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Old 11-05-2011, 11:46 PM   #1
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Hi, I'm new at this. Im looking for a nice campsite for thanksgiving weekend in San Diego area. Found out KOA sites are way more expensive than others. Are they so much better? Thanks!!

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Old 11-05-2011, 11:53 PM   #2
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KOA = Keep On Adding
In 55 years of RVing I can count on one hand the number of times we've stayed in them. Just too expensive for what you get and then there's the added charges. Last time was to one at the beach, had two grandkids with us so wanted the extra's for them. HAD to buy the "optional" "free breakfast" bracelets. They, naturally never told us in advance about the required "option". Cost us close to $100 a day and thae park wasn't THAT fancy.

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Old 11-06-2011, 12:13 AM   #3
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IMO, it depends on the KOA. I've stayed at some that were modestly priced (i.e. 50a fhu $45), they didn't charge extra for ammenities or activities & were way better than other nearby campgrounds. I've also stayed at others that were over priced (i.e. 50a fhu $85), there were all kinds of additional charges for this or that & they weren't any better (if not worse) than nearby campgrounds.

You just have to do your research & decide what you're willing to pay for what you get.

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Old 11-06-2011, 06:15 AM   #4
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Ditto Mr D. We avoid them like the plague. We did not know any better when we first started out, but have not been to one in over 4 years. We will go to a Walmart before we ever go to a KOA.

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Old 11-06-2011, 06:46 AM   #5
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There seem to be a lot of negative KOA comments. We tend to use KOA in the midwest, don't see a lot of overcharging, and are generally satisfied. We do a lot of one night stops when traveling to or from autocross events. Walmart, or other dry camping, isn't suitable in the summer due to the need to plug in for A/C and not run a generator all night. We like to have wifi every few days to check on bills & banking. We also check for pet restrictions since we travel with a 90 lb GSD (German Shepherd Dog). Also, our MH and car trailer measure 52 ft. long, and KOA's tend to have pull through sites for this length.

We do see some individual campgrounds with traditional KOA buildings that, for whatever reason, don't have a current KOA franchise. A few of these were obviously very successfull, so maybe didn't need the KOA organization & advertising to be profitable.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:57 AM   #6
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I agree with the others about KOA and their extra charges. I stopped using KOA when they became activists in enacting ordinances preventing overnight parking at Walmart.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:59 AM   #7
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There are a few KOA's that are pretty good, but in my opinion, for the most part, theey are now so good and over priced. I generally avoid KOA unless they are the only option in an area.

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Old 11-06-2011, 07:18 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by NLOVNIT View Post
IMO, it depends on the KOA. I've stayed at some that were modestly priced (i.e. 50a fhu $45). I've also stayed at others that were over priced (i.e. 50a fhu $85)
I feel that $45 is more than "moderately priced". It should be about $35! KOA is always about $10, or more, higher than other parks.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:04 PM   #9
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You get what you pay for! I use KOA's because for the most part one gets uniform facilities. For families they have the amenities wanted. Those that have unique location do seem to charge TOO MUCH and I avoid them and I don't use them for overnight stays as I would not use the facilities.
The KOA in San Diego/Chula Vista is a park I use as a destination and usually stay for a month...it cost about $950 plus electricity. Sites are large, level, and well maintained.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:15 PM   #10
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This is a question that has been asked numerous times. We use http://www.rvparkreviews.com/ to evaluate our CG options in places we want to stay. When a KOA is the best value we will stay there; we almost always get full-hookup sites. Sometimes, even for overnight stays, KOA's have turned out to be the best choice for us. For example, in Laramie WY there aren't many CG choices; the KOA was acceptable for the night.

As for price, we find some KOA's are rather pricey while others are not. Where they are high it is usually because they are either located near big cities or prime destination areas. No one forces anyone to stay there; I have always assumed they wouldn't charge those prices unless they knew people would pay them. That's not price gouging, it's capitalism.

By the way we have never paid any extra at a KOA beyond the rates given on the KOA website at the time we made our reservation.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:23 PM   #11
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KOA San Diego is a lovely park. KOA's do charge more than many parks, but less than other "resort parks." I find KOA's to be at very least consistant. It is a franchise, so there are differences between parks. But all that I have visited are clean, maintain clean restrooms and offices, have working hookups, are secure, tend not to maintain "perminant residence campers" , and are friendly. Many if not most are gravel. Being a franchise, if you have a complaint you can direct it to both the facility and to the main company.
Many KOAs have family activities, such as pancake breakfasts, movie evening, playground, bike rentals, and even supervised activities for kids.
Is it worth the extra cost...that is truly an individuals evaluation.
KOA is a family destiniation as is KOA Petaluma, KOA Circle of Pines Williams, and KOA Santa Cruz.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:25 PM   #12
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We lived in a 5th wheel at San Diego KOA for a few years but that was over 10 years ago. It was a nice facility and fit our budget as a monthly rental space. Now when in that area we stay at the Chula Vista Marina & RV resort or at the San Diego County Sweetwater park. Last time I checked Chula Vista Marina & RV Park was a tad less expensive than the KOA and it is a very nice park. Sweetwater park recently went through upgrades and should be pretty nice but you will need transportation and it is also less expensive.

EDIT: As an add on I think that both KOA and CVM&RV both have shuttles that will take you to the trolley station. You can get to downtown SD and south to the border at Tijuana if you want. Both have or used to have weekly rates. Also CVM&RV has good food within walking distance.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:45 PM   #13
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I have to agree with the people that like the KOA's. I do agree that we certainly prefer to be in a 'resort' park when we stop, but we feel that we can blindly pull into a KOA, and have a decent idea of what we will get. There is one in IL that put us in a horrible site without working power, but aside from that one-I can't really recall any that have been a let down. Sometimes they do cost more, but since I'm traveling on a per diem, I don't let that bother me too much.

I keep seeing that rv park review website mentioned on these boards. I checked it out a few times, and didn't agree at all with the reviews, so I stopped using it. It had totally false descriptions of the last park we stayed at, and they were on there with recent dates as well-so I don't suppose it was a refresh in the mean time.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:56 AM   #14
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Thanks guys for the input. Since this is our very first trip with the trailer, we want to make sure to land at a nice spot and have good memories. Thanks Bob for suggesting the Chula Marina and RV resort. I looked at their site, seems like it is exactly what we need- hopefully it's not too cold by the beach! I called and made a reservation for a pull thru site- again, first timer, want to be safe With AAA discount, it came out a little less than KOA. But it has heated pool, my kids are going to love it!

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