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Old 06-13-2007, 11:39 PM   #1
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KOA's: nice or neglected?

Hi, I just want to hear from other Airstreamers out there on their thoughts about KOAs. My experiences are: years ago they were neat, clean, fun, and easy to find and / or get to. Now forty years later the KOA owners have not spent one lousey dime to upgrade, rebuild, or even repaint these old rundown campsites. Not all of them are dumps, but too many are headed that way. In Idaho, Coar D'Arlene the KOA is great, but the KOA in Sisters, Oregon is a run down dump; Looks like nothing has been done to it since it was first built. Sisters, Oregon KOA is a dust bowl with dead trees, horrable landscapeing, and run down facilities. I made reservations for the Sisters KOA from Corvalous KOA; Corvalous was great, when we got to Sisters we were very disappointed. Later we found out that there was a really nice independent camp ground at the other end of Sisters. Wish we knew about that one instead of thinking all KOAs were great. Years ago I liked all of them, but now I think maybe one out of five is great, one out of five is alright, and three out of five are dumps. Corvalous, [Forgot how to spell it] Oregon is also a great KOA. I forgot the locations of all the crappy KOAs we stayed at, Maybe I just don't want to remember the bad ones or maybe it's just an age thing. Let me and the forum know how you feel about today's KOAs.


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Old 06-13-2007, 11:57 PM   #2
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I'm interested to know what you and others think of the ones along I-10 from San Diego to Key West. I am taking the kids to Disney World next June and thought the KOA system might be easier to book than the public(fed, county, state) campgrounds I have been using in California. Haven't been in a KOA in 20 years. Have they slipped that much?

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Old 06-14-2007, 12:02 AM   #3
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I will have to disagree. It depends on what your requirements and expectatiions are. I can't really say I think of KOAs as destination spots (the Seligman AZ Old Route 66 KOA is an exception. I enjoy kicking back with a cold one and just watching the trains) but they're easy to book reservations at, usually have passable WiFi and decent power. Some even throw in free cable. We're very familliar with most if not all of the northern AZ ones and I have no complaints. Our June road trip starting Saturday to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival will be almost entirely at KOA basecamps (the Ouray CO. KOA might just be another exception). But my point is we park the Airstream at KOAs while we're off on adventures. My less fond 'camping' memories are of 70s era KOAs out on the prairie.
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Old 06-14-2007, 12:28 AM   #4
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KOA's usually have a pool!

Bob -

On the 2 long trips we have taken (1500mi or more) we did use KOA's quite a bit. The clincher was usually because they had a pool - a BIG DRAW when you travel with kids.

Now, that being said, I do recall that several were in places that, perhaps many years ago - when the campsites were built, the area may have been in the boonies and state of the art - but as you note, there are no real apparent efforts to stay current and 'with-it' as far as the top-flight campgrounds are these days.

One in Tulsa spring immediately to mind. It appeared that the place was stuck in about 1968.... At least the trees were mature...

All I remember is that the turn arounds were NOT designed to easily accomodate my burb/classic rig, certainly not the Prevosts/ Newells with the caddy/boat combo - that guy had to un-hitch the boat, move forward, then the caddy, park the moho, go back and hitch the boat to the caddy, then park the boat at the moho, then move the caddy to the front of the building as there was no space at his site.... Kinda amusing (for ME!) to watch - it was in the upper 90's and HUMID. Remember the pool? I watched it all floating in the shallow end!

KOA's a usually easy to reserve a spot with, but there are LOTS of local small campgrounds that will really WORK hard to earn you $'s... that is more my preference, when I have the time to seek them out. It's all a compromise.

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Old 06-14-2007, 01:06 AM   #5
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There is a KOA down the hghway (50) from us in Shingle Springs (about 35 miles east of Sacramento) that was built about 15 years ago. It has nice rolling hills and lots of trees. It is right along the busy freeway. The brush that was planted back then has just about blocked the view from and to the freeway. I have never gone in there but have heard some nice things from people who have had friends/relatives visiting them that put their rigs there. There are a few permanent Airstreams parked there. The shrubs have just about obscured seeing them except one on a knoll that has been there the entire 15 or so years. A year from now an Indian casino will open right next to it. I bet that owner would like more land to expand into. I bet (pun) the prices will rise too. Is there a review available of KOA's? If Bob says there are bad ones then there are. Right, NorCal Casini neighbor!

