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“Beautiful state park: not fancy” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Carter Caves State Resort

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Carter Caves State Resort
344 Caveland Drive, Olive Hill, KY 41164   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Olive Hill
rye brook, ny
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Beautiful state park: not fancy”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

Carter Caves State Park is a place I used to go with my family when I was growing up. It is largely unchanged since the 1960s. There are a few new things, and the swimming in the lake is not what it used to be, but so much of it looks and feels the same to me, which is a good thing. Located in Eastern Kentucky, it is a few miles off the I-64 Interstate. You drive down a very winding road with a creek running beside it. There are pull-off areas where you can stop your car, get out, and just wade in this very shallow creek. Highly recommended! The Lodge has decent but not fancy accommodations. This time we stayed in a cabin. There were 2 bedrooms and one bathroom. It was very nice. There was a red fox in the yard of the cabin, and it didn't seem too frightened of us! We kept our distance, and just admired it. Touring the Caves is a good idea. They have tour guides who will take you on a cave tour if you sign up ahead of time. It is quite unique and cool (both temperature-wise and otherwise!) to go into the caves! There is fishing, some canoe trips, and mini-golf. The pool area is nice,,,even a wading pool for the little ones, and what appeared to be a diving pool. But I remembered swimming at the Lake, and was a little disappointed not to see that so much now. We had our family reunion there, and rented a shelter for our dinner and visiting. This cost a little more, but was worth it. They are so popular for family reunions that you have to reserve several months in advance. The people I spoke with on the phone in order to set up the reunion were really helpful and friendly. I would recommend Carter Caves State Resort. Oh, and the food at the Lodge is OK. It is important to note that the Lodge is really the only game in town (no fast food places nearby, unless you want to drive to the Subway shop in Olive Hill, a number of miles away).

Room Tip: Cabins are GREAT, but you need to reserve almost a year in advance for a summertime cabin. Get your...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris P, Manager at Carter Caves State Resort, responded to this review, July 25, 2013
Thank you for visiting Carter Caves. I agree with you, I wish we were able to allow our guests to swim at the lake and utilize the area like it used to be at one time. Pictures of the area that I have seen showed an area booming with swimmers and others. Thank you again for your visit and I hope we can serve you again someday.
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77 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Indianapolis, Indiana
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

Positives: I didn't golf because I wasn't there long enough, but the 9 hole course looked good, and is very inexpensive. The scenery was beautiful. The hiking trails were very nice. The hotel was reasonable quality for the price. Negatives: The staff almost never smiled. I mean out of perhaps 25 people I came in contact with, maybe 3 were helpful and cheerful. My family took three cave tours, and found them to be mediocre at best. The caves were interesting in themselves. One tour guide seemed to me to be getting over a lunchtime high. I mean, he was just out it. Didn't know anything, and seemed to be making up what he was supposed to tell us on the spot. A waste of time except for the cave itself. The time at which stuff closed seemed arbitrary. We got conflicting information and arrived to find things closed down early. The staff was not very helpful in these cases either.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris P, Manager at Carter Caves State Resort, responded to this review, July 18, 2013
Thank you for taking the time and pointing this information out to us. Your post will be used in our next staff meeting to discuss our employees and how they are coming across to our guests. These are the little things that our employees MUST do.

THANK YOU agin and THANK YOU for choosing Carter Caves. I hope we can serve you and your family again in the future.
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Cincinnati, Ohio
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

This park has much to offer. We stayed on a PACKED 4th of July weekend. And, it rained the ENTIRE weekend. That being said, we still enjoyed the park. We setup a pop up, two adults, a child and an infant. My sister and brother in law set up a tent with three children.

The good: Cave tours were offered and fun. Horseback riding was offered and fun. Pool opened for the brief three hours that did not rain. High dive was fun. Mini golf was fun. Plenty of activities arranged for the kids by the park. A magic show offered on the cheap and was fun for all ages.

The not so good: water pressure at campsite could barely release the pressure valve on most people's trailers making water something we paid for and did not receive. The bathrooms were average at best. However toilet paper and soap were never missing for more than a day. Bundles of wood being sold were fresh cut. Dryer in laundrymat was broken. Rangers did not plan for many kids at some of the events. That really pushed my buttons. It's a holiday weekend, you thought not many kids would be onsite? really?!?

Will I return? Yes. There are more cave tours and plenty of trails to hike that I didn't get to do. The campground is nice, even large. There are some great sites. I would try again on a non holiday weekend and try to reserve a more secluded site. Although one of my favorite activities is going around the campground meeting other campers, I still like to have some bit of privacy. Being state funded, I understand not everything can be perfect. A bathhouse will never be like home, but the cleaning staff could have put forth more effort. I don't know what to think of the poor water pressure. Perhaps too many people drawing on it? I read their local paper on Friday which had a front page article about the park changing water service providers. Maybe that will help? The staff was nice, nothing over the top or above & beyond. There is a local nearby (the only one!) that sells firewood on the cheap ($10 for 35 pieces and a bundle of kindling). Its all hardwood so it burns slow, FYI.

If possible, I would give this park a 3.5 out of 5. Some things are beyond control as budgets are tight and we are lucky to have a park and rangers at all. And there are some things that could improve with some effort. I enjoyed being there and recommend you try it.....just maybe not on a packed holiday weekend with rainy weather.

Room Tip: As for choosing a campsite, try for one on the back loop or (and I know this sounds strange) one of...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris P, Owner at Carter Caves State Resort, responded to this review, July 14, 2013
Thank you for choosing Carter Caves State Resort Park as your trip destination. Sorry that we couldn't do anything about the rain.

