I don’t usually look to spend a night at a campground. If I’m on the road I’ve got a hotel booked and a guarantee I’ll have wi-fi, a clean bathroom, and a bed. Camping for me involves taking an overnight hike out in the middle of the wilderness, away from civilization, and a night's rest sleeping on the ground in a tent. Basically I’m mosquito bait, but that’s okay because I enjoy backcountry camping. Little did I know I would actually like camping at a campground. The KOA, all tucked in the woods out in Wilmington, N.Y., recently got me rethinking my next road trip.
Arriving at the KOA in Wilmington, I had no idea what to expect. Maybe twenty tent sites all back to back with no privacy? Lots of sites for RVs? A couple bathrooms that everyone would share and maybe a vending machine out at the entrance for check in?
I have to say the KOA was not at all what I expected. I found myself in the midst of an Adirondack adventure park hidden in the middle of the woods. It had more things to do than I could ever find at a typical hotel that I would stay at, and it was a lot cheaper!
I checked in during the late afternoon. My friend and I decided to go for a tent site although they certainly had a huge variety of sites to keep in mind for future visits. I was shocked to see that they had not only tent and RV sites but, lean-tos, little cabins, deluxe cabins (so nice!) and rental cabins! They were all so cute! The tent site that I was given was a little closer to the river they had right out back of their property. It was very nice and it didn't feel like I was right on top of my neighbors. This campground was absolutely huge!
We got my tent up and it was time to explore. We still had quite a few hours of daylight left. Off to the pool on a hot evening like this. The pool was a party in and of itself. There were so many kids and parents around. We jumped in for a quick dip, and then figured we would do some more exploring. Everyone was full of enthusiasm and so friendly!
This place had just about everything. Around every corner there was something new. I can imagine any kid who camped here wouldn’t have to leave the campground all day because there was so much for them to do! Around the pool was a mini-putt course, a basketball court, and a playground and sandbox.
Inside the heart of the Fun Zone area is an arcade complete with a pool table, ping pong table, and a place to paint ceramics. One of the staff members mentioned that they were putting on a s’mores night out by the public campfire. What an awesome way to end the day.
BREAKFAST FOR ALL
Of course, waking up here isn't so bad either! What could be better than crawling out of your tent to a fresh cup of coffee? Breakfast here was amazing! Up at the main building and up the stairs was this great big room with a fireplace, deck overlooking Whiteface mountain, all beautifully fitting the Adirondack cabin style. The staff was incredibly nice.
I soon discovered my favorite part of the campground. This was the hiking trail right off of the tent sites. It brought me down to the river and to the Flume. It turns out it was one of the best swim spots around. It was packed with people. There were people jumping, wading in the water, and sun tanning on the rocks. I could just imagine spending my whole day out here on the rocks swimming, reading a book, or even fishing up the river.
Usually I’m pretty adamant about going to the gym as much as possible. If I'm not at the gym, you can often find me on my mountain bike checking out the local trails. However, I was once again shocked when I found I had one of the best workout gyms I’ve come across yet right here at a campground. It was very exciting. Technically it was a playground for the older kids, however it did the trick to serve as a gym. There were several high ropes that you could climb, a balance beam, and some other wood features. I don’t think I could keep up with these kids who just seemed to power up and down the ropes again and again. I may still be young but my “old” age certainly showed here.
Camping or hotel?
Camping at the KOA definitely beats out any hotel that I have ever stayed at. Between the very friendly staff and all of the activities to do, I’m pretty sure I could have lived at the campground for a while longer. I really appreciated the opportunity the campground gave me to meet new people. I already can’t wait to go back! Maybe next time I'll book one of these cute cabins!
Pack your bags and get ready to explore all of the Whiteface Region's great camping spots!
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