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solo318

Question for you "experienced" campers.

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Some of my fondest camping memories as a child were in the KOA at Cherokee N.C. We were in Gatlinburg last week and decided to drive over and check it out. This cannot possibly be the same campground. Did the KOA franchise move? Did they do a complete remodel? I was not disappointed by hte current campground, It just isn't what I remember. I even shoed a map to my Dad and he doesn't remember the campground being there either. So now I'm wondering what happened to the old one. Do any of you guys remeber the KOA from the 80s?

Any input would be welcomed. Seems trivial I know, But it's bugging me.

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Sorry, can't help with that one.  We stay in that area of the mountains every year, this year we will be visiting later and staying at Dandridge TN (75 miles away).  Our motorcycles rides generally take us into or through Cherokee a couple times a week but we have never actually camped there.

I can tell you that generally speaking most of the KOA affiliated campgrounds we are seeing around the country are overpriced and run down.

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12 minutes ago, FL-JOE said:

.I can tell you that generally speaking most of the KOA affiliated campgrounds we are seeing around the country are overpriced and run down. 

Actually we stayed in KOA parks 5 times last year. The only one that was remotely run down was the one in Charleston. And in that case the staff more than made up the difference.  We did however only venture to "touristy" areas.

The local campground that used to be a KOA was in REALLY sad shape for many years before they lost the franchise.

 

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10 minutes ago, solo318 said:

Actually we stayed in KOA parks 5 times last year. The only one that was remotely run down was the one in Charleston. And in that case the staff more than made up the difference.  We did however only venture to "touristy" areas.

The local campground that used to be a KOA was in REALLY sad shape for many years before they lost the franchise.

 

I certainly hope you are not referring to the one in Charleston/Mount Pleasant, out on Rt. 17 North.  We stayed in that one last year for a week.  It was just under $70 a night and what a nightmare.  Low hanging branches, bad 50amp breaker that we had to beg them to get replaced, plus when our SIL and BIL wanted to stop by for dinner at our site the office wanted them to pay $8 for visiting us.  It was rundown and we were not impressed with the staff.  

Maybe you are referring to the other KOA in Charleston?

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1 minute ago, FL-JOE said:

I certainly hope you are not referring to the one in Charleston/Mount Pleasant, out on Rt. 17 North.  We stayed in that one last year for a week.  It was just under $70 a night and what a nightmare.  Low hanging branches, bad 50amp breaker that we had to beg them to get replaced, plus when our SIL and BIL wanted to stop by for dinner at our site the office wanted them to pay $8 for visiting us.  It was rundown and we were not impressed with the staff.  

Maybe you are referring to the other KOA in Charleston?

Yes. Based on your review of that one, we stayed in the other Charleston KOA. It was a bit run down, but excellent staff and good power.

 

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It was one of the few times we went on a recommendation of a non-RVer when selecting a park.  My SIL and BIL, bless their hearts, had moved to the area.  They drove through that KOA in advance of us booking it and reported it as long pull through sites and nice.  When we called for a spot the person at the desk assured me we would not have any issues with our length or height.  

Next visit to that area we may try Buck Hall Recreation Area just down the road on Rt. 17.  We checked that out while we were there and even though it wasn't full hookups they had spacious sites, easy in and out, plus extremely cheap rates.

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I don’t stay at many KOAs because of the price. The few I have stayed at recently have been run down. I think the KOA system has lowered their standards but not their price. 

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We stopped going to all KOA's after a series of overpriced rundown experiences. In all organizations there are always good and bad but in our personal experience the KOA CG's are mainly bad.

BnB

 

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KOA is my last choice of a campground.  Sometimes we have to use on as there is not much else available in an area.

As note, they are generally over priced and often not in the best of shape.

Ken

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We stay at KOA's quite frequently and do not consider them, in general, to be overpriced particularly if you buy the annual card to get 10% off.  We always get the price of the card back through the discount and rewards points.

IMHO KOA's are like what Howard Johnson's were during the years I was going on vacations with my parents.  There is a general standard of consistency that they usually deliver.  They aren't typically the fanciest  park in a area, but we've never stayed at one that was unacceptable. 

I used to be surprised by the ferocity of the "we hate KOA" posts that show up in threads like these. IMHO many of them are from people who don't want to accept the fact that the going rate for full-hookup sites at attractive parks in the US is currently in the range of $45-55/night throughout the country.  There still are nice parks in the $25-35 range but they're becoming more difficult to find.  But that's not the fault of KOA. JMO.

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To each his own. We have stayed at KOA campgrounds in the past, but not if we can find something better. We've found that they, like other commercial parks, try to pack as many rigs into the available space as possible. We'd much rather stay at a COE park, a State park, or a city or county campground. In fact, we're slowly compiling our own list of city/county campgrounds that we like. We're not at all interested in the exercise room or swimming pool, so why pay for something we're not going to use?

Some people say KOA stands for "Keep On Adding" as it seems that there is an additional fee for almost everything that we might want, and no deductions for the things we don't want. For us, a KOA is an acceptable overnight spot, but we'd never want to stay at one for more than one night - too expensive.

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We love the Corp  and state parks, but it is where you cannot get in for a weekend unless you book 6 months to a year out.  Forget holiday weeks unless you have booked waaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy out.  You can usually get in Sunday afternoon and back out by Friday morning.

Ken

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10 hours ago, TXiceman said:

We love the Corp  and state parks, but it is where you cannot get in for a weekend unless you book 6 months to a year out.

