Date of Stay: April, 2006
The only good thing I have to say about this place is that it is convenient to the Interstate, relatively quiet (except for the major traffic), and fairly clean. Apparently, all KOA Corporate cares about is that this site meets their "one mile or less from the Interstate" rule and makes profit for them. Because the rest of this facility bites big time! Everything else about this KOA needs to change, including some form of "noise barrier" (fence, shrubs, or wall is needed between the park and the major State Road directly in front of the park), with heavy and noisy traffic all hours of the day and night, to include speeding vehicles and large trucks using "jake brakes" all night long! Also, the placement of the outdoor lighting means your windows will be flooded with light all night long! They need to shield the existing lighting, move it to better locations, or offer better window coverings to block the lighting. This park could benefit from some major improvements and a major KOA overhaul of service level. The reason I choose KOA is for an expected high level of service that is provided at a higher price, not to get ripped off for "extras" on top of that high price. If I want that, I will take my business to a campground that charges half the price and pay the extras, not pay double the rate then extras on top of that. It is one thing to pay a premium fee when one expects premium service. It is completely different to pay premium fees for NO service and extras cost on top of that! I state this because of their policy for fires. No wood fires are allowed, even in the BBQ pits. If you wish to burn wood, you must pay $100 deposit plus a daily rental fee for an enclosed, portable, patio-type fireplace. When I enquired why fires are not allowed on the ground, a representative stated, "it is forbidden by State Law". A quick check with the the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services (ACS), The sub-department known as the "Forestry Service", indicated that this was an outright lie. Apparently, this KOA doesn't want to allow wood fires inside a burn ring so that they can make money off of renting portable fireplaces. KOA should be ashamed of the profittering this franchise tries to make from the customers. Other KOAs in Florida and Georgia allow fires on the ground and some even provide free firewood, all included in that double-rate price we pay to stay at KOA! The roads are way too narrow, barely wide enough for one car. Trees are way too close to the roads, making backing and turning near impossible unless you move the picnic table next to the Kabin. They claim they are renovating the bathrooms, but what they have so far is way too small. While the shower stalls are acceptable to moderately-sized people, the small changing room between the shower stall and the enclosure door looks like a "Romper Room" kindergarten desk. If you try to sit on the bench, your knees end up against the wall! And I am only 5'8"! I would hate to see a big and/or tall person in that space! This will be the last time I ever stay at this KOA, and after 3 bad experiences with KOAs, plus another site at Lake Whippoorwill that falsely advertises "hard-shell tents" as "One Room Kamping Kabins" and all of these complaints ignored by KOA corporate, I am considering cutting up my KOA Value Card and dumping KOA forever! I can pay 1/2 the price at non-KOA campgrounds, still have money left over for these extra "rip-offs", and get the same or better service for less! KOA, do something about these franchises or be prepared to start losing business!
Date of Stay: August, 2005
We have camped at the St. Augustine Beach KOA twice and experienced problems both times. It seems the worst problems occur when the two elderly ladies are on duty. The first time we stayed there in November 2004 in a one room cabin, the people next door had a pre-teen and teen boys that were loud and getting into everything all night long, from climbing fences into "Staff Only" areas to getting in the locked-up paddle boats. When we went to complain, the office was closed and locked up. Not allowing an isolated bad experience influence us, we stayed a second time August 2005, this time with our daughter and grandchildren, so we needed a larger cabin. We found out after we arrived that none of two room cabins are on the lake, which was something we specifically requested in our online reservation and was not told to us in our confirmation letter. Again, the two elderly ladies were on duty and this time, they decided not to open the paddle boats for rent. The paddle boats are only available from 1-5 PM daily, if they decide to let them be used. Since it was after 5 when we checked in, the first day was out and checkout is before 1 pm, so the last day is out. The afternoon of the second day, the elderly ladies decided that the boats were not available because "We (they) have a tour bus coming in". This KOA could definitely benefit from a course in Customer Service. By the way, we never saw a bus visit either. Two complaints were filed with KOA and no response was ever received from the campground. This was the very last time we will ever stay at this campground.
Date of Stay: August, 2004
I found the campground to be excellent, quiet, friendly, and service-oriented. One person complained about the firewood issue, and having to buy their wood. The reason for this, if this person had asked or bothered to read the notice in the office, is for the last few years, there has been a serious infestation of a beetle that attacks the local pine trees, and they are forbidden by the State to allow outside sources of cut wood. You might complain about $5 for a bundle of wood, but what would it cost to lose all the pine trees in Georgia and Tennessee? The other side of that, was I never had to carry any of that wood. All I had to say was I wanted some and someone delivered it to my door!!! That is worth $5 by itself! This is one of the very few KOAs that actually have service at reasonable rates. I wish the KOAs in Florida would learn something from this one!