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Old 08-06-2012, 10:08 AM   #15
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Always good to hear pros and cons about KOA Kampgrounds. We've stayed at a couple where I'd wished I'd bought the AS optional machine gun turret and others where we were treated very nice! The KOA in Flagstaff is still our favorite.

"A settled wisdom, plus the itch to be elsewhere"
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:20 AM   #16
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It seems there is a lot of variation between KOA's
My overall impression is that in most cases they are overpriced and are supplying amenities we don't want or need and sites are packed in to close for our tastes.
KOA is on my avoid list, just below anything with resort in the name but of course everyone's wants or needs are different

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Old 08-06-2012, 10:37 AM   #17
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We don't stay in KOAs very often, but we do have a few favorites. On our last road trip we spent one night at the KOA in Cortez, CO which has become our favorite. They are located next to the Cortez city dog park which is a plus for us since we travel with 2 large dogs. The staff at the Cortez KOA is the best we have experienced as well. How many campgrounds have you had the staff stop by after you are settled in to ask if everything is working correctly?

We also spent a night at the KOA in Gunnison, CO the night before the RMVAC rally which was a few miles away. We wanted to get a good shower and to drain our tanks before the 4 days of dry camping. They had a great staff and wonderful facility. To my surprise they had a stocked trout pound where you could catch dinner at a cost of 40 cents per inch. It was a lot of fun and a very tasty meal.

The KOA in Durango, CO is also on our favorable KOA list.
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:03 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by mgriffrus View Post
We just got home from a weekend in Hot Springs, AR and I wanted to praise the staff and the facilities of the Hot Springs KOA. We had booked at another "campground" which wasn't really a campground as much as it was a long-term facility. A big clue we should've picked up on was the mailbox stand for the "campsites". The only reason we were there was because we came with neighbors who wanted the cabins, otherwise we'd have made reservations at one of the State Parks around the lakes surrounding Hot Springs. Long story short we were there long enough to find another place to stay, and that happened to be the KOA campground on the northeast side of town.

. . .

What a pleasant staff and a nice facility they have! . . . . .
We had a similar very, very positive experience with the Hot Springs, AR KOA back in 2008. We were still new to our Airstream and to camping.

On our inaugural trip with our Airstream to bring it home from North Carolina in 2007, we stayed at a KOA near Corbin, KY -- another wonderful positive experience. I understand that the Corbin KOA has a relatively new owner yet is still getting very positive reviews.

On the other end of the spectrum, on the same inaugural trip, we stayed at a KOA in Crawfordsville, IN. Totally opposite experience. That's been the pattern with our KOA stays. Sometimes they are great experiences (with an accompanying great price); other times, they are disappointing.

Our best experiences have been with the smaller privately owned campgrounds. Often they are former KOAs that are no longer part of the KOA franchise and the new owners are bringing them back to life. Those are harder to research and evaluate in advance. Fortunately, two of our favorites are in Southern Illinois so we were able to check them out in advance. In each instance we've become repeat visitors many times over.

I have to qualify my comments by saying that I'm one of those folks who really, really prefer full hook-ups. If we stay in a public campground without full hook ups, we are staying with friends and usually in a rally -- and we always have a good time. On our own, it's full hook ups all the way!

Nancy Mac
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:05 PM   #19
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We've stayed at a few KOAs in western states, and they have all been nice places, if a bit over-developed for our tastes. Our favourite RV parks are the Mom & Pop ones in small towns or the countryside that rate at least a few diamonds in the Woodall's guide, and that don't have permanent residents who seem unconcerned about trash disposal.

One KOA that met all criteria was the KOA in Deer Lodge, Montana. We seemed to be the only people there on a rainy autumn night, and the owner was so helpful and friendly.
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:32 PM   #20
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Upgrading generally

The KOA in Virginia Beach has been dreary for quite a long time, but within the last year and a half they've been slowly rebuilding. One section at a time, they've been rebuilding the sites and roads. There's a regional supervisor on site overseeing the work. Perhaps the tight economy is convincing KOA that they need to spruce up the brand's image to start justifying the higher prices.

There used to be a large number of permanent residents at both the KOA and the Holiday Trav-L Park - almost across the street from the KOA. The reason? It's the US Military has multiple bases in our area and for enlisted people a trailer is a good investment. NAS Oceana has on base trailer lots, but most others do not. Some of the campgrounds did a really good job having "permanent resident areas" and general camping areas, but many just mixed the two together... and it wasn't great.

The city now requires campgrounds to limit stays to 60 days, except for employees, and frankly it's a hardship for the enlisted people... but some of them? Very young. On their own for the first time. Lack of discretion with alcohol... not a good mix, though of course some are sterling citizens.

The permanent resident campgrounds in NC tend to be a lot cheaper - but in a word, "Keep on paddling... I hear banjos!"

