Before becoming a stay-at-home mom on a budget, I took fabulous vacations, often staying at luxury hotels and resorts like the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons. I know something about the kind of service $400 a night (and more) can buy. Last weekend our family was treated to that kind of superior customer service in a very unexpected place…Kampgrounds of America or KOA.
KOA San Diego offered us a free weekend in a deluxe cabin so that I could share the experience with mom’s guide readers, and it turned out to be one of the absolute best things we’ve done as a family. EVER. (And we’ve done a lot!)
There is so much I want to say about the excellent service, the beautiful grounds, the terrific schedule of events, the cleanliness, the quality, etc. that I will be devoting more than one blog post to KOA. My husband even wants to contribute a post to give the dad’s perspective, that’s how much he enjoyed his “stay-cation” in Chula Vista.
I know, it sounds kind of crazy that we’re raving about staying at a camp site that is practically in our own backyard. In fact, we didn’t do much at KOA that we couldn’t do in our own backyard, but we just don’t. Our weekends at home revolve around kid activities, chores, church and social outings. At KOA we played games, built fires, roasted marshmallows, watched bugs, rode bikes, swam, cooked out. We enjoyed being together and being away from the rush of our typical routine.
Apparently we weren’t the only family bonding at the “kampsite.” The place was packed with other families playing guitar together, playing board games together, playing cards, cooking out, telling jokes. Just being together. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that every family could use a weekend like this every now and then.
We loved the hospitality the Bell family, which has owned this camp site for 48 years, showed us. The staff was terrific too.
We thought the deluxe cabin was out-of-this-world in terms of cleanliness and cuteness. It offered every amenity; air conditioning, heat, kitchen,Keurig coffee, bathroom, giant Weber grill, fire pit, complimentary WiFi, surround sound audio for the TV/DVD, two flat screen televisions, cable, a really comfy queen bed with good linens for the adults, and the kids got to choose between bunks and a loft. (They chose the loft).
These might sound like silly observations, but I found quality everywhere I looked…the paper towels in the kitchen were cloth-like. The toilet paper was soft. The hand soap smelled great. The dish soap was name brand. Simply put, this was GLAMPING!
You don’t have to be a “glamper” to enjoy KOA. You can pop a tent, a camper, drive in with an RV, a 5th Wheel, rent a tent cabin, a wood cabin or the deluxe…there’s something for everyone and every budget here. Pets are welcome, kids are encouraged.
As we rode bikes around the site, it seemed like a little neighborhood. Many campers decorated with special lights, flags, tables, chairs. Many were there in groups and took up whole “blocks.”
Greg and I agreed that there was very little we would change if this was our family business. Maybe add a second pool (that thing was packed over the hot Labor Day weekend). After 48 years the owners of KOA San Diego have nearly perfected their product, which is why they were selected Campground of the Year from more than 400 KOA sites. And, like the mom’s guide, they were voted “best in category” by the readers of San Diego Family Magazine.
If your family could benefit from a quick little getaway that allows you to slow down and reconnect, I sincerely recommend KOA San Diego. We appreciate the opportunity to experience it so much and plan to take advantage of the private “Hot Deal” code they are offering mom’s guide readers (and writers!); 25% off of any style of accommodation from now through the end of the year.
(whispering…) The secret code is: CL
See you there!