KOA Welcomes Kampers All Over North America by Bonnie and Bill Neely

We have been RVers for many years and many miles. We have enjoyed all kinds of camping sites in 49 states (not Hawaii) l but we find the most reliably well equipped places are the KOA Kampgrounds, where you can stay in your RV, camper, tent, or Kabins. Many KOA’s offer complimentary breakfasts on weekends and some have occasional entertainment on summer evenings. KOA’s must meet strict standards of excellence to keep the franchise name, so wherever you find your family at the end of the day, you can trust the familiar Yellow sign to have what you need and expect. We have written about KOA’s in other articles (link these) . This spring we enjoyd several in the Eastern states.

Having family and friends to visit in many parts of the USA makes RVing a special joy, but many residential areas either don’t have space for parking a motor coach or do not permit it, so we often choose Kampgrounds of America (KOA) to be our neighborhoods away from home. Contrary to the assumptions of many travelers, all KOA’s are not the same. They all do have the same standards of excellence, which the carefully earned KOA sign signifies and which is expected by all who drive through the gates, but each park has unique aspects or amenities, which are derived from the independent owners and from the locations of the Kampgrounds.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, there are two KOA Kampgrounds. The one on the East Hwy 40 is a good choice for shopping and anything you wish to do in the city. We chose to stay at Albuquerque North/Bernalillo KOA, ideally located a brief and easy drive to either Albuquerque or Santa Fe and the many Native American points of interest and the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains, casinos, pueblos, and ski slopes. And this is the very best location to see the famous October Balloon Festival when hundreds of the colorful globes take to the air daily for a week, and the air currents take most of them right over this KOA park and they land nearby. Because you don’t even have to leave the comforts of your rig or Kabin or tent to enjoy this brilliant attraction, the kampground is booked a year ahead by many enthusiasts. The Bernalillo KOA is one of the older kampgrounds, built in the early 1970’s but Craig and Rachel Blatt, who have owned it since 2004, have remodeled the Kafe’s and restrooms and made so many improvements that this Kampground was awarded the Founder’s Award of Excellence for four years in a row. We appreciated the grass and mature trees of many species…rarities in RV parks in the Western states. We enjoyed the delicious free pancake breakfast at the open air Summer Kafe, and many kampers and locals stop here to order some of the best full breakfasts in the area. You don’t have to unhook to leave the park to see the many nearby attractions because the commuter train (which we never heard at all) stops right at the park to take you north to Santa Fe or South to Alburquerque at all times of day and evening. And casino shuttles will transport you free to the gaming spots. There are nearly 100 sites to accommodate tent kampers, Kabin kampers, or any size rig (with 30 or 50 amps, full hook-ups, and pull-through spots.) There are Kabins to rent and grassy tent sites. And of course your four legged friends have a great play area.
Mt. Shasta City, California, is an inviting little town at the base of beautiful snow-covered Mt. Shasta, just off the I-5 highway. The town has served tourists for nearly a century and has wonderful shops, restaurants and places to stay. Since our favorite method of travel is in our RV, and KOA Kampgrounds are always reliably wel- located and offer pleasant stays, we stopped at Mt. Shasta KOA, one of the prettiest KOA’s we have ever found. Just as the brochure promises, the view of the majestic mountain as you enter the kampground is magnificent.

Open year round, this KOA has 58 sites with hook-ups for RV’s and campers, and it has 27 large, gorgeous tent sites and four Kabins beneath huge, old-growth redwoods and cedars towering several hundred feet high. The incredible scent of evergreens and campfires makes you want to stay in that beautiful forest forever! Mt. Shasta KOA is well managed by Jeff and Carrie Ogden. We found the grounds and all the facilities very clean, and the small swimming pool is wonderful at the end of a hot summer day. Restrooms are very clean, as is the laundry facility, although there are only three washers and dryers. Teens love the large game room with lots of things to do
We had trouble finding the Memphis, Tennessee, KOA in our Trailer Life Book listings of campgrounds because it is actually in Marion, Arkansas, just across the Mississippi River, about 20 minutes from Memphis famous center of music: Beale Street.

