Cutting through campsite

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
14,036
Albuquerque, NM
KOAs do vary a lot, and not just between their sort-of new designations. All seems to depend on location, age, ownership and/or management, etc. They have been our main overnight stop for probably 15 years, tents, cabins, popups, and TT, since we seldom find a reserve-able public campground for overnight stops where we need one, and on my several cross-country fall treks, finding campgrounds open was interesting anyway. They have ranged from excellent to hideous - though, to be fair, the worst couple we've encountered have ceased to be KOAs soon after.
It sounds like this year is an interesting one at best, with plenty of first time campers, campers who haven't been out in a long time, and those who just don't care about the rest of the people in a campground, whether they are new or old times. We do encounter the last type at times, but reports seem to indicate they are more plentiful in some locations this year.
We head out in a couple of weeks. First night is at a campground that turned into a KOA last year, so it will be interesting to see it. It will make for a sightly shorter first day than usual, and allow us to dump the waste tanks before the three nights at one of our favorite campgrounds. We ended up with a different site this time. but it may have the advantage of being less likely to be cut through, even though it is the site on one side of the vault toilet. The other border is against a hill, which occasionally we've seen people trundling down, but it's not an easy shortcut to anything.
The other campground we'll be in is one we've used since probably the mid-90s, and it has pretty well space sites. The sites along the river may get some cross traffic, but usually the others don't seem to very much. (Last time there, a lone 2-year-old came wandering through our site, which was more scary than annoying, esp when I realized the family didn't know she'd wandered off.)
 

HappyTraveler

Active Member
Apr 30, 2019
557
New York
KOAs do vary a lot, and not just between their sort-of new designations. All seems to depend on location, age, ownership and/or management, etc. They have been our main overnight stop for probably 15 years, tents, cabins, popups, and TT, since we seldom find a reserve-able public campground for overnight stops where we need one, and on my several cross-country fall treks, finding campgrounds open was interesting anyway. They have ranged from excellent to hideous - though, to be fair, the worst couple we've encountered have ceased to be KOAs soon after.
It sounds like this year is an interesting one at best, with plenty of first time campers, campers who haven't been out in a long time, and those who just don't care about the rest of the people in a campground, whether they are new or old times. We do encounter the last type at times, but reports seem to indicate they are more plentiful in some locations this year.
We head out in a couple of weeks. First night is at a campground that turned into a KOA last year, so it will be interesting to see it. It will make for a sightly shorter first day than usual, and allow us to dump the waste tanks before the three nights at one of our favorite campgrounds. We ended up with a different site this time. but it may have the advantage of being less likely to be cut through, even though it is the site on one side of the vault toilet. The other border is against a hill, which occasionally we've seen people trundling down, but it's not an easy shortcut to anything.
The other campground we'll be in is one we've used since probably the mid-90s, and it has pretty well space sites. The sites along the river may get some cross traffic, but usually the others don't seem to very much. (Last time there, a lone 2-year-old came wandering through our site, which was more scary than annoying, esp when I realized the family didn't know she'd wandered off.)
.
Yeah, expecting KOA to be more like a state park or national forest type camp isn't really fair. We know what to expect when we stay at a KOA and it serves our purpose.
For complete relaxation we head to the forests and state parks that have more dispersed sites.
 
Last edited:

Steveo4090

Super Active Member
Jun 26, 2020
848
Lancaster PA
Ok, gotta ask where in upstate NY?
Medina/wildwood lake Koa holiday is the cg were at. And with the exception of a neighbor swap, it appears the vast majority of people are gone. We were gone from @ 11 am till almost 11 PM today at a friends house on lake Alice/oak orchard river riding jet skis and playing in the water. So it's really dark and I'll see whats left here in the morning when it's light out.
 

HappyTraveler

Active Member
Apr 30, 2019
557
New York
Medina/wildwood lake Koa holiday is the cg were at. And with the exception of a neighbor swap, it appears the vast majority of people are gone. We were gone from @ 11 am till almost 11 PM today at a friends house on lake Alice/oak orchard river riding jet skis and playing in the water. So it's really dark and I'll see whats left here in the morning when it's light out.
.
Had forgotten about that one. I drove by there once and was surprised to see it; it really is out there. Was thinking it might be nice for a girlfriend and I to go to for a girls trip b/c it's close by and not in a busy area like the one on Grand Island.
Were you able to ask for a specific site or do you just have to take what they give you?
Usually, when we stay at KOA we're only making reservations a day ahead and just planning on staying overnight on our way to someplace; so don't care where they put us for the most part. Mind you, those are mostly Journey, so very much a parking lot. For the Holiday type like that one, it'd be nice if you could have some say in which site you got.
 
