Is KOA Worth the High Price?
For many, KOA campgrounds are an American icon. The yellow signs are a beloved sight for many people who grew up camping at KOAs. Today, we’re taking a closer look at KOA campgrounds. We’ll dive into a bit of their history, look at what amenities they offer, and examine whether they’re worth the cost.
About KOA Campgrounds
KOA stands for Kampgrounds of America. It was founded in 1962 by an entrepreneur named Dave Drum, who had an idea to build campgrounds for people embarking on “The Great American Road Trip.” At that time, campgrounds weren’t as popular or ever-present as they are today.
KOA quickly became a household name. Today, there are more than 500 KOA campgrounds across North America. KOA campgrounds have fun amenities like cabins, teepees, ice cream stands, putt-putt golf courses, and more.
You can find RV sites, tent sites, communal areas, and WiFi throughout most KOA campgrounds. The KOA branding is strong, with workers wearing bright yellow polo shirts and the iconic KOA teepee sign signaling a campground nearby.
How Much Does a Night at a KOA Cost?
The price for a night at a KOA campground varies from park to park. It depends on location, season, and site type. Generally, KOA campsite prices average $24 for a night at a tent spot, $80 for an RV spot, and well over $100 for cabin rentals. KOA campground prices vary throughout the country. In Arizona, you can get a tent site for around $48, an RV site for around $63, and a cabin for about $100.
Alternatively, cheaper states like Arkansas offer tent sites for around $24 per night, RV sites for around $53 per night, and cabins for around $143.
The Benefits of Staying in a KOA Campground
KOA campgrounds have a strong brand and a consistent camper experience, no matter what location you’re staying in around the country. You can generally expect clean and well-maintained campgrounds and a certain standard that you won’t find with other non-chain campgrounds.
Amenities include clean restrooms, WiFi, hot showers, and more. At your campsite, you’ll find fire pits and picnic tables, electric hookups, and level parking pads.
Throughout the campground, you’ll find things like putt-putt golf, laundry facilities, pet parks, and playgrounds. Some campgrounds have fun shops like lakeside ice-cream stands. You’ll also find KOA convenience stores to pick up any last-minute or forgotten items.
With more than 500 KOA campgrounds scattered around North America, you can bet that you’ll never be too far from an excellent camping experience. You’ll see KOA signs almost everywhere you go.
KOA has a high standard of service. You can generally expect a consistent experience camping at any KOA. There will be the same rules and amenities — although some campgrounds have more than others — and the same commitment to delivering a great camping experience.
The Disadvantages of KOA Campgrounds
With all the benefits of KOA campgrounds come disadvantages, too. Here are the top downsides to KOA campgrounds.
Who wants to pay $50 to go tent camping for one night? KOA campgrounds might have high standards, but some of the prices are high as well. KOA campgrounds aren’t an economical option for the budget-conscious traveler or someone just looking for a safe and legal place to sleep for the night.
They Can Be Crowded
KOA campgrounds can be crowded. It’s not the place to go if you want to get away from people for a quiet weekend. These campgrounds are less of a “state park” experience and more of a glorified RV park, even when you get a tent camping site.
Harder to ‘Unplug’
Most KOA campgrounds sit near major cities or tourist destinations. They make it harder to unplug because of their location and how many people they attract. Camping at a KOA won’t feel remote, secluded, or private.
Why Are KOA Campgrounds Pricey?
KOA is expensive because it can be. They’re privately owned, provide a lot of amenities, and have a high standard of service. The saying “you get what you pay for” rings true when it comes to KOA campgrounds.
Another reason they charge so much is simply that people pay it. Suppose you’re looking for the specific amenities and experience of a KOA campground. In that case, you can expect to pay a high price, especially in major tourist destinations or during high-volume camping seasons.
Is Staying at a KOA Worth the High Price?
This comes down to individual preference. Many would balk at spending $50 per night on a tent camping site, but that price is worth the amenities for others. Sometimes, the price of a KOA is about more than the campground or the experience. It’s sentimental.
KOA campgrounds have been around since the early 1960s and are a beloved memory for many adults who started camping as kids. Providing the same experience at the same place for your own kids and grandkids doesn’t have a price tag, and neither do the cherished memories you will make. How do you feel about KOA campgrounds?
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