When most people hear about a county in northern Kentucky, it usually brings to mind the Cincinnati/northern Kentucky area. NKY, as it’s abbreviated to, has so much to offer all in itself. The counties of Kenton, Boone, and Campbell, Kentucky’s three most northern counties, make up the third-largest, yes that’s the third-largest, metro area in this great state!
To highlight our point and showcase the uniqueness of these three NKY counties, we will point out some of our favorite places. Come along with us and explore a county in northern Kentucky. We’ll journey along the river, interstates, and Kentucky backroads.
This article may contain #ads and/or affiliate links that could potentially make us money. This is a guest post written by Lisa at Making Memories In Style.
Kenton a County in Northern Kentucky
Let’s start along the Ohio River in Kenton County. This county is named in honor of the Kentucky pioneer, Simon Kenton, and home to the county seats of Covington and Independence.
Nestled along where the “mighty” Ohio and Licking River join together, this historic county held the distinction of being the only Kentucky county to offer two legally recognized county seats, until November 24, 2010. Those two seats are Covington and Independence.
The most notable county seat of the two, Covington, lies at that juncture of the two rivers. Covington is also the largest city in Kenton County and all of northern Kentucky! Come along with us, as we take you to some of our favorite spots in the city.
Fun Fact: For those of you that love NASCAR, Jack Roush, co-owner, founder, and CEO of Roush Fenway Racing, was born in Covington.
We highly recommend that you stroll down to the Ohio River and marvel at the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. It spans across the Ohio River from Cincinnati to Covington. What’s that you ask? Why does that name sound familiar? Well, John A. Roebling is the famous designer of the Brooklyn Bridge. Talk about some history!
At the base of Roebling’s Bridge, you will find Roebling Point, a bar and restaurant district. Folks from across the river frequently travel this bridge on foot to enjoy the northern Kentucky hotels, bars, restaurants, and even parking lots.
The Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge
This signature architecture piece sits across from the Roebling Suspension Bridge and is actually a residential building. At more than 290-feet tall and offering 22 stories which house a lobby, a parking level, an amenities level, and an impressive 19 floors of condominiums, all luxury, of course. This uniquely shaped building ends with a roof that is sloped and spiral.
We love this building because no matter whether you’re traveling across the bridge or cruising the streets of Covington, the blue and white exterior pops out at you.
This one-stop shop offers visitors and those traveling through a look at residences, small retail establishments, two city parks, and a score of restaurants and bars. The Caroll Chimes Bell or, if you ask the locals, “The Clock Tower,” and the Goose Girl Fountain call this village home.
The most notable event that occurs here is Oktoberfest Covington, as it’s now called. It draws tons of people from all over northern Kentucky and neighboring cities. Oktoberfest Covington is a new celebration, as the “MainStrasse Oktoberfest” fell onto hard times. But, thanks to Braxton Brewing Company, the tradition carries on, at least for now.
Radisson Hotel Cincinnati
Ah, don’t let the name fool you. This outstanding riverfront hotel provides around 220 rooms and suites. They offer balcony views of the beautiful Ohio River and bright lights from the big city across the way. If you wish to stay in for a romantic dinner, then head up to the rooftop restaurant that revolves! Enjoy your date, the food, and excellent views of the surrounding areas, without ever having to get in your car.
Not into heights, that’s OK, you can also check-in at Best Western Plus Cincinnati Riverfront or Courtyard by Marriott Cincinnati Covington. Both of these offer easy access to all the local Interstates. Save up to 60% off Hotels with Booking Buddy. #ad
We love this charming, 700-acre park. which is nestled high above Covington, the Ohio River, and Cincinnati. Our favorite activity is relaxing at the Devou Memorial Overlook. We also enjoy walking along the beautiful nature trails. While we may be a bit “relaxed,” Devou Park offers an incredible amount of entertainment and recreational options for families and couples alike.
Throw those golf clubs in your car or RV and head out to play 18-holes on this wonderful golf-course. The kiddos will have a great time exploring the array of playgrounds, fishing in the lake, hiking the trails, or looking around in the Behringer-Crawford Museum. Another feature here at Devou Park is Drees Pavilion. Because, should you be seeking a place for that upcoming wedding or a surprise proposal, this would be perfect!
Nestled up to the banks of the Ohio River, and less than 3.5 miles from Covington, is where you will find Ludlow.
To escape the hustle and bustle of the city, stop in at the Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club on Route 8. Located directly on the Ohio River, this casual restaurant offers outstanding views and delicious food. Inside and outside seating is available, so there is something for everyone. Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club is a “cash only” establishment, so plan accordingly. They do have an ATM available.