Last edited:

Sneezer

Super Active Member
Aug 8, 2015
3,081
DFW, TX
I think the KOAs have changed a lot. Back when I was a kid we camped exclusively at KOAs and other private campgrounds in the Good Sam book, which is what my Dad used. They always had that big A-framed office/store building to check in, they always had trees and shade, and were pretty easy for Mom and Dad to navigate a 30 ft RV with a toad. Every once in a while I will see one of those buildings, but the campground has long since disappeared. Many of the ones I drive by these days are of the parking lot variety, lots of pull through sites, minimal trees and shade. Granted, is was just a kid back in the 70s and early 80s when we roamed the US, but they all seem so different now. Looking back I am surprised we didn't use state parks a whole lot, but Mom always wanted to be close to town (she loved to shop) so that probably explained it. We did do Rushmore as kids, so I am guessing we stayed at that KOA but I haven't been back to it since, and don't have a strong recollection of it.

We also stayed at some Jellystones as well - they always seemed fun as a kid.
 

HappyTraveler

Active Member
Apr 30, 2019
557
New York
I think the KOAs have changed a lot. Back when I was a kid we camped exclusively at KOAs and other private campgrounds in the Good Sam book, which is what my Dad used. They always had that big A-framed office/store building to check in, they always had trees and shade, and were pretty easy for Mom and Dad to navigate a 30 ft RV with a toad. Every once in a while I will see one of those buildings, but the campground has long since disappeared. Many of the ones I drive by these days are of the parking lot variety, lots of pull through sites, minimal trees and shade. Granted, is was just a kid back in the 70s and early 80s when we roamed the US, but they all seem so different now. Looking back I am surprised we didn't use state parks a whole lot, but Mom always wanted to be close to town (she loved to shop) so that probably explained it. We did do Rushmore as kids, so I am guessing we stayed at that KOA but I haven't been back to it since, and don't have a strong recollection of it.

We also stayed at some Jellystones as well - they always seemed fun as a kid.
.
When I was a kid, my parents only stayed at KOAs too; that was early and mid 70s. And yeah, that's what I remember too. Lot fewer tters back then and more tent campers. We had a huge canvas tent and we weren't the only ones. The sites were not parking lots and were actually set up for tent camping. Dad wasn't really a camper, he always said he had enough of that when he was in the Marines, but he knew Mom and us kids loved it, so he would do it to please us. His only condition was that he had to have a hot shower every day and KOA had those. They also had a pool (and beach/lake depending on location) and a game room and usually a LOT of other families, so us kids would be out playing all day and making new friends. Lots a great memories.
When I got married and we started camping in the late 80s, we never did KOAs. Think it was b/c we wanted a more rustic experience. We also were going to less developed areas and doing hiking and backpacking. Unlike my parents, we weren't going to one spot and parking for the whole two weeks of vacation. I am suspicious that one of the reasons my folks didn't do state parks is b/c I don't think many of them had showers, let alone hot showers. Maybe not even flush toilets. The reason I say that is b/c I don't remember any of the state parks we went to in the late 80s having showers. Many of them have them now, but they are quite new and modern. Another reason I think my folks avoided state parks was b/c of the "hippies". LOL! I seem to remember when we went to our first state park here in NY to camp being surprised at how nice it was and that there weren't the loud partyers and drugs. Have a feeling that was something I must have picked up from my folks. Not saying it was actually true that only state parks were that way, just that my impression was that is what my parents might have thought. I do know that going to public parks for picnics back in the late 60s and early 70s we would see quite a lot of that type of thing and we avoided those groups. Even remember going to a public park beach once (think it was the summer of '71) and this REALLY made an impression on me, a group of older teenagers/young adults showed up to go swimming. It was like the parting of the Red Sea with mothers scooping up their kids and crap as this group walked from where they had left their stuff on the beach and walked to the water. The boys and girls all had on cut-off jeans, the girls were really short, your could see the white pockets hanging out the bottoms. The guys were shirtless and the gals, well they were shirtless too, except for the bandaids they had taped over certain spots.
Yeah, that beach cleared out REAL quick.
 
Last edited:

Toedtoes

Super Active Member
May 28, 2018
2,840
California
My dad and his friends loved to fish. So that is where we camped - at national forest campgrounds with fishing. My Mom didn't like it much, but as long as she could stay at camp and read, she made do.

For us, going to a KOA was not camping. It was more a "summer camp" thing and we did that with 4-H in a national forest - much more fun in our opinion as we knew other kids already.

On my Mom's part, she made my dad take us all on day trips to historical interest locations, etc. I remember going to see Jack London's house, visiting Virginia City, going into SF to museum exhibits, driving scenic routes and stopping in little towns for a souvenir (and in those,days the shops were indendent local owned with handmade products).

