Travellers looking for an affordable and different vacation in North America might want to consider camping. Now, before you reject the idea just because you aren’t keen on sleeping on the ground, know that camping in the United States and Canada has changed significantly in the past few years.
Many campgrounds in North America have lists of amenities that rival the best full-service hotel resorts. And with the advent of comfortable deluxe cabins and other accommodations, it certainly isn’t necessary to bundle the family into a tent and sleeping bags anymore.
While deluxe cabins boast amenities such as full kitchens, full bathrooms with showers and real beds with linens, they also comfortably sleep up to six. So there’s no need for up to three hotel rooms and the expense that comes with eating in restaurants every meal.
But the true advantage of a campground vacation comes in the transformation you’ll see in your children. Nothing compares with a holiday where your youngest family members are free to roam about the park, leave their mobile devices behind for real nature experiences and end the day making delicious s’mores around a roaring campfire.
Campgrounds are also social communities. Your children will immediately be drawn to other youngsters on the park, joining them in play at the playground or pool, or riding bicycles about as they connect with what could become lifelong friends.
At Kampgrounds of America parks, campers can pick from a variety of accommodation types. There are full-service deluxe cabins, basic cabins with beds but no bathrooms or kitchens, patio sites for recreational vehicles, basic RV sites and comfortable places to pitch your own tent. Here are a few of our favorite camping locations.
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina KOA Resort
At this North Carolina campground, you get direct access to gorgeous Atlantic Ocean beaches. Enjoy a zero-entry pool perfect for the little ones (complete with lap lanes for swimmers), a new double water slide for the kids and a hot tub area for relaxing. The Guest House has a store, poolside cafe, Internet area with computers and a lounge with WiFi.
During the summer months, there’s a full roster of events, plus everything from pool games to basketball tournaments, tie-dying, live skits, live music at the pool and family movie nights out under the stars. Rent a bike, kayak or paddle board for even more fun.
West Glacier, Montana KOA Holiday
This campground is in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, and at the gate of beautiful Glacier National Park. The park, complete with beautiful mountain views, is Kampgrounds of America’s 2017 Campground of the Year. A short drive brings you to the start of the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road that twists and climbs across the million-acre alpine preserve. Lake McDonald and its famous colored pebbles are a 10 minute drive. West Glacier boasts some of the best hiking in the Glacier Region. Hike through the cool shade and pine trees to the historic Sperry Chalet or challenge yourself to pushing up to Lincoln Peak. Explore Gunsight Pass. Hike to Apgar, Huckleberry or Mt. Brown fire lookouts (bring some fresh fruit for the ranger and they’re guaranteed to love you, we hear that at Huckleberry they like watermelons). Take the shuttle to hike the Highline Trail from Logan Pass to The Loop. This is the best KOA for accessing the remote North Fork of Glacier National Park. Kayak at Bowman Lake, hike to Numa Ridge Lookout & finish off your day with a tasty Bearclaw pastry from the Polebridge Mercantile.
Explore the towns of Bigfork, Whitefish and Kalispell — a short drive from the campground. Flathead Lake is within driving distance to explore for part of a day, with plenty of time left to relax at the campground
A local photographer hosts wildlife slide shows twice a week. Experience the log-fashioned pavilion lodge that houses a pool table, satellite television, internet cafe and a fireplace. This KOA has an adult pool and a heated family pool. Enjoy breakfast services as well as dinner. You can treat yourself to huckleberry ice cream at Scoops Ice Cream Shoppe or head to the state’s largest water park in nearby Columbia Falls.
Ventura Ranch, California KOA
A vacation to California isn’t complete without a stop in Los Angeles. But, where can you relax after the hustle and bustle of Hollywood? Just 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, the Ventura Ranch KOA is a 76-acre campground nestled in Heritage Valley at the foot of Ventura County’s highest mountain, Topa Topa. Guests enjoy clean, fresh air as well as a forest setting close to the creek side. There’s lots of wildlife, gorgeous views, clear star-lit nights and only 15 miles from the beach.
This campground has plenty of deluxe cabins with bathrooms and showers, as well as patio RV and tent sites, as well as teepees. Studio cabins are a smaller version of the campground’s deluxe cabins. All come with a microwave and mini-fridge, your own private patio deck, charcoal BBQ grill, fire pit and of course, all linens are provided. Ask about studios, which sleep up to four people and have flat screen TVs.
There are also safari-style glamour tents, furnished with a queen bed and a futon couch that can easily sleep four people. These tents come with electricity inside and have a microwave and mini-fridge to make cooking easy. Enjoy a campfire in the evening on your private patio. The sites are very private and secluded while still close to the restrooms and showers.
Activities at this campground are fun for children and families. You will be busy making fun memories with arts and crafts, a huge jumping pillow, swing set and playground area, rock climbing tower, zip lining, nature walks, visiting the Bigfoot Watering Hole or relaxing by our beautiful resort pool. On Saturdays, the park sometimes offers a complimentary night adventure walk called “In Search Of Bigfoot.”
These three great family vacation locations are just a sampling of the more than 500 campgrounds that KOA has waiting for you all across North America. You can visit all 500 online – and even make your reservations – at www.koa.com.
By Mike Gast, Vice President of Communications/Kampgrounds of America Inc.