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Old 03-06-2018, 05:06 PM   #1
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My favorite KOA campgrounds

Other than NkMip in Osoyoos which is a favorite, we have stayed in the past mainly with KOA which I have been a member of for past 15 years. Being a member allows one a discount as well as free camping once points are accumulated. My first and favorite KOA is the Badlands, SD where I went on a motorcycle to attend Sturgis in my pre Escape days. The Badlands is like camping on the moon....We have stayed at the first KOA in Billings, MT and in just about every state we have camped in a KOA. Almost all KOA's have cable and internet, and full hook ups available. KOA's will always find you a spot if need be like Howard Johnson's used to be.
Our favorite, although very expensive, is in Bar Harbor, ME https://koa.com/campgrounds/bar-harbor-oceanside/
it was here where we had the experience to meet Clayton, a local who sets up a spot inside the cg steaming fresh lobster, delivered to your site. We had a site right on the ocean (was $69, now it's $90/nite) maybe 30 feet from the incoming tide. Just beautiful, surrounded by Acadia NP on the island, great location and great memories.
Our third favorite is, like Maine, on the water in Cape Charles, Va. https://koa.com/campgrounds/chesapea...camping-sites/
This KOA has a pet beach as well as a pub and restaurant located on the beach. All within walking distance from your campsite, a little less expensive than Bar Harbor-$50/night but just as pretty.
So, depending on location as well as amenities, KOA provides a nice camping experience.
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Old 03-06-2018, 05:58 PM   #2
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While we haven't traveled as extensively as some here on the forum, we also enjoy camping in KOAs for some of the same reasons you mention. Plus, if you're doing heavy-duty sightseeing, it makes a nice 'base' where you can come back and have (almost) all the comforts of home (e.g., full hookups, showers, laundry, pool, etc.).

We missed the Bandlands, SD, KOA (darn) opting instead for the Rapid City KOA (we had two pre-teens with us and went for the 'activities'). Would love to experience some of the KOAs on the East Coast as they look amazing. In the meantime, we've enjoyed quite a few here on the West Coast. Take the Benbow KOA (https://koa.com/campgrounds/benbow/) -- clean, spacious sites, grass, great pool and a golf course. Plus, walk from the campground, on the lighted path under the highway, to the historic Benbow Inn where you can get a nice dinner or just grab a drink and sit on the tree-shaded patio, overlooking the river. The Santa Cruz/Monterey KOA gets high marks, especially if you're with family or want to explore the region. Santa Cruz North/Coastanoa KOA (https://koa.com/campgrounds/santa-cruz-north/) on the coast also gets high marks -- probably because it was built as a 'high end' resort before KOA took it over.

Would love to hear some of the favorites of others.
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:25 PM   #3
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I have only stayed in about 3 KOA's. 2 were not very nice, your typical lineup of trailer type camping in a parking lot. Most I see from the road are not all that enticing.

I did stay at one in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, that was quite nice with a small river running along it. The hot springs in town were wonderful. I like hot, and I could only handle the hottest pool for 15 minutes, it was about 112°F.

This is my buddy fishing in the river at the campground.



This is a view from a hillside to the south. The part of the campsite we were in was amid the big trees, something I have rarely seen at a KOA. The office buildings are in the top right, and there is a newer more open section of the campground to the right of them. Note also the highway right along the campground with train tracks beside that, which did add a bit of noise to the party.

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Old 03-06-2018, 06:40 PM   #4
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Yes, We stayed at Lava Hot Springs our first year enroute to Osoyoos. I was dismayed that the hot springs were off site, which meant unhooking. But I loved the train sounds all night long as it is right on the BNSF mainline across the street. The further from the main population areas, the prettier the campgrounds become. I remember staying at one in Kansas, maybe 40 miles from Kansas City, that had fresh Kansas BRBQ set up, talk about fresh. Stay near Iowa Dave and you will get corny, literally and figuratively....
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:45 PM   #5
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Yes, We stayed at Lava Hot Springs our first year enroute to Osoyoos. I was dismayed that the hot springs were off site, which meant unhooking. But I loved the train sounds all night long as it is right on the BNSF mainline across the street. The further from the main population areas, the prettier the campgrounds become. I remember staying at one in Kansas, maybe 40 miles from Kansas City, that had fresh Kansas BRBQ set up, talk about fresh.
Why not disconnect? We always do in campgrounds, even for one night. A few minutes and a level setup, plus a soak in one of the best hot springs I have been in? Most KOA's don't have much (other than their own services) right on site anyway, do they?

