Length of stay: 6 nights, site # 204 & 329
Overall Score: 4.86
There is a full staff of KOA attendants that circle the perimeter and some that live on site. I felt very safe, and allowed my kid to roam campus. There were a lot of retirees and young family occupants. Very friendly! No suspicious characters or activity.
Overall, the campsites are very clean and well maintained. I peeked in the showers to find that they were also very clean. The usual -.5 mark down for random spots of dog poop in spite of the many provided dog stations. I feel they could rake the sites for small pieces of trash a tiny bit better, but I know it can’t always be helped. They are constantly picking up garbage from sites throughout the day. You can place out your garbage by the street and within minutes it will be gone. If only the garbage at home would disappear that quickly too.
- Train rides for the kids
- A very cool pirate ship ride pulled around the sites
- Located right next to the beach and bay for relaxing
- Near the wind and kite surfing shops where you can sign up for lessons
- Golf cart rentals were $75 a day. They can only be driven by licensed drivers and cannot leave the KOA grounds.
- On site café that serves breakfast and lunch.
- Pool & hot tub
- Game room
- Tiki Bar
- Dog bath
- Fish cleaning station
- Beach showers
- Summertime activities like Karaoke, Bingo, Ghost Crab hunts
- Laundry – They have two stations for laundry. One about midway through the camp, the other at the main building. The elevator was broken and the laundry was on the second level. I didn’t know that the other building was completely out of order. I lugged my heavy cart of laundry all the way from the dunes to the front building only to climb stairs with it at the end with a mere “sorry the elevator is out of service”. There were 5 KOA folks standing there who could have offered to help my obviously very tired and sweaty face up the stairs but they quickly dispersed. It was like Lord of the Flies trying to get a machine once you were in there.
Overall, the staff was great. They worked really hard to accommodate the kind of camp pad we were interested in, they were really helpful navigating us to the spots we stayed in. Really nice people.
We stayed at on two separate pads due to the way I set up the reservations. At the first one, we were against the dunes on the left hand side facing the beach, which is made for smaller RVs. Its a tad cramped on that side. You’ll really get to know your neighbors. If you are planning to stay in those spots, I’d try to stay in the spot closest to the cabins. The larger sites on the right hand side next to the dunes are very spacious. When we moved to the grassier pad away from the dunes, it was more spacious and had a bit of land for our dogs to enjoy for the remainder of our stay. I much more preferred that spot over the previous one.
The atmosphere in general is what you would expect on a mostly treeless barrier island. There was a LOT of sun, very humid, but the ocean sunrises AND sunsets you cannot beat. You can spend the earlier part of the day on the bay side beaches and come back to the surf side in the evenings and not even need an umbrella. The beaches were far from being over crowded. Do not expect to swim in the surf side. We witnessed several people over the course of our stays trying to and getting carried out to sea by the riptides, including children with their families. Luckily, no fatalities as the emergency rescue was on their game and saved everyone. However, if you’re a surfer this is a GREAT place to surf on the east coast!
All of the people staying at the camp site were really friendly, we crossed a lot of talkers who were interested in detailing us about their own experiences.
Plan to bring your own groceries and not to do a lot of dining out. We found the island is not very accommodating for shopping. There is a really great pizza place called The Dough Shack, that also had very good cakey donuts. My husband recommends the key lime donut. There are a few places to rent bikes and scooters.
I felt like the campsite could provide a tiny bit more shady areas for the campers, and possibly talk to the owners of Lisa’s pizza to stop with the loud and fast driving of their delivery guy when the speed limit there is 35 on the main highway. You would be enjoying the sounds of the sea and then hear the loud muffler and screeching of tires from that guy. Oh yes, if you cross the highway to go to the bay, be careful. Drivers are supposed to stop, but I found some of them don’t!
If you’re looking for a not so commercialized Panama City Beach – beach vacation, this KOA will provide you with everything you need to have a great relaxing and fun experience for the entire family. I highly recommend this KOA and would love to visit again sometime in the future. If you want a golf cart, book it at the time you’re booking your site, bring lots of groceries and plan ahead for lack of shopping spots, and you’ll have a fantastic adventure!