Interest in Camping and RV’ing has reached historic levels since the beginning of the pandemic. First time campers and seasoned veterans alike look to RV’ing as an escape; many of whom(myself included)turned to the tried and true Kampgrounds of America (KOA) as their primary destination. Consistency and quality dating back 50 years brings camping enthusiasts back year-after-year. Check out some of the great KOA Kampgrounds the Province of Ontario has to offer, including some I visited personally.
Kampgrounds of America, or simply KOA as most call it, is the world’s largest system of private campgrounds, with franchised and company-owned locations across Canada and United States. Started in Billings, Montana, in 1962 by Dave Drum and John Wallace on Drum’s small Montana property after watching hoards of travellers headed to the World’s Fair in Seattle. That first KOA property on the Yellowstone River, campers paid $1.75 per night for a site, which included a fire ring, picnic table, hot shower facility, restrooms and store.
The first KOA campground took-off and set the stage for great things to come! By the next summer, the men and partners worked on creating a ‘system’ of campgrounds throughout North America, under the name Kampgrounds of America (KOA) where they began selling franchises. Now with over 525 Kampgrounds in operation today, KOA is synonymous with quality and consistency among outdoor enthusiasts.
1000 Islands/Mallorytown KOA
Summer 2020 vacation in a ‘Covid World’ seemed daunting, but thank goodness for the 1000 Islands/Mallorytown KOA campground, a wonderful escape during a global pandemic. My timely late summer trip to the KOA campground in Mallorytown, Ontario, turned out better than I could have imagined. Being forced to cancel my travel plans south of the border that summer, I was presented the opportunity of enjoying family time just over an hour away, in direction of Lake Ontario, at the KOA 1000 Islands/Mallorytown – a hidden gem situated a stone’s throw from Highway 401 between Brockville and Kingston, in the scenic 1000 Islands Region.
Impeccable KOA Property
This KOA campground, owned and operated by Susan and Richard Marcoux for over three decades, runs like a well-oiled machine. Susan graciously brought me on a guided tour of the grounds, to help put things in perspective. This property was more spacious than meets the eye, with a nice mix of large 50 amp RV sites, upgraded KOA patio sites, traditional KOA camping cabins and a beautifully wooded private tenting area as well. The luxury ‘pet friendly’ cabins, like the one we stayed in, came fully equipped and comfortable for a family of 4 or even 6. Ours boasted a really neat upper loft my youngest daughter called her own for the trip. The cabins come equipped with well-appointed eat-in kitchen, large living area and two private bedrooms.
KOA Quality tradition
Just as it began back in 1962 with its first campground in Billings, Montana, staying at a KOA brings a level of quality you come to expect, and Mallorytown exemplifies this, starting with the owners. The Marcoux’s were fabulous hosts, well-versed in catering to camping enthusiasts. They made us feel at home from the onset. Susan took time to fully explain the special regulations, now in place, which all campgrounds must now abide by in this new Covid world we live in. My daughters, wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the facilities especially the large, heated, swimming pool perhaps the nicest of any campground pools I have seen yet.
Beautiful 1000-Islands Region
One of the bonuses of this KOA is its proximity to the 1000 Islands Region. During our stay, the girls and I took-in an awesome 1000 Islands boat cruise just down the road in Rockport. Seeing the famous Bolt Castle and copious luxury homes along the St Lawrence River waterway, was super fun. The following day we did the historical Kingston Penitentiary tour, which was as informative as it was intriguing. KOA campgrounds prides itself on “Great people experiencing great camping” and nowhere is that motto more evident than right here in Mallorytown. Thanks so much to Allison & Partners Public Relations for coordinating this wonderful KOA experience!
Clean and consistent
As a seasoned RV’er and someone who has camped in every province of Canada, over the past 40 years, I have seen my share of ‘dinge’. I look to KOA for consistent quality and no surprises you might find at other private campgrounds. Unexpected snags like electrical hookup that does not work, insufficient water, or unsanitary washrooms. Trust me I have seen it all! Every KOA campground in operation undergoes an annual 600-point inspection, the most stringent in the business, and it shows.
Here are just a handful of KOA Kampground’s Ontario has to offer!
Sault- Ste Marie KOA Holliday
Sault- Ste Marie’s beautiful 74-acre KOA Holliday is a full service KOA kampgound/resort, located in historic North-western Ontario! This campground offers spacious campsites for a variety of RV sizes and configurations, as well as a separate tenting area. For RV’er without a rig, they have Camping Cabins and luxurious new Deluxe Cabins with kitchenettes and washrooms available. Many standard KOA activities are at your disposal here like fun bikes and mini golf, take a dip in the pool, or the not-so-faint-of-heart can do some hiking on the nearby nature trails. This location boasts is an outdoor pavilion with big-screen TV right beside the Camping Kitchen. Campers can also enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout the park, and dog lovers (like myself) will appreciate the Kamp K-9 playground, Rover’s Run, and onsite self-serve dog grooming salon.
Parry Sound KOA
The Parry Sound KOA located in Sequin Township is another good-sized property with a vast 75-acres of camping space. With ATV and nature trails connected directly to your campsite, do not forget to bring your ATV. Enjoy the onsite heated pool, trampoline, mini golf, wagon rides, bingo, and kid’s playground at the Parry Sound KOA, situated on the shore of vast Georgian Bay with its 30,000 islands to explore.
Sturgeon Falls KOA Holiday
Located on the Sturgeon River, a stone’s throw from Ontario’s famous Lake Nipissing, the Sturgeon Falls KOA Holiday, owned and operated by Greg & Gina Demers, is THE place to camp when travelling the north country. With a long list of 5-Star reviews from fellow campers, Sturgeon Falls KOA has all their bases covered, for RV’ers who love the outdoors and especially water.
Boating, fishing and kayaking is available right at your campsite, along the mighty Sturgeon River. Take a pontoon boat tour of the river, right from the campground, or enjoy the 80-foot dock with a slide into the water. This KOA is ‘big-rig friendly’ with 60-foot pads and 30-amp services, as well as 50-amp Pull-Thru RV Sites, up to 110 feet long. Every site offers full service with water, sewer hook-up and power. With a 50-slip marina located in the middle of the campground, you may bring your own watercraft or rent one onsite.
Enjoy your copious KOA Kamping endeavours in the beautiful province of Ontario and I will see you in the great outdoors!
For more information on camping and RV’ing, check out my feature on North American Camping Off grid.