The trains only ran a couple times during the night for the 3 nights we were there, 2 nights on the way to southern Utah, and one on the back to soak sore muscles from a fast blast up Angel's Landing in Zion the day before.
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:50 PM   #6
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Several KOA's are becoming destination resorts, with restaurants, horse rides and other activities to keep you busy. Their site says there are 3 types of KOA, journey,resorts, and holidays https://koa.com/brands/
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:46 PM   #7
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The only KOAs I have stayed in that I liked were one in Virginia (Natural Bridge) and Chattanooga North. There is one a bit north of Toledo in Michigan; it is atrocious. And was “forced” to stay in one in West Virginia (only CG in area), associated with some hotel (you registered at the hotel lobby). It was horrendous. The one at Devil’s Tower was OK, but not spectacular. Only reason I stayed there was because of the monolith. Given a choice between Walmart and KOA, I might choose the KOA, but not if there were other campgrounds, especially State Parks available.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:10 PM   #8
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Devils Tower

We stayed at Devils Tower twice
Last summer. It’s not a big campground so when we stopped later in the day it was full save for one site which was the group camp. It did have a nice parking pad and electric and the host (great guy with a very nice vintage airstream) told us we could rent it but we had to pay the group rate and could not use the senior pass. It took me about 15 seconds to pay him the $28. Great site, unlimited room, water and restroom across the road. If you go there and it’s full including the group site there are 2 or 3 US Forest service campgrouds to the east if you’re going towards Rapid City SD. Can you tell, I love Devils Tower? Take the walk around the base of the tower. Takes about an hour, all on asphalt, basically flat. About one mile. Great views.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:27 PM   #9
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We stayed at Devils Tower twice

We went there in 2016 and 2017 the night skies are incredible. We took a night walk and Karen was saying she was a bit concerned about wildlife . The next morning we walked the same path and came across a leg and other deer parts and obvious cougar tracks. We did not take a night walk that evening, we drove over to a parking lot and looked at the sky from it. Yep buck buck buck we be chickens.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:27 PM   #10
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Seeing the Devil's Tower, as an adult, has been on my bucket list for a long time. I'll check that off in late September when I spend two nights at the Devil's Tower KOA.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:34 PM   #11
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We've pulled in a few "normal" KOA's only to turn around and keep looking. Heard about one north of Santa Cruz some rave about- Coastanoa....only $95 & up. Was going to drive through to see, however didn't see the point. To each their own....
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:49 PM   #12
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This massive destination camping I'll be doing that all started with the 50th Boler event and campground and will be approx. 8,000 miles includes:
10 KOAs
7 Private Parks
3 Driveway camps
2 National parks
1 Marina campground
3 State parks
13 tours

I'm soooo glad I have 95% of the reservations made. This will not be cheap, but I'm going to be checking off those bucket list items... and as my Dad would say.... you may never pass this way again. I'm going to try to do it ALL!

When I get back, I'll be glad to give my impressions of each of the KOAs, if anyone is interested.
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Old 03-06-2018, 10:04 PM   #13
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Climbers

Hi Donna, most days there are any number of climbers on the tower. Fascinating to watch them. There’s a little visitor center, if you have questions about the equipment they use there’s a box of pitons, Chocks, wedges all that technical stuff behind the counter. They’ll pull it out if you want them to so you can really get a good look. Prairie dogs, deer and Merriams turkeys. Fascinating history with the intertwining of Souix Indian beliefs. If you like Western stuff, stop in Sheridan Wyoming and spend a couple hours in the King Ropes museum. Free and better than anything you can pay for. Buy a pair of Elkskin roping gloves, best feeling ever when raking leaves or roping steers. Don’t forget Custer battlefield in SE Montana. Mash down on that FoMoCo and let her breathe in Montana. Good pizza in the Pizza Hut in Hardin. That’s all I got
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Old 03-06-2018, 10:11 PM   #14
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Anyone been to the Chocorua Camping Village KOA in Tamworth, NH? It looks pretty nice on paper. The 2nd annual Spring Fling Rally is being held there in May.

https://koa.com/campgrounds/chocorua/
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Old 03-06-2018, 10:22 PM   #15
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Thanks Dave! We'll be leaving Devil's Tower for Billings, MT and taking Hwy 90... those stops look like real possibilities. I appreciate the suggestions.
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Old 03-06-2018, 10:48 PM   #16
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Only ever stayed at one KOA:
Bay Center Willapa Bay KOA in SW Washington. Situated on the east side of Willapa Bay near Long Beach, Wa., the campground includes large trees and a short trail which opens onto a bay beach and has a direct view west that allows for gorgeous sunsets.
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Old 03-06-2018, 11:28 PM   #17
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We made one reservation in five years for a campground. Now am trying to convince Susan to do same for a trip overseas like Rick Steves advocates. Hard to find serendipity otherwise it seems.
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Old 03-07-2018, 10:20 AM   #18
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When visiting Yellowstone NP, we have always used West Yellowstone KOA. It's convenient to the park, has all the expected amenities (including and indoor pool), and a substantial bear fence for critter security.
Note: last time we were there, there was another KOA being built west of them.
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Old 03-07-2018, 10:34 AM   #19
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We went there in 2016 and 2017 the night skies are incredible. We took a night walk and Karen was saying she was a bit concerned about wildlife . The next morning we walked the same path and came across a leg and other deer parts and obvious cougar tracks. We did not take a night walk that evening, we drove over to a parking lot and looked at the sky from it. Yep buck buck buck we be chickens.
One of my favorite night time photographs was of the tower, although not from the KOA campground (I do have a couple of those as well):

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Old 03-07-2018, 10:41 AM   #20
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After riding all day from Sturgis, SD we would stay at the Badlands KOA and after supper just lay on the picnic table and watch nature's television, the star show.
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