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:14 PM   #21
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First experience with a KOA

I have been utilizing KOAs since 1978 . . . in fact, my 1978 vacation was in excess of 30-nights covering 15 states and I only utilized KOAs. Maybe I have just been very fortunate, but I have never been disappointed in any of the KOAs that I have visited. Some of my favorites have included:
  • Mitchell, SD KOA
  • Kingman, AZ KOA
  • Route 66 KOA, Seligman, AZ
  • Delta KOA, Stockton, CA
  • Needles CA KOA
  • Limon, CO KOA
  • Colorado Springs, CO KOA
  • Mountain Home, ID KOA
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:19 PM   #22
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KOAs have been around for a while, and some of them show their age...but many of them have new owners who are truly upgrading the sites and grounds and trying to give their customers a pleasant experience. We don't stay at KOAs often but we are not afraid to stay at them, either, especially if we are looking for an overnight situation... Like pmclemore, we stayed at the Bernalillo, NM, KOA and were totally delighted...kind of a nostagic feel to it with white-washed rocks lining the roads and sites, and a homey atmosphere. We got there late, tired from a long day, no reservations and asked, "Is there room in the inn for the night?"...and they said, "Sure, come on in!" They led us to a nice spot at the end of a row of sites, didn't even bother checkng us in... "Just come on by the office in the morning before you leave and we'll settle up then. And don't forget our free pancake breakfast!" We would have stayed there longer but we were en route ... but we'd stay there again in a heart-beat. In fact, we might even PLAN to stay there for a few days and explore the area more.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:23 PM   #23
Full Timers/Diesel power.
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Being related to two couples having two KOA Kamps, we know it's pricey to keep the franchise. So in the lean years, a lot of owners take on "extended campers", which creates problems with travelers who thought they were in a safe, quiet site. We've been there, and bailed. If any of you have problems with a KOA site, send them a e-mail and complain. They should adjust your billing. I am not a rep, but a fan of well-run camps.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:38 PM   #24
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We have stayed in a fair number of KOA's. A few I would not go back to and a few exceptional ones. One thing for us is they are easy to find when we are traveling. We usually pick one as a last resort backup plan to stop at that night if we do not find something else that we like by stopping time. I find KOA's to be generally clean. I used to need wi fi, but now can do it on the phone most places. Getting 14 or so MPG pulling it is sometimes cheaper to stay in a campground close to the path than to divert 20 or so miles each way up a bad road to find a forest service campground or state park. I also belong to Passport America and sometimes Good Sam. Like the Good Sam parks lots of times, but sometimes harder to locate one with a vacancy. Passport America added so many restrictions on nights, etc. that they were not very useful while we were traveling to the southwest for the caravan last year. We sometimes have a unit rally at a local KOA. Campgrounds are sorta like motels. Whatever the local market on that corner will bear.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:45 PM   #25
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The permanent resident campgrounds in NC tend to be a lot cheaper - but in a word, "Keep on paddling... I hear banjos!"


C'mon now Paula--We love Virginia almost as much as NC--matter of fact, going to stay a week at KOA in Fredericksburg in Oct.

Tom and Deb
Fuquay Varina, NC
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:46 PM   #26
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Just some feed back about KOA
Over the years we have camped at a few while traveling. But in the last few we have discovered that the price you pay is not that out of line for what you get.
Some parks are higher priced and offer no more, and some are far from being better.
Traveling out east and down I75 we have found a few nice KOA camp grounds that have been great.
But most recently we have found one in Brighton Ontario that is excellent and we really enjoy the park.
They are close to the highway but with little sound from it, close to shopping in a couple of close by communities.
They have large well laid out site, clean dog run as well as some nice walking paths to enjoy.
They also offer a well stocked store and clean washrooms.
If you are in the area check them out, very nice staff.

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Old 08-06-2012, 09:07 PM   #27
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First Night in KOA and an Airstream - Bar Harbour, Maine

Our first night in a KOA was at the KOA Bar Harbour Oceanside in Maine. While my family had camped in both SOB trailers and a motorhome when I was growing up, my dear wife had never spent the night in a recreational vehicle. We were considering the purchase of an Airstream but before making a significant financial investment I wanted to give her the experience of spending a couple of nights in an RV. Fortunately, Airstream and KOA teamed up a few years ago to seed some special "KOA" 25' Airstreams with the front bedroom model at select KOA's. When we learned of the opportunity to rent an Airstream for an overnight stay we tried the Key West location. It was completely booked up for the summer but we found space at the Bar Harbour Oceanside KOA in Maine. This was in the summer of 2010.

The location was beautiful. The Airstream we stayed in was well maintained. The campground was well cared for. The laundry facilities were clean and the staff was very friendly. The spaces were more than adequate in size and amenities. After two nights in the rental Airstream we knew we wanted to find one of our own and we did. Since then we have not stayed in any KOA's but I'm sure we will from time to time. We definitely want to take our 27FB Safari back to the Bar Harbour Oceanside location where we began our Airstream adventure.

Pictures from that trip appear below. DW is the happy camper. The four KOA Airstreams are lined up in a row. Finally the chairs, fire pit, table, and grill at our unit. Kudos to KOA and Airstream.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:17 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Silver Otter View Post
Great to see this thread about KOAs. Our one and only experience was horrible. We could *not* go any further one day and stopped at a KOA in Green River, Wyo. Merely a large gravel truck stop like parking lot with a grumpy attendant. Only one night and never again.
We made that same mistake several years ago. Now we make sure to stop before or after Green River.

We have been using KOA's off and on for nearly 15 years. 10 years ago you were 95% certain of getting a nice place if you chose a KOA. Starting 10 years ago they seemed to start to decline in average quality. Also we found that some of our reliable KOAs had dropped out of the KOA system. When asked why, they said KOA had raised their affiliation fees so much it was no longer worth it to them. Now our first choice is likely a Good Sam park. We use Trailer Life/Good Sam's Directory. They have a good rating system that works well for us. They appear to fairly rate both Good Sam and other parks.

This is what we do when traveling cross country with no prearranged stops. Using the directory, we narrow it down to two or three possibilities. We usually have Internet coverage while driving. The one who is not driving tries to get an idea of what the park and surrounding area looks like using Google street view. When we reach a decision, we call ahead and check availability, and make a reservation.

Back to the original subject, there are still many nice KOAs around, but you can't count on one being nice like you used to be able to.


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