And, oh dear, we were those kids in the cutoffs and bikini tops running around the forests...
 

Steveo4090

Super Active Member
Jun 26, 2020
848
Lancaster PA
Were you able to ask for a specific site or do you just have to take what they give you?
I honestly don't know of we reserved a specific spot or not. My wife made the reservation but I think I remember her asking if it was ok if we stayed in this site when she was looking at the map.
Our friends said they know quite a few people that have year round spots here and I must say there are a lot of vacant trailers right now. They said they come for the weekends and that's it. So theres a lot of locals that pack this place Friday night through Sunday mornings for sure.
It's quite a different cg now from when we got here Saturday. There are still a bunch of people riding golf carts 3 sites away to the bathroom...and to be honest they all need some exercise if you know what I mean.
 

HappyTraveler

Active Member
Apr 30, 2019
557
New York
I honestly don't know of we reserved a specific spot or not. My wife made the reservation but I think I remember her asking if it was ok if we stayed in this site when she was looking at the map.
Our friends said they know quite a few people that have year round spots here and I must say there are a lot of vacant trailers right now. They said they come for the weekends and that's it. So theres a lot of locals that pack this place Friday night through Sunday mornings for sure.
It's quite a different cg now from when we got here Saturday. There are still a bunch of people riding golf carts 3 sites away to the bathroom...and to be honest they all need some exercise if you know what I mean.
.
Ahh, it's the locals weekend getaway 'cabin'. We stayed at a place in MN like that last summer. In fact, it used to be a KOA. We got there on Thursday, so the place was pretty empty. Then Friday afternoon the parade of TTers began and was pretty steady until the place was packed. The drinking, golf carting around (with drinks in hand), kids and dogs running everywhere was insane. I was surprised it wasn't noisy, but maybe that's b/c we weren't there really during the day (we were visiting family, so gone every day) and were only there to sleep and have coffee in the morning. Of course, we had the reflectix/bunkend covers and the a/c running, so maybe between all of that we wouldn't hear anything. Anyway, Sunday morning we did hear the HUGE fight between the couple across the way from us. I think EVERYONE heard that and it went on for quite awhile both inside the TT and outside and back inside again. Finally ended when she stormed out of the TT and got in her car and drove away. Never to come back. He was left to pack everything up and hitch to his truck and leave later.
Oh, and family told us that was the party place for all the locals and a LOT of drinking always went on. Yeah, I think they started drinking on Friday afternoon and didn't stop until well into Saturday night. Sheesh, I hope they stopped Saturday night.
We ended up with the place pretty much to ourselves again by Sunday afternoon until we left the following Thursday. Oh, and further back were the people that this place seemed to be their "summer home", so lived there during the warmer months, then headed someplace else for the winter.
 

Steveo4090

Super Active Member
Jun 26, 2020
848
Lancaster PA
Well we've been here 4 days now total and only actually been here during the day once. Today we spent at Niagara Falls, tomorrow we'll be at our friends house again. The husband is a retired fighter pilot and current southwest pilot is taking my son up for a spin in his Cessna tomorrow morning. We'll be here Thursday and Friday and go home Saturday. So Friday will be fun to see as it fills to capacity again and then we will leave them to their party homes and golf carts. When we come up next time I think we'll either stay in our friends yard (it's more like a field) or at a nearby SP and skip the KOA experience here.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
OK stupid question here: how do people even get golf carts to their campsite? Thankfully I've only camped at ONE place in my life that allowed golf carts, and it was the KOA I mentioned earlier in this thread.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
Well this stupid Koa RENTS THEM!!!

But as there are a lot of permanent sites here those guys leave them here with their campers.

Yeah the KOA we were at did too. It wasn't cheap, either... I want to say like $50 a day. I just wondered if that was typical to rent them or if people somehow traveled with them. I guess the large toy haulers could...
 

DiamondGirl

Adventures with KODI in AZ
Jul 2, 2016
1,335
AZ
Yeah, my GF rented a trailer at the KOA. It was $125 per night with full hookups. She would of paid more if she rented locally and towed from 3 hours away uphill and back. It was a way to introduce camping to her family for the first time. And see if the family would like to go camping in the future and invest in a trailer.

Happy Camping...[ALPU][PUT]
 

Steveo4090

Super Active Member
Jun 26, 2020
848
Lancaster PA
Yeah the KOA we were at did too. It wasn't cheap, either... I want to say like $50 a day. I just wondered if that was typical to rent them or if people somehow traveled with them. I guess the large toy haulers could...
I've seen people here and on the road with them in their pick up beds while towing the tt.
Also saw a local here, I assume he was a local, bring his camper and set up then leave right away. He returned shortly with a golf cart on a utility trailer.
 




Latest posts

Top