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Old 06-14-2007, 02:36 AM   #6
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Hit or miss on the ones I have stayed at...Little Rock, AK was not that great, the one in Elk City, OK was very nice and one of the older ones. The one in Amarillo, TX was decent. The one in Holbrook had been down and almost out, but was under new ownership/management and was coming back up. The one in Virgina Beach is so/so the one along I-95 in Wade NC is pretty nice. I think location has a lot to do with it. It is a hard way to make a living.

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Old 06-14-2007, 03:04 AM   #7
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Smile C-o-r-v-a-l-l-i-s

I grew up in Corvallis, (Corn-Vally to us natives) and actually went to school with the daughter of the folks that owned the KOA out there. Not sure if they still do, but at least I was happy to hear that it was on the good list.
Probably one reason that it looked so well kept up, is that you have to paint a building there at least once every three years or it turnes into a hill of moss.

For what its worth, we stopped at the Amarillo KOA and the Fredricksburg KOA on our recent trip to Corpus Christi Tx.
Both where clean, well kept up and freindly.
I had some power issues with the first site in Amarillo, and they moved me to another pad with no fuss.
The Fredricksburg, tx KOA was beautifull with mature trees, and a layout that avoided the Walmart Parkinglot feel thats popular in RV parks.
The kids liked the pool at both of them to.

The main reason we stayed at them though was thier online registration and cabins.
My mother in law was traveling with us in her car. So it made it real simple to reserve a pull through for us, and a Kabin for her and have it all paid for and ready to go when we rolled in at 7:00 PM all bleary eyed and road rashed.

Thats a pretty small sampling though, so Im sure we'll run into a dissapointment sooner or later.
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Old 06-14-2007, 03:53 AM   #8
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Our experience with KOA has been very good up and down the east coast and on our way out west. For the most part they are nice for a night or two but for longer stays we try to find something with a more resort feel. One we particularly liked was Fredricksburg KOA in Virgina (interesting there is one in Texas of the same name). All of them have had clean bathrooms and decent sites.
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Old 06-14-2007, 04:25 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by sandiegan
... and thought the KOA system might be easier to book than the public(fed, county, state) campgrounds I have been using in California.
San Diego to Key West sounds like a fantastic trip! Over the past few years many public campgrounds across the country have gone to online campground reservation systems. For instance, here in Delaware you can book sites months, or just days, in advance via a toll fee number, or online.
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Old 06-14-2007, 05:01 AM   #10
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I have found that KOA's consistently run about three times the price of places we like to stay (state parks, family-owned parks, etc) -- often near the price of hotel rooms!

"Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it remains?"

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Old 06-14-2007, 05:16 AM   #11
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They are individually owned so there are good and bad ones.

We stayed at one dump, but we got in at 9PM out at 5am, so it didn't matter that much.

I stopped at Fredricksberg VA a few times it was very nice with new baths etc, high recommend.

There were others but don't recall any other bad ones.

I think along the east coast they average $27.
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Old 06-14-2007, 05:36 AM   #12
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KOAs are easy to find and convenient along major highways. Most KOAs beat staying in a Walmart lot or a roadside park after a long day on the road. Try finiding a state park close to your route. No swimming pools in the state, national parks or forests but the experience is typically wonderful.
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Old 06-14-2007, 06:07 AM   #13
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It's interesting how many little campgrounds were FORMER KOA's. The tell-tale A-frame office is the giveaway. When we're in a hurry, we look for the campgrounds closest to the highway. As someone said, the public CG's are pretty far off the road. Now in Texas, the KOA's and other private CG's are downwind from a feedlot, right next to the railroad tracks, at the end of the runway or adjacent to a truckstop....sometimes all of the above!

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Old 06-14-2007, 06:21 AM   #14
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Every KOA we have stayed at has been almost the same, from Florida to New York to Florida. Uniformly, well, uniform. Nothing great, but nothing bad, either. I have often referred to KOA's as McCampgrounds.

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