No RV? No Tent? No Problem!

If you’re looking to reconnect with Mother Nature without sacrificing running water and electricity, then you’re in luck! Kampgrounds of America offers cabins across the country so that you can enjoy the great outdoors without abandoning the modern luxuries you’ve come to know and love – from air conditioning to doorknobs. KOA’s lodges, cabins, and cottages all provide a great alternative for motorcyclists, youth groups, multigenerational travelers, and more looking for an alternative to tent or RV camping.

Check out these KOA sites where hassle-free accommodations means the only worry you’ll have at the end of the day is perfecting your s’mores (hint: it’s all about the golden marshmallow), and explore KOA’s lodging options even further by finding the perfect KOA location for your next road trip!

Jackson Hole

snake river koa

Right in the valley at the edge of the Teton Mountain Range, Jackson Hole/Snake River KOA lies along Snake River Park where you can enjoy the great outdoors by getting right into the thick of it.  Take a scenic float or a whitewater rafting trip, and chances are you’ll catch a glimpse of elk, moose, ospreys and even eagles. Visitors can also head across the street to the A-OK Corral and pony up for a trail ride through the Gross Ventre Wilderness! Other fun attractions for outdoor enthusiasts near Grand Teton National Park include Oxbow Bend, the always photogenic T.A. Moulton Barn, and Jackson Lake.

In the cabin village, lodging ranges from simple camping cabins with bunks to deluxe cabins that house 6-8 and come complete with a private bedroom, kid’s loft, kitchen with appliances, a dining table, a full bathroom, sofas, and a flat-screen TV. Electricity and heat are standard in all cabins, which is key for the cold nights that can come even in the summertime near the Tetons.


Badlands

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 6.52.30 PM

“Dakota” in “South Dakota” comes from the Sioux word for “friends.” At the Badlands/ White River KOA campground in Interior, SD you’ll make plenty of them while joining everyone for meals in the dining hall, challenging neighbors to a game of horseshoes, and sitting around the campfire together at night (bonus points to this KOA spot for being one of the only areas in the Badlands where campfires are permitted).

A bit of a misnomer, the Badlands National Park holds some of the world’s richest fossil beds. Turkeys, owls, and songbirds also call this area home, and you’ll be able to gawk at them on a nature walk or while on a ride on a fun-cycle– it’s pretty much a lounge chair on wheels!

Porches are standard and kitchens and bathrooms are optional in these cabins. Because the hunter-gatherer lifestyle just isn’t as popular as it used to be, deluxe cabins come with microwaves, coffee makers, and fridges; a perfect option for traveling families and longer-term visitors.


Virginia Beach

KOA - VirginiaBeach

Ever wanted to just get up and drive somewhere where you can play a giant game of chess or jump up and down on an enormous pillow? I bet you do now that we said it! At the Virginia Beach KOA, you’ll have access to all that and more: outdoor movies, a dog park, games, crafts, and a paintball facility are all available onsite.

When you’ve had your fill, a trolley will take you right into the heart of Virginia Beach’s oceanfront for your dose of sun, surf, and sand along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Plus, the nearby Adventure Park USA takes you on a zipline journey through in the treetops and offers Wednesday twilight specials for KOA campers.

Cabins can fit you and up to 7 of your friends (gas grills are available, so we recommend bringing at least one with a strong barbecue game). Basic and deluxe cabins are available, some with cable and big screen TV, and many with private decks or patios.

Of course, KOA is always a great option for visitors looking to spend the night outdoors in their tent or RV, but for travelers looking for a bit more of a permanent structure, KOA’s cabins offer a great alternative lodging option to nature lovers of all types!


Camping writer for Roadtrippers. Jersey Girl. Poet. Scenic Route Enthusiast.Amanda McConnon

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Tips on Camping with Dogs

Dogs are considered man’s best friend for a lot of good reasons. Their loyalty, love, affection, and their personalities combine to make dogs considered as four-legged family members by many people. For any dog owners who enjoy camping, including a pet is the perfect way to make every trip just that much better.

Camping with dogs isn’t overly difficult to do by any means. However, there are some things that you should know before tossing your gear in the car, whistling for your canine companion, and hitting the road.

Before you make for the woods, a trip to your vet is the first destination you should visit. Have your vet give Fido a general checkup and make sure he is up to date on all his vaccinations and shots. Ask questions about flea and tick control and whether or not your dog should be vaccinated against Lyme disease, which is a disease transmitted by ticks. You will also want to make sure that your pup is protected against heartworm. The main goal when camping with dogs should be for everyone on the trip to return home as happy and healthy as when you left.

