When we started our Full Time RV Travels, we knew we had to keep our expenses down to make it work. Camping fees are a big part of the budget so we were intent on finding places to stay that were inexpensive, such as state or national parks, or free places to stay, such as Federal lands or free overnight camping spots. But we’ve found that it’s not always easy or convenient to find these types of places, especially without going too far off of our planned route, or being too far away from the places we want to visit.

So, there have been a few times on the trip where we’re looking for something in a convenient location that has hookups and availability on short notice. KOA campgrounds have become our go to campground and we’ve found that they offer a lot of amenities and conveniences and are usually in great locations.

We were looking for a San Diego Campground, and we stayed at the KOA in San Diego and wanted to share what we thought of it.  Hopefully, so you can decide if you should put it on your list of places to stay if your camping near San Diego.

 

Location

The KOA is located in Chula Vista about 10 miles south of San Diego, so it’s a quick drive to San Diego and the surrounding beach towns and area attractions. We visited Imperial Beach for a walk on the fishing pier, went to La Jolla Shores for some kayaking and took a 10 mile bike ride to Coronado when we were there. We also took a trip to Old Town San Diego which proved to be a highlight of our time in San Diego. You can see for yourself by watching our YouTube video here.

Campground Details

The San Diego Metro KOA has around 144 RV sites with full hookups with some having more grass and privacy than others, but most of them are very nicely shaded with a decent buffer between sites. All of the RV sites are paved and most of them are pull through with full hookups.

Full-Hookup RV Sites

The cabins and yerts were arranged in a nice way, with the cabins surrounding a central sitting area, complete with a fire pit.

Group camping in San Diego

The Yerts and Cabins are set up in their own section and are facing a central grassy area, so it’s almost like it’s own little village. The tent area is also nice with plenty of grass and open space to accommodate larger groups.

 

Fun Activities

KOA campgrounds do a great job of keeping the kids entertained with plenty of free and paid activities. While we were there, the San Diego KOA staff did a great job of organizing activities for kids of all ages, and Alex loved it.

When we arrived, they provided us with a calendar of events that listed out when and where the activities would be for the upcoming week. This was also done at the other KOAs we’ve stayed at, so we can look forward to this at others, I’m sure. Free activities included movie nights in the playground field, barrel train rides, a treasure hunt, bubble machine obstacle course and more.

Activities at the KOA campground

They also had 2 giant bounce pillows, the highlight of Alex’s stay there.

Bounce pillows at the KOA

Bounce pillows are common at KOAs, and a lot of fun too!

There are also paid activities if your kids want to do even more. They have three and four wheeled bikes and surreys for rent, a rock climbing wall and a small arcade and shooting gallery. Their prices are reasonable and Alex even won a free bike rental as a prize in the treasure hunt.

The pool that they have there is incredible, as well.  It wasn’t open when we where there, but it’s been open for a bit now.

The campground has a pool

The new resort pool is now open

Amenities

KOA campgrounds are classified as either a Journey, Holiday or Resort based on the features and amenities they provide. You can read about the differences here. The San Diego Metro KOA is listed as a Resort, which means they have the Kamp K9, free WiFi and plenty of staff-led activities.

They have a little restaurant on site called the Sand Castle Café, with a really nice outside eating area with tables under palm trees and a wood pergola. We only ate there once, but found the food to be good with reasonable prices. To save money, you could bring your own food and still enjoy the eating area.

Sand Castle Cafe sitting area

The Sand Castle Cafe offers nice seating near the entrance to the campground

There’s a really nice resort pool that was under construction when we were there, but is opened now, and it looks like one of the nicest pools I’ve seen at a campground. As with many KOAs, there is a dog park where you can take your dog and let them run free. Called camp K9, this dog park had agility equipment that our dogs Caramel and Pepper really had fun with.

The bathhouse is really nicely landscaped and maintained on the outside and kept very clean on the inside. Wheelchair accessibility is good with dedicated parking spaces and ramps to get into the bathhouse. Inside there are larger accessible stalls and a shower with a fold down bench.

 

Pricing

Pricing at the San Diego Metro KOA are fairly high for KOAs in general, but not unreasonable for Southern California resort area. Rates vary by season, but for the peak summer season when we were there the RV sites range from $80-$100 per night depending on the site type and location. Cabins are about $150-250 per night, Yerts $150 and up.  You can get a tent site for around $60 per night. Overall, it’s expensive to stay at this KOA, but they do provide a lot of amenities and you can’t beat how close it is to San Diego and the surrounding beaches and attractions.

 

Recommendation

I highly recommend staying at the San Diego Metro KOA if you’re in the area, and you can justify the additional expense. We usually try to stay at less expensive parks, but admittedly, it’s a treat to have all the amenities, fun activities for the kids and full hookups every once in a while.

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