KOA campgrounds are more of a holiday resort than a campground.
KOA campgrounds are more expensive than most camping locations because they offer more facilities and activities. That includes free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, swimming pools, and game rooms. But is the price of a KOA campground worth it? Well, that depends on you.
Kampgrounds of America is a common vacation destination, though it’s also some people’s worst nightmare. I can’t tell you whether it’s worth the price tag without knowing what kind of person you are.
This article will explain the pros of cons of KOA campgrounds, so you can decide for yourself whether to part with your cash.
What Exactly Is a KOA Site?
There are nearly 500 Kampgrounds of America throughout the USA and Canada.
They are private campgrounds, and the owners set the price of each location. But they do have to follow some rules. Every year, the campsites get assessed by KOA to ensure that they meet the company’s standards.
That means a certain quality is guaranteed, and you don’t have to worry about turning up to a dump!
The facilities and prices vary according to the site. Some of the simple campgrounds have just a swimming pool and laundry room. The luxurious sites can have log cabins, doggy daycare, and live music in the evenings.
You pay least for camping with a tent, and more for camping with an RV. Some sites have paved patios with fire pits and furniture so that you can be super comfy in the evening.
But you’re probably going to be camping with neighbors close on both sides, which I wouldn’t like.
Are KOA Campgrounds Worth It?
KOA campgrounds can cost anywhere from $30 to over $100 a night, depending on the location and type of accommodation you choose. I’m not going to lie; KOA campgrounds are not for everyone.
For me, a KOA campsite would be overwhelming and stressful. I wouldn’t go even if it cost a dollar. But for my sister, it would be worth every cent! It’s all about balancing the pros and cons and asking yourself what’s important for you.
All the campgrounds are a bit different, but here are some general benefits and drawbacks to consider.
Pros of KOA Campsites
- Yearly assessments to check campground standards
- Convenient locations throughout the USA
- Full hookups on hand
- Hot showers and toilets are available
- Facilities like game rooms, restaurants, and swimming pools
- Live music and other events available
- Some campgrounds have dog parks and daycare
- Lively atmosphere where you can meet other people
- Laundry facilities and campground shops
- Rewards program for loyal campers
- Free Wi-Fi
Cons of KOA Campsites
- Sites are close together (limits privacy)
- Campsites can be noisy and busy
- Can be expensive
- No true wildlife or nature immersion
It comes down to what you’re looking for. If you want to escape the noise of everyday life and soak up beautiful natural places in peace, don’t go to a KOA site!
But if you’re going to take your loved ones on an activity-packed vacation and enjoy the buzz of happy families passing by your camping spot, a KOA campground might be perfect for you.
What Is So Special About KOA Campgrounds?
KOA campgrounds are holiday resorts. That comes with many benefits and some drawbacks compared to dispersed camping in the forest. It all depends on your character!
For example, you can’t always have campfires in National Parks, and you have to dig a cat hole when it’s time to relieve yourself. You won’t have lots of activities going on, but you will have a sky full of stars and the gentle rustling of the branches in the wind.
If digging a hole to go to the bathroom is your idea of hell, that’s okay. If “organized fun” makes you want to vomit, that’s okay, too. The most important thing is that you feel safe and happy.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you might want to consider National Park campsites. There are over 130 locations throughout the USA. You can find them using their website.
Some campgrounds have bathrooms and firepits, and rangers might even put on fun activities for the kids. You still get some of the fun of a KOA site but at a fraction of the price. (And you get to connect more closely with nature!) Otherwise, you can look at going wild camping in a National Park.
Backcountry campers will need to check on whether they need a permit for the National Parks, but it’s typically around $10—much cheaper than a KOA campground. You can grab them online, and the money goes back into the park.
Every location will be a bit different, so you’ll have to look into the local campgrounds yourself.
Working at KOA
If you love camping in your RV, you might consider getting a seasonal job at KOA. Most people who work for the company live in their RVs on-site, so it’s an interesting way to see more of the USA and get paid while doing it.
All the locations offer different compensation, as they are privately owned. For more information, your best bet is to get in contact with the campground where you’d like to work.
How Does the KOA Reward System Work?
It costs $33 per year to enroll in the KOA reward system. In return, you get 10% off daily registration rates, and you can start gathering points for future discounts and free stays.
The details could always change, so check out the official website for more info.
Can You Bring Dogs to KOA Campgrounds?
Most KOA campgrounds have dog parks, so you can let your dog run around off-leash in a safe, fenced-in area. But you’ll need to check that dogs are allowed at your specific location.
Dog-friendly sites have reduced speed limits, clearly marked on- and off-leash areas, and even some hiking trails to explore with your pup!
How Much Does a KOA Campground Charge?
The price of camping at a KOA site depends on the season, the location, and the type of accommodation you book. It can vary from $30 a night for a tent camp to over $100 a night for glamping.
Some sites offer monthly rates, so it’s worth getting in touch before booking an extended stay.
Does Koa Have Free Wi-Fi?
The vast majority of KOA locations have free Wi-Fi. The signal might be weak in the most remote locations, so if you need to do some work while you are there, you’ll want to get in touch with the campground in advance and check the situation.
Does Koa Have a Military Discount?
Many KOA campgrounds offer a military discount, but it depends on the individual location. I’d recommend giving the campground a quick phone call before booking to determine any discounts that it provides.
For the right person, KOA campsites are totally worth it. But other people will want to pack up and leave as soon as they arrive! If you like comfortable facilities, buzzing activities, and sharing your space with other people, you will be a happy camper.
If you like nature, quiet, and personal space to unwind, I would head to a National Park campground instead, for a fraction of the price.
I hope you found this article helpful, and I wish you many happy camping adventures wherever you end up!
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Rachel is a freelance adventure writer and founder of Highly Sensitive Nomad. When she isn’t writing, she can be found wild camping in the mountains and swimming in the lakes of Europe.