KOA and other camp grounds declining?? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-02-2015, 08:15 PM   #1
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KOA and other camp grounds declining??

After being out of the RV traveling for several years we got back into it about a year ago. Is it my imagination, or have campgrounds generally "declined" in the past few years?? Especially the KOAs. unkept grounds, sites very un-level requiring the use of blocks to get level, poor facilities, people who act like you are imposing if you question anything, etc. I went to dump as we left a park (not a KOA) in Moab, Ut. and the ground was sloped away from the sewer opening, not allowing my tank to empty completely. When I complained, they literally ignored me, turning their attention to another customer. another park had a rut so deep that when the tire dropped into it, it bent my drop down step so that it could not be used. What has happened to friendly, helpful hosts?? And clean, inviting grounds?? We are finding ourselves more and more going to WalMart parking lots.
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:18 PM   #2
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They are getting more crowded in some places. Moab is one of those places.

If you can, travel off season.
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:34 PM   #3
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I have not noticed this, the KOA's and other private RV parks we use are as well kept as ever. The KOA in Hot Springs Arkansas have been seriously upgrading their facilities.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:25 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by JIM Midway usa View Post
After being out of the RV traveling for several years we got back into it about a year ago. Is it my imagination, or have campgrounds generally "declined" in the past few years?? Especially the KOAs. unkept grounds, sites very un-level requiring the use of blocks to get level, poor facilities, people who act like you are imposing if you question anything, etc. I went to dump as we left a park (not a KOA) in Moab, Ut. and the ground was sloped away from the sewer opening, not allowing my tank to empty completely. When I complained, they literally ignored me, turning their attention to another customer. another park had a rut so deep that when the tire dropped into it, it bent my drop down step so that it could not be used. What has happened to friendly, helpful hosts?? And clean, inviting grounds?? We are finding ourselves more and more going to WalMart parking lots.
We have found that too . Where we live the State campgrounds are pretty bad they claim no money even though they charge a lot here in California . Cost more money at Resorts but they are nicer and it is a matter of just trying out different places . Really haven't found very many nice KOA 's . Probably won't buy there membership anymore . Going to try land management and Federal lands . Pat
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Old 06-03-2015, 12:01 PM   #5
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Bruce & Ellyn

We are taking off in a couple of weeks for our annual 3 week trip. We are going to try out a new overnight concept called Harvest Hosts. Staying one night at a network of friendly family small farms and wineries. We will give you an update when we get back. Hope it works.
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:02 PM   #6
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Well, what has gotten better in the last 30 years? When we started camping in the 90's, it seemed the majority of parks were nice. When rushing to a destination, we chose KOA because the quality was consistent and they were always just off the highway. Good Sam parks were always a good bet also.

We saw the worst decline in Disney's Fort Wilderness. We went in 1988 for the first time and it was wonderful, clean and everything in good repair. The last 2 times we were there in 2000, I was just glad to be out of there. Washers and dryers were out, the restrooms were not super clean and some things not working.

I think the Corp of Engineers does a really good job and that seems to have been consistent over the years in the area where we are anyway.
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Old 06-03-2015, 02:18 PM   #7
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I agree with the KOA's not being friendly or well kept. State and Federal Parks have to deal with money from the govt., but they do have private enterprise running most of them and they do a decent job. As for the private parks, about the only thing I can think of is that people just don't give a crap anymore and it is hard to find people who are willing to work. The work ethic has declined because people feel entitled. The older people have the right ethic, but the zip and stamina have declined with age. I refuse to buy a KOA membership to get a measly $4 off a $40 site. I'll sleep at Wal-Mart or a truck stop, and dump my tanks at Camping World while on the road.
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Old 06-03-2015, 04:25 PM   #8
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I started camping with my family in a tent in 1959. At that time State Parks in Ohio were just starting to get into camp grounds, they were open fields, you set up where you wished. Pit toilets and showere were unheard of. So the "improvement" of camp facilities, I have witnessed. As I said in an earlier post, I have not observed a degradation of facilities. For the past fifty five years, there has always been a range of quality.

