FRANKFORT, Ky. - Five Kentucky State Park campgrounds have been listed on the "Top 100 Family Campgrounds" by ReserveAmerica, a camping reservations provider. Three other Kentucky state parks were also honored with outdoor recreation awards.
The five campgrounds making the top 100 list were: Barren River State Resort Park at Lucas, Big Bone Lick State Park at Union, Columbus-Belmont State Park at Columbus, Fort Boonesborough State Park near Richmond, and Green River Lake State Park near Campbellsville.
"The Kentucky State Parks provide some great camping opportunities across the state," said Parks Commissioner J. T. Miller. "We're proud of all 31 of our state park campgrounds and look forward to serving campers this year."
ReserveAmerica reviewed nearly 3,000 parks for the top 100 campgrounds. The selections were based on testimonials, park ranger feedback, regional park managers and from campers. ReserveAmerica looked at factors such as quality of the campground, showers, laundry facilities, hiking trails, programs and children's events.
Other Kentucky State Parks honored on other lists with outdoor awards were Natural Bridge State Resort Park near Slade for hiking trails, best bird watching and scenic views; Greenbo Lake State Resort Park at Greenup for top fishing spots; and Jenny Wiley State Resort Park near Prestonsburg for top bird watching and top tours and events.
Big Bone Lick State Park also received honors for top tours and events and top educational and historical spots and Fort Boonesborough State Park was on the top tours and events list.
Information and reservations are available for Kentucky State Park campgrounds at www.parks.ky.gov or by calling 1-888-459-7275.
Here are some details on the parks that were honored:
Barren River State Resort Park at Lucas: After a day exploring the caves at Mammoth Cave National Park, enjoy one of the 99 camp sites. There's a 10,000-acre lake, providing spectacular views of sunsets, boating and fishing, an 18-hole golf course, horseback riding, tennis courts, a beach, a pool and a paved trail for hiking and biking. Utility hookups are available. A dump station and two central service buildings with showers and rest rooms are offered. This park also has a lodge, cottages and restaurant.
Big Bone Lick State Park at Union: The spacious campground features 62 campsites with utility hookups, grills, a swimming pool and playground. Showers, rest rooms, and laundry facilities are available at a central service building. A campground grocery is on-site.
Big Bone Lick State Park is considered the "Birthplace of American Vertebrate Paleontology." The fossilized remains of prehistoric animals were discovered in 1739 and displayed extensively at museums throughout the world. Big Bone Lick State Park is sponsoring a program this summer called "Lick the Wild" in which participants take part in primitive living and survival skills. The park also hosts the 22nd Annual Salt Festival on Oct. 19-21.
Columbus-Belmont State Park at Columbus: Campers relax amid beautiful settings on the river cliff campground. The campground has 38 sites with utility hookups and grills. A central service building offers rest rooms, showers, and laundry facilities.
During the Civil War, the site was considered a strategic location for control of the Mississippi River, and the struggle to control the river led to the Battle of Belmont on November 7, 1861. The park features a museum, hiking trails and a massive chain used by the South to block Union gunboats. The farmhouse that served as a Civil War hospital serves as the museum that interprets many historic events at this site. The annual reenactment is scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 12-14.
Fort Boonesborough State Park near Richmond: The campground near the banks of the Kentucky River offers 167 sites with electricity and water hookups as well as tent camping sites. An activities building can accommodate 150 people, and a central service building provides showers, rest rooms, and laundry facilities. There is a small grocery at the check-in area, a pool, mini-golf and hiking trails.
Fort Boonesborough is the site of a fort founded in 1775 by Daniel Boone. A full scale replica of the original fort, complete with living historians is the parks main feature. Many historical reenactments are offered throughout the year, including "Women on the Frontier" on the weekend of June 9-10.
Green River Lake State Park near Campbellsville: The 157-site campground on the waterfront with electricity and water hookups plus tent camping offers a grocery, a dump station, and three central service buildings with showers, rest rooms, and a laundry facility. The park features an 8,200 acre lake with a sand beach along the lake's edge and a nearby marina offering rental houseboats, ski boats, jet skis and pontoon boats. Other activities include mini-golf, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Natural Bridge State Resort Park at Slade: This resort park is adjacent to the Red River Gorge Geological Area and offers excellent hiking and scenery. A sandstone arch spans 78 feet and is 65 feet high. This park features a lodge, cottages and restaurant.
Two campgrounds, Whittleton Campground and Middle Fork Campground, provide 87 sites with utilities. Dump stations and two central service buildings with rest rooms and showers are furnished.
Greenbo Lake State Resort Park at Greenup: The campground features 63 sites with utility hook ups and 35 tent camping sites. This park also has two dumping stations, two central service buildings with showers and rest rooms, and a grocery store.
Excellent fishing is available at Greenbo Lake. This 225-acre lake is home of two state largemouth bass records and holds large bluegill, crappie, catfish, and trout. This resort park includes a lodge and restaurant as well as a marina with boat rentals. A new amphitheater opened in 2007 with music and dramatic programs.
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park near Prestonsburg: This 117-site campground offers utility hookups, two central service buildings with showers and rest rooms, a grocery store, and a dump station.
Hiking trails, fishing, disc golf, summer theater and elk tours are offered at this resort park. It also has a lodge, cottages and restaurant.
For more information about these and other Kentucky State Parks, visit www.parks.ky.gov For more details about the ReserveAmerica honors, visit http://www.reserveamerica.com/.