KOA to open new park: RVs not welcome

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Glamping in Bar Harbor. Leave your RV at home.

By Chuck Woodbury
EDITORIAL
Jumping on the new, hot trend of “glamping,” a new KOA park in Maine will open in June without a single RV site for rent. The entire park will be composed of luxury canvas tents on wood platforms, each with hot and cold water, bathrooms and other luxurious amenities. They’re gorgeous!

The KOA first opened in 1970 and once had more than 100 spaces for RVs, tents and some cabins (we clarified this sentence from a previous version of this story).

Now, the same land is dubbed Terramor Outdoor Resort. It offers a “luxury experience in the woods,” which those of us with RVs would likely say we already have. The difference is, I suspect, that most RVers won’t pay $218 to $315 a night, which is what you’ll pay at Terramor for your experience with nature. So leave your RV at home, even though since 1962 KOA has been a welcoming stop for RVers and tenters for a night or a week (or longer).

A little bit of lingo from the website:
“At Terramor, we made a promise to offer travelers the chance to breathe in nature and at the same time have their breath taken away. More than a backdrop to everything we do, our stunning Bar Harbor location provides space to think, to dream, to relax and restore.

“Wake every morning to the sights and sounds of nature beckoning you from just beyond your front deck. Grab a fishing pole, a hiking pole or even a picnic lunch at the lodge. Too energetic? Head to Hammock Grove and take some time. Our guests seek out the Terramor Outdoor Resort experience for all the variety it provides. … This is the outdoors done right.”

Comfort in the woods for $218 to $315 a night.

No mention of RVs, in case you didn’t notice.

KOA is a for-profit company and it can do whatever it wants to build an ever-successful business. But we are sad to see the company depart from its core focus of accommodating RVers and other campers. With this new “resort”, an important place for you and me to stay on the doorstep of Acadia National Park is gone, and that’s a big deal because there aren’t many places to begin with.

This might not be such a big deal except it comes at a time when RVs are experiencing near-record sales. You can bet that if this “glamping” park succeeds, others will follow, and more RV sites will be sacrificed.

So where will you and I stay? Hey, there’s always Walmart, perhaps the largest chain of “campgrounds” in America, and it doesn’t cost even a single penny!

What do you think?

##RVT935b

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Michael Zehr
7 months ago

Unfortunately there are many Walmart stores in the south east that no longer allow overnight parking. We also encountered a couple in Arizona last winter that didn’t. There have been a couple that had signs up but when we asked they said we could stay but to park away from the main parking areas.

PennsyPeg
7 months ago

I’m an RVer. I have seen many RV parks who won’t allow tent camping. That’s their prerogative so keep in mind when traveling, look for parks that accept RV’s. Simple as that. Please don’t make camping a Political Correct thing.

Lynelle
8 months ago

KOA’s are as varied as the owners/franchisers of these campgrounds. I’ve stayed in some really nice ones (love the Ft Collins Lakeside except the train early in the morning), and some really crappy ones (Rock Island/Davenport was under water and they never gave us a discount for it or offered higher ground, Estes Park is a sardine can on a very steep slope). Their prices have gone over the top on some of these campgrounds, and they do not accept Good Sam cards. You have to buy a yearly membership to get their discounts. I stay at other Good Sam campgrounds unless there is none in the area. KOA is my last resort for a quick overnight stop if nothing else is available. Personally, I prefer forest or state campgrounds or boondocking myself, but sometimes I don’t have a choice but to stay in an ownership campground (all KOA’s are ownership/franchisee campgrounds).

Vincee
8 months ago

My guess is that it would be a fad, especially at the price points quoted in the article. For those prices, very nice luxury hotels can be had with a lot more amenities to offer. Sampson State Park in the wine rich Finger Lakes region of NY has gorgeous modern cabins that look like small townhouses overlooking Seneca Lake at $180 a night and up with I believe a four-night minimum. Any time we’ve camped there with the RV these beautiful structures are mostly if not all empty.

In my camping world, I seriously avoid any type of campground that uses the word “Resort”. To me, that’s a red flag that they think they are more than a decent campsite with good working hook-ups, and perhaps many kids running around the place.

Danny Evans
8 months ago

I believe that any business should change, explore, or experiment. That’s how business’s evolve. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. The market place is the determining factor. Many people don’t think they would like RVing. When we tell some people how much we love it, they say, “Not me, I don’t want to cook, and make beds and clean up. That’s not a vacation to me.” I don’t agree, but to each his own. What a dull world if we were all the same.

BonBon
8 months ago

RVs made KOA rich and now they outlaw them?

Pat
7 months ago
Reply to  BonBon

No. They are developing a park with a different focus. I don’t see a connection with outlawing anything. It’s a business. If they can make more money with their plan, Great! Parks are a difficult business to have pencil out.

Kelly Joan
8 months ago

Looks pretty neat but awfully expensive. I wonder what it will look like in 10 years?

Barb Hood
8 months ago

This may be a success for the younger generation due to the location. California has Costona near Santa Cruz. The have rv spaces with ocean views near $100 night and then have an awesome rustic hotel and then several luxury huts like these on the property. It was a super popular place for those to come down from San Francisco for a quick getaway. It was not cheap, but rustic and elegant. The also had fabulous restaurant on site too.

Shredder J
8 months ago

The cost of staying at the campground will result in its demise. It will be a curiosity for awhile but probably will re-think the concept in the long term.