If your dog is not fitted with a microchip for identification purposes, before camping is a great time to have this done. Even the best leashes and most attentive owners can lose track of their dogs, especially if a particularly interesting scent is on the wind. After all, not every pet is as resourceful as the pets in Homeward Bound!

Training is another important step to camping with dogs safely and enjoyably. The level of training that your dog needs before tagging (or should it be wagging?) along on your next camping trip will depend on the type of camping that you plan on doing. Long hikes and backpacking trips into the backcountry require a higher level of training than, say, a weekend stay at the local campground.

Every dog should have basic commands (things like sit, stay, and lay down) mastered before a camping trip is considered. For those of you who plan on more intense camping trips including long hikes or longer stays in the woods, endurance is another vital thing to focus on. You know your dog best, and need to “listen” to what they are telling you. Frequently check for signs of your dog tiring or experiencing pain, and slowly build up to more intense camping trips as you go.

For backcountry hikes or trips where your dog has a little bit of freedom, the “leave it” command is extremely important. When a properly trained dog hears this command, they will immediately drop whatever they have in their mouth or leave an object alone. When you consider that there are poisonous plants and venomous animals in the woods (not to mention skunks and porcupines among others), you can see why this command is important.

Packing appropriate supplies for your dog should also be done for every trip you make into the woods together. This includes food, water, treats, a puppy-friendly first aid kit, toys, and something comfortable to sleep on. Even if you’re going to be camping near water, you will still want to pack water for your dog. It isn’t a good idea to let your dog drink from natural water sources, because you never really know what kind of bacteria or creatures they might slurp up. Giving your dog natural water that you have purified using various accepted methods is also ok.

If you take the time to carefully plan your camping trip, properly train your dog and stay tuned into what your dog’s body language is telling you, then you’re going to have a great experience camping with your dog. Use these tips, extra research, and some common sense, and camping with dogs will quickly become one of your favorite new ways to spend time outdoors!

KOA offers great options for camping with pets!


Writer. For Roadtrippers. For KOA. For sanity. Catcher of fish. Baseball fanatic. Proud to call Ohio home.Brian Belko

Brought to you by KOA and our partners at:

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Top Camping Etiquette Tips

It seems like there’s always that one group of campers at every campground or campsite. You know the group I’m talking about.

They might be loud, obnoxious, inconsiderate, or one of a thousand other annoying things. They don’t have respect for others around them and are only focused on their own version of fun.

Make sure that you’re following these basic camping etiquette tips on your next camping trip, and never be that group that ruins another’s good time.

  • Camping etiquette is pretty much standard operating procedure for most people. It just comes naturally to do things like leave the campsite the way it was found, pick up litter if any is spotted, keep late night campfire conversations to a low level, and so on and so on.
  • Some other important tips to always keep in mind include never looking into other camper’s tents, keeping flashlight beams pointed at the ground, always walking around other campsites instead of through them, and keeping pets under control.
  • Many people return to the same campground or campsite year after year, and a sense of camaraderie and community can begin to form. When that happens, it really is a special thing and makes camping trips more about camping. However, even if that bond doesn’t form, camping etiquette is still something that every camper should exercise and that everyone else camping in the areas deserves.
  • When you first arrive at your campsite, try to do so quietly. I’m not saying that you have to tiptoe around and speak in whispers, but try to remember that you don’t know what other campers in the area are trying to do. They could be eating a meal together or trying to sleep. Being interrupted by loud campers who are excited (and understandably so) to have finally arrived at their campsite will get under the skin of even the most understanding campers. Just use common sense in the moment — if you get to your campsite late at night, keep the celebratory cheer when the tent finally goes up to a low roar and try to avoid extended headlight use or anything along those lines.
  • The old adage of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is always a useful way of thinking when it comes to politness in and around the campground. It’s very easy to only be focused on your immediate area or task. We all do it, but taking that small mental step back to observe the situation with a wider perspective will serve you well. That doesn’t even only apply to camping, but life in general as I have come to find.
  • I won’t bore you with a bunch of other basic tips that I’m sure you already know or could easily figure out on your own. Instead, here are a few things I have discovered while camping that fall under the general camping etiquette rules of thumb, and that other campers really do appreciate:
  • If you have some leftover firewood on your last day of camping, consider leaving it stacked in a neat pile near the fire pit or fire area. The next people to arrive at your campsite will have one less thing to do when setting up camp and will be incredibly thankful for the random act of kindness.
  • Do you have a special recipe that you take camping? If you do, consider taking some to the next campsite over and offering your cuisine to the campers there. After all, camping at a campground or campsite can be about that camaraderie I mentioned earlier. The simple act of offering some tasty food or even just inviting another group over to your campfire to enjoy the evening can lead to memories you weren’t expecting to make, or sometimes even lifelong friendships.

