With money being so tight for everyone in this economy, finding affordable vacations is now vital. Going camping can be a great, cheap vacation to do together. The fresh air, the trees, the quiet! There’s also the bugs, sleeping on the ground, possible bad weather, and the lack of amenities that make camping a big turn off for some.  What if you could have the best of both worlds?

Besides state parks and national forests, KOAs are a great alternative to go into the wilderness. Kampgrounds of America (KOA) was started in 1962 with the idea of providing maintained camp sites with amenities, such as bathrooms and hot showers. By 1963, the colorful yellow signs we’ve come to know began popping up nationwide. They now have over 400 locations. There are basic camp sites, RV hookups, and now have cabins to rent! This is a fantastic blend of comfort and outdoors.  If you’re a budget traveler on the go, these cabins can be cheaper than hotel rooms! Prices for cabins differ depending on time of year, weekend vs. weekday, and how many people are staying.

Three Types of KOA Cabins

  1. Kabins: By far the most popular and the cheapest of the cabins. They usually sleep 2-4, but some come with two-rooms, sleeping 4-6. Some may offer heat or a/c. They usually do not have bathrooms inside, but bathrooms are on site. Kabins tend to run around $55.00 a night, but can be as low as $30 (Utah), and as high as $70 (Maine) or even $119 (California coast).
  2. Kottages: Small cabins with bathrooms! They are a little bit more in price, but if you’re like me, having your own bathroom is well worth it. Kottages sleep 2-4. The Deluxe Kottages offer many of the same amenities as the Lodges, and often sleep 6-8. Many offer heat and a/c, and some even have cable TV. They are not as common to find as the Kabins or Lodges. Price ranges from $71 (South Dakota) to $120 (California coast).
  3. Lodges: Bigger cabins with bathrooms, living room space, dining, and a kitchen! They all have heat and a/c.  Some even have fireplaces, a TV and other nice offerings. It’s like renting a small house to go camping in! Lodges sleep 4-6 and tend to run around $120/night. They can be as low as $60 (Texas) to as high as $219 (California coast).

*Rates based on summer dates, using a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 five year olds).

Downside to KOAs

KOAs are usually located a little outside of town, but if you want to enjoy the peace of the outdoors, it’s actually a good thing! You also have to bring your own bedding linens, bathroom amenities, cooking pots, plates and utensils. For us couponers this can be an opportunity to keep our costs lower by cooking meals rather than eating out, and using up those travel sized freebies.

Upside to KOAs

There is almost always access to barbeque grills on site.  Many have other on-site amenities to keep everyone happy. Circle Pines KOA in Williams, AZ/Grand Canyon, for example, provides a playground, mini-golf, indoor pool and spa, snack bar and laundry facilities. Most KOAs even offer Wifi! Looking up your desired location online will tell you what they carry.

So, when the kids are complaining they’re bored, and everybody needs a vacation,
reconsider camping as an affordable and fun vacation option!

This has been a guest post by Amber from St. Johns, AZ
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KOA: How to Camp the Comfortable Way