We're Dreaming of Staying in One of These Swoon-Worthy KOAs

These aren’t your grandparents' camping spots

Palm Springs/Joshua Tree KOA

Dan Armstrong / KOA

Kampgrounds of America has officially gone Instagram. If you’re like me, the first visual that comes to mind when you think of KOA is a dank campground next to the freeway with tents and RVs practically on top of each other. 

But KOA has been quietly sprucing up dozens of campgrounds across the US and creating some unique—and social media-worthy—camping experiences. Called “unique accommodations,” KOA is making a push for travelers to spend time in Airstream trailers, train cabooses, teepees, yurts, safari tents, Conestoga (covered) wagons, and treehouses.

It’s a blend of history and the modern wave of glamping, and we dig it. We spent some time (longingly) scouring KOA’s site to find some of our favorites for you.

KOA Treehouse

A Treehouse or Pickup Truck in Ohio

Northeast of Columbus, Ohio, is the Sunbury/Columbus North KOA campground, featuring multiple brand new treehouses. They’re beautifully nestled in a deciduous forest near some small lakes. The treehouses sleep up to eight and have a full bath and partial kitchen. We love the lower patio area with a fire ring and propane grill. Bonus: The Sunbury KOA also has a cabin-converted pickup truck that can sleep four.

Other treehouse KOAs are in upstate New York between Syracuse and Albany, outside Woodstock, New Hampshire, and southwest of Detroit, near Toledo, Ohio.

Ventura Ranch KOA

Covered Wagons Near Ojai

Conestoga wagons—also known simply as covered wagons—are an iconic visual of early pioneering across the western US. First known to be crafted by German settlers in Pennsylvania in the 18th Century, KOA is now starting to place covered wagons at campsites across the US. We love the ones at the Ventura Ranch KOA, which is nestled in the mountains between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, and also features Teepees and Safari (canvas) Tents. Visitors to the Ventura Ranch can easily make it to Ventura and the Pacific or the quirky mountain town of Ojai.

Other covered wagon options that caught our eyes were west of New York City in the Poconos, near Oregon’s coastal dunes, and east of North Cascades National Park in Washington.

Geodome at Bangor KOA in Maine

Bangor, Maine’s Geodomes

Up to six people can sleep in one of the geodomes outside Bangor, Maine. As if it’s not awesome enough to sleep in a geodome, the campsites also feature excellent outdoor features like picnic tables, grills, and patios. There are also outdoor recreation opportunities galore with close access to trails, rivers, lakes, and the Gulf of Maine.

Caboose at St. Louis West KOA

A Caboose at the Beginning of Route 66

Until the 1980s, all freight trains in the US were required to have a caboose. Since then, many cabooses have been retired and are found in museums and parks. Some are also scattered across a few KOA campgrounds like St. Louis West, just southwest of the Missouri city and at the start of the infamous Route 66. The St. Louis West KOA is a fun destination of its own. It sits not far from St. Louis attractions like the zoo, science center, City Museum, and some underrated outdoor activities in the Ozark and St. Francis Mountains.

Other cabooses are at the Mt. Pleasant Charleston KOA in South Carolina and the Twin Mountain Mt. Washington KOA in New Hampshire, among a few other KOA campgrounds.

KOA Airstream

An Airstream Near the Waves

The Airstream is an iconic American travel camper, first created in 1929. California’s coast is an ideal place to spend time. We suggest finding your way to the Monterey Bay and staying in an Airstream at the Santa Cruz Monterey Bay KOA. Besides being near one of California’s numerous public and picturesque beaches, this area is a fantastic launching point for many land and sea adventures.

Other KOA campgrounds with Airstreams include the Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA in Maine and the Carbondale Crystal River KOA in the Rocky Mountains near Aspen.

Teepees at the Ventura Ranch KOA

Mountain Teepees in Ouray

The teepee, used by many Native Plains tribes like the Shoshone, Sioux, and Lakota, represents nomadism. Now, dozens of KOAs across the country have placed them at campgrounds. We highly recommend checking out the Ouray KOA along the banks of the Uncompahgre River north of Ouray, Colorado. If you’re not aware, Ouray is one of the most picturesque mountain towns in a state full of picturesque mountain towns. We also love the many outdoor activities available nearby for travelers and adventurers of all sorts. 

If you’re looking for a KOA teepee, other suggestions include the Flagstaff KOA and Missoula KOA.

San Diego Metro KOA Glamping Tent

Metro Glamping in San Diego

Perhaps urban camping is your thing. If that’s the case, check out the San Diego Metro KOA, which has an awesome glamping tent. The tent doesn’t have its own bathroom but does feature a patio, outdoor seating area, and grill. Bonus: It can sleep up to six people. Note that this campground rests near the 805 freeway, so you’ll experience some noisy traffic.

Suppose you’re looking for a more traditional safari tent glamping experience. We suggest the Palm Springs Joshua Tree KOA in California, the Royal Gorge KOA in Colorado, the Shelby Mansfield KOA in Ohio, the Lake Placid KOA in upstate New York, and the Ludington East KOA in Michigan.

Eureka Springs KOA Yurt

A Northwest Arkansas Yurt

Another nomadic dwelling, the yurt, was first introduced in the US in the 60s but has been used for centuries in Central Asia. If you haven’t heard of how awesome northwest Arkansas is yet, you can thank us later. Deep in the Arkansas Ozarks is the Eureka Springs KOA which features yurt dwellings. The area is full of rivers and lakes, a robust and established climbing community, and a burgeoning mountain bike scene. 

Other yurts that caught our attention are the Santa Margarita KOA along California’s central coast, the Deerpark New York City KOA, and Williamsburg KOA in Virginia.

Don’t just take our word for it. Get out this summer and enjoy some rural or urban KOA glamping. A thorough list of all unique KOA accommodations can be found here.

Article Sources
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  1. History. "Conestoga Wagons." Accessed April 19, 2022.

  2. The Journal of Commerce. "It's The End of The Road for Cabooses." Accessed April 19, 2022.

  3. Airstream. "Heritage." Accessed April 19, 2022.

  4. Britannica. "Teepee." Accessed April 19, 2022.

  5. National Geographic Society. "Yurts." Accessed April 19, 2022.