The other county seat of Kenton County, Independence, is a unique “home rule-class city” due to the original center of the city located in the towns southeast part. The current center sits east of a four-lane divided highway. During Independence’s early years, and to this day, the highest population of Kenton County was along the Ohio River. This is what led to the two eventually having to share the county seat status.
As we reside in the Independence area, we visit the courthouse annex for vehicle inspections and renewals, and everything else handled in Covington. Situated around the courthouse are a bank, barbershop, and some various small businesses.
All of the restaurants in Independence are located near the Centennial Boulevard area. This area also houses the main firehouse, police department, and city offices. Several public and private schools are dotted throughout Independence, including Simon Kenton High School. Which was named after, you guessed it, Simon Kenton.
Fun Fact: Simon Kenton High School basketball team, the Pioneers, in 1981, became the first northern Kentucky school to win a Kentucky state championship.
Campbell a County in Northern Kentucky
Campbell County is also found running along the Ohio River. This is the only other county in northern Kentucky, or any county, to have duel county seats (Newport and Alexandria), although this status wasn’t granted until November 24, 2010. While we may live in Kenton County, we frequently find ourselves in Campbell County. Visiting the attractions along the river or venturing into the county to go camping in your RV makes for the perfect family getaway.
Fun Fact: Mary Ingles, a captive of the Shawnee Indians, who escaped and was rescued at the Ohio River, has part of Kentucky Route 8 (Campbell, Bracken, and Mason) named Mary Ingles Highway in her honor.
The earlier days of Newport were exciting. Gangsters, corruption, bribery, and upscale gambling establishments provided Newport with the title of “Sin City.” All of that changed in the 80s and 90s. The reason for this is because this is when the family-friendly Newport Aquarium opened and Newport on the Levee was completed. The title Covington holds today is for being an entertainment community in a county in northern Kentucky.
Newport on the Levee
A massive complex of dining and attractions is what you will find here, along with superb views of the city across the way. Affectionately called “The Levee” by locals, this venue offers annual events such as Live at the Levee. While currently an AMC Theatre, restaurants, and a Cold Stone Creamery now call this home, changes are coming. Barnes and Noble was a staple here for many years. However, it just recently closed and due to this, Newport on the Levee will be transformed into a generous space that will offer new restaurant options, experiences, and events. You’ll be thrilled for 18- out of 24-hours a day. We’re all anxiously awaiting this reveal!
Nearby, you will also find what we all here call, the “Purple People Bridge.” The bridge’s actual name is Newport Southbank Bridge. Only, we’re not too sure how many people know that. At one time it was a railroad bridge. It didn’t became a pedestrian-only bridge until 2003. The bridge was painted purple during its restoration in 2001 and has been that color ever since. You’ll love this bridge because you can come and go as you wish, without having to worry about vehicle traffic. Most of the time we only make it a little way out, but the bridge will take you over to Cincinnati.
The main feature of Newport on the Levee is, and has been for a while, Newport Aquarium. With more than 90 species calling this place their home, this aquarium is happening. Some of what you can find here include albino alligators, penguins, and frogs. Come here and find yourself cruising through the five tunnels that allow you an opportunity to view sharks and other types of marine animals, up close.
Shark Central is incredible because you actually get a chance pet the many species of sharks found here. Shark Ray Bay is also neat because you can sit and watch the sharks swim around. Of all the animals featured here, the sharks and turtles seem to be our favorite no matter how many times we visit.
A prominent part of the Civil War can be found in the northeastern corner of Campbell County. It is named Fort Thomas, after General George H. Thomas. If you search the area intimately, you can still see remnants of trenches used during this time.
At one time a military post was located here and remnants of that time are still visible. Originally Newport Barracks in Newport, this military post was relocated to Fort Thomas due to frequent and excessive flooding.
Fort Thomas Tower Park
Located in the heart of Fort Thomas, Tower Park provides terrific hiking trails, a playground for the kids, a small softball field, and plenty of other recreational activities.
At the entrance of Tower Park, you will find the very cool Stone Water Tower. This northern Kentucky landmark stands 102-feet high. It is constructed with granite at its base and limestone blocks in the tower. Other structures from the days of the fort may also be seen. However, these are not suitable for entry, so obey all signs and postings. The houses you encounter reside on the old Fort Thomas Army Post. They are on the National Historic Register, located in a cul-de-sac, and are not able to be demolished.