Majordad
8 months ago

KOA sucks, anyway… no big loss here!

Barb Hood
8 months ago
Reply to  Majordad

Innovation to stay alive.

Darrel
8 months ago
Reply to  Majordad

KOA = Keep On Adding. Nickle and dime for anything and everything, instead of one price stay.

Mitch1204
8 months ago

People forgot what camping is all about. It’s about getting down with the outdoors and roughing it.

Darrel
8 months ago
Reply to  Mitch1204

It hasn’t been like that for at least 30 years.

Pat
7 months ago
Reply to  Mitch1204

In your world. It’s different for everybody.

Al Lefeusch
8 months ago

So…. it’s a hotel.

Not leaving my rv at home, sorry.

Norris Stevens
8 months ago

Error in your reporting. You state “Before its new life as a “glampground” it had up to 130 spaces for RVs, tents and some cabins.”. Wrong. Woodlands KOA had maybe 30 RV sites. It catered to tenters and folks that rented cabins. The KOA a mile down the road, Oceanside KOA, still has 100s of RV sites.

WEB
8 months ago
Reply to  Norris Stevens

HA! You are right Norris. I just looked at Google Maps and Streetview and saw both locations. Oceanside is taking RV reservations and then Woodlands has a sign beside the road “Glamping sites coming soon”.
Funny how a bit of ‘misinformation’ or “Fake News” gets peoples dander up.

Stay cool

SAM
8 months ago
Reply to  Norris Stevens

Glad that this was reported. There are a lot of RV’ers that don’t have $200.00 – $300 to blow for one nights stay. It’s obvious the new KOA park is for the wealthy.

Tudor
8 months ago
Reply to  Norris Stevens

inaccurate information can cause us,, as readers of rvtravel, to lose confidence in the reporting articles.
Please be more accurate. Thanks.

Louis A Aloi
8 months ago

Own an RV and live in it renting private homes extra driveway space with water,electricity 30amp with sewer dump.Only go to state parks and only during the week on non-holidays.Private parks are overpriced,crowded,noisy and too many pets campers anyway🐶💩machines so haven’t been at a KOA type park in decades.So if they can get this hipster idea to work have @ it.Spending that much money I’d just go to the Hilton that doesn’t allow pets where it’s quieter.

George Robertson
8 months ago

When it gets to be 100 degrees out at 85% humidity, sleeping in a tent will be a lot of fun. I’d rather stay at a luxury hotel at that price. You will see the RVers revolt and boycott.

Sherry L
8 months ago

Not to mention the bird sized mosquitoes and biting flies. Oh and let’s not forget, summer temps only last a couple weeks in late summer. Early summer there is turtleneck sweater and coats season.

LMS
8 months ago

I read the comments. I must say, as someone who lives fulltime in a 30+yo self converted school bus, I find many of the comments quite funny. So many RVers have posted negative comments on review sites about campgrounds and RV parks allowing “older” RVs, “permanent” and/or “semi-permanent” RVs, not to mention the folks who still work at jobs while having the nerve to live in an RV like it was an apartment. Now that it’s those same folks who aren’t welcome and considered “undesirable”, suddenly it’s unacceptable that a campground/RV park should implement rules that exclude them.

Kathie Kamper
8 months ago

The KOA in question is a corporate-owned property, and had maybe a dozen RV sites. It was KOA Woodlands, and focused on tent sites, some Kamping Kabins, and some tent sites with Kamping Kitchens. The RV money is made at the other corporate-owned property just up the road, KOA Oceanside. The amount of money that is spent by tourists in the Bar Harbor area is just astounding. There are two other Glamping campgrounds (Woods of Eden and Acadia Yurts) that are already open and bringing in those nightly rates. Rather than being bent by the reduction in RV sites, one should be outraged to be charged $100/night for a site packed in like sardines, unable to open shades, and only view being your neighbors back window! If we all stop paying these rates, we can turn the tide and actually enjoy amazing places like Bar Harbor, Maine.

Hoss Smith
8 months ago

The Yankees barely have space to park a tiny car (if they even own a ride) so they certainly have nowhere to park an RV. Let them go “camp” and pay the price for bragging rights.

Cheryl Bacon
8 months ago

Thank you Chuck for posting this article! The comments were to say the least very entertaining.

Steve S.
8 months ago

I’m confused. Rarely a week goes by where we don’t hear about how RV sales are falling. Plummeting even. Yet the author states ” it comes at a time when RVs are experiencing near-record sales”. Well, which is it? If RV sales are near-record, then it seems they are going the wrong way. However, if RV sales are falling (as we keep reading month after month), it makes good economic sense for KOA to do what they can to expand into an untapped (by them) market, people who want to camp, but don’t have an RV or want to rent and learn how to use one. If they succeed, good for them. If not, well, it was a worthwhile experiment, and they can always change it to an RV park, or maybe even a hybrid.

Alvin
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve S.

Good Comment and probably spot on as I do not know of one RV sales outlet where sales were better in 2019 than in 2018. This KOA thing is simply addressing a growing trend. People increasingly do not want to invest in a very expensive piece of crap they use maybe 30 days out of the year (if it isn’t in the repair shop)

Same with housing, has anyone noticed the mammoth condo/townhouse projects being built everywhere??? Young people today do not want lawns, shovelling snow, fixing fixing fixing, they want to pick up and go and get instant gratification, and the KOA’s of the RV world is one example of someone meeting a growing demand.