Maintaining good camping etiquette is a great habit for all campers to get into. Always be considerate and keep up the common sense, and you’re bound to be a good neighbor at your next campsite!

Top Camping Etiquette Tips #KOACamping

Do you have any camping etiquette or stories? If so, share them in the comments section below!


Writer. For Roadtrippers. For KOA. For sanity. Catcher of fish. Baseball fanatic. Proud to call Ohio home.

Brian Belko

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9 Tips for Snowbirds Traveling With Pets

By Tom James

Long before winter’s blustery chill begins to sting the bones, plans are being made by people in Canada, the Northeast and Midwestern United States to seek the warmer climes of the south. It’s an interesting phenomenon that occurs each year and mimics the migration ritual of our feathered friends.

These “snowbirds” (as they are affectionately called) flock to Arizona, Texas, Florida and other places along the Sunbelt to avoid winter’s bite and inconvenience. Northern Europeans also are known to head to warmer places in the U.S., adding to these second communities of seasonal residents each year.

Snowbirds are typically retirees or business owners who can afford to be away for extended periods of time. Many have a second home in a warmer location, while others take their home on wheels with them in the form of an RV or camper.

Jack and Ethel W. have been making the trip for 18 years. Pulling out of their snow-banked driveway in upstate Ohio, their 28-foot Fleetwood Southwind RV is loaded with rations, lighter clothes than they would have needed had they stayed home, and Phantom, their four-legged, eight-year-old. That’s right, more and more people travel with their pets these days and snowbirds are no exception. The couple wouldn’t dream of leaving behind their special member of the family, a Lhasa Apso. He’s like one of their children. They’ll stay gone five or six weeks in southern Georgia, while taking several side trips to explore new places.

Traveling with pets long distances and for long periods of time presents challenges not only for snowbirds but also for the pets they take along. According to Dr. Mitch Spindell, site vet on PetTravelCenter.com, the first thing one should always consider is how physically able a pet is to travel. Some senior, pregnant, injured, or otherwise physically impaired pets do not travel well.

Besides making sure your pet is physically fit and comfortable to make the trip, here are 9 tips to consider:

  1. If your pet has any chronic conditions, take all pertinent medical records. It’s a good idea to have your pet’s records with you any time you travel long distances.
  2. If your pet is on any long-term medications, be sure to have plenty to last your entire stay.
  3. If you are driving north or south of the U.S. border, be sure to check all local regulations and have your pet’s current health certificates with you.
  4. Establish a local vet in the area as soon as possible in case of emergency. Go to PetTravelCenter.com and click on Emergency Tips for more information.
  5. Ask a local vet about any diseases or parasites that may be present in that part of the country (Lyme disease in New England or year-round fleas in Florida, for instance). Your pet may not be protected against these if they are not present where you live.
  6. Just as your passengers’ safety is vitally important when you travel, don’t forget about your pet’s safety as well. An unrestrained 25-pound dog, for example, becomes a 1,000-pound projectile in a 40 mile-per-hour crash. This type of mass flying uncontrollably around a vehicle could be deadly not only to your pet, but also to you and your passengers.
  7. Look out for your precious cargo by providing a pet car seat equipped with a restraining device (for smaller pets) or a vehicle pet harness that is secured with a seat belt. Cats should be kept in a carrier suitable for traveling, also secured with a seat belt.
  8. A travel tag on a pet’s collar will help someone locate you locally should you and your pet become separated. The travel tag should contain information about where you are staying (while away from home), including addresses and phone numbers. A cell phone number is also a good idea to have on the tag since most people have one with them, especially when they travel.
  9. Another item to consider is a pet first-aid kit. It’s important that you are not only familiar with the items you pack in the kit but know how to use them. You can find a list of the more common items to pack under Emergency Tips.

Find a great KOA to stay at with your furry friend by exploring KOA.com.

– Happy Pet Travels!

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Tom James is founder and president of PetTravelCenter.com, an online community that provides worldwide resources for pet-friendly hotels, attractions, destinations, RV parks, dog parks, campgrounds, airline pet policies, pet travel tips, pet relocation, veterinarians, emergency pet hospitals, and a wide variety of pet travel products through its online pet store.

Camping With Pets Gets Easier Every Trip

Looking for time and hassle-saving ways to ensure your pet is as comfortable as the two-legged family members on your next vacation? Look no further, read on to find out what pet travel/camping must haves are hot today.