Campbell Counties original county seat does not lie on the Ohio River. Therefore, the city has seen limited growth. But don’t let this fool you because Alexandria provides police and fire services and has a lot to offer in terms of recreational fun.
A community center offers Zumba, chair yoga, and power yoga. While Alexandria Community Park offers over 80-acres of community space. Here you will find a fishing lake, a playground, and nature trails. There is also a large picnic shelter, a disc golf course, fishing pier, restrooms, and paved parking.
A.J. Jolly Park and Campground
One of the largest and oldest Kentucky county parks, A.J. Jolly Park offers a fishing lake that is 200-acres, a boat ramp, and a fishing dock that is ADA accessible. An 18-hole par 71 golf course is nearby, as is 20 miles of trails, tennis courts, basketball courts, and soccer and baseball fields.
The campground provides 75 campsites. Of these, 26 have been upgraded to furnish water and electric hook-ups. Primitive sites do not offer any hookups and there are 38 of these. The 26 improved-sites with asphalt pads can accommodate rigs ranging in size from 20-feet (pop-up only site) to 50-feet in length. Most of these locations are best suited for small RVs and pop-ups because of the tight turning radius. Some campsites in this improved area are on an incline, top of a hill, or are small in size.
We have stayed in site 36, which is suitable for a 35-foot camper. It is near the lake, but on an incline–a steep incline at that. The view was amazing, though! During our time site 35 was occupied by a tent camper and our camper obstructed their lake view.
Yurts, tent sites, and a separate equestrian campground are also available.
Boone a County in Northern Kentucky
The third northern Kentucky county is named after Daniel Boone and is home to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The airport’s designation of CVG is for Covington, due to the fact that when the airport was created, it was the largest city nearby.
The most famous landmark in Florence is the water tower. You can see it from Interstate-71/Interstate-75. It infamously reads, “Florence Y’all.” The towers original purpose was to highlight the soon-to-be-built Florence Mall. However, due to some highway regulations with the mall not yet being opened, Florence had to change the wording. Not wishing to paint the entire water tower, they just painted over two vertical lines. this is how they created the “Y.” Once the mall was completed, the local residents liked the saying so much, it was never changed.
Northern Kentucky may not have a major league baseball team like it’s neighbor across the river, but Florence does have an independent minor league team. They’re known as the Florence Freedom. Currently, the roster sports 25 players, four coaches, and a trainer that all call UC Health Stadium home.
Fun Fact: Florence Freedom pitcher, Steven Delabar, went on to play in the majors, even signing with the Cincinnati Reds in 2016. Unfortunately, he played only one game before being released.
The Union area (unincorporated Big Bone) is home to Big Bone Lick State Historic Site. Billed as “the birthplace of American paleontology,” this historic site is also an official Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail Site. Part of the Kentucky State Park system, you will enjoy walking through the visitors center with its array of interesting art and fossils. Visiting the bison that reside on-site is always fun. Take note that to get to the bison viewing area you will need to walk about a half-mile.
For those looking for some relaxation in a rural area, this is the place to be. We love the 60 plus campsites that provide electric hook-ups, grills, a swimming pool, playground, and picnic shelters. A central service building houses restrooms, laundry facilities, and showers. This is a seasonal state park and is only open through mid-March to mid-November.
So Much More to Do in a County in Northern Kentucky
While Kenton, Campbell and Boone County are what makes up northern Kentucky, know that there are other counties nearby. Each with a variety of attractions and camping spots available! Visit Pendleton County and camp at Kincaid State Park. Cruise to Gallatin County and rent a spot on the water at Smuggler’s Cove Marina/RV Park, hop over to Grant County to see what’s happening in Williamstown, or tour the ARK.
Put a county in northern Kentucky in your travel plans and come enjoy some Kentucky hospitality.
Thank you for reading fellow RV enthusiasts and travelers,
Our name is Making Memories In Style, but you can call us Lisa, Casey, and Barrett Dog! Aside from being a work at home freelance editor, medical professional, safety specialist, and “lazy lab,” we also travel across America. We love sharing our travel adventures with others. It is our hope that they may set aside time with family to go out and Make Memories In Style.
At MakingMemoriesInStyle.com we take our followers along on our vacations to restaurants we have dined in and attractions we have enjoyed. We love hanging out with each other in our travel trailer, which we’ve affectionately named, “the Dog House.” Hanging out together at the beach or in the mountains and frequenting state parks is what we’re all about. While we love a great place to venture off to, we also enjoy being close to family and friends.
Contact Lisa, Casey, and Barrett Dog at MakingMemoriesInStyle@gmail.com