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  • Meagan Butler

RV Park-Keeping an Eye Out for the Good Stuff {Estes Park KOA}

Since it’s been about 7 months (darn you, winter) since we took out the RV, we seem to have to re-learn some of the things we may have mentally noted from previous travels, but forgot to write down to truly “remember” when we go to book a new spot to call home for a few nights. Tonight is our second night in the KOA in Estes Park, CO. We booked this spot online a few months ago, and chose a KOA based on our awesome experience at the Buena Vista, CO KOA. Please keep in mind that this is no way an official review, but rather, some things that at new RV couple or family might want to consider when choosing to stay at a campground.

Our first thought when pulling in was the Kampground was a little small. We didn’t think that because of the size of the facility, but because the turn to get to (and later back out of) the actual RV site was really tight. We were escorted into our spot by the KOA sponsor, and he helped us back the RV into our spot. The people here are very friendly, and neat to talk to, so we appreciated the assistance getting settled, especially since we could only have a back-in site. One side next to us was already occupied, so getting into the spot was even more tricky. We noted that the lots were almost on-top of each other, but figured it wouldn’t be too much of an issue. We set up, checked out the cute KOA store, and liked the fact that the restrooms were clean, there was a game room, and fun activities like Bingo and pancake breakfasts were scheduled.

These tight spots are not ideal, however. Our neighbors left this morning, and we excitedly put up our awning. But, as far as awnings go, we, of course, had to retract it when we left for the day, especially since we had storms in the vicinity and didn’t need it to launch over the mountains in a wind storm. While gone, a new family arrived. When we got “home” we wanted to put the awning back up and sit outside and enjoy the warm-ish weather, but the three little kids were running all over our spot and the close proximity made it impossible to deploy our awning. The mom just said sorry, and continued to let the kids encroach upon on spot, so much so that they were in my way of loading the RV with our groceries. Needless to say, we were irritated. As the issues continued, we noted that etiquette should be important–no matter what age the traveller. RV’ers like to enjoy nature, and things like screaming and unruly kids and growling and barking dogs ruin everyone’s experience. The same goes for drunkards and rude adults. People just need to be aware of their surroundings and note that being polite (and hyper-aware) regardless of the circumstances is imperative. After hearing the baby cry next door, hearing the toddler run back and forth inside the RV (we can hear this inside our closed RV), and the dog going nuts, we’ve decided this park has the spots too close to each other. We think a spot with room to put up the awning, walk around, and not having the only public route to the restrooms right beside our camper is something we need to know before we book a spot. So lesson? Looking online is good, but calling and asking questions is important.

Notice the awning isn’t up. We couldn’t put it up completely, because it touched the neighbor’s pop-outs, and we couldn’t open our door. This is after both of us had been escorted into our camping spots. There isn’t enough room for our all-weather rug. It’s just too close.

The spots to park the trucks were cramped and there wasn’t enough parking. It’s always best to have your truck next to your campsite. That’s what we think, anyway. Most RVers have large vehicles. Bigger parking areas would be ideal. We parked far away from our site. Thankfully, we didn’t need things from our vehicle.

No one was next to us on this side when I took the picture.  Now, we have people on both sides. It’s cramped. The path to get to the main building is right here next to our camper. Not awesome for late-night teeth-brushers coming from the tent areas. Awesome for them, maybe, but not for sleeping people inside RV’s. While this KOA is clean and nice, it’s not our favorite. Nature is blocked, and we can’t enjoy the many things that make us love camping and RVing. Maybe it’s because it is the first weekend out on the road for many RVers, and campgrounds as well as travelers may be working out the kinks new in the season, but either way, we probably wouldn’t stay here again. Lines of RV campers, trailers, and pop-ups make it feel like we are chilling at the Camping World parking lot, and we could get the same experience pulling into a Wal-Mart for the night. Next time we come to beautiful Estes Park, we will pick a new spot to stay.

In summary:

Things we like here: free wifi (although it’s spotty and not too reliable), clean facilities, close to Estes Park and a grocery store, across from a cool outdoor store, fun activities, social events, pancake breakfasts and ice cream socials, free cable, and pleasant people running the place.

Things we don’t like: tight spots, little parking, not many rule-followers, nature isn’t nestled amongst the camp sites, and we have a site that is next to the social areas and walk-way. Also, the park really isn’t policed. The fact that the rules state that dogs shouldn’t be barking, we had a barker right next to us, and no one said anything to the people with the dogs. The morning we left, a diesel truck moved in next door to us. Someone must have parked it there for connivence, but it sat idling for a half an hour spewing exhaust directly into our camper. We finally had to ask them to move the truck, because the KOA camp hosts didn’t ask them to shut off their engine.


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