Friday, December 23, 2016

Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA

So far we've been really lucky with the places we've stayed. We use RV Park Reviews to find places that meet all of our needs, and I look at the reviews to find out extra information the websites don't tell you, like train tracks nearby, traffic noise, level sites, etc. Thus far it's been a win.

Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA has by far for our needs been our favorite campground/RV Park ever. It has cabins, RV spaces, spaces for longer term stays, staff spots for RVs and then....the amenities. KOAs are known for being family-friendly, and some of them take that designation VERY seriously, making the park itself the attraction rather than relying on what's nearby. This KOA was so much fun that we would have just stayed in the park and had plenty to do.

For us, our main attraction (and the spot we chose to park in) was the Bounce Pillow. This is a huge inflatable pillow made from the same material gym mats are made of, and it is for bouncing upon. Not quite the give and bounce of a trampoline, but enough bounce and enjoyment to give my son some happiness at having a place to bounce his cares away, because yes, he does.

Just like at home on the trampoline, with the exception of the rainy days, he was bouncing.

 The KOA also had a playground with five different slides, a climbing structure, and swings. It had an outdoor pool and hot tub which were both open, but it was a bit cold and we never did get to them (the bounce pillow was right outside our door, whereas the pool was a bit of a walk away and down the hill by the office). 

There were recumbent bike rentals in several different sizes, and my husband and son made good use of these while we stayed - they rode three or four times. And the KOA is so large, there is plenty of space to ride, as well. There was also (upon request since we were in the odd season) a train that would take you around the park in the afternoons. And a mini golf course as well as an indoor game room with billiards and ping pong tables.

 And for Muffins, in addition to the whole of the park and plenty of things to sniff as we took her on walks, there were two fenced in dog areas for her to enjoy, with a great view of the hillside and farms across the way. And an outdoor dog wash - which did not have hot water though, so we only did that once - she cried because the water was cold, so that was that.

RV speak: all the sites (that we could see) were gravel and sand but not difficult to level on. There were full hookups with 50 AMP power. Oh, what a joy is having 50 whole AMPS of power after having been hooked up to our 20 amp house for months! We can run alltheappliances at once! (We don't.) We can do laundry, run the heater and cook at the same time! It's so wonderful to have those 50 AMPs, let me tell you. Even 30 AMP is a huge step up from not being able to run the washer and the heater at the same time. Or anything and the heater (laptops excluded).

 Oh, electricity, how we love having you! (And water and sewer, which is just grey water for us, but so important still). 

Also, the staff was friendly and always had a smile for the guests, and rode by several times a day to pick up trash and recycling from the sites, do general tidying and maintenance of the property. And yes, they did offer recycling - a great plus to us, because not a lot of parks do, at least in our brief experience. 

We enjoyed this particular KOA so much that we very seriously considered staying on an extra month and pushing the rest of our travel plans. But several repeated checks of the weather (like the refrigerator, maybe it's different now if we look again?) told us that no, it wasn't going to be this nice for another month, so it was time to roll down the road to the next place.

We were there in the off season, so we pretty much had the run of the place while we were there, and that works well for us. Kiddo doesn't like a lot of other humans around, because he finds it overstimulating, and he doesn't feel comfortable injecting himself into the unpredictability of group play. But on weekends and sometimes beyond there would be other kids there, and he did even start feeling okay about talking to some of them and even bouncing with them as well. That was pretty cool.

 We would absolutely stay there again, long term even. It has pretty much spoiled us for other KOAs and even other RV Parks, because when they say "family friendly" at a KOA, they really really mean it. If you're an RV family and you ever get the chance, stay there. It's not that far to Monterey or Santa Cruz, it's pretty darn easy to find organic groceries and sushi (we really really loved Ocean Sushi Deli in Monterey - it's a deli-style restaurant that serves sushi made by authentic Japanese sushi chefs), and there is so much great stuff to do, you will never get bored. KOAs vary widely by location, but this one is the one that will impress. 

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