Camping at A.J. Jolly Park
A.J. Jolly Park in Campbell County, is one of the largest and oldest county parks in Kentucky. You’ll find more than enough activities to keep you busy for a fun weekend. A.J. Jolly Lake is popular with kayakers and boaters. Anglers can cast a line in the water, too—with a permit. Explore 20 miles of hiking trails around the lake and through the forests, or bring your horse for the equestrian trails. A.J. Jolly Park also boasts an 18-hole golf course overlooking the lake, a disc golf course, multiple sports fields, and an environmental interpretive center. Set up camp along the grassy shores of the lake after a long day of fun and fade asleep, surrounded by the lush greenery of northern Kentucky as the stars begin to flicker in the night sky.
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT
A. J. Jolly Park features 1,000 acres of land and water, enough space to comfortably contain the wide variety of activities and camping options that the park offers. Visitors choose from primitive and improved tent camping sites, RV sites, or a separate equestrian camping area, all surrounded by native Kentucky trees and on the banks of A.J. Jolly Lake. The lake itself is about 200 acres in size and has abundant fishing, boating, and kayaking. Downed trees and wood are placed in the lake every year to create artificial reefs to attract fish. Anglers will find catfish, crappie, bass, and saugeye gathered in these areas. There’s a motor boat launch at the campground, but the lake can be enjoyed at a more leisurely pace by renting kayaks from the campgrounds.
To explore the park on land, there are 20 miles of equestrian trails as well as a few miles of hiker-only trails. Hikers and equestrians can wander through mature woodland forests and wetlands, enjoying peaceful views of the lake and surrounding scenery. Hikers can explore the Homestead Trail for views of an abandoned home site and an old well.
Head to the Campbell County Environmental Center to learn more about the ecological history of the area. The environmental center has a small aquarium, an active beehive, as well as engaging, hands-on environmental programs. Visitors can attend a birding hike, participate in an aquatic life field trip, or learn about the edible and medicinal plants of northern Kentucky.
The park is also home to A.J. Jolly’s ‘Jolly Thursdays,’ a series of weekly summer programs in cooperation with a variety of local musicians, museums, and zoos. There are several weekend-long music, art, and water festivals. A full schedule of the events can be found here.
WHO IS GOING TO LOVE IT
A.J. Jolly Park is perfect for beginning campers as well as for seasoned hikers seeking an outdoor experience without a huge amount of effort. Campsites are scenic and range from primitive sites to more improved, developed sites, with options for all levels of camping. It’s also great for those interested in exploring water activities since the campground rents kayaks to campers. This park is also ideal for family camping because guests can plan their stay in conjunction with the park’s environmental programs and music events, and can take advantage of A.J. Jolly’s many sports fields and courts. Between boating, fishing, golfing, forested hiking, or horseback riding, it’s easy to plan the perfect camping trip.
DIRECTIONS, PARKING & REGULATIONS
The park is located at 1565 Race Track Rd, Alexandria, Kentucky. Campers reserve sites online, but can call the campground to change the campsite at any time. Campers are expected to pick up garbage at their campsite upon check-out.
No outside firewood is allowed and no alcohol is to be consumed on the premises.
A valid fishing license is required in order to fish on the lake.
Written by Jacqui Levy for RootsRated in partnership with Kentucky Tourism