The kampground here is small by comparison to other KOA’s we have stayed in, so make your reservations well in advance or call ahead the day of arrival to be sure they have a spot for you. The sites are all level and the Kampground has all the KOA amenities including a clean playground for your children and another one for your dogs and a lovely swimming pool.
Nashville Tennessee KOA on Music City Drive has been awarded top campground awards, and it is truly one of the best campgrounds we have ever found. It has beautiful grounds with many trees, blooming plants, shrubs, and lots of green grass. There are over 400 sites with hook-ups, excellent bathhouses and laundry facilities, playground, and even a friendly pet playground where owners can sit and watch their other “children” have fun. The campground store has nearly anything you could need, including tour desks and pick-up sites for many of the best Nashville tours and attractions, which you can book on the spot. The friendly managers, Fred and Jenn Stott and their two teen children take excellent care of the property and of your every need. Nashville KOA is at 2626 Music Valley Drive, Nashville, TN 37214 . Phone 800-562-7789.
This KOA is near Opryland. Kampground of America sites are always the best on the road for any type of camping, whether you are in a tent, an RV, a fifth wheel, or a little camping trailer. This KOA also has several types of on site kabins from which to choose: a kamping lodge, which sleeps 4-6, with separate bathroom and kitchen; a studio lodge for four with bathroom and refrigerator, micorwave, coffee maker,TV, and air conditioning; a kabin for six with full kitchen and bath; or a “roughing it” kabin with only beds for four.
In Charlotte, NC, area the KOA Kampground is actually located a few miles south at Fort Mill near the South Carolina Line. We loved this kampground. The sites are large and most have mature trees. The Kamp store has all you need and many extras and good food at the little restaurant there. The pool is a dream and the park is located convenient to Charlotte but away from the heavy traffic. The well trained staff see to your every need and are really good at helping you get settled. They have seasonal activities which the whole family will enjoy, including scary Halloween fun and ghoulish decorations.
The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, KOA Kampground is actually in Coatesville, PA, as beautiful a rural setting as you could ask for, and you could actually fish from your tent! We took my mother there for her 85th birthday and she caught her first fish! There are tours of Philadelphia from the Kampground and the guides know their City of Friendship and its history well. This KOA is a perfect location for visiting many other attractions in the Brandywine River area, including the Dutch and Amish country and Longwood Gardens,Winterthur Museum & Country Estate, Hagley Museum and Library, and Nemours Mansion and Gardens.
In Salt Lake City, Utah, we selected KOA Kampground because of its ideal location, just two miles from Temple Square with a shuttle to take us there, so we didn’t have to unhook our car. The KOA is a huge Kampground which adjoins VIP permanent mobile home park and altogether has about 600 sites under the same private management. The KOA Kampground itself has a small playground and several typical KOA Kabins, a store and a very nice pool and recreation area. The park is kept very clean, although we felt they could use more trash bins. The managers are KOA friendly and well trained and the Kampground is well run, especially considering the number of occupants. It has plenty of sites for all kinds of vehicles and is quiet and has trees and grass at every site.
This KOA is a good choice for any tourism in the Salt Lake City downtown area. For two weeks in September it is booked far in advance because you can walk to the Utah State Fair just three blocks away. Be sure to plan your trip to see a performance of the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which has rehearsals on Thursday evenings and broadcast services at 9:30 A.M. Sundays, the longest running broadcast in the world. Organ recitals and other musical events are almost daily, and Temple Square Visitor Center has a film explaining the beliefs and history of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) who formed the first permanent towns and settlements in Utah.
En route from Texas to South Carolina along Highway 20 we found only one KOA nearby. We stopped just outside Meridian, MS, for a pleasant overnight. However, this property is in the process of rennovation , having lost the long-time owners in the past year and working hard to re-attain the quality of excellence for which KOA is known. The unfortunate thing at this Kampground is that just across the street is a city dump for large objects, so the way to the entrance is not attractive, but this is not the fault of KOA. Once inside the Kampground you’ll be able to stay comfortably and you’ll find the hosts very welcoming.