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Old 02-23-2015, 08:17 AM   #85
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I've stayed at quite a few KOAs and don't recall a 'bad' one (bad neighbors and bugs, but not a bad campground). They are handy and inspected for compliance to KOA standards, but are a high price for that value added. A substantial association/franchise fee contributes to the higher price. I've never met a KOA owner/operator I didn't like/get along with.

It's OK to charge for options like pancake breakfast and put-put golf, but add-ons at registration bug me - pick-pocket events. (Oh, this week we are charging a prime rate due to a stock car race or rodeo or butterfly migration etc, etc)
All that said, just call when you have an idea where you want to stop and ask point blank what the current rate is and if there are and additional costs.

Tom and Amy from Northern Virginia.
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:47 AM   #86
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Pros - You know almost exactly what to expect, will be clean, usually a pool, clean baths, small store. mid to upper price range, mostly designed for overnight stops and usually close to a highway

Cons - Mostly designed for overnight stops, usually close to a highway... more like a parking lot then a campground, smaller and tight sites, rarely a gathering spot, lots of traffic between 5 and 8pm and 6 and 9 am, lots and lots of rules, nickel and dimed for extra kid, A/C etc

We have stayed in plenty KOA's and will no doubt stay in more KOA's. Personally I always prefer to do business with a non-chain or mom and pop if you will. I realize KOA's are indepently owned but... I avoid chain restaurants for the same reasons.

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Old 02-23-2015, 05:54 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by anthonynalli View Post
As newbies we're sorting out what memberships we think we need and the comments here are steering me away from KOA.

As a brand I was aware of even before an interest in RVing, I expect a certain level of consistency. The same as I might for any other nationwide brand. A Big Mac is always a Big Mac after all, despite locations being operated by different owners.

I'll accept that some are better than others, but if I managed the KOA brand, I'd make quick work a righting or nixing any campgrounds that for any reason could degrade the brand. With the variation in responses here and the comparatively low ratings I seem to find all too often, it doesn't appear that that protection of the brand is as strong as is necessary to ensure a consistently acceptable base standard.

It's too bad because I was really looking forward to pulling into some of the spots I'd only ever driven by.

We have a KOA card and stayed at 3 KOA campgrounds on our winter trip ( Tucumcari, NM, Tucson, AZ and Ft Mohave, NV). Our KOA experiences have been positive. We did not set out to get the card, it just saved us enough on our first stay (Hot Springs, AR) to pay for the card. In some areas KOA is the only decent campground and in some areas they are simply the best choice for us. There have been very simple no amenities campground to full service. My basic criteria is location, big dog friendly, level site, good utilities. Yes, in some areas I think the price is too high but when it is the only choice we stay (Salina, KS). We have never had any add ons to the basic price. Just read the campground reviews on this site and RVPark reviews and stay where ever meets your criteria!
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Old 02-23-2015, 06:10 PM   #88
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Thanks for the additional comments all. So as not to exclude KOAs from consideration, I'll get a membership and add them to the mix. If our chosen site in a given locale happens to be a positively rated KOA, then we'll look forward to it and I'm sure will enjoy it.

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Old 02-23-2015, 06:18 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by jplante4 View Post
I see you and Lisa are catching up on your reading...
Aren't we ever!

Seriously though, how can we not? There's so much excellent information from so many amazing people so generous with their experience.

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Old 02-23-2015, 06:31 PM   #90
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We like to take our grandson to the KOA s he has lots to do there. When it is the two of us we really like the state and national parks
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:04 PM   #91
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We stayed in KOA's almost exclusively on a trip out west. We had two grand kids with us who wanted a swimming pool. I would say all but one were pretty good, now we stay at other parks, and not so much KOA.
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Old 02-26-2015, 04:19 AM   #92
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Tripadvisor, Yelp and Google reviews

We, too, have experienced the good, bad and ugly of the KOA franchise. Corporate charges their fanchisees about 10% of their gross camper revenue, so it's likely that KOAs are about 10% more expensive than the local market.

In addition to rvparkreviews.com and google map, we always check other review sites, primarily Tripadvisor and Google, but also Yelp.

