If you’re planning a vacation that combines summer fun with adventure, Carter Caves in Kentucky may be just the right place for you. You can plan on camping, hiking, canoeing, birding and equine camping. What’s unique to this location is the network of caves and caverns that have been created by nature over millions of years. Cave tours are just one of the many things to do in Carter County KY.
Planning your summer family vacation
Swimming? Check. Hiking? Check. Camping? Check. Canoeing and fishing? Check. When you’re planning a summer vacation with all the fun things you love to do with your family or friends, but want to add a touch of adventure and mystery, Carter County is the place to go. You can enjoy the wilderness and relax in a quiet natural setting. And then you can put on your hiking boots and explore the mystery of the caves and caverns of Carter County.
You can have your own version of a Lord of the Rings style adventure, with caves, underground streams, marvelous rock and stone formations, gemstones and even a bat cave. You can do some mining at the Carter Caves Gem Mine, located at the Welcome Center at the state park, and learn about different kinds of gemstones. Luckily, you don’t have to fight any orcs or goblins to take your treasures home.
Visiting Carter Caves State Resort Park
A visit to this park is one of the most exciting things to do in Carter County KY. The park is located in eastern Kentucky and the Carter Caves cabins or Carter Cave campground make a great base to explore the natural beauty and wonders of the area. The Gem Mining Center at the Welcome Center is one of the first places to visit and learn about the excitement of gemstone mining at first hand.
Whether your interest in the natural world is focused on birds, hiking, or a canoeing, there are plenty of things to do in Carter County KY. And because this is Kentucky, yes, you can bring the horses. There are campsites for equine camping, but it’s a good idea to book your site well in advance. Other things to do in Carter County KY include farmers markets and flea markets, golfing, off road trials and of course, bluegrass music festivals.
Exploring the Carter and Cascade Caves
You can take guided walking and even crawling tours through the caves, or explore them on your own. The Carter and Cascade Caves are made up of more than 20 caverns, of which four are open to tourists. The X Cave is full of eerie and beautiful geological formations including stalactites and stalagmites, columns and patterns of flowing stone. The Cascade Cave has its own mysterious caverns, with names like the Counterfeiters’ Room, Temple Bells, Ice-capped Mountains and Cardross Castle.
There’s also a real Bat Cave that you can visit. It’s home to more than 40,000 bats, and is open to visitors only in the summer. The bats are still around in the winter, but they hibernate in the cold weather. They are a federally recognized endangered species because of white nose disease and visitors must follow all rules inside the caves and go through decontamination afterwards.
For a holiday that’s both relaxing and adventurous, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Carter County KY.. You’ll find natural beauty, history and the excitement of exploring some amazing geological formations.