Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Friday, November 20, 2015

RV Park Review - Watkins Glen KOA Camping Resort (Watkins Glen, New York)

Website:   Watkins Glen KOA

Location:   1710 State Route 414, Watkins Glen, NY 14891

Date:   October, 2015

Price:  $66/night

Site:   #135

We were looking to spend a couple of nights near Watkins Glen to hit the wineries, waterfalls, and nearby museums around the finger lakes of New York  and this park seemed to be in a good location for us to do all that.  There were other options closer to downtown Watkins Glen but they were closed for the season when we visited.  This park is quite large and can accommodate any size RV with plenty of activities to keep the entire family busy without even leaving the park (but we wouldn’t recommend that).

Site description:

There is a wide range of RV sites and lodging options.  RV sites include back-in and pull-thru and range from full-hookup, water and electric, to tent sites.  For non-RV’ers there are assorted 35 camping cabins and cottages that can sleep up to six people and cover the spectrum from rustic one-room cabins to cottages with multiple bedrooms, a/c, televisions, and full kitchens. 

The roads and sites are gravel.  Depending on the site you want, your patio may be gravel, paved, and include outdoor furniture.   All sites have a picnic table and fire pit.

Large pull-thru with "premium patio" equipped with furniture and a sunken fire pit.
The park is definitely big rig-friendly and easy to navigate the roads.  Our site was level and long enough to fit our tow car. 


The park has free wifi that worked very well at our site.  Our 4G Verizon phone reception was good and the open pull-thru sites work well for those wanting to use satellite.  There is cable which broadcasts 70 channels.  


This RV park is called a camping resort for many reasons.  Recently, KOA rebranded and divided their parks into three categories – Journey, Holiday, and Resort – depending on the location and amenities offered.  This “resort” has the usual amenities like the playground, dog park, pedal cars, and jumping pillow but throw in a zip line, giant waterslide, bumper boats, laser tag zone, outdoor theater, mini golf, climbing wall, fitness center, heated indoor pool (30’x50’) and spa, fishing pond, and hiking trail and you will see why “resort” is an appropriate name. 


There is a laundry facility, multiple bathrooms/showers, pavilions, and group picnic areas.  The large camp store has an assortment of souvenirs, gifts, RV accessories, and food.    

Surrounding area:

The surrounding area boasts lots of activities from exploring the natural wonders to wineries and museums.  The region is known for its waterfalls including the popular Watkins Glen Gorge that has 19 waterfalls and many more in the surrounding area.  Watkins Glen sits at the southern end of Seneca Lake and offers many opportunities to get out on the water for sight-seeing and a diner cruise.  Close by are 40 some wineries and breweries that draw many visitors.  A 30-minute drive south will put you in the town of Corning home to the spectacular Corning Museum of Glass and the Rockwell Art Museum.  Watkins Glen Speedway hosts major motor racing events including the NASCAR Sprint Cup.  Click here for a link to our blog post about what we did.

What we liked: 

The rural setting of this park is very nice yet it was close to many attractions and things we wanted to do.  The park is very big rig-friendly and there are a lot of site types to choose from.  The hiking trail was a big plus.  Wifi worked great and lots of cable channels.  A paved patio is always nice but, then again, for the price it should have been paved.

The not so good:

By far the worst thing about this park is the price.  If you come here in the summer and use all the amenities (especially if you had kids) then maybe we could see getting $66/night being worth it but all we wanted was a place to park and hook-up the RV since we spent very little time there during the day. 
Upon check-in we noticed that the park was not very crowded and asked that they not put us right next to people if at all possible.  The women in the office told us that our neighbors were leaving the next morning and that was the only site option.  Turns out they didn’t leave and there did appear to be other sites available.  Oh well.

Spirit’s two cents: 

The best part about this park from our four-legged friend’s point of view was the hiking trail that ran alongside a small brook.  While the trail was only a mile or so long, it still gave her some exercise other than just walking around the park (although the park is certainly large enough to take your dog on a good walk).  There is an off-leash dog park in the park but it was fairly small for a big dog to get a good run in.  About 20 minutes away from the KOA is a national forest that has miles of hiking trails.


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