Visitors and locals around Wilmington, N.C., this Memorial Day weekend won’t have to drive far to find a camping experience, WECT-TV, Wilmington, reported.
Tucked off of Market Street is a KOA campground, just one of the 475 located nationwide.
KOA’s (Kampgrounds Of America) started 48 years ago as sites that had clean restrooms, a few hot showers and essentially, a patch of grass for travelers. The cost was less than $2 a night.
Over the decades, the organization has watched modern campers hold onto their love for amenities and has now re-invented itself to keep up with the customer.
At the Wilmington KOA, wine tasting, live music, free cable and wireless Internet, playgrounds and pool-side sun bathing all come with a rental space. Small cabins without bathrooms run about $80 a night, larger fully-furnished lodges about $140 a night. There is also rental space for RVs, motorhomes and tents.
The company pick-up truck out front proudly displays “KOA.COM” on the license plate.
“They used to just have a phone number,” laughed Dave McCarthy, who started camping 20 years ago and now works at the Wilmington KOA.
In the past, KOAs beckoned to a retirement crowd who enjoyed using smaller RVs. Now, KOAs are often packed with massive motorhomes that often cost more than $150,000. More and more younger families are now calling KOAs their vacation destination, choosing to stay several days instead of passing through.
The Wilmington KOA has seen visitors from as far as Germany but also caters to the increasing demand from locals. With gas at an all-time-high, far-off destinations are not in the budget. Yet back inside the campground, it’s to forget that a major road is just a walk away and the beach, just a short drive.
The campground was quiet Wednesday but is expected to fill up this Memorial Day weekend.
In the future, KOA plans to developing their lodging availability and increase the size of their mobile home spaces.