“Whistle” Dog activity trackerwhisper
Fitness trackers are all the rage. Go to any gym, and you’ll likely see Fitbits, iFits and Jawbone Ups strapped on most of the wrists of the workout weary.

But, what about the family dog? Who’s tracking his workouts and sleep patterns? It was probably only a matter of time, but a company called Whistle has come up with an activity monitor for dogs that tracks both your pet’s motions while awake, but also their sleep. It sends all of the data to your smart phone, so you can keep track of Fido’s fitness.

While this all may sound a bit “over the top,” the small disc device does have one other shining feature: It acts as a GPS monitor so you’ll know right where your dog is at all times. Think about that next time you’re camping and your four-legged friend gets off the leash. Get It Now!

 

Pet Tube Travel Kentravel_kennelnel
Here’s an easy way to keep your pet comfortable yet totally contained on your next trip. The Pet Ego Pet Tube Car Kennel sits across your vehicle’s back seats, and can be extended to fit the size of your pet. It has a mesh top for ventilation, and folds flat for storage. Get It Now!

 

 

 

Something For The Cat Loverscat_ten
Yes, cats are welcome at KOAs, too. This handy little tent “habitat” allows your feline friends to enjoy the fresh air while you camp, without getting tangled in a leash. It pops up in one simple motion, and comes with a storage/carry bag. It even connects to more habitats called “Crazy Mazes,” and “Fun Runs.” Get It Now!

 

 

ThunderShirts to Calm Your Pets
thundershirt This one has been around for a few years, but it really works. The ThunderShirt is simply a snug, Velcro-attached “jacket” for your dog that works on the premise that a compression covering calms the pet and makes them feel secure. That can be crucial during your camping trip, and especially during that occasional storm. Yes, it comes for cats, too. Get It Now!

 

 

ramp

Ramp It Up
As your dog ages, that leap into the back of the truck or SUV becomes a challenge. You can make life a little easier with the Natural Step Dog Ramp. The folding ramp gives your pet easy access to the rear of your vehicle, with steel supports that can hold up to 250 pounds. Get It Now!

 

 

 

Saddle Up!
saddle The next time you take a hike, let your dog carry what he needs for the adventure with the Max Pack Dog Saddlebags. The pack is great for hikes, walks and runs, and comes with two different size pockets. One size adjusts to fit dogs from 50 pounds to 110 pounds. It’s water resistant and allows your pet to carry up to 25 percent of their body weight. Get It Now!

 

 

 

Find Fido Fasterfinder
There are few things as frightening for a pet owner – or their pet – than being unintentionally separated in a strange place. The folks at Pet Hub have a simple solution. Each Pet Hub dog tag comes complete with a unique QR code that can be scanned by most any smart phone. The code will tell the finder all they need to know to locate the rightful owner. Pet Hub says 97 percent of pets lost while wearing the tags were returned in under one day, and 25 percent of them were returned in less than an hour. The tag info includes any info you want, including contact info, license and rabies tag numbers, microchip data, medications and more. Get It Now!

From Custom Strollers to RVs, Pets Are In The Driver’s Seat

KOA NEWS SERVICE (January 2014) –

The first time Alison Wilson saw the little dog in its own custom-made “baby stroller,” all she could do was laugh.

“I was with a friend in a Florida restaurant when I saw this lady whiz by with her dog in a stroller,” she remembers. “I just looked away and laughed. I thought it was just so funny, in a very strange sort of way.”

A few days later, she couldn’t get that “pet stroller” out of mind. She realized there was a huge potential market for the stroller in Florida alone.

“I found one online and bought it so I could take my cats on walks,” she said. “Everyone I saw on the street wanted one.”

That was five years ago. Today, Wilson’s online store, Pet Stroller Depot, sells 40-50 units a week and she sees nowhere for the business to go but . . . to the dogs.

Recent surveys from the Outdoor Industry Association found 60 percent of “outdoor vacationers” now take their pets along on the trip. In fact, nearly 30 million American pet owners took the family pet along for the trip in 2013.

“You can’t find these custom pet strollers in pet stores yet. Right now, this is sort of a Florida phenomenon,” she said.

Wilson is right. After observing the crowds at three huge 2013-2014 camping and RVing winter shows in Hershey, PA; Pomona, CA; and Tampa, FL, only Tampa had RVers – a lot of them – pushing pets in strollers.

“It’s just crazy,” said Wilson. “We now have a double-decker model for two pets, and even a monogrammed one with your pet’s initials. There’s something for every pet.”

