The Glampire Camps Back! Outdoor Afro Returns to KOA

Just recently, my family had a chance to return to Kampgrounds of America (KOA) to take part in their first ever “Blogger Night” at its new Ventura Ranch location in Southern California, to help get the word out about this terrific camping option for everyone. After my last KOA post, my social networks on and offline went all abuzz with fellow moms who said, now THIS is the kind of camping I can do! And at least two families in my network were inspired since to make reservations at KOAs this summer!
Like many of you, all my life I have whizzed by the iconic yellow and black KOA signs that dot the American highway on family road trips, and never quite understood what they represented, until just this year. And I will never look at them the same way.

See, when I was in my teens and early 20s, sleeping on the ground, under the night sky was an adventure. But years later, as a mom with three young children in tow who needed access to clean bathrooms at a moment’s notice, camping became way more work than relaxation, and the idea of returning home more exhausted than energized was not the way I wanted to end family vacations. While my kids and I still value the sounds of overnight nature under a canopy of stars from inside our tent, we have also experimented with a wide variety of other camping options in recent years — from our city’s family camp, to trailers and RVs, and most recently, KOA!
View More Photos:

Sometimes I hear people explaining that KOA Glamping is not really camping – but I beg to differ. The one thing I have come to appreciate through members of the Outdoor Afro community and beyond, is an awareness and respect for the ways camping can take on many forms, and how it is adaptable to a wide range of lifestyles, values, locations, and family needs. And for those of us who require amenities from home, or are reluctant campers, KOA is one kool glamping option, providing a gateway to deeper connections for families in nature!

Back to Ventura KOA…first off, as you can see in the pictures, our “Kottage” unit was a serious luxury rival with our previous cabin at the Santa Cruz KOA. In addition to a full bath with a shower, flat screen, and a sleeping loft for the children, we had fully equipped kitchen with a gas stove and refrigerator. My favorite feature: an overlook of the nearby creek and rolling hillside vineyards.

Speaking with KOA Vice President of Marketing, Michael Gast, he shared three things Outdoor Afros can rely on at any KOA: “cleanliness, great customer service, and recreational activities.” And the franchises are spot inspected regularly to help ensure the highest quality camp experience for visitors around the country.
At the Ventura KOA, we also had the chance to test out their new zipline! Check out the Mapp children zip lining across camp! You can hear them before you see them. Video courtesy of Tom Huang
Mom got in on the action too! Courtesy of Mike Gast

Later that evening, we were treated to a demo of the special programs available, including a few rounds of campground hikes for all age groups, and a s’mores purposed campfire. My kids especially enjoyed the Halloween “spooky” hike for older children that showed off the tremendous creativity and skill of the staff to extend the camping season fun into October.

Like many other KOAs, the Ventura site is also equipped with the famous Jumping Pillow that my kids have come to love, rock wall climbing, peddle carts, and a giant checkerboard that delighted my little Billy to no end as he gave mom quite the challenge!

That night, after a full day of fun with my fellow bloggers and KOA staff, my kids and I fell fast asleep in comfort and warmth excited about the next day.

Sunday morning greeted us too soon (I really wanted to sleep in!) with a sizzle of a full pancake breakfast for the blogging brigade in Ventura Ranch, but actually some KOAs, including our recent Santa Cruz location have pancake breakfasts for guests during peak season.

The Bottom Line, KOAs:

  • are an excellent and affordable way to car camp your way across the country because of their many locations and variety of accommodations
  • all offer cleanliness and fun, to accommodate all outdoor comfort levels and ages
  • can be a great basecamp to explore nearby National Parks and other attractions 

Contact KOA for more information, and tell them Outdoor Afro sent you!

Outdoor Afro thanks KOA Ventura Ranch staff, Owner Scott Corey, JMPR Public Relations, and the KOA Marketing team for bringing us all together with style!