I suspect that with the rise in free camping at places like Walmart parking lots, it might be harder for mom and pop campgrounds to attract paying customers. Could that result in a death spiral for them?
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:39 PM   #9
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We are taking off in a couple of weeks for our annual 3 week trip. We are going to try out a new overnight concept called Harvest Hosts. Staying one night at a network of friendly family small farms and wineries. We will give you an update when we get back. Hope it works.
That looks interesting. I went to the site for Harvest Host. I saw the map but not specifics of the locations.

http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/harv...farms-wineries

"Do I have to buy something from the Host where I spend the night?
Yes, we request that you make a purchase to show your appreciation to your Host. "
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Old 06-03-2015, 06:27 PM   #10
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In our years and years of camping, first in tents, then in motorhomes and now in our trailer, we've seen the gamut as far as quality goes. State and County campgrounds can be good or bad, private enterprise RV parks can also be good or bad. Same with USFS or other Federal campgrounds. And of course, everything in between! I really don't think you can make any generalizations. When possible I like to read reviews on sites like rvparkreviews.com. You can learn a lot from both the good reviews and the bad reviews. I like to write reviews too to pass along our impressions of a campground for others. I will say that in general our experiences with KOA campgrounds have never been very good. We've found their quality mediocre and their prices high. We use them only as a last resort.
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Old 06-03-2015, 06:31 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dennis mn View Post
...I have not observed a degradation of facilities. For the past fifty five years, there has always been a range of quality.

I suspect that with the rise in free camping at places like Walmart parking lots, it might be harder for mom and pop campgrounds to attract paying customers. Could that result in a death spiral for them?
I agree with you, Dennis. I camped extensively with my family in the 60's and 70's. We stayed at national parks, state parks, KOAs, and any number of other "mom and pop" campgrounds. Even within a franchise like KOA, I observed a great variation in terms of amenities, cleanliness, upkeep, and service.

We spent one night at a mom and pop on the Colorado River near Needles, California. It was July of 1971, and we were traveling in a bright red Dodge station wagon with black vinyl upholstery and no AC, pulling a Skamper tent trailer, also without AC. The thermometer on the porch of the office read 112 degrees as we checked in after a long, hot day of driving. While Mom and Dad set up camp, we headed straight for the river and didn't come out until the sun was setting. During dinner, the owner came to our site carrying two portable table fans for the night. I will never forget that act of kindness. Long live mom and pops!
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Old 06-03-2015, 08:33 PM   #12
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Free Overnight Parking.....?

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Originally Posted by Dennis mn View Post
I
I suspect that with the rise in free camping at places like Walmart parking lots, it might be harder for mom and pop campgrounds to attract paying customers. Could that result in a death spiral for them?

Actually that's a misnomer for two reasons:

1. Wal-Mart, and others that allow "Overnight Parking" are not allowing "Camping". It's a one night and good bye in the morning. Of course that does not rule out that the frequent repeaters and that tends to get all overnight parking at that site shut down in short order.

Most that make use of that benefit are not looking for a campground with showers, a nice lake, fishing and a putt-putt golf course, all they want is a safe place, that has easy in & out access, for a night, and then to move on.

If private parks wanted to provide than service for a reasonable fee they too could enjoy the additional business.

2. The availability of free overnight parking spaces is actually on the decline as more and municipalities make that illegal as a part of the zoning approval process. Although it is sometimes the intent to drive business towards existing commercial parks, there is little proof that this happens, but prospective customers for local shops just drive by.

But lets not make this into a discussion about WalMart and free parking.
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Old 06-03-2015, 09:35 PM   #13
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Actually, we tried Walmart a couple of places and found it totally unsatisfactory even for free. In both towns the Walmart lot was the local after hours hangout for teens with hot rods. No thanks. Campgrounds seem to come in all favors. We love the Welcome Station outside Wells NV. Lots of California State Parks have campsites that are only separated by a fence or log, right on the road and packed every weekend if they are within reasonable driving distance of a city. Other states may have nicer parks. National Park campsites seem better. We have only stayed at KOA's a few times. The quality there is all over the place; one is a treeless gravel lot, the next shaded and grassy.
What are your favorites?


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Old 06-03-2015, 09:46 PM   #14
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We love Walmart for in transit overnight stays.
If I find a municipality which denies the privilege then I will move on without stopping even for gas or a snack.
I just figure that they are either inhospitable or a dangerous place to stay.

Actually though, "Here in the States" we find many places to overnight, and it seems even better than in the past. Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel, T/A, Loves, rest areas, just to name a few!

KOA is often more expensive than nearby motels, but if you REALLY want to pay too much for an overnight... try Yogi Bear Campground.
They have nice facilities as a resort for kids, which you will pay dearly for, even if you wish to only overnight and move on without using any of them.
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