It’s no secret that we normally veer away from RV parks. As you may know, we like to live life off the beaten path. When we do go to an RV park, 90% of the time, it will be at a Kampground of America. So, why do people stay at KOA?
Here are 7 reasons people stay at KOA:
- Clear Expectations
- High Cleanliness Standards
- Friendly Staff
- Great Amenities
- Beautiful Sites
- Kid Friendly
- Pet Friendly
- Convenient Locations
1. Clear Expectations
Imagine, after a full day of travel, you’re weary from your journey. Your kids/companion keep asking, “Are we almost there?” Then, you pull into KOA and you know that you have the expectation of a comfortable campsite that will meet your families needs.
KOA is the McDonalds of camping. I mean that in a good way. When you stay at KOA, you know what to expect. Since KOA is a franchise, like McDonalds, you know that you’ll get a comfortable, clean site every time. You always know that you’ll have a high-quality experience at KOA.
With many other RV parks, you’ll have to search on various apps to find a site. After that, you still have to either go to the RV site website or call to book a site. Not so with KOA. You can book any KOA campground with the KOA app or KOA website. Of course, you can also call and book your trip. KOA even has an integrated trip planner so that you can plan your trip from KOA to KOA and book all your sites in one convenient location.
KOA campgrounds have the advantage of being close to attractions and many are conveniently located near highways so that you can get off the road and into your campsite quickly.
Although you can have the expectation of comfort at KOA, not every KOA will be the same. A KOA in the dessert will look different from a KOA in the forest. That is the beauty of KOA; it’s not cookie-cutter, but it will always be homey and comfortable.
We love the relaxing atmosphere of KOA. We have camped with friends, but also made new friends at KOA campgrounds. Campers generally seem happy and content at KOA and most have been more than happy to visit with us. Want to make new friends while camping? Ask campers about their rig, their tent or their vehicle. These are great conversation ice breakers.
If you enjoy KOA and plan to camp frequently, read why the KOA Rewards program might work for you.
2. High Cleanliness Standards
KOA annually inspects each campground with a 600-point inspection, which it claims is the most stringent in the business. And, with the advent of the pandemic, the cleanliness standards have increased. I hate dirty restrooms and showers; toilet paper in the shower, hair and left over soap…Gross! KOA spot checks the bathrooms frequently and, of course, they are given a thorough cleaning daily. Properties are maintained and you’ll always see a staff member riding around on a golf cart tending to the property and assuring campers needs are met. One of the KOAs we visited picked up our trash at our campsite several times per day!
If KOA has grass, the grass is mowed and the sites are cleaned before campers visit. Since KOA is a franchise, there is a pride of ownership in each KOA. In addition, KOA awards campground who have great reviews and the best inspection results. So in a sense, KOA owners are in a friendly competition to be the best.
3. Friendly Staff
I have always found KOA staff to be helpful and friendly. I do think that they could improve the check in process. It would be better if you could check in at a kiosk like you would at a state or national park. However, indoor check in does give the camper a chance to interact with the staff. They have been incredibly helpful. Whenever I have had a question about the area, the KOA staff have been happy to answer my questions. They are the experts in activities in the surrounding area. I’ve also asked recommendations on shopping locations like grocery stores.
4. Great Amenities
I’ve never been to a KOA that didn’t have a swimming pool. Some KOA pools are larger than others. We have camped at KOAs with outdoor pools and some with indoor pools. Some KOAs also have hot tubs, which I really enjoy. Normally, pools at a KOA are full of crazy kids having a blast. If you don’t have children, and want to have a quite pool experience, visit the pool around dinner time. I’m retired and my children are grown. When I go to the pool, I find that the dinner hour is the quietest time for a relaxing pool visit. Be sure to check pool hours before you put on your swimsuit and head down there.
Many KOAs have bike rentals, but some KOAs have more fun items for rent. Richfield KOA Holiday in Utah had quads for rent. Another KOA that we visted had push-pedel cars for the kids to ride. KOAs near a waterway may have boats or stand up paddleboards for rent.
Every KOA has WiFi. However, the WiFi quality will vary by location. Our experience is that the campground WiFi can get bogged down with users during peak hours. I wouldn’t count on the campground WiFi to use if I was working from my rig. WiFi location comes into play as well. The further you are away from the router, the worse the signal will be at your rig. If WiFi is important to you when camping, be sure to ask for a campsite with good signal.
When you’re ready to call it a day, and you’ve had dinner and are ready to unwind, it’s nice to know that you can connect to TV service at KOA. It’s important to note that you’ll need a coax cable. KOA recommends having 50 feet of cable in order to connect to the pedestal. Each KOA will have it’s own cable TV service and the office will give you a link to the TV guide. Generally, family-friendly channels are available.
KOA Convenience Store
Invariably, when we are camping, we will run out of something. KOA always seems to have the things you need. And, they will stock up on items that you’ll need for that particular area. For example, if the KOA is situated on or near a river or lake, the store will stock fishing supplies. KOA often has camping supplies as well. One time we were camping at KOA on my birthday and my husband bought me a folding, rocking camp chair for a birthday gift. Another KOA we visited had a small ice cream shop inside the store! It was so nice to have an ice cream on a hot day. And, you know that you will always find the makings for smores at the KOA store!
