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Old 08-20-2011, 06:49 PM   #1
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Koa campgrounds gone down hill

My DW and I just got back from driving down in the USA for the past 5 weeks. We stayed at mostly KOA campgrounds. We have not stayed at them for a long time and were really surprised at how run down they are. The reason I choose KOA's is because we like to make advance bookings and the KOA book was really helpfull...or so we thought. The private RV parks are alot cleaner and more advanced than the KOA's we stayed at. A lot of the KOA's could not accomadate our rig...38 ft. towing..When we booked they said they could but upon arriving they would put us in a site that was way to small for our coach. We left half of the time and forfitted our site fee. It really has turned us off on using KOA's again. But what are our alternatives???


Ted and Kathy Mckay
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:20 PM   #2
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We frequent KOAs. When we reserve (using our KOA number-card) and pay via credit card during the booking phone call, we're told what we are booked into (a 65' pull thru, for example) ... and have never been stiffed into an alternate, less lengthy site.

When you called the park, did you merely say you were coming?....or did you pay as I have described?

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Old 08-20-2011, 07:39 PM   #3
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We seldom stay at KOAs, but this summer we stayed at several because two grandsons were traveling with us and they wanted swimming pools, bike rentals, etc. I was very impressed with the KOAs we used and they were top notch like a 10 out of 10. Yes, they cost twice what we normally pay but were worth it.

Now that the boys are back home we are back to Walmart and casino camping.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:10 PM   #4
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I don't think I've ever stayed at a bad KOA. They are pricey as the last reply stated but the service is top knotch. My last visit, I had a major awning collapse and two of the maintainence guys were there in 5 minutes to help me before more damage was done. I requested a specific wooded site another time and upon arrival I realized that I'd given the wrong site number. Took a few minutes on his computer to move another arrival but they fixed my error and I got the desired site for my 4 day stay. They are very dog friendly too, there is a great dog park at the one I frequent in Newburgh NY.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:11 PM   #5
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We quit making reservations after some of the problems we had. Sites not level/large enough or too close together & etc. We made reservations at one KOA and just before we were supposed to arrive we received an email from them advertising a discounted price for the same time we were going to be there. We called and they wouldn't give us the discounted price since we had already made the reservations and it was too late to cancel without losing our deposit. While we were there they had plenty of vacancies. In the 8 years we have had our coach we have only been turned away from one campground due to their being fully booked. We found another campground within 20 miles with openings.

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Old 08-20-2011, 08:19 PM   #6
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I've found KOA's vary greatly from state to state. They're not like McDonald's where one expects the same quality from one restaurant to the other. Some are well manicured with spacious sites & have lots of amenities (at an additional price, of course). Others are more run-down, sites are tight with few amenities & sub-par electric power. You just never know what you're going to get. Although I'll check with the Campgrounds section here as well as rvparkreviews.com to get some idea on a CG before making reservations.

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Old 08-20-2011, 08:27 PM   #7
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I never thought that they were that good to begin with, at least for the price.
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:26 AM   #8
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hi Ted and Kathy:

we do not like KOAs and stay only if there is not alternative
we have stayed at a few of them and this has been because there was not an alternative place to stay

from what i understand - KOAs are a franchise and they vary significantly from place-to-place
we tend like like smaller 'mom & pop' types of parks
KOAs - just not our type of place

regards, pdq
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:43 AM   #9
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We too have stayed in really nice & really gross KOA's. I will no longer reserve in advance for one night stays at KOA's as the night is nonrefundable & we've had a few that were so gross we would have gone elsewhere if it were not pre-paid. We've also experienced reserving a "big rig friendly" long pull through site that upon arrival could not accomodate our coach & tow car without unhooking, sigh.
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Old 08-21-2011, 05:26 PM   #10
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The alternative is to not use them! We never do. They are so overpriced. Also, we don't make reservations. There are always alternatives around.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:13 PM   #11
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KOA is generally our last choice on places to camp.

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Old 08-21-2011, 08:35 PM   #12
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KOA is only a last resort and only overnight and WAY WAY WAY overpriced, I was unhappy with a KOA we stayed in last season I Email KOA at the contact us link and got the feeling they really did not care if we were happy or not with the place we stayed at.
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:17 AM   #13
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In the past 9 years we have about 90,000+ miles of motorhoming, 85,000+ in the U.S. We have come to automatically pulling out the KOA book, finding one within the distance we want, phoning them and telling them our size and asking them to describe their campground to us - if we like what we hear we book. I don't think we have been disappointed too many times over the years but I will admit that when we were disappointed, we were really disappointed. We've had much worse experience(s) using the Woodal's directory to find private campgrounds, I can assure you of that. Campground evaluation is so subjective too? We tend to want in and out rather than staying for awhile but there are KOA's like Gettysburg, Corbin, Sweetwater etc. where I would gladly stay for a week.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:53 AM   #14
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Use http://rvparkreviews.com/ for fellow traveler's opinions of parks including KOA.

Then I use Good Sam's campground finder (2008 version) to learn if the parks have the KOA syndrome I call "Side-by-Side" campsites. (I hate having 4 feet between two vehicles sharing the utility island.)

The above is necessary because there are old KOA campgrounds in the Western US that no longer are KOA but still sport those S-B-S campsite configurations.

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