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Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA
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Reviews (142)
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122 - 127 of 142 reviews
Reviewed August 11, 2011

Fabulous! Wonderful! Crazy awesome! The people who worked here were nice, the people we met here were nice, the grounds were beautiful and everyone had fun. We had such a good time.

This is definitely a family oriented camp site. So with that said, here are some tips....

1. If you are going to to tent camp, I agree that the tent camping spaces are close together. That's great if you are camping in a group but if not, camp in an RV back in spot or an RV pull through (has the propane BBQ). That way you have more room and you aren't on top of the next person.

2. Off season is heaven! It was quiet, hardly anyone was there, we had a lot of play structures to ourselves and/or made a few friends when there were kids there. We also got to see a lot of birds this way. Everything from your common birds to quail running around.

3. It's cold at night.. really cold! And not just dry cold... a wet cold! You aren't far from the ocean so when that marine layer comes in, you'll really feel it. So if you are traveling with kids in the off season, double up on PJ's (we even put jackets on top), and either look into a tent warmer, renting a cabin or one of the RVs.

4. In the off season they don't run stuff like the train. It's okay. There was no shortage of things to do.

5. If you forgot to bring something, the general store seems to have just about anything that you could need. If not, two freeway exits north of San Andreas, there's a shopping center with a Safeway in it.

6. A lot of sites had fire pits. We were prepared and brought our own wood. If you aren't comfortable with that, some people brought bags of charcoal. Come prepared if you want to cook on site or just have heat at night.

7. Dining tables are rarely shaded. If you want shade, bring your own pop-up tent.

8. It's windy. Be prepared to stake everything down. Also bring heavy jackets for at night.

9. Bring tennis shoes/sneakers for the kids. Mine wear sandals with straps and they kept tripping on tree roots and pot holes. There were lots of band-aids on knees this trip. Good thing for the first-aid kit in the car!

10. Expect KOA employees in carts to be zipping around almost non-stop during daylight hours. Wow this place has it together with cleaning, gardening and general crews making the rounds.

Information that I couldn't find online that you'll probably want to know....

-Check-in is between 2pm and 3pm. Check out is at noon.
-Showers are free and they are not on a timer. They are also individual stall showers that lock. A hot shower after a freezing night of camping was heaven!
-The pool and the security gate (after hours) require a security code. Make sure at check-in that you receive both of those codes. The security gate code should be written on the back of your parking pass.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank tiki-t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2011

My other half and I have just finished a 3 week roadtrip via RV through the South Western part of the USA. We stayed in several RV parks which I've written reviews about. One of the places we really wanted to go to was Monterey Bay as the Aquarium is really unmissable. Unfortunately the choices are pretty light on when it comes to RV parks in Monterey so we chose to stay at this KOA even though the reviews on this site weren't great. My expectations were of a tired and overpriced RV park.

This is where the sad story ends because this KOA was far from tired! The experience didn't start in a great way as the family checking in before me was very loudly complaining about the fact that this KOA would not refund their money because they decided to leave a day early. The fact that the family were checking out 5 hours after checkout time and the policy is pretty clear on refunds was a bit irrelevant as the KOA staff really did get some loud verbal abuse.

Anyway the KOA staff member that served me was more camp than the campground we were in. He was helpful enough and directed me to where I needed to go. We got to the site and I was pleasantly surprised! The site was level and had an LPG barbecue, outdoor table and chairs and a swing chair.

Maybe I have been swayed (no pun intended) by the swing chair, but I really enjoyed this KOA. The site we had was away from the main section and was quiet and very clean. The bathrooms were clean and tidy and the showers were nice and hot as well as private and clean. This KOA is very clearly a KOA as there is branding everywhere, if you didn't know you were in a KOA when you arrived, you sure would by the time you left. There were staff driving by in their KOA buggies from time to time and also walking around checking to make sure all is ok.

The only constructive feedback I have is that this KOA allows you to leave your bagged rubbish out on the kerb. The KOA staff then collect it. I thought this was pretty gross actually, there were plenty of rubbish bins around the park that guests could use for rubbish disposal. Garbage on the kerb was really unattractive and detracted from the experience.

This KOA also had a pool and a kids play area. The kids were screaming with much delight and the speed limit was strongly enforced otherwise you could easily run over a kid on a skateboard or scooter or the like. This is a great place for families. Wifi was also free but had some limitations (eg. the iTunes store could not be accessed so I couldn't update my iphone) but otherwise perfectly fine.

Now did I mention the swing chair? I loved that chair! I want it to be shipped to me! What a nice touch and really made the experience something different. Really enjoyed this KOA, despite the location being further from Monterey Bay than I would like I would definitely stay again.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank vickietickietoria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2010

Loved the Airstream, so comfortable, and roomy. Even a queen sized bed to sleep on. Turned on the heater the first night we were there since it was 58 degrees outside. Great campground, lots of activities, pool, playground. Easy access to freeway, and close by the beach.
Only downside were the sand fleas. Last two days we were there I was bitten over my legs and arms. Staff came over right away and sprayed. Perhaps the throw rugs need to be tossed.
Overall a great stay!

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Lucyconway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2010

We have stayed here numerous times over the years. This being one of the only campgrounds on this part of the coast you are really limited. KOA knowing this uses it to their advantage. This is the second highest priced KOA in the system next to Sugarloaf Key Florida. For a park charging this much not to have cable TV is unheard of. The park is really old and has not had any improvements to the hot tub and swimming pool. In stead of fixing up the park they put in more lodges to make more money.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank 39sundance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2010

After researching several possibilities for our Summer Vacation, i opted for the Santa Cruz/Monterey KOA. We stayed at this KOA Monday thru Sunday and had absolutely NO problems whatsoever. My kids had an awesome time and both met several new "best friends" in the week we were there. There were the kids from Paris who had recently moved to New York, the kids literally down the road whose parents just pack up the trailer to come camp because this place is AWESOME. Everyday was something new and somebody new. This is the place to socialize and meet new people. Quiet time was 10:00pm and it was dead quiet every night. Santa Cruz boardwalk was a mere 45 minutes away, San Jose an hour and 15. Felton was 30. We had so much fun and will certainly be back soon. Great having a General Store that wasnt outrageously overpriced on site and the activities list for the week was entertaining and fun. Thank You Santa Cruz KOA, we had a great time!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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Thank bmxmom14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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