If you're looking for family-oriented campground accommodations, it's hard to find a better option than KOA. With over 475 campgrounds in more than 45 U.S. states and numerous locations in Canada, it's easy to find a location just about anywhere that you might travel. Each campground is unique, yet all follow quality and facility standards established by the franchise. I am a long-time KOA customer and am happy to share my experiences so that you'll have an idea of what to expect when you visit one of these campgrounds.
KOA Camping Experience
My first guest experience with KOA was in a Kamping Kabin in 2001, and I have been a regular visitor since then. Since that first visit, I have purchased an RV and take several trips each year with my husband and dogs. I always look for a KOA when on the road, and even plan overnight stops based on where KOAs are located. This is because I know that I can always expect KOA's to allow pets, have clean bathroom and shower facilities maintained to high standards and have campsites that are fairly easy to navigate.
While many independent campgrounds are wonderful places to stay, that is not always the case. Choosing KOA whenever possible keeps me from worrying about whether or not the facilities will be acceptable.
While no two KOA campgrounds are identical, they all have the following features:
- Pull-through sites for RVs available
- Clean bathrooms with hot water and showers
- Washers and dryers
- General stores with convenience items and camping supplies
- Pet-friendly policies
In addition to the above features, many locations have fenced dog run areas, large shared kitchen areas (referred to as Kamping Kitchens), wireless Internet access, swimming pools and hot tubs. Some locations, like the one in Bristol, TN, are horse-friendly.
Entertainment options vary, often including mini golf courses, jumping pillows and game rooms, as well as a daily schedule of family friendly activities. For example:
- The Williamsburg, VA location offers seasonal hayrides, outdoor movies under the stars, and numerous seasonal special events and activities.
- The Colorado Springs KOA offers bicycle rentals and a pavilion, plus has a variety of planned activities between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
- The Lafayette, LA location offers paddle boat rentals and also has an on-site miniature golf course and game room for guests to enjoy.
Dining facilities are available at some KOAs. Some locations even offer campsite food delivery from on-site dining options as well as from local restaurants. Examples include:
- The Natural Bridge KOA in Lexington, VA offers campsite pizza delivery service.
- The Albuquerque, NM North location has an indoor/outdoor cafe offering a full breakfast menu, as well as a snack bar.
- The Fredericksburg, VA/Washington DC location has an on-site snack bar, and a number of local restaurants offer deliver food to the campground.
- A local caterer provides on-site catering at the Gettysburg, PA location.
KOA campgrounds are located in a variety of areas, ranging from relaxing "off-the-beaten path" settings to popular tourist destinations to major metropolitan areas.
I have personally stayed in KOA campgrounds in nine different states in cities and towns of varying sizes. My first KOA stay was at the Lookout Mountain/Chattanooga West location in Trenton, GA, a spot that provided a perfect home base for exploring the attractions in and around Chattanooga. Over the years, I have stayed at many other KOAs, including most of the ones mentioned in this article.
For several years, most of my experiences were in country settings or near tourist destinations. However, I soon learned that these campgrounds are everywhere. For example, I was pleasantly surprised a few years ago to discover a KOA in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro, located in Arlington, TX, and I stay at the facility at least one time each year. It's in a convenient location in the heart of Arlington, yet you'd never know that you are in a big city once you enter the campground's gates.
Whether you're looking for beach or race-week accommodations in Daytona Beach or elsewhere in Florida, or if you're planning a family vacation to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico - or just about anywhere else you may want to travel - chances are that there's a KOA near your destination or located somewhere along the way. See the All Campground Locations page on the company website for a full list of locations.
KOA has camping options for tent and RV campers, as well as for those who are looking for rental cabins and other rustic accommodations.
KOA campgrounds typically offer both tent and RV sites. In all of the KOAs I have visited, I have found the campsites to be large, level and well-maintained. When you review campground options online, you'll be able to see exactly what types of campsites the location you're considering offers and select the type of site that best meets your needs from available options.
The registration system allows you to specify the exact type of site that you want and provides pricing specific to your selections. If you're reserving a tent site, you'll know before you book if the site has electricity and water. If you're selecting an RV site, you'll need to provide the size of your camper and specify your preferences for back-in, pull through, hookups, 30 vs. 50 amp power.
If you want to stay in a campground setting but you don't have a tent or RV, you can take advantage of KOA's rental options. Availability varies among campgrounds, but may include cabins, cottages, lodges, and rental RV units. Some spots have particularly unique accommodations including yurts, teepees, caboose and tree house options. See the Unique Accommodations page on the company's website for details.
Check rental policies closely before booking, as pets are not allowed in most rental units and you may need to bring your own linens.
Finding KOA Campgrounds
You can find KOA campgrounds online or using the printed directory.
Go to Koa.com/find-a-koa and use the map and list of states or provinces to discover locations. Simply click the state or province of your choice to view to the area you are interested in.
You'll see a list of campgrounds in the state, along with dots marking where they are on the map, so you can identify choices in the area you plan to visit. From there, you can learn more about specific properties, view activities and amenities and make reservations. Be sure to check the "hot deals" section so you can learn about special offers and coupon codes.
Each year, KOA prints a directory that is organized by state and province. I find my directory to be an invaluable resource, especially when I am on long road trips and am trying to find places to stop for the night while en route to my destination. Campgrounds provide printed directories at no charge, so be sure to pick up one of the books the next time you visit a KOA. You can also request to receive on by mail, though a shipping and handling charge will apply.
Enjoy Your Time
If you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, but prefer a camping experience that is more comfortable than rugged, it's hard to find a better option that KOA. If, like me, you become a loyal camper who plans to return time and time again, consider joining the Value Kard Rewards program. You'll receive a ten percent discount on each stay, as well as accrue points toward discounts and free nights.