That depends on which park and where you are located. We frequently visit COE parks midweek without reservations and have never reserved a site in one as much as 6 months out. 

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2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

That depends on which park and where you are located. We frequently visit COE parks midweek without reservations and have never reserved a site in one as much as 6 months out. 

Kirk, try getting a week or two weeks.  The weekend warriors are out in full force on weekends.

Ken

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On 6/24/2019 at 9:23 AM, solo318 said:

Some of my fondest camping memories as a child were in the KOA at Cherokee N.C. We were in Gatlinburg last week and decided to drive over and check it out. This cannot possibly be the same campground. Did the KOA franchise move? Did they do a complete remodel? I was not disappointed by hte current campground, It just isn't what I remember. I even shoed a map to my Dad and he doesn't remember the campground being there either. So now I'm wondering what happened to the old one. Do any of you guys remeber the KOA from the 80s?

Any input would be welcomed. Seems trivial I know, But it's bugging me.

Amazing how a question about one particular KOA campground turns into a lets bash KOA fest.

 

13 hours ago, kb0zke said:

Some people say KOA stands for "Keep On Adding" as it seems that there is an additional fee for almost everything that we might want, and no deductions for the things we don't want.

The "Keep on Adding" phrase has been around for decades. I think this is a hold over from the pre-internet days. The KOA Directory would list a range of prices for each campground with no real explanation that tent sites with no amenities were the lowest price and each added amenity increased the price for that site and that the price for the site was the price for the site no matter what you chose to use. RVers would pull in thinking that they would get the lowest price for any site they wanted only to find out that there was no electric/water at the tent sites, they would not fit in the tent sites, all the water/electric sites were taken, etc. The catchy slur phrase was born, caught on and has been repeated ever since.

This phrase comes up on just about every discussion about KOA. Many RV Parks have sites at various prices based on various combinations of amenities/services. No hookup (tent) sites, water/electric only, full hookup, backin, pull through, etc. All at  different prices. Even many Passport America Parks charge more for a 50amp site, cable TV, Wifi, etc., if they have more than one type of site. Very few parks charge for only what you use. The price for the site is the price for the site whether you want or plan to use all of the amenities.  If you look at the KOA website, the prices for the various types of sites are clearly shown. They often do have more choices than many RV parks/campgrounds. Now if you just drive in, there is no guarantee that the cheapest type of site will be available, or that your rig will fit in it.

 

Edited by trailertraveler

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I don't think all KOA parks are bad and/or overpriced.  We got burned by the one in Charleston/Mt Pleasant SC, but we are using the Cheyenne KOA for a second time in a few weeks.  It has large sites, well kept, and friendly.  Now I still think it is a little overpriced at just under $60 a night for grass and gravel, but you are not packed on top of each other.

Based on our travel experience I could never be a "frequent" user of KOA's in general like Doc.  I just think with a little research you could usually find a better, higher quality, cheaper camping experience in the same area. 

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So can we stop BASHING a COMPANY that is looking to MAKE MONEY. and revert back to the original question?

 

Was the KOA in Cherokee NC in it's current location, or somewhere else? It was really a simple question, yet not a single person posted anything useful to the matter at hand. If I was looking for an argument I would have posted in the "politics" section

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1 hour ago, solo318 said:

 

If I was looking for an argument I would have posted in the "politics" section

I don't think there is a "politics" section.

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5 hours ago, solo318 said:

Was the KOA in Cherokee NC in it's current location, or somewhere else? It was really a simple question, yet not a single person posted anything useful to the matter at hand. 

While I have no knowledge of that particular KOA, I can tell you that parks dropout and join the KOA system on a regular basis. They are mostly all franchises so are sold like any private business.

As we travel the country, we have been to a number of former KOAs. The building style is one give away. Some still have the yellow and black signs. Older directories and sometimes even Google Maps may still list them as a KOA. We also encounter existing parks that have joined the KOA system since our last visit. I don't know if KOA has any policy about how close their franchises can be, but if they do, one dropping out of the system would create an opportunity for another nearby park to join.

Edited by trailertraveler

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On 7/1/2019 at 7:16 AM, trailertraveler said:

The "Keep on Adding" phrase has been around for decades. I think this is a hold over from the pre-internet days. The KOA Directory would list a range of prices for each campground with no real explanation that tent sites with no amenities were the lowest price and each added amenity increased the price for that site and that the price for the site was the price for the site no matter what you chose to use

I believe Joe Peterson was the first to use that phrase. Part of the KOA overhead that doesn't apply to other campground owners is KOA franchisees pay KOA Inc. a $30k franchise fee up front, then $1500 a year plus 10% of their ongoing registration fees (site fees), placing them at a competitive disadvantage to others who keep 100% of their generated revenue.

Although I have no way of knowing, I suspect the "site registration" percentage in the past may have only applied to the basic site rate, encouraging the franchisees to price things like electric-water-sewer, pool passes, etc. separately so they were exempt from the KOA percentage.  And thus justifying the "Keep On Adding" branding when customers found themselves nickeled and dimed over stuff that they assumed should have been included in the site rent.

https://ownakoa.com/build-a-koa/requirements/

Edited by Lou Schneider

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20 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

I believe Joe Peterson was the first to use that phrase.

I think that Lou is correct about that history as there were some very serious conflicts between the KOA folks and Joe & the Escapees RV Club back in the 1980's. Eventually things died away into history.  There is little or none of that anamosity today. 

Edited by Kirk W

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