Robert Angel has lived on the Kentucky River for 37 years.
During that time, he has bought and sold several properties along the body of water, but he has always had a passion for bringing families to its banks.
“I’ve been a river rat all my life,” Angel said. “I love the river.”
Angel, a Kiddville native, worked for decades in the concrete business, spending whatever free time he could either on the banks of Kentucky’s main waterway or on it in a canoe or boat.
After his retirement, Angel decided to make his passion his full-time job and purchased Red River Boat Dock and Campground, which sits on 12 acres of land at the mouth of the Red River where Clark County meets Estill and Madison counties.
Red River Boat Dock and Campground offers a bucolic, family-oriented location for people to gather, camp, fish and have fun on the river. In addition to primitive camping sites and space for several recreational vehicles, the campground features two small rental cabins.
Anyone staying at the campsites is given access to an open pavilion area with a refrigerator, grill and seating for people to gather, cook and enjoy meals.
The campground comes complete with rentable kayaks, canoes and paddle boats that can be taken out on the river. Angel said he has some pontoon boats he is working on that will soon be put on the river as well, and the campground has a boat dock available for anyone coming from the water.
Angel said he wants families to come to the campground and bring their children with them.
“Kids have a fun time here,” he said. “They look for arrowheads, they play in the creek, go fishing and they just enjoy running around.”
In the busy summer season, Angel said he will
occasionally host live music or even July 4 fireworks shows that draw crowds ranging from 50 to 500 people.
In addition to offering access to two different waterways and three counties, the area is steeped in local history, Angel said. The general area was once the site of a Native American community, and those who take the time to look can still find arrowheads and other traces of the civilization that once lived there. It also once functioned as a ferry, with remnants of the operation still visible along the bank.
The location also features an old log house built in 1887 that operated at one time as a riverside restaurant. The restaurant has since been converted back into a house that Angel’s son resides in, but he said in the future, he would like to reopen it in some capacity as a grill.
Angel said the campground has been a work-in-progress for him, and he is making enhancements here and there as he is able. In the short term, he plans to add two more rental cabins and repair an older boat dock on the side of the property that will increase the overall docking space.
He said although he wants to expand the campground to accommodate more campers, he also strives to keep the location small enough that those who do visit can relax the way he does when he sits on the patio to watch the river.
“That’s my favorite thing to do here,” he said. “I can just watch the river flow by for hours.” §
IF YOU GO
— Red River Boat Dock and Campground is located at 1260 Ferry Road in Winchester.
— Cabin rentals are $50 during the summer and $25 in the off season.
— Paddle boats can be rented all day for $20.
— Canoes and Kayaks can be rented at $25 for a half day or $30 for a full day
— Daily, weekly and monthly boat slip rentals are available
— The campground includes camper hookups and tent sites, with a bath house on the premises
— For more information, call (859) 842-4590.