We camped in a tent with 6 people. 2 parents & 4 kids (ages 2, 4, 7, & 10) for 3 nights while we were visiting Mesa Verde.
The KOA is located on the north end of Cortez, which is a town of about 8,000 people. It felt more like camping in our own town because just about every convenience you could want was within driving distance (Including a Walmart just a couple blocks away! Oh yeah!)
The camp ground is well maintained and the owners were awesome!
**LOCATION TO MESA VERDE**
The KOA is about 8 miles west of Mesa Verde right off the highway. You really couldn't get much closer than that unless you camped in the Mesa Verde campground! It was a short drive to Mesa Verde every day & we were at the park within about 15 minutes of leaving the campground.
-- If you have kids, you'll LOVE this part!
While it's somewhat smaller than other KOA playgrounds, it's still packed full of lots of toys for the kids to play on. A huge metal slide, a swing-set with 3 swings, one of those big plastic toys with slides, steps, crawl spaces, etc, a metal jungle gym thing, and a ride on digging crane like toy (my 2 year old son ABSOLUTELY LOVED it!)
-- HUGE hit with our kids!!!
The pool is somewhat small, but it never felt very crowded and our kids absolutely loved it! (and I mean REALLY loved it!)
So, we went to see Mesa Verde, but during our visit to the park all the kids asked about was "When are we done so we can go swimming? Are we going to have enough time to swim? When are we going swimming?" In other words, the pool stole the whole vacation. They could care less about the really cool ancient ruins we came to see, what THEY wanted to do was swim in the awesome KOA pool!!
We stayed in a tent site with power. The site was well laid out with a circular fire pit, a power box, a camp table, and a nice area for the tent. Our tent was about a 12 x 10 and fit perfectly with space to spare. The tent area had a small peat gravel base that was smooth and level. The tent pegs sank in nicely and stayed put too!
There's also nice tree's in the camp sites that provide some great shade. The tree's aren't terribly huge either too so they don't get in the way of anything. The camp site itself was also really nice & wide (felt bigger than our Yellowstone KOA camp site) and it didn't feel like we were ever stumbling over or bothering the other campers (and we had 4 kids mind you!)
**BATHROOMS & SHOWERS**
There were 2 large mens & 2 large womens bathrooms. Each had 3 shower stalls & 3 bathroom stalls. The shower stalls were really nice & wide too. I was able to help my 2 year old & 8 year old shower off easily in the showers without feeling cramped. The bathrooms were well lit & clean too. Also, this may sound kind of corny, but the toilet paper was actually toilet paper & not that paper thin crap you see in most campgrounds (I know, dumb, but it's the small things that count sometimes). They also have music playing in the bathrooms too (think oldies music from a local radio station). They're open 24/7.
The showers were really nice! Actual shower heads that sprayed hot water as hot as you could stand it for as long as you could stand it. NICE!!! (I took a nice, long, hot shower one night and loved it!)
We took advantage of this! They have about 8 washers & 8 dryers. Cost was $1.75 for a washer load & $0.25/6 minutes of drying time (more quarters fed to the dryer means more minutes). We washed 2 loads with ease (man those dryers rock! Clothes came out REALLY dry!)
They have a huge counter on the back side of the offices with two large sinks for washing your dishes & prepping food. I used it twice to wash off our dinner dishes with and the sinks worked great both times. Nice, hot water, good water flow, easy to use. Loved it!
Not the biggest one I've seen in a KOA, but it was still well stocked. Prices are obviously higher than the Walmart down the street (example: Bag of ice at KOA $2.50 vs. $1.03 at Walmart). If you need something & have a car, just drive on over to Walmart (or Safeway, or Walgreens, or any of the other stores they have in town).
While it's free, the signal isn't the greatest in the camp sites. Our camp site was 50 to 75 yards away from the office where the wi-fi towers are located. We could pick up a signal at the camp site, but it was pretty weak. Our Google Nexus 7 tablet picked it up just fine and worked fairly well in the campsite, but my MacBook Pro didn't like to work unless I was sitting RIGHT NEXT TO THE OFFICE building. Not sure why, but that's the only way I could make it work.