I was very disappointed with KOA corporate when we ran into a scary incident at a KOA. My wife went into the campground office to ask about the extra fees for our guests' toddlers to use the playground swings at the Lakeside KOA in Fort Collins Colorado. The senior owner of the KOA became very agitated and completely lost his cool. He was very intimidating to the point that my wife feared for her safety.

We tried to resolve the issue with KOA corporate. Their Vice President told us we should have called the police, treating the problem like it was our fault. KOA corporate ignored the incident, as best as we could tell. In our eyes, that degraded the reputation for the entire KOA franchise.

We shared our experience on several different online review sites. Many other reviewers posted online similar negative experiences with this KOA. Hopefully, this will help fellow campers avoid another negative experience.

We can all help our camping community by taking time to post online reviews.
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Old 02-26-2015, 05:09 AM   #93
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For the most part we have found KOA's a decent place to stay
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Old 02-26-2015, 08:35 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by edstep View Post
For the most part we have found KOA's a decent place to stay
Glad to see this thread renewed as too often, KOAs get an unwarranted bad wrap. We prefer to use KOAs generally while enroute to and from Texas using either I-40 and/or I-10 due to the general high quality of the spaces and the congeniality of the staff. Met camping KOA inspectors at two that we stayed. Nice couple. Yes, some KOAs are always better than others, but we've never stayed in one that was really bad or ever had problems with staff. For our budget, generally we stay at other than KOA at the primary visiting location because we are there to visit places other than the RV park. On one KOA in Arizona, I did a review that the only real negative was the lack of a fenced dog run. The next year they not only provided the fenced run close to the office with running water, but also put in a comfortable shaded metal canopy with a picnic table and in it for the comfort of those walking their dogs. The three that I've made extended stays, two weeks or more, which I make special note are the one's at San Angelo, TX, Kerrville, TX and FT. Worth TX. I do call ahead to make reservations and double check rates so that there are no surprises.
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Old 02-26-2015, 08:42 AM   #95
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We've fulltimed since June 14 - 2014 Thor Palazzo 33.3 Bunkhouse DP - stayed in over 150 different RV parks, national and state parks, and a few 'parking lots' such as Walmart. In all that time have never stayed at a KOA. There are just too many other options, and KOA is too expensive. Our budget is $30 per night, with our average over the last 9 months at $25 per nite. KOA is probably at least double that. We do, of course, use our PassportAmerica discount on almost every park we visit, which is why our trips do not include KOA.
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Old 02-26-2015, 02:13 PM   #96
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I agree with what 'aauummm" stated...."they're not your father's KOA". MANY years ago we found that the KOA's up charged for every little thing. Not so much anymore. The price quoted is the price we pay. In the past 6-7 years we've found that most KOA's are comparable in quality and price to campgrounds in the same area.
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Old 02-26-2015, 02:39 PM   #97
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We've stayed at the Milton, FL KOA for 5 years on our trip to FL and back. It is ,as indicated a convenient location and has been very, very nice. This year we came down a few days early just to enjoy the area some. unfortunately the temps were very cold, (40's) so we didn't do much.

This year they had a water aerobics instructor (she was excellent) come in every mon, wed, and friday for no extra charge. Access into and out of is very good and it is a nice stay close to I-10. Sometimes you just get what you pay for and sometimes not.

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Old 02-26-2015, 09:13 PM   #98
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We stayed at the Tucson, AZ, Tucumcari, NM (for 6 days) and a KOA near El Reno, OK. All were great and we didn't have a KOA card but got the retired military discount 10%.

While in Tucumcari, NM KOA our turbocharger went out and Lane, the owner, gave us a weekly rate that was 10% plus about $5.00 a night off. He even offered to drive us around places we might want to go to like eating, medical, etc.
In Tucson KOA we had great neighbors who helped us understand that you can overfill a fresh water tank and it will drain out the overflow and not be a busted pipe.

Washing cloths in the KOA machines is $2.25 a machine and they are small. Drying is $.25 for 10 minutes but that isn't bad.

All in all our KOA experiences (so far) have been great. I imagine in the summer, when they are more full of RVs, it might get cramped but this time of year we had full run of the whole place

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