Do you love camping?
Growing up in Oregon, my family used to go camping a lot. Sometimes it was traditional tent camping, other times we camped in my family's van. By the time I reached high school, I had pretty much had my fill of camping. I love exploring the great outdoors, but at night when it's time to rest my weary head, give me a warm bed, a hot shower, a refrigerator -- that's my kind of vacation.
If you're like me, then you might want to check out KOA Kampgrounds across the country. They offer a myriad of options for all sorts of campers: from outdoor adventurers to those who prefer walled structural accommodations. You can enjoy the great outdoors while still enjoying some comforts of home.
Kampgrounds of America (KOA)
Recently, my family had the opportunity to stay at a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) campground. We chose the Astoria/Warrenton/Seaside KOA in Astoria, Oregon, since it was close enough to drive to but just far enough away to feel like an adventure.
When we arrived, I was shocked: the property was sprawling. You could honestly spend your whole vacation at this KOA without ever leaving the premises if you wanted.
There are many lodging/camping options at KOAs, and every KOA across the United States offers something a little different. At this particular KOA, your options are:
* RV Camping Sites, with different options such as back-in or pull-through parking, 30-50 amps, water, electric, cable,
* Tent Sites, which you can get with or without hookups, water, electric
* One-room Cabins without bathrooms that sleep up to 5 people
* Two-room Cabins with or without bathrooms that sleep up to 6 people
* Deluxe Cabins with bathrooms
Deluxe KOA cabins
We stayed in one of the Deluxe Cabins which sleeps up to six people (approx. $200 per night, depending on the season). There was enough parking space for one large vehicle, plus a picnic area and fire pit outside of the cabin.
Inside, the cabin was clean, spacious, and stocked with amenities, including a full-size refrigerator, two televisions, microwave, coffee maker, and kitchen essentials such as plates, glasses, and cookware.
There was one separate bedroom with a Full Bed. It was nice and cozy, complete with bed linens and extra sheets.
There was also a futon in the living room space, and a set of bunk beds in the hallway. Perfect for the kids!
This KOA cabin was also pet-friendly, although be sure to check with the KOA you are looking at to be sure your specific pet fits their guidelines.
Included in our stay at this KOA was a stack of free pancakes for breakfast each morning (2 pancakes per person). We could also purchase toppings, bacon, sausage, eggs, beverages and other food items for a low additional cost. It was fun to see all of the families gather in the morning.
If you stay at the KOA, you really don't have to leave the campground. There are so many fun activities for adults and kids right on the premises. They host different arts and crafts activities at least once each day, and they also host movie nights. You can get a full schedule at the front desk.
Located near the dining hall are two large playgrounds, a massive "jump pillow" (think bouncy house without the walls), and a little mini golf course.
My kids' absolute favorite part of the KOA Kampgrounds: the ginormous swimming pool!
This pool is 100% family-friendly. While there's no lifeguard on duty, the pool has a large are that is 3-feet deep, then 4-feet deep, and a small section that is 5-feet deep. It's great for kids! Honestly, this pool was better than almost every single pool at every hotel we have ever stayed at. My kids are pool connoisseurs by now, and they will tell you: this was one of the best.
After pool time, it was great to have a porch with rocking chairs (some cabins have porch swings) that we could just relax into.
At the Astoria KOA, we could also rent bikes or enjoy time in the hot tub. There was also WiFi and cable.
Other KOAs offer amenities like water slides and infinity pools. You are sure to find something fun to do besides just camp at a KOA near your travel destination!
If you forgot anything at home, you could find pretty much anything you needed at the KOA store. From toiletries to food, from souvenirs to kids' toys and fishing gear, the KOA general store was packed with necessities and trinkets.
My kids love to collect shiny rocks from our adventures, and they loved the KOA Gemstone Mine in the store.
Great for large groups
The one thing that struck me over and over while staying at this KOA, was how many large groups gathered there. They came from all over the country, and consisted of multi-family camping trips, family reunions, college friends reuniting, and Hood to Coast runners. They gathered around the fire pits near their campsites, on the playgrounds, and in the picnic areas. The roar of their engines and the weary shuffling of feet could be heard early each morning as those who came to fish set off for early catches; then you'd see them gather around the fish cleaning stations at the KOA later in the day.
I really enjoyed the family atmosphere at the KOA. I always felt safe (there are tons of KOA staff continuously going through the grounds), and I kept thinking how much my own family would have loved to have gathered there for our family reunions. While I relish cozy hotels with comforting amenities, I also am a Pacific NW gal at heart: I love to gather around the fire at the end of a long day of hiking, boating, exploring, fishing, enjoying a meal of fresh caught fish and crab and some cold beers with the ones I love the most.
That's really what KOA is about: it's about bringing people together, and making you feel like you really are home when you're away from home. It might not be for everyone, but I bet you will be surprised to find out that it really is for you. Check it out: KOA.com.
More Oregon travel guides:
- Oregon Tulip Festival
- Tillamook Coast Travel Guide
- Things to Do in Roseburg, Oregon
- Oregon Wine Country Guide
- Cabin Camping in Oregon: Silver Falls Lodge
- Tips for Taking Your Teen to Warped Tour