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Old 02-25-2020, 02:46 AM   #1
Gal
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Question Advises about campsites (Koa and others?) in TX, NM, AZ, UT

Hi everybody,


I'm starting to organize my trip to the USA for next year (april 2021), a friend lends me a 35' (with 2 slides) motorhome, I would have preferred an Airstream to remember the good old days but ... it's not possible, it doesnt have one ...!

I would leave from Houston (TX) to join route 66 and go to Monument Valley and Grand Canyon.

For the return I hesitate to make a U-turn or to pass lower by El Paso, San Antonio...
By browsing the forum, I realize that there are good (very good) and very bad reviews of KOA campsites ...

I'm far away to check it and having opinions from real users of these campsites would be of great help to me ...

I've seen some KOA campsites on the road but no idea if they are good or not...


Can you advise me? Help me? Or maybe other ideas for my travel?


Thank you so much in advance.


Cheers,


Gal.
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:27 AM   #2
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I suggest a good campground app, such as AllStays, which you can use to find campgrounds along your planned route.

My experience with KOAs, in general, is that they are expensive but clean, tidy, and with all the basic amenities.

You will probably want reservations, with a 35 motorhome, and I wouldnt focus to the extreme on finding the best or most perfect campground, as once you are inside your rig it is a controlled environment of your choosing.

Most any KOA will be suitable, if not perfect, in my opinion.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:20 AM   #3
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When I am traveling to get some where I stay in a lot of KOA campsites. Mostly because of the location and the online reservation system. I can reserve them during the day for where I will be that night. I have almost no complaints except for the high cost in some areas (but not most of them). You will be looking for pull throughs for big rigs and KOA makes that simple. It seems like KOA got stronger during the last recession when other campgrounds went out of business. Sign up for the rewards program and get the little number that makes the registration a snap.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:47 AM   #4
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I just returned from a trip through the southwest and the state parks in TX, AZ and NM were all excellent. NM was very inexpensive ($14/night W&E), TX was roughly $25 and AZ was closer to $30. If you rig will fit, which it should in most of the campgrounds, you might want to look into them. One big benefit is the park the campgrounds are located in are usually an attraction by themselves. For example, Palo Duro Canyon in TX and Oliver Lee State Park in NM, 1/2 hour from White Sands National Park:
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:51 AM   #5
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KOAs are like a chain restaurant - every one will be similar in site connections and amenities. The advantage is you can book KOAs for your whole trip, then you are free to concentrate on sightseeing, confident you will have a safe, clean place to return to. Another advantage for the tourist is they are mostly well placed next to local attractions.
It seems almost every KOA has either an airport, train track, highway or shooting range next to it - some have all, lol. Bring a fan.
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Old 02-25-2020, 09:42 AM   #6
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I second the NM State parks; they have been without exception wonderful. Also TX and OK...there are some real hidden gems. Also look for Army Corp of Engineer (ACE) parks; they are always on or very near a beautiful body of water. I don't need/use/want to pay for the amenities of a KOA so I've never stayed at one but would in a pinch.
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Old 02-25-2020, 09:58 AM   #7
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If you're traveling with kids then KOA's are a great place. The have playgrounds and pools.
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Old 02-25-2020, 10:56 AM   #8
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Campgrounds, Utah

Best place to stay in Monument Valley is Gouldings. Very clean, well organized and beautiful views.

Best place to stay in or near Green River Utah is the Shady Acres RV park. Very clean, and it has a very nice dog park within the park.
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Old 02-25-2020, 10:59 AM   #9
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KOA just outside Santa Fe is one the best we ever used. We ended up extending our stay from 1 night to 5 nights. The restaurant on the highway (Cafe Fina) to Santa Fe is excellent.
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Old 02-25-2020, 11:32 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
I just returned from a trip through the southwest and the state parks in TX, AZ and NM were all excellent. NM was very inexpensive ($14/night W&E), TX was roughly $25 and AZ was closer to $30. If you rig will fit, which it should in most of the campgrounds, you might want to look into them. One big benefit is the park the campgrounds are located in are usually an attraction by themselves. For example, Palo Duro Canyon in TX and Oliver Lee State Park in NM, 1/2 hour from White Sands National Park:
I'm not a fan of commercial campsites and find KOAs overpriced, crowded and in a word suburban, everything I am trying to get away from while camping. I second the above advice on State Parks which are in and of themselves destinations, and much better value for money. Do not avoid El Paso, Hueco Tanks the State Park nearby is fabulous, and the hikes which must be booked in advance amazing. I would log on to the various state park sites and string together a trip, lots of history in the area for history buffs too.
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Old 02-25-2020, 11:57 AM   #11
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We use KOAs occasionally when we need an overnight on the way to somewhere else that is convenient and easy. But we far prefer the AZ and NM State Park systems. They are both excellent... NM is the most reasonably priced. They can handle big rigs, too.

Also the Maricopa County Regional Parks in the Metro Phoenix area are excellent. I second Goulding's at Monument Valley. You can't get closer to the action and you can see the Valley through the opening of the canyon where Goulding's is located. (Pic from the campground below...the RV section overlooks the tent section east toward Monument Valley.)

In Moab, UT, which is a must for Arches, national Monument, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point St Park, try the ACT RV Park. Just out of town away from the fray, small, great owners, former professors, who happen to have been inspired by their European travels to create an eco-friendly RV Park.

You should also see the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park while in the SWest.

Happy travels!
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Old 02-25-2020, 01:13 PM   #12
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We prefer to spend most of our time boondocking at state parks, national forests and the like but KOA's are useful as an overnight stopover on the way to our final destination. We have yet to stay at a really bad KOA although some of them are pretty mundane. OTOH, there are a few really nice KOA properties close to interesting places and they can make for a nice destination in themselves.