Also, thinking of bringing a Mi-Fi portable hot-spot? Don't bother! While my Verizon Mi-Fi could technically get a signal, it never would let the internet work. It had about 3-4 bars on 1X network and would jump into Verizon 3G occasionally but I never was able to get the internet to work on either the tablet or the laptop using it in the campground. Not sure why, but pretty pathetic reception. My cell phone had plenty of bars for talking though (and loads of campers were using their smart phones/tablets in their campsites, so I'm assuming that worked) my cell phone isn't a smart-phone style so I don't know if it's data side would've worked or not.
All I know is that my Verizon Jetpack 5510L was a complete boat anchor in the campground. It had a signal, but it was pretty much useless. Just go sit by the office and use the internet there if you must. There's even a picnic table on the back side of the office that you can use. My MacBook Pro worked really well in that spot.
These guys were great! Very personable, approachable, and on hand all the time. I had a great visit with one of the owners & was really impressed. You can tell they enjoy doing the KOA thing & get the feeling they really enjoy visiting and helping their campers.
We paid $33.49/night plus $5 for each kid to stay there. (kind of weird to charge that much extra per kid, but we did get a discount after they applied the whole price--might be worth asking for one). Overall, it's still a great deal price wise vs. staying in a local hotel or motel. If you don't mind a tent or a travel trailer, stay here & save yourself a ton! You have literally every other convenience afforded in a hotel except a door and 4 walls (but hey, bring your travel trailer & you'll even have that!) Value wise, it was a home run.
Holy cow! This is like staying in your home town! Every fast food restaurant (Wendy's, McDonalds, Arby's, Burger King, KFC, etc) is within a short driving distance. Lots of gas stations, several "small town" mom & pop style sit down restaurants, drug stores (Walmart, Walgreens), and loads of small town main street style shops abound here. We ate dinner one night at the local Wendy's & the kids loved it! (remember, kids meals at Wendy's always come with a free "Frosty"--heavenly to kids on a hot summer day!)
The Walmart here is a Super Walmart, so you have just about anything under the sun in there; plus the price is just like your Walmart at home. Nice & cheap! We stocked up on ice, goodies, and food here. Don't bring all your food with you! Just visit the Walmart when you get here & you'll be set! (hey, more space in the car right?)
Unfortunately, there was a county wide fire ban when we stayed so we weren't able to have a camp fire. Didn't bother me in the least. Less campfire smoke to deal with. Just plan to have a propane powered stove or some other way to cook your meal, or use charcoal & you should be good. We used a propane powered stove & were fine.
Holy cow this place is cool! My son saw 2 female deer walk right through the camp ground (he was ecstatic!) and I saw no less than 4 jack rabbits hopping around munching on the scrub oak & shrubs (my youngest thought the "bunnies" were awesome) and there were tons of birds flying around (my kids were all trying to identify the different birds they saw). There were also a few lizards here & there too. The kids absolutely LOVED the wildlife in the KOA!
There's a city lake that borders the campground that you can walk around. They claim it's a 1.5 mile walk around the lake. We didn't do the walk, but my kids LOVED walking down to the lake & throwing stones into it. It looked kind of swampish (lots of moss growing along the lake shore), but the kids had a great time! There's also a city park on the other side of the lake that has grass, a playground, and picnic tables as well.
There were A LOT of international campers from France & Germany. I asked the KOA staff about it & they said the majority of their campers are international. I guess Mesa Verde to them is like going to Egypt to Americans; they really dig the place. Having international campers made it really cool to stay there! Watching & listening to parents play with their kids in a foreign language was really fun. Guess that explains why they sold wine in their convenience store.
**WOULD I STAY HERE AGAIN? RECOMMEND?**
Absolutely! No brainer. I'd stay here again in a heartbeat if we ever come back.
The camp ground is great, the staff is great, the playground & pool rock, my kids had a great time, and there's a Walmart next door (Yeah, I know, I'm a Walmart junkie, but with 4 hungry kids vacationing on the cheap, ya can't beat it!)
If you're into camping with a tent, travel trailer, or even with a big, honkin' motor home towing an SUV (and trust me, there were some REALLY big ones there), this place will easily accommodate you. The camp ground is split into two sections. The tent site/camp trailer sites and the motor home sites. It was like two completely separate campgrounds rolled into one and we loved it that way (you didn't hear motor home generators/heaters/ac units running all night on the tent side of the place). It was also REALLY quiet at night (I slept like a rock!)