Amenities offered by campgrounds used to be the decision between water and electrical hook-ups or a rustic site. Now, campground amenities are growing and diversifying with some even offering internet connectivity.
So, do KOA’s offer WIFI?
KOA’s, arguably one of America’s most popular campgrounds offer WiFi at nearly eighty percent of their locations. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always mean it will be available or perform at fast speeds due to a variety of factors. The type and speed of WiFi offered at a KOA depends on the internet services offered in the area as well as the ability of the WiFi signal to penetrate obstacles and elevations.
We have a great article about getting WiFi while camping. You should definately check it out when you finish this article. 5 Methods For Getting WIFI while Camping ( With Details )
Do KOA’s Offer WiFi?
As previously mentioned, the campgrounds services vary so not every KOA is equipped with WiFi. Still, most do offer free WiFi.
WiFi can either be a positive or a negative for your family camping trip, depending on if you still plan on accessing this modern luxury for work or entertainment, or if you are hoping to unplug. Usually, if the WiFi is not being offered as a separate and optional charge such as at KOA’s, the price to reserve a campsite may be a bit higher in order to offset the cost. Sadly, nothing is truly ever “free”.
Some campsites may provide an optional daily rate for internet access if you don’t plan on using WiFi the entire time, but would still like the opportunity to do so just in case. This is not typical of KOA’s. In most cases, if they have WiFi it is available to you through their WiFi access code.
Even though KOA’s are WiFi-equipped don’t plan on surfing the web as you do at home. The terrain, weather, and campground occupancy may affect your internet speeds and in turn, streaming and downloading capacity.
How many fellow campers are using the WiFi can affect your internet speeds as well. Proper camping etiquette should be used in an attempt to share the WiFi with other guests. This means that while it is likely fine to update your social media or check your email, watching an entire movie is not very neighborly as it will slow speeds for everyone else. The more people using the internet, the slower the speeds; and this may not be conducive to downloading large files or streaming music or movies.
Rules of etiquette you should follow when using campground WiFi:
● Don’t stream or download entire movies
● Don’t leave your music streaming 24/7
● Try to refrain from downloading large files or images that would take up a great deal of bandwidth
KOA’s are one of the most well-known campgrounds that have begun offering WiFi at nearly all of their locations. To locate specifically a KOA with free WiFi consider using a search engine such as allstays.com that offers WiFi availability as a filter option.
We have put together a great articel that lists some campsites for each state that offers WiFi. 175 Campgrounds That Offer WiFi? ( List for all 50 states )
What to Do If Your KOA Doesn’t Offer WiFi?
If you find yourself at one of the few KOA’s that don’t offer free WiFi, or the WiFi at your campground happens to be out of service, don’t fret; there are a few options you can try.
National Carriers and Tethering your Cell Phone
You can use your cell phone service to gain internet while at a campground. Most major cell providers and carriers, such as Verizon and AT&T, will offer an internet hotspot option (for a fee).
A tethering or mobile hotspot through your cell phone will allow you to access the internet on devices as you do with your cell phone. Your phone is essentially creating a WiFi network that other devices can connect to by using a password.
Your phone will use your data connection, so you must have service wherever you are located. It also means that your data charge may go up, or in most instances, you will be required to pay an additional amount to your cellular provider in order to obtain a mobile hotspot.
Satellite or a Dish
Using a satellite or a dish is perhaps the most extreme option for obtaining internet connectivity. This is commonly used by campers with RV’s who are constantly on the move.
Some drawbacks are that It can be a time-consuming process to attach the satellite to your vehicle, and difficult reposition it to receive service. It is a good idea to remove it from your camper before heading out and then reattach it and readjust it at the next campsite.
A satellite is not practical for tent campers or those that do not have an RV or camper. Additionally, it is not a great option for those who will not be camping for a long period or are infrequent campers because of the cost of purchasing the satellite and subscribing to a monthly service.
Prepaid or Subscription USB
USB’s are another internet option for those who need data on the road. They look like a common USB but are essentially a miniature modem or router. You can plug it into the side of your laptop or computer and access 3G internet.
To do this, you must have a subscription plan. You can either subscribe to a monthly plan or buy a prepaid stick with a predetermined lifespan.
Like cellular hotspots, it is a good idea to verify the range and extent of the provider’s coverage before buying so you can make sure it will work at your campground.
Free Internet Options
As always there are a few methods to find free WiFi when you are traveling. When using free WiFi, you will want to plan on using the internet once you locate a hotspot or WiFi zone and unplugging when you are at the campsite.
Coffeeshops, fast food locations, and libraries often provide free wifi for their guests. Sometimes the WiFi reaches the parking lot and can be used from your car. Other times, you have to go in and purchase an item or request the password.
Retailers, like department stores, occasionally offer a guest WiFi as well. Some of the most common stores with free internet access are Target and Meijer. As with the dining locations, you may have to purchase an item or two or at least browse to use their service.
One thing to remember is that public WiFi can be unreliable and slow. You often have no way of knowing if the WiFi service is down before arriving. Also, as it is being used by the public speeds will usually not be fast enough for streaming, gaming, or large file downloads.
What is a KOA?
For those that are unfamiliar with KOA’s or need a refresher, here is some background on these proliferative campgrounds. KOA’s, or Kampgrounds of America, are located all over the United States. In fact, there are almost five-hundred of them in total. You don’t need a camping membership though they do offer a rewards program.
Since its beginning in 1962, their famous yellow signs have popped up along the East Coast, the West Coast, and every state in between. Their campgrounds are largely organized by three types, journey campgrounds, holiday campgrounds, and resort campgrounds.
Journey campgrounds are tailored to those that are traveling and need somewhere to spend the night or a few days. They are usually located along highways and roads where campers could easily pull-off and stop as they drive by.
Journey campgrounds offer long pull-through RV sites with a hookup, premium tent-site, and a safe, well-lit after-hours check-in option. Journey campgrounds are available in over forty states with one additional location in Canada.
Holiday campgrounds can be considered a step up from Journey campgrounds but not as lavish as their resort campgrounds. Holiday campgrounds have more amenities, services, and less rustic campsites.
Holiday campgrounds feature deluxe cabins, RV sites complete with patios, premium tent sites, and group meeting facilities. Amenities include things such as WiFi, a pool, a dog park, and even a snack bar in addition to the traditional offerings. There is approximately the same number of holiday campgrounds as there are journey campgrounds with the exception of a few more options in Canada.
Resort campgrounds are the ultimate “camping” experience. They include staff-led activities, a resort-style pool, on-site dining options, deluxe cabins with a full bath and linens provided, and many premium RV and tent sites complete with a patio.
There are only fifteen KOA resort campgrounds, fourteen in the United States and one in Canada. These campgrounds are less of a pull-off spot and more of a semi-all-inclusive destination.
No matter which style of campground you choose, KOA’s provide plenty of activities and amenities. Some activities provided at various KOA’s include horseshoe pits, climbing walls, mini-golf, movie nights, and arts and crafts. Almost all KOA’s offer hiking, fishing, biking, swimming, and campfires. As each one is individually owned and operated, there will always be someone available who is trained in outdoor hospitality although the campgrounds amenities and activities may vary.
You Can’t Beat KOA Amenities
As long as you stay at a KOA with WiFi you won’t have to worry about using free internet options or mobile hotspots. Plus, with so many great activities you may just want to unplug and unwind for the entire duration of your camping trip!