The KOA website has a trip planner which we have found useful when working out distances and places to stay on the way to our destination. It makes getting reservations in advance easy if that's what you want to do.

https://koa.com/trip-planner/#
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Old 02-25-2020, 02:46 PM   #13
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There was a time when I swore off KOA's. For the overnight traveler, I found them overpriced, too many "don't" signs, and more suited to the family camping crowd. If all I wanted was a nice level spot to park overnight, I hated paying for the volleyball court and rental bicycles!
But, if you're traveling without reservations or prior knowledge, a KOA is a given. I agree with "lily and me".
So last year I re-upped my KOA 'discount' card, watch Allstays and Gas Buddy, and you can get just about anywhere.
I'm trying to plan better, and expand to St. Parks and COE campgrounds because as KOA's are closing in on $50/night (or more) and all I'm using is power, eh.

I found last year that campgrounds are filling up with construction workers. 40' trailers with three doors and no graphics. Rather than put workers in motels, they put them in campgrounds. They're good neighbors but it's consuming spaces.

The more miles you drive, the harder it becomes to make reservations. I pull into a rest area about 4 PM, and check Allstays for what's another hour up the road. Then call and reserve.
Arriving after the offices close is not conducive to stress free traveling.
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Old 02-25-2020, 03:27 PM   #14
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Try these

I often use https://www.campgroundreviews.com/ and https://www.campendium.com/ in my research to find a place that suits my needs. I prefer state park campgrounds as they are usually a bit more scenic and often are more spacious than private campgrounds. I do use KOA that their membership pays for itself. It also depends if I need to do laundry as most state park campgrounds don't have laundry mats, so I look for a KOA or similar RV park, or if I want something that is right in or near town or whatever I am visiting/exploring.
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Old 02-25-2020, 03:49 PM   #15
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I'll second Doc Foster's votes for Campendium and CampgroundReviews. It's nice to see reviews from other campers, though of course you have to apply a bit of a mental filter to them... remember that way more people will complain than will praise, and some people will complain about ridiculous stuff. Also, I use Google Maps a lot; less to FIND a campground than to RESEARCH it (because Google Maps often can't tell the difference between an RV campground and a mobile home park.) When you search Maps for a campground you've found on an RV-focused site, one of the options is "Photos" that lets you see all sorts of photos taken at or near the place. Sometimes people label their photos poorly and you'll find some irrelevant ones taken in the same town, etc. but in general there will some photos taken by other travelers that give you more of an idea of what the place looks like.

On long excursions where the weather is decent, I'll do things like some boondocking or a few Harvest Host visits and then book a night or two somewhere convenient with full hookups and a laundry room like a KOA. That lets me do laundry, dump and flush the waste tanks and fill the fresh tank, get the batteries fully charged etc. in a laid-back way.
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:55 PM   #16
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If you are headed to Monument Valley I suggest a day or so at Gouldings Trading Post/Campground which is practically at the entrance to Monument and the Navajo reservation visitor center. We have had good experience there and prices are fair. But we always came though during off season also. Gouldings has some cool history and nice a museum for movie buff of the John Wayne/John Ford era.
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Old 02-27-2020, 05:17 AM   #17
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Thank you so much for all your replies!

I followed your advices and I found other interesting campsites with lower price, for example, this one :

https://route66rvranch.com/

It looks like correct and friendly and as you told me Lily&Me, I think I have all we want inside the motorhome. We love walking and visiting sites outside the campsite so I don't need many things in the campground... I think!

We'll be 4 persons, my wife and 2 children (3 & 4 years old)


I continue my investigation and I note the best campsites that I find to build my roadtrip.
Also, you're right, I must follow the south road (El Paso) for the return!
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Old 02-27-2020, 01:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gal View Post
Hi everybody,


I'm starting to organize my trip to the USA for next year (april 2021), a friend lends me a 35' (with 2 slides) motorhome, I would have preferred an Airstream to remember the good old days but ... it's not possible, it doesnt have one ...!

I would leave from Houston (TX) to join route 66 and go to Monument Valley and Grand Canyon.

For the return I hesitate to make a U-turn or to pass lower by El Paso, San Antonio...
By browsing the forum, I realize that there are good (very good) and very bad reviews of KOA campsites ...

I'm far away to check it and having opinions from real users of these campsites would be of great help to me ...

I've seen some KOA campsites on the road but no idea if they are good or not...


Can you advise me? Help me? Or maybe other ideas for my travel?


Thank you so much in advance.


Cheers,


Gal.


My vote is down load Allstays app. We travel during the summer (out of the heat of PHX). Very rarely do we make reservations other than if traveling over national holidays. Look at city parks, BLM parking, may look at Walmart lots a few times, Camping World parking, Allstays has other RVs opinions listed and which Walmart allows over nights. Yes we have stayed in KOAs like others we find that they are overpriced a lot. But what ever turns you on. Thats why there is so many out there.
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Old 02-27-2020, 09:09 PM   #19
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My vote is down load Allstays app. We travel during the summer (out of the heat of PHX). Very rarely do we make reservations other than if traveling over national holidays. Look at city parks, BLM parking, may look at Walmart lots a few times, Camping World parking, Allstays has other RVs opinions listed and which Walmart allows over nights. Yes we have stayed in KOAs like others we find that they are overpriced a lot. But what ever turns you on. Thats why there is so many out there.
Allstays is a good option for iPhone users. They abandoned their paid Android users several years ago.
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Old 02-28-2020, 01:27 AM   #20
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Thank you for your opinion and the name of the app is Allstays ?


I have an Android, not an Iphone, do you have exactly the name of the app because I think it isn't in my list :


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