KOA (Kampgrounds of America) are icons of the RV experience. Founded in the 1960s, KOA quickly rose to popularity and became the nation’s largest network of franchise RV parks. They combine a national commitment to quality standards with passionate independent owners from around the country. KOA campgrounds are unique because the people who run them have unique visions and the character of the places they service is special. Whether it’s just a stop on your road trip or your destination, a KOA is a great place to hang your hat for the night.
Let’s look at five of the greatest KOA campgrounds in the nation. But first…
Curious about the K?
If you are curious why they are Kampgrounds of America and not Campgrounds of America, here’s the story. Company trademarks are required to avoid generalized terms of phrases. Campgrounds of America was deemed too generalized and nonspecific to receive trademark protection. The owners decided to have fun and call it Kampgrounds instead. Ever since, they have adopted the tradition of using a K instead of a C for campground-related words like kamping, kabins, and kampers.
Okay, now let’s get into our 5 KOA picks across the United States.
Devils Tower is an amazingly unique natural landmark. There is pretty much nothing quite like it in the world. Devils Tower KOA is wonderfully located at the entrance to the park surrounding the tower. It offers a spectacular view of the tower from the campgrounds.
Very few parks offer visitors such a full and direct experience of a marquee monument like this. Devils Tower KOA could rest on these laurels, but they don’t. They offer the full gambit of KOA amenities including group cabins, heated pool, playground, hayrides, and viewing of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” nightly. Devils Tower KOA owners Ogden and Zannie Driskill have been hosting campers in Wyoming for more than 30 years. They know how to make folks feel at home.
KOAs that offer the maximum level of amenities and customer service are a part of the “Resort” class. Mount Rushmore KOA in Hill City, South Dakota takes that to an extreme few can match. Not only do they have deluxe cabins for rent, but they also offer a full-fledged lodge and hotel on the property.
You can even rent the Grand Executive Lodge which can accommodate a party of 12, including two master suites and a private hot tub. This KOA features a monthly western rodeo on the property and plays host to regional events like Polkapalooza. Their playground includes a splash park with water cannons and a huge rock climbing tower. If you want a campground where it’s impossible to be bored, this is the place for you.
Most of the parks on this list were chosen due to a specific attraction or feature of the park. Astoria / Warrenton / Seaside KOA located in Hammond, Oregon makes the cut due to the effort its owners put into hosting special events. At Astoria KOA, every weekend has a special theme and activities to celebrate it. One week celebrates pirates, the next might be a talent contest, a fishing derby, or mad science weekend.
They truly embody the KOA mission of putting the fun in camping front and center. Seaside KOA is also a truly great campground with a wide range of amenities. These include pirate-themed mini-golf, a giant chessboard, indoor and outdoor pools, and a full snack bar serving hot food.
Want to mine for diamonds during your camping trip? Herkimer Diamond KOA in Herkimer, New York has got you covered! OK, so they aren’t actually diamonds, they are quartz crystals. But they are really cool, and you can actually go mine for them in the quarry located on the campground property. They also have a jewelry store, geology shop, and other fun stuff to celebrate the theme of mining.
Several KOAs offer unique accommodations like tee-pees, Airstreams, or yurts. Herkimer Diamond KOA does one better and includes a unique “treehouse cabin” you can rent in addition to excellent RV parking and campgrounds. You can take a ride on a canal boat, do some fishing, and much more. So bring your s’mores ingredients, a good sturdy pick-ax, and be ready for some fun.
If you are an RV renter thinking about taking the step up to being an RV owner, consider a trip to Lazydays KOA in Tucson, Arizona. What makes this resort park unique is that it was built right next to one of the world’s largest RV dealerships and service centers. A number of dealers include a small parking area for campers, but Lazydays campground is a full-on camping resort.
Where many camps have a small putt-putt course on-site, they have a nine-hole putting green. You can pick fruit from the many trees on the property, sunbathe at the resort-style pool, work out in the gym, or play with your dogs in the fenced-in dog park. And of course, you can go shopping for your dream RV or enjoy the resort while bringing your RV in for service.
Hit the road to a KOA
For some, staying at a KOA campground is the pinnacle of vacation. You can’t ask for more when you have neat amenities, great views, and friendly folks at your campsite! Hit the road and stay at one of these five campgrounds, or one of the other hundreds scattered around the United States.