I did check with the recreation staff in regards to not planning for many children. It wasn't that they didn't plan for many children rather it was a program that unfortunately they are phasing out due to the unability to get anymore supplies for it. They used what supplies they had remaining, however that is no excuse and I informed that department that they needed an alternate plan for when they do run into situations such as that. I apologize that happened.

Thank you for input and most of all again THANK YOU for chosing Carter Caves. We hope to serve you again in the near future.
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Hagerstown, Maryland
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

It may have been because we were there the week of the 4th of July, but this was the first campground I've been to where there was no attempt to enforce quiet hours. People were up until 2 am or later yelling and playing games. Kids were out riding bikes through the campground at that hour. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the people staying there and not the campground, but once the store closed at 8 pm, I never saw an employee or ranger going around to even make an attempt to keep order. The very large group in the tent site next to us were up until at least 1 am with their kids running through the woods behind our tent. They must have had 10-15 people in that one site. Thankfully, they left before our last night there and it rained which kept people from being so noisy,

Also, the place is over run with raccoons. We had 5 or 6 of them in our campsite each night. We didn't have anything at our site for them to get into, but they were there every night anyway. The showers are tiny and the bathrooms weren't very clean in general.

The carter caves park itself was pretty nice. We did a cave tour and went looking for "critters" in the creek. We also went on a couple of short hikes through the woods to see some of the rock formations. I have no complaints about the park, but the campground experience was easily the worst I have ever had.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris P, Manager at Carter Caves State Resort, responded to this review, July 9, 2013
Thank you for your reply on Carter Caves..

I have addressed your concerns with our ranger staff and have asked for even more patrols in our campground area especially after the quiet time begins. However, you will always have that one that will push the limits. Thats no excuse and we will make a better effort and curtailing this issue.

Yes our showers are small and in very much need of a renovation. Hopefully that will happen soon. As for the dirt, the area did receive close to 3 inches of rain over the week of the Fourth of July hoilday and with that much rain you are going to have people tracking mud into the shower facilities and again thats no excuse and I will address this issue with the staff, but I do know from experience myself working up there when you combine that much rain with that many people it is tough to maintain a clean area.

As for the racoons, yes they are plenty of them in the area. However, we are located in a wooded area and wild life is an abundance. Honestly the wildlife is what a lot of people visit the park for, but they can also be a distration. I apologize for that distraction during your stay with us.

Thank you for visiting the park and I hope we can again serve you. Have a great remainder of the summer.
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Top Contributor
265 reviews 265 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 98 cities Reviews in 98 cities
149 helpful votes 149 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013 via mobile

Beautiful place, and a super-nice campground!
Lots to do here for the whole family....plenty of selection and variety.
The caves are beautiful, the trails gorgeous, and the fried chicken at the lodge rocks!!!
Off the beaten path a bit, but well worth the trip!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris P, Manager at Carter Caves State Resort, responded to this review, July 6, 2013
Thank You for choosing Carter Caves! We hope to serve you again in the future!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Youngstown, Ohio
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2013 via mobile

We traveled 5and a half hours to carter caves from ohio . And we unpacked our stuff looked around And loaded back up . The web site advertises canoeing . Well they had a canoe trip the day we arrived . At 10:30am we missed it . And we are supposed to be here to wed and no more canoe trips planned . Don't advertise canoeing then . The caves are very short tours for a fee. And no going into caves without a guide because of the bats . Well why not put that on the website before a family drives 5 hours . The park is very restricted . Tent sites are very close . If you want family adventure look elsewhere . We r now driving to a different location . We asked for our money back and were told no . Save your money go somewhere else .

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris P, Manager at Carter Caves State Resort, responded to this review, June 29, 2013
I will agree with your point about the wording on our web page about our canoe trips. We do need to have that re-worded and I will ask our recreation staff to get that done immediately. Recent regulatiuons placed on us has limited the number of canoe trips that we can take and we should have caught that on the web page. My apologies for that.

As for the wild caving being closed, we do have that information on our web page and you can find it at this location: http://parks.ky.gov/!userfiles/carter-caves/pdf/cc-may25-june14-tours-2013.pdf

Carter Caves has been selected as a family friendly park sevral times by reserveamerica.com. I'm sorry that you felt that for a family adventure you need to look elsewhere.

Please feel free to contact me directly at the park in regards to your unhappiness with your campsite.
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Bucyrus, Ohio
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

The Lodge offers a nice room w/very clean attributes. Possibly might be viewed as needing "updated" a bit by some. But I think it fits the atmosphere of the whole State Park. It's Kentucky Wonderful! The lodge has nice rooms w/each having a balcony that overlooks a wonderful view. Balconies are each private so you can sit & converse or just take in God's Wonders as you relax out there.
The Lodge has a very nice little restaurant in the lower level, offering a wonderful buffet spread of delicious & well-priced food. Along w/often seen foods on a buffet anywhere else, theirs offers such things as pinto beans & cornbread & fried frog legs all the way to wonderful desserts as well. If you leave hungry from this buffet, it's your own fault. I like that a lot of the foods are much the culinary likes of the KY region as well.
Along w/the great food, the scenery, & the room....it also offers swimming, hiking, golfing, cabin rentals, exploring caverns thru guided tours, camping sites, & all the things that you find in a State Park. Nature is up close....even the deer come to check it out!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Carter Caves State Resort

Address: 344 Caveland Drive, Olive Hill, KY 41164
Location: United States > Kentucky > Olive Hill
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Olive Hill
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 38
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Also Known As:
Carter Caves State Hotel Olive Hill
Olive Hill Carter Caves Resort

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