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Went before Thanksgiving weekend for a few nights. SUPER busy over the weekend and emptied out by Sunday night. Basically camping anarchy - people setting up all over the place - but you can only start fires in the provided fire ring. Some sites are exposed others super secluded. Sound definitely carries over the little valley, but people kept it low key by 10pmish.
Arrive early to get a nice site.
Great hikes that start right from the campground.
This campground was a great unexpected surprise! The kid at the check-in station is just the sweetest! We were told to go look around and pick out a site and just go back and tell them… Well the campground is HUGE and it took a while in the RV to go all the way to the end (Catfish) where they suggested, back to let them know, and then back to set up camp. But after all that we got to sit back and relax and watch the beautiful sunset!
there are a couple oddities here though - for an RV campground there is a ton of ground that is not level. Pretty much only the sites right along the water are level because you're basically on the beach. We lucked out with one of those and no one else around because of the holiday/covid.
The lake is no-touch, so no dipping your toes in, no letting the dog splash, nothing. But a couple people were fishing.
It was so quiet and peaceful that I couldn't imaging a better last night to our vacation! I would think in normal circumstances, though, this place must be crazy and a site on the water means sharing your beautiful spot with anyone who wants to walk right by. Although you may feel like you get your own beach, you don't.
There are two dump stations but for some reason there is a plastic ring that prevents the hose from going in the ground so its a bit gross. There's propane at the market where the front entrance is.
It felt like this is a family-run campground and I mean that in the best way!
Great, clean, campground for the family. My daughter, dog, wife and I enjoyed two nights here in November 2020 for my birthday. We didn’t have a reservation but they do a lottery at 11am each day and we got spots for two nights.
Really easy to get to. We’ll go back a few times a year.
I live across the street, but have been coming here to camp for years. The vibe is groups of young friends stoked on their new-found independence and families with RVs or trailers with the latest toys. The hardcore surfing nomads stealth camp in their bubble-top vans outside of the park on the streets. Walking distance to Cottons point for surfing and to hangout among the beach huts.
It was open when we drove by and no signs saying it was closed. We drove around and had fun in a large dirt lot with our crew. It was a good lunch spot.
We have solar so choose Arroyo Secco at first. We live/work out of the RV during the Covid pandemic, so we bought a cell booster and WiFi relay, but even they couldn’t make any use of the provided WiFi.
We moved up to Chardonnay Bluff and were able to work with no issues. There is a huge difference in how much love KOA puts into each section. The top (Chardonnay Bluff) is beautiful with green grass and lovely well cared for trees, and full hookups. The bottom (Arroyo Secco) is dry, dusty, and many old trees with the tops loped off or otherwise poorly maintained. The sites at the bottom are slightly larger, have water and sewer, just no power.
We arrived on a Monday, the bottom was empty—literally had the place to ourselves. After we moved up top, we had many neighbors, many kids, many kids ATV’s. It felt like a suburb 😂
We had to go back down for the weekend because the top was booked, by the weekend the bottom was just as packed as the top. It actually felt kinda like a concert parking lot.
This was our first KOA, and did expect the population of kids, but I wasn’t expecting all the amenities—like a hoppin bar! I complimented the bar to the bartender and was told that this is the only KOA in the nation that has a bar. She told me that it had been around for decades under a different name, Buttercup I think. It has an established rotation of regular guests that come for access to wine country. She said KOA inherited the bar and it’s regular loyal following.
Funnily, we learned that KOA raccoons have impeccable manors, and leave very little trace after delicately choosing dinner from the bin, unlike the wild raccoons we encounter on BLM land. I’ll post a video of them.
Another thing they offer is propane, and at reasonable price.
We will return, but we personally enjoy a bit more wild and a bit less suburbia. It is a nice place to get some laundry done after a stretch of primitive camping. And, of course, socially distanced outside bar, deli, and coffee shop, convince store which sells a nice selection of wine, beer, setters, etc. the shop also has branded items that are worth peeking at.
We spent 5 days here in mid November M-F. We brought our tiny travel trailer (13 ft) and dog. The campground was nice and relatively empty during the week, and started to fill up on the Friday when we left. We were on site 68 which was convenient to the restrooms, trails, and had very pretty views to the rear of the campsite.
The site was relatively easy to back into for a newbie like me, and did need about 4-5 inches of leveling blocks on one side. On the side of the driveway is about 3 ft x 3 ft grating for drainage that dips about 6-8 inches below grade that we dubbed "the tank trap". I was worried about it because of my low clearance on the trailer, but we were able to avoid it on the way in and out.
Because of the way this site is organized, there was not a great deal of room by the trailers front door. I could see that being a bummer for people who would want to use their awning on the right hand side of the trailer. However we use a pop-up shade, so we just set it up to the left side of the trailer.
Julian is about 25 min away and is a fun place to visit and have lunch or dinner, and the Wolf rescue nearby would be a neat place to visit if we were not traveling with a dog. We also drove the nearby Sunrise Highway for a ways for some beautiful views down into Anza-Borrego.
Other sites that looked nice and level for a small trailer, easy to back into, and had pretty views where sites #52 & #35
It should be noted that there are no water, sewer nor electrical hookups at this campsite (as stated on their website). There is a pumpout station near the entrance that can be used for $10. My freshwater tank is a 7 gallon jug that I filled at the nearby water faucet (water is very sweet here).