We are frequently camping off the beaten path in dispersed campsites or state or national campsites. I always plan a stop at KOA during these types of longer trips. It’s really nice to have a convenient place to do the laundry. Often, the laundry is located close to the pool. I usually put the laundry in and set the timer on my watch while I sit by the pool enjoying the sunshine. At KOA, I feel like my laundry is safe to run by itself while I do something else.
5. Beautiful Sites
KOA consistently has great campsites. Each site has a table and a fire ring. One of my pet peeves is paying for a site that is not level. KOA sites are frequently paved with rock or concrete. These sites are dirt-free and level or very close to level.
Many sites have hook ups with 30 or 50 amp service and potable water. Several sites have sewer hook ups, but KOAs also have a dump station. Plus, if you want to save money, you can get a site with electricity only. These sites are great for RVs, like a tent trailer or a teardrop trailer, that don’t have a bathroom. If you have a big rig, you can depend on KOA to have some pull-through sites.
You might wonder, do KOAs have tent sites? Lots of RVers camp at KOA, but KOA has beautiful tent sites. They are some of the best I’ve ever seen. On our last visit to a KOA, we camped in our RV next to a beautiful, large grassy tent site with plenty of flat, level space to place your tents.
6. Kid Friendly
KOA is a game changer for young families who have not camped with children before. If you’re not sure that camping is for you, KOA is your entry-level invitation to camping, assuring you and your family will have a fun time. I was a single parent and my children where small when we made a three-week, cross country trip. I stayed at a KOA every chance I got. KOA took the pressure off camping for me. One of the KOAs that we stayed at served hamburgers one of the nights that we were there, so I didn’t have to cook. I felt comfortable and safe staying in the KOA cabins with my kids.
Because KOA is so family friendly, other families will bring their children as well, giving your children opportunities to make new friends. And, as I mentioned before, there are so many activities for children. A KOA on a river or lake might have boat or tubing rentals. Many KOAs have a game room for kids. Some activities that you’ll find for kids at various KOAs are as follows:
- Panning for gold, gems or fossils
- Bocce Ball Court
- Horseshoe Pits
- Volleyball Court
- Jumping Pillow
- DVD Rentals
- Giant Jenga
- Outdoor Cinema
- Hay Wagon Rides
- Themed Weekend Activities
- Mini golf
- swimming pool
It’s important to note that different KOAs have different activities for kids.
7. Pet Friendly
Don’t leave Fido behind! We’ve found KOA to be very dog friendly.
Every KOA that I’ve been to has had a pet park. These parks, called CampK9, give dogs a small area to use the restroom and interact with other dogs. This fenced area gives your dog a place to run and play off-leash. Clean up stations are located nearby so that you can pick up after your pet to keep CampK9 nice for other doggy campers. Clean water is available as well as seating for dog family members.
Dog Wash Station
A few KOAs even have a dog wash station. This comes in handy for dogs who have gotten themselves into a dirty situation, or even if you are on a longer trip and Fido needs some special attention before getting back in your RV or tent.
Pet Friendly Cabins
Some KOAs offer pet-friendly cabins where you can camp with your furry friend.
It’s important to know that some KOAs have breed restrictions, and of course, there are rules that you and your dog will have to abide by. Be sure that your dog’s license and vaccinations are all up to date when visiting a KOA campground.
8. Convenient Locations
KOA has nearly 500 locations in the US and Canada. Each location has it’s own special charm and amenities. Many KOAs are nearby national parks and other attractions. Frequently, KOA campgrounds are conveniently located near major freeways for quick access.
Three different types of KOA campgrounds have their own special magic:
KOA Journey campgrounds are located near major highways. They offer easy after-hours check in service and Long pull through sites for weary travelers.
KOA Holiday campgrounds offere deluxe cabins with kitchenettes, prepared meals, and Indoor and outdoor group facilities. These KOAs frequently have more kid-friendly activities.
KOA Resorts are glamping central with luxury pools and patio RV sites. Deluxe cabins come with linen service. They also have staff activity coordinators.
What is the Best Rated KOA?
The best-rated KOA is Rusk KOA Holiday in Rusk, Texas. This KOA earned a perfect score on a 600 point annual inspection in 2021. In addition, guests have bestowed this KOA with a five out of five stars in campground reviews. Here is a list of other KOAs that received the Presidents Award, which is the highest award granted to outstanding KOAs in 2021:
Albany / Corvallis KOA Journey
Astoria / Warrenton / Seaside KOA Resort
Cascade Locks / Portland East KOA Holiday
Lemolo Lake / Crater Lake North KOA Holiday
Medford / Gold Hill KOA Journey
Oregon Dunes KOA Holiday
Redmond / Central Oregon KOA Holiday
KOA is a great place to make memories that will last forever!