RV Manufacturers Pamper Pets, Too

The folks at Fleetwood RV, Inc. have joined the pampered pet movement by adding three very pet friendly motor coaches to their iconic Fleetwood RV line.

“All of our 2014 Fleetwood Excursion RVs have a pet window down at the bottom of the sidewall by the passenger seat,” said Jayne Fairley of Fleetwood. “We sold a lot of these RVs at the Tampa RV Super Show this year. Owners love that the window has a screen so pets can get nice fresh air while they are traveling down the highway.”

The special features don’t stop there. Fleetwood RV also added an auto generator start feature to their coaches that can give pet owners extra peace of mind when leaving pets alone in the RV. If the outside power pedestal fails, the on-board generator will automatically start and keep the rig at a comfortable temperature.

“We also have two special features in the Bounder 35K model,” Fairley said. “The RV has a flat dash that pets love to lie on while traveling, and there is a cabinet next to the sofa that is a perfect place for a litter box.”

The booth dinette table in the Bounder also comes off the wall, providing a perfect place for a portable dog kennel. “Those features make the Bounder one of the most popular motorhomes on the dog show circuit,” Fairley said.

“We also have built-in, pull out feeding bowls and a storage place for pet supplies in the dinette of the Fleetwood 33Q Storm,” she said. “A couple of times, I’ve even sold bunkhouse models, and the owners tell me they are going to use the space for their bird cages.”

If you’re interested in taking a look at a Fleetwood model, be sure to check with Lazydays RV, the largest Fleetwood dealer in North America, at www.lazydays.com.

Bonus: Click Here to view an informative infographic about pet travel trends!

Win A New Stroller For Your Four-Legged Friend

Pet Stroller Drawing

We will select a winner on Friday, February 14 and notify the lucky pet owner via email.

Here’s a great way to take your best friend along, wherever your travels take you. We’re giving away a brand new, special edition pet stroller from our friends at the Pet Stroller Depot.

You can take a look at all of Pet Stroller Depot’s stroller inventory HERE

PetStroller (2)

 

Traveling Tips: Pets Have Special Needs When the Heat is On

We all love to take our pets camping. After all, our four-legged friends are part of the family, and it just doesn’t seem right to leave them behind.

But taking our furry friends camping when the temperature climbs takes a bit of planning, as well as constant vigilance.

They May Be Your Babies, But They Aren’t Human
It’s important to remember that your pets aren’t human, and they react very differently to heat. Dogs pant to dissipate moisture from their lungs. In fact, the only place dogs “sweat” is from the bottoms of their feet. That means they don’t handle heat very well, and it’s up to you to be aware of their condition.

It’s Not Just The Heat, It’s The Humidity
“If the humidity is too high, pets are unable to cool themselves,” said Dr. Barry Kellogg of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. “Their temperature can skyrocket to dangerous levels very quickly.” If a dog’s temperature rises over 104 degrees, they are likely headed for heatstroke.

Don’t Leave Them In The Heat
When camping, it’s tempting to leave Fido in the air-conditioned RV or Cabin while the rest of the family heads to dinner or another activity. That could lead to danger, should a power failure occur. Campground power supplies can be strained on hot days, and no one should put their pets at risk. Also, pets need a constant water supply on a hot day. A tipped and spilled water bowl could spell disaster. In addition, don’t rely on a simple fan. Fans don’t cool pets as effectively as they do people.

Limit The Exercise & Increase The Shade
Take your walks during the cooler early morning and evening hours. And keep your pet off the hot asphalt, which can burn paws. Carry pet water with you on your walks. If your pet is kept outside, be sure they have access to shade and lots of cool water. Add ice to the water when you can. And don’t confine your pet to an enclosed kennel or doghouse. The lack of circulating air makes things worse.

Watch For Heatstroke
Here is what to watch for when your pet may be in distress:

  • Heavy panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Profuse salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Deep red or purple tongue
  • Seizure and ultimate unconsciousness

 
If you suspect there is a problem, move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck and chest or run cool water over her. Let your dog drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. As soon as possible, get your pet to the vet.

There are several additional resources for more information on traveling with your pets:

  • Go to www.aspca.org and search for “traveling.” The ASPCA has several good articles concerning pet safety when on the road.
  • Check out www.fidofriendly.com/travel-tips for even more usable tips for pet travel.
  • There are some great pet travel product ideas at www.furrytravelers.com.
  • AAA has an entire book on traveling with your pet. Just go to www.amazon.com and search the Book section for “Traveling With Your Pets.”
  • And for the latest survey info about folks who travel with their pets, check out Trip Advisor’s annual survey at www.tripadvisor.com.