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Family Camping in eastern Kentucky

July 6, 2011

Editor’s Note: This column appeared in The Greater Ashland Beacon on July 6, 2011 and is being republished here with permission.

By Chris Erwin

ASHLAND Summer is here and it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy nature before winter drives us back into our sheltered homes. While summer may be hot they are plenty of ways to keep cool around the lakes, rivers and streams of Kentucky.

If you are looking for an adventure with your family, consider camping. It was one of the things that my family did regularly while I was growing up. The memories have stuck with me all these years and to this day they still remain some of the happiest times of my life.

Sharing a tent with the whole family, building a camp fire and yes, even making marshmallow s’mores – the laughter would ring out as we tried to cram this hot melting marshmallow mess into our mouth.

Photo by Chris Erwin

These family trips are like frozen chunks of time that live on in my thoughts as I now grow older. Having watched my own son and daughter grow into adulthood, I only hope that I managed to pass on this gift of the outdoors.

Today, the opportunities to experience the outdoors is better than ever. If you are new to camping, you can decide what level of camping is right for your family. From roughing it in a tent and sleeping on the ground, to pulling behind you a camper equipped with most of the luxuries of  home – the choice is yours.

We are truly blessed in Kentucky with many locations that are geared to accommodate your family if you so choose to visit one of them. In eastern Kentucky alone we have many locations that are less the two hours from anywhere in the Tri-state.

I would like to share a few of my favorite camping spots, so you can build your own memories in the great outdoors of Kentucky.

Greenbo State Park near Greenup is a short trip but this small lake is packed with lots of outdoor activities. Boating, fishing, swimming, camping, hiking and horseback riding are only a few things this park has to offer. The campground features 58 sites with utility hook-ups and 35 primitive sites, three dumping stations, two central service buildings with showers and restrooms, and a grocery store. There is also an Amphitheatre that hosts music festivals and stage productions. To make reservations for either the campground or lodge call (606)473-7324

Grayson Lake State Park is located at 314 Grayson Lake Park Rd. in Carter County. From Ashland, travel west on I-64 to exit 172 then drive 12 miles south on Ky. 7 and you will run right into the park. The park has 1,512 acres and 75 miles of shore line to explore and its campground features 71 camp sites, utility hookups, a dump station, and two central service buildings with restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities. Call 606-474-9727 to make a reservation.

Another one of my personal favorites is Yatesville State Park located in Louisa, just off Ky. 3. Yatesville Lake is one of the state’s fastest growing destinations for camping and fishing.  The Pleasant Ridge Campgrounds has 27 full hook-ups campsites and 20 primitive campsites, along with 16 “boat in” sites and 4 “hike in” sites. The campground also has a playground facility, nature trails, laundry room, restrooms, showers, and a dump station. Make a reservation by calling 606-673-1492.

Since space will not permit me to list them all – let me just say that Kentucky State Parks operate 24 recreation parks that offer a variety of activities and accommodations for visitors. Entry into all state parks is free.  Logon to their website at http://parks.ky.gov/findparks/recparks/, to see all the recreational parks and learn how to make reservations at each.

Chris Erwin is the founder and publisher of Kentucky Angling News. To reach Chris e-mail him at trimmer308@windstream.net.

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