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A Road Trip to Carrollton, Kentucky: Where the River Meets the River

The southwest can keep its 4-corners crossroads and the Gulf of Mexico can have the Mississippi River delta, I’ll take Carrollton, KY, and stand over the swirling eddies where the Ohio River meets the Kentucky.

Named for William Orlando Butler, and situated on the Butler family’s former land, General Butler State Resort Park is the only place in Kentucky where you can see the convergence of the Kentucky and Ohio Rivers. The Kentucky River, which starts its course in the Cumberland Mountains, winds its way through the Bluegrass region before joining up with the Ohio River along the banks of Carrollton in Carroll County.

From atop a hill near the lodge, an overlook point offers sweeping, magnificent views that a camera can’t do nearly enough justice. When its not high summer, you can see through the trees and mark the full, East-West boundary along the Ohio River. 

General Butler State Park Kentucky Ohio River

Honestly, at times it seemed like we couldn’t go anywhere in Carrollton without a gorgeous view of the river. Though, of course we made sure to walk along both rivers’ banks. You really get a sense of the power of natural elements standing at the water’s edge and watching the eddies swirl and small waves lapping at the shoreline. Boats cruise the river, and citizens from Carrollton tend to gather at the waterfront park for a meal, a stroll, or maybe to fish. There’s also a halfpipe situated bankside of the Kentucky river if you’re inclined to bring your skateboard or BMX bike.

We’ve always been advocates of the Kentucky State and National Park Systems, and General Butler is one you won’t want to miss. As with most Kentucky State Resort Parks, you can stay overnight in the lodge, or pitch a tent on their campgrounds, have a meal in the Two Rivers Restaurant, squeeze in a round of golf or a tennis match, lay by the pool, or participate in one of the myriad daily activities put on by park staff.

General Butler State Park Kentucky Ohio River Butler Turpin

The Butler-Turpin House sits on the grounds of General Butler State Resort Park

 Along with the distinction of sitting at the junction of the Kentucky and Ohio Rivers, General Butler is unique in its additional historic site: the Butler-Turpin State Historic House. To the best of our knowledge, General Butler is the only State Resort Park to have an Historic Site on its property as well.

The Butler-Turpin House, also known as the William O. Butler House, as well as the State Park itself are named in honor of General William O. Butler.

Originally built in 1865, the Greek-Revival home displays furniture, documents, and artifacts the tell the story of the family’s connection to and impact on Kentucky history along with the contributions of their slaves. If you’re planning to stop by the House for a tour, you’ll want to call and make a reservation first. Tours are led by appointment only or at limited days and times late May through early November.

If you go:

You’ll want to combine an excursion to General Butler State Park and the Butler-Turpin House with an afternoon in Carrollton proper. The quaint town boasts cute cafes and shops as well as the impressive waterfront park.

What It will cost you:

Rooms at the General Butler State Resort Park Lodge average about $100 per night for a standard room or $140 for a cottage. There’s also ample camping in the park.

Admission to the Butler-Turpin House is $5 for anyone 18 or older, $3 for children and teens, and free for children under 6 years old.

How to get there:

Taking I-71 is the easiest route for those coming across the Northern part of the state. Carrollton is almost exactly halfway between Cincinnati and Louisville along the Ohio River. If you’re traveling from Central or Southern Kentucky, you’ll want to hook up with US 421 in Frankfort and head North to Carrollton.

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