

Tres Hermanos Nunez

According to many reviewers, Tres Hermanos Nunez is the best Mexican restaurant to be found near Carter Caves State Park. The restaurant specializes in Mexican seafood. Expect to find the tasty treats unique to Mexican cuisines such as carne asada, shrimp potatoes, and chili relleno.

Type: Mexican

Location: 745 E. Tom T. Hall Blvd, Olive Hill, KY 41164

The Drive-In

If you are looking for a breakfast or brunch before tackling the trails and caverns of Carter Caves State Park, drop into The Drive-In in Olive Hill. The restaurant offers donuts and coffee for breakfast and fast food specials like hamburgers for brunch.

Type: American

Location: 561 E. Tom T. Hall Blvd, Olive Hill, KY 41164

Tyler's Pizza

Finding a great pizza in Olive Hill is not difficult. One of the ways you know that Tyler's Pizza is the real deal is because of the rave reviews that it gets from locals.

Type: Pizza

Location: 120 Cross St, Olive Hill, KY 41164

Ponderosa Steakhouse

If you are taking a day trip from Carter Caves State Park to the large lakes toward the southeast, look for the Ponderosa Steakhouse in Morehead, KY. The restaurant specializes in substantial plates of steak, chops, or seafood cooked and presented in traditional American fashion.

Type: American

Location: 1695 Flemingsburg Rd, Morehead, KY 40351

Shopping

Family Dollar Store

As you will find in any other small community, Olive Hill has several franchised stores like the Family Dollar Store. You find bargains on products such as over-the-counter cold remedies, first aid items, candies, seasonal décor items, and much more.

Location: 133 Jessica Ln, Olive Hill, KY 41164

Save A Lot

Another franchise bargain store in Olive Hill is Save A Lot. The store offers fresh produce and canned foods at basement prices.

Location: 131 Jessica Ln, Olive Hill, KY 41164

Rite Aid

Seek the Rite Aid in Olive Hill for those emergency items that always come up on vacation. At Rite Aid, you’ll find the first aid items you need for cuts and scrapes that happen when hiking, spelunking, or biking.

Location: 410 W. Tom T. Hall Blvd, Olive Hill, KY 41164

Sightseeing

Newport Aquarium

While staying at Carter Caves State Park, take an easy day trip of 115 miles to visit the Newport Aquarium. The site holds thousands of ocean species and provides some of the most adventurous experiences that any aquarium in the country offers.

Location: 1 Aquarium Way, Newport, KY 41071

Behringer-Crawford Museum

While on your day trip, stop at the Behringer-Crawford Museum. The museum specializes in Northern Kentucky studies. The history goes far into the past with educational programs that include discussing the Native American cultures that once occupied the area.

Location: 1600 Montague Rd, Devou Park, Covington, KY 41011

Vent Haven Museum

Finish your day trip with a visit to Vent Haven Museum in Ft. Mitchell, KY. The museum is the only site in the world dedicated to the art of ventriloquism. The museum displays over 900 dummies, scripts, newsletters, and more from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

Location: 33 West Maple Ave, Ft. Mitchell, KY 41011

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How to Get to
Carter Caves State Park

The most used road to get to Carter Caves State Park is through Lexington, KY. From here, take Interstate 64 East (I-64 E) for over 70 miles to the exit for Kentucky Highway 2 (KY-2) toward Olive Hill. Find the exit to US Highway 60 East (US 60 E), and take it through Olive Hill for another 5 miles until you reach the exit for Kentucky Highway 182 (KY-182). Follow KY-182 for 3 miles to the park.

Entering Carter Caves State Park

Kentucky does not charge any fees for entrance into this state park. Some of the on-site attractions may charge a fee.

Park entry : $0

You'll make memories that last a lifetime when you take an RV adventure to Carter Caves State Park. If you don't have an RV of your own, rent one with RVshare! If you share your trip photos on social media, be sure to tag us, or send them to [email protected] for a chance to be featured on our blog.