KOA Kampgrounds is a national chain of campsites available across North America. Offering simple, fun family vacations for a low price, the KOA chain has been very successful, and is one of very few camping businesses that have gone national.
In 1962, KOA creator Dave Drum started the first KOA "Kampground" in Billings, Montana. The first KOA offered a small plot of land, big enough for an RV or tent, as well as public restrooms, showers and a small general store. Campers at the Billings KOA site were very pleased, and Drum constantly questioned them, asking how he could make the experience better.
Using his knowledge and business experience, Drum helped expand the KOA Kampgrounds holdings to over 262 campgrounds by the end of 1969. Spanning from the west coast to the east coast, Drum envisioned having a campground near every camper, so that camping could be very accessible to all.
By 1972, over 600 KOA campgrounds were set in to place across North America. Not satisfied with many of them, Drum and his new partners started a new inspection system, and enforced it on all sites that flew the KOA flag. This system forced KOA to drop their brand name from many campsites, as they did not fit the high quality standards that Drum and other company executives expected.
Currently, KOA Kampgrounds hosts over 500 campsites throughout the United States and Canada. The company is also taking steps to modernize the camping experience by offering basic cable and internet access for a small increase in price. Also, KOA Kampgrounds works with AAA Travel Service to bring special rates to AAA members.
I have had the experience of camping at several KOA Kampgrounds, as well as many campsites that were not owned by KOA, and the differences can be quite noticeable. KOA has definitely established a clean and organized presence, and has surely set standards for many other campsites to follow.