Outdoor Afro Goes Glamping “Kamping” with KOA!

“Did we really just go camping?” I asked myself as we pulled up to our house this afternoon and unloaded our clothes and remaining weekend groceries from the trunk. I realized there was no gear to put away; no layers of dirt to wash off our bodies, and I felt rested and energized for Monday. “No,” I realized, “we did not go camping, we went ‘Kamping’!”

Awesome! Fabulous! Wonderful!

These are some of the words that come to mind after such a terrific weekend at California’s Central Coast near Santa Cruz camping with KOA with my Arwen and Billy, plus family friend Milan Martin. KOA is a private campground franchise with over 475 locations around the country. As part of our partnership with Camp California to demonstrate the various ways families can choose to camp, we decided to try a KOA for our third RV experience.

Unique about KOA are the many options to experience camping. You can sleep under the stars in a tent, pull up in an RV, or stay in a cabin or lodge. Some KOA sites offer novel arrangements such as the iconic Airstream, a Tree House or a Caboose! In addition to the sleeping options, there are many recreational activities available on site, such as swimming, mini golf, banana bikes, a climbing wall, playground, horseshoes, basketball, volleyball, and outdoor movies during peak season.

We stayed in a lodge, which I learned is technically classified as an RV since it can be hitched up and rolled out, but inside and out the structure screamed condo! We had a sleeping loft, a private bedroom (linens provided), and bathroom with shower. The kitchen was equipped with a fridge/freezer, sink, microwave, coffee maker, plates and utensils. There were electrical outlets everywhere, wireless internet, and a flat screen TV – so off the hook!

Nice, Nice, Nice

I think the staff here must train with the folks from Disneyland. I am pressed to remember a time when I have encountered such over-the-top positive, welcoming, and attentive customer service anywhere. Checking in and out was a breeze, and everyone made sure we had what we needed in between with a smile or a good joke.

The guests were super nice too, and we noticed this KOA attracts diverse visitors from around the world. Poolside we overheard several languages spoken, and made some new local camp friends Saturday who plotted to join us later in the evening for s’mores. Maintenance of the property was impeccable, clean, and there was a well-stocked camp store in case you forgot anything from home.

This central California coast KOA property sits between the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and is less than a mile away from a few beaches that overlook the Pacific Ocean.  As I have learned from our previous RV experiences, KOAs can be used as a basecamp to explore surrounding nature and other attractions nearby.

Check out the rest of our photos!

While a KOA might not hit the sweet spot of a back country or public park enthusiast, a novice or otherwise apprehensive camper with kids of all ages will find a comfy camp option for the entire family to enjoy. Overall, I found the KOA trip to be a cool hybrid experience that allowed us to mix-up the comforts of home with nearby nature.  As a mom traveling alone with three school age children, this was camping that could not have been made more easy, fun, and affordable.

Learn more about KOA “Kamping”, and check out our other RV adventures over the last year.

Thank you Camp California, KOA and its marvelous Santa Cruz staff for supporting such a wonderful experience to share with the Outdoor Afro community!

Photos courtesy of Jeff Crider and Rue Mapp



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  • http://bakerwithacause.com/ Christyna

    I really like this! Definitely may have to book with KOA sometime this summer, since the hubby is definitely NOT a camping enthusiast. So, this may really give us the best of both worlds, i.e., “a cool hybrid experience that allowed us to mix-up the comforts of home with nearby nature” just like you said.

  • Anonymous

    You absolutely should! This is the best way to go for the reluctant camper!
    Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1089171520 Cliff Sorrell

    Rue this is a great example of camping without the roughing it element. This is a great alternative, great article.

  • Anonymous

    Now thats one nice Lodge! looks like a great place for a family to stay and be close to nature with the comforts of home.

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  • Barbara

    Super excited about our upcoming KOA experience. Thanks for the beautiful preview!

  • Anonymous

    I am so glad you will be there!

    We are going to have a blast!

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