RVers looking to enjoy both history and the great outdoors should head to eastern Kentucky to experience Carr Creek State Park. This waterfront park sits along Carr Creek Lake, which likely got its name from an avid hunter of days past. If we look back even further, explorers first noted the lake as early as 1751, and around the 1770s, it was home to some of the earliest pioneer settlements in the state. Up until recently, the area remained widely underdeveloped, but eventually provided much of the timber and coal that the country has relied on.
But Carr Creek is good for more than just a history lesson. You'll be treated to scenic views of tree-covered hills as well as a unique array of plants and animals in the thick forests of hardwoods and pines, including green heron and wild turkey. Visitors can take a load off and enjoy boating, swimming, and fishing on the 750-acre Carr Creek Lake, or relax and enjoy a picnic along its impressive sandy shoreline.
Those camping with motorhomes or trailers can rest in comfort at the park's pet-friendly campground. With 39 sites equipped water and electric hookups able to accommodate rigs of up to 60 feet, you'll no doubt be glad you came this way.
Located in Sassafras, Kentucky, around two hours south of Lexington, Carr Creek State Park will leave you feeling reconnected with nature without going too far off the grid. There are plenty of large highways surrounding the park, making it easy for everyone to reach, even those towing trailers or navigating big rigs. The park entrance is located on KY-15—a paved, two-way road. Although some twists and turns are present along the way, none of them are sharp turns, and you won't have to worry about any steep inclines. Once inside the park, its a straight shot to the registration area, and the campground sits just beyond in a large loop.
There is plenty of extra parking inside the park, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding a spot to park if you choose to drive to the beach area, marina, or picnic pavilion. Visitors should note that the marina and picnic pavilion are located adjacent to the park across KY-15, so if you plan on leaving the motorhome back at camp, you may want to bring the bikes along as it is around a 15-minute walk.
Carr Creek State Park offers 39 spacious campsites for RVs and trailers. Maximum vehicle lengths vary by the site from 30 to 60 feet, and all sites require you to back in. Each site is also equipped with water and electric hookups, as well as a picnic table and fire ring. Guests will find bathrooms with showers, a playground, horseshoe pits, and a dump station located nearby. Although the park is open year-round, the campground is only open from March to November. Reservations are required and can be made from one day ahead of time up to a year in advance. This is a pet-friendly campground.
If you're wanting to camp in the area but all the sites are full at Carr Creek State Park's campground, there are numerous alternative options in the surrounding area. Two parks are located extremely close to the park and can be reached in 15 minutes or less. To the north of the sits Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. With over 100 sites with full hookups, this campground is an RVer's dream. Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park lies to the west and has dozens of sites offering both water and electric hookups.
The forests surrounding Carr Creek Lake are teeming with wildlife. If you're lucky, you may catch sight of a variety of birds and other critters including wood duck, great and green heron, ruffed grouse, bobwhite, wild turkey, red-winged blackbirds, warblers, raccoon, and striped skunk, although you might consider yourself luckier if you don't run into the latter! The best time to see these full-time residents is in the early mornings and evenings near the water or around the RV campground. Keep the binoculars close at hand as you explore the park; you never know what you might observe.
Because the park has various picnic tables scattered throughout the park, it's easy to enjoy a lunch with a scenic view during your RV vacation. If you want to enjoy a waterfront lunch, head across the road toward the marina. You'll find picnic tables and shelters along the water, and each area offers sweeping views of the lake and tree-covered hills in the distance. There are also bathrooms and plenty of parking located nearby. For a more intimate picnic experience, stay close to camp, and enjoy your own private table right at your campsite.
Lush wooded hillsides, peaceful lake waters, and a wide variety of flora and fauna all make Carr Creek State Park one of the most picturesque parks in the area. Whether you're a smartphone photographer or a seasoned professional, you'll be able to appreciate the serenity of this off-grid oasis. Early mornings present a unique photo opportunity when a thick fog covers the lake and the surrounding forested bluffs. The autumn is the best time to visit the park for photography purposes, as the beautiful fall foliage color shows are in full swing, and the summer crowds have begun to disperse.
Grab the fishing poles out of the Airstream and head to Carr Creek Lake for a day of fishing. You can cast a line from shore, from the handicap-accessible fishing ramp, or from the center of the lake via boat. If you didn't tow your own watercraft along on this camping trip, fishing boat rentals are available at the park marina. If you need bait, there is a small bait shop to snag some worms. Common catches from the lake include bass, crappie, and walleye. A current Kentucky fishing license is required for all anglers interested in dropping a line.
There's no better way to spend a summer day at Carr Creek than on the lake, taking in the beautiful surroundings of the park. If you didn't haul your own boat behind the Sprinter, pontoon and fishing boat rentals are available from the park marina. If you did tow your own watercraft and plan on staying a few days, the marina has several slips available, both covered and uncovered. After you've enjoyed the water, there are several picnic tables and shelters located near the marina, making it easy to enjoy a scenic water-front lunch.
If you're looking to beat the heat during the summer months, Carr Creek State Park presents an oasis of long sandy beach on the shores of the cool and clean Carr Creek Lake. In fact, the park boasts the largest sand beach in the Kentucky state park system. Spend the day splashing in the water, or simply relax and soak up the sun from the shore. No lifeguards are on duty, so an adult should always supervise children.