KOAs are not primitive camping (or ‘camping’ as I was raised with). They are more like RV parks with tenting capabilities. Generally speaking I prefer solitude to amenities, but when traveling on the cheap and with children, these really are great. For $30-$45 a night you have a spot to park your tent and cook your meals and a convenient starting point for enjoying the lovely city of San Diego and surround areas for example. The KOA in Chula Vista has a play ground, a pool, a cafe, quad cycles that you can rent, jumping pillows, a climbing wall, and best of all- trees and grass. The kids thought they were at an amusement park. Showers and restrooms really aren’t awful to have access to either. Also, there are sweet little cabins available if you feel like a little luxury.
We paid extra to have a more out of the way site without any neighbors (it also happened to have electricity and water), but there were various tent camping spots available. Our site has wood chips, the other tent sites have grass.
The next morning we woke up and packed up right away. It took us 15 minutes to get to the San Diego zoo, and we even beat the crowds to a choice parking spot near the entrance.
When you are traveling on the cheap and trying to cover many miles, taking the time to pick out the perfect campground in an unfamiliar wilderness (or city) doesn’t really make sense. Pulling over at the nearest safe spot so you can eat and sleep and the kids can burn off some steam does. I will also add that both of the KOAs we visited on this trip were extremely quiet. It seems that quiet hours are either strictly enforced or respected or both. I am so pleased to have discovered such a convenient and affordable way to have room and board on the road and on the fly.