Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Go Camping In October!

"The events and activities are winding down at Meadville KOA (Kampgrounds of America) by the time the month of October arrives," according to campground owner, Tim Chilson, “but there is still great camping weekends remaining this camping season and some of them include big savings!"
"We're nearing the end of the season and October 10-12th is our last event weekend of the camping season," Chilson said, "but we've discounted the camping prices, which makes it even more affordable for people to get out and enjoy the wonderful fall festivals like the Franklin Applefest on Oct. 4 Weekend, and the the Pioneer Steam Show in Saegertown and Conneaut Lake Area Pumpkinfest on Oct. 11.  If you’re into haunted attractions, they run now through the end of October.  Not only can you enjoy those wonderful autumn festivals, haunted attractions, and the fall foliage, but the cool evenings provide wonderful opportunities to enjoy an autumn evening campfire and some warmed apple cider and s'mores!  And, we offer some great savings!  If you invite another family to come with you, we have buy one night get one night free as a thank you for introducing Meadville KOA to a new family.  Or, you can get a great discount just by calling and reserving a site!  Our prices with the discount are below State park’s rates and you get free Wi-Fi, Cable TV, and catch and release fishing, not to mention our events and activities!" Chilson went on to add, “There are also autumn driving tours in the area that maximize your fall foliage viewing as well.  They are provided on the Crawford County Visitor’s Bureau website.”

Many RVers, according to Chilson, use October as a perfect time to travel and enjoy the foliage. "With gas prices lowered, fall festivals, and fall foliage at its’ prime, it's a perfect time to get outside, enjoy the beautiful autumn weather remaining, and do some camping," Chilson added.

“October is also a great month to visit campgrounds if you’re looking for a seasonal camping site,” according to Chilson.  “Campers can look at the availability and pick a site for the following season.  And because our sites include free onsite winter storage, they can leave the RV in onsite storage here for the winter, come open up in the spring, and start camping!  They save money by not having to pay for storage, and the convenience is great, and it allows our seasonal campers to maximize the use of their RV for the whole 2015 summer season!”

Meadville KOA is located on Route 27 and hosts 160 camp sites, 4 camping cabins (which includes two, lake-front deluxe lodges), seven fishing ponds for catch and release fishing (no license required), a swimming pool, a creek for wading, a hiking trail, volleyball, basketball, soccer & ball field, horseshoe pits, themed weekend events with planned activities, and much more!

By Robyn Chilson

Tim & Robyn Chilson are both CPOs, and they have owned and operated Meadville KOA for 15 years. Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Autumn Camping is Awesome Camping!

As summer comes to an end, the autumn season begins, and that means it’s time to go autumn camping! Why not enjoy the fall foliage, fun fall festivals, and more? Here are few examples of awesome autumn camping adventures that await you!
Attend Fall Festivals! There are Autumn Leaf Festivals, Applefests, Pumkinfests, and more! So if you haven’t been camping and attended one of these great local autumn events, the only question remaining is, why not? The festivals are fun and it lengthens your camping season!
The Price is Right! Off season camping generally means off season (lower) rates! You save money when you camp in the off season! And because demand for those sites are lower, the campgrounds are less busy (except for special event weekends), which means you get a quiet, more relaxing, camping atmosphere!
The Weather Is Good! Ahhh, the cool evenings make a campfire all that more enjoyable. Enjoy a hotdog or a camper pie over the campfire on a cool autumn evening.  How about a cup of spiced apple cider, and s’mores for desert?  Ahh, there’s nothing like it! And is it just us, or does everything taste better over that autumn campfire?
Attend Special Event Weekends! Many private campgrounds provide special event weekends during the autumn months to draw in more campers and RVers! Why not take the kids to a Halloween Weekend filled with Trick or Treat, costume contests, campsite decorating contests, and a FREE Sunday breakfast? Or, attend a Pumpkinfest Weekend with roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin carving and other pumpkin themed activities? Or go to an Applefest! There's so much to do and see!
The Fall Foliage Peak Is In Early October! The fall foliage is usually at its peak the first and second weeks in October. Why not choose a campground that is centrally located to the area where you’d like to foliage sight-see, and do some foliage gazing in the area around your base camp! Don’t forget your camera!
Autumn Star Gazing Is Awesome! If you’re a star gazer, you already know that late summer and early fall give rise to some awesome planetary and star gazing opportunities. If you aren’t a star gazer, now is as good of time to start as any! So look up and learn! And don’t forget that star gazing at a campout equals a trip to the local planetarium! So the kids can learn about the stars right there at your campsite at no extra charge!
There are lots of fun special event weekends, fall festivals, stars, and fall foliage to see!  If you’d like more information about what’s happening at and around Meadville KOA Campground, you can call us at 814-789-3251 or go to our website at http://www.meadvillekoa.com/!
All of these great camping & RVing adventures await you! Go camping or RVing and explore the world around you this autumn!  It’ll be pretty awesome!
By Robyn Chilson

Tim & Robyn Chilson, CPO who own and operate Meadville KOA Campground. You can contact her at 814-789-3251. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Meadville KOA Upgrades Campground; Now Offers High-Speed Wi-Fi and Satellite Cable Television

Meadville KOA recently completed a project to ensure their campers’ growing demand for expanded entertainment and electronic device use. 

“Robyn and I surveyed our campers and asked their preferences for utilities,” Tim says. “Cellular service was number one, followed by access to a strong Wi-Fi signal and cable television. These upgrades mean that they can get online when they need it, and can tune in to their favorite shows on rainy days when they can’t take advantage of everything happening on our campground.  We've gotten no help from Verizon to fix the cellular reception here.  That is outside of our control, but at least we've fixed what we could.”

We've added 48 channels of satellite cable TV to 124 full-hookup campsites and two deluxe cabins.  Stations include five local channels as well as ESPN, Disney, Cartoon Network and a host of other options. Wi-Fi has also been upgraded to reflect the fastest speeds available. The improved services are available at no charge.

Meadville KOA Campground is located at 25164 State Route 27, the Meadville KOA is one of 485 open-to-the-public KOA campgrounds in the Kampgrounds of America system in the U. S. and Canada. We also offer extended stay and seasonal camping, themed weekends with planned activities and outdoor recreation opportunities, including a hiking trail and catch-and-release fishing in seven well-stocked ponds. A “fun band” is available for unlimited paddle boat,
pedal cart and miniature golf rentals.

For more information about the Meadville KOA and its recent upgrades, or to make
reservations for an overnight stay or to inquire about seasonal camping, please phone 814-789-3251 or visit www.meadvillekoa.com.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Meadville KOA Campground is All About Family Fun!

Meadville KOA Campground is all about family fun.  So, we thought we should tell you all about what we offer here for families to do, and what makes us Northwestern PA’s Fun Family Camping and Cabin Zone!

First, we are a family campground.  Our camping policies provide a family atmosphere.  We hope that makes our campground the kind of place you’d want to bring your family.  That’s the kind of campground we always sought out to take our family camping, and that’s the kind of place we work hard to provide for your family. 

You can get connected to nature.  Our campground abounds with the beauty and wonder of nature.  It’s a great place to introduce your kids to the wonderful outdoors.  You can just wade our creek or search for minnows or crawfish.  We have butterflies and fireflies to chase.  You can hike the hiking trail, and check out the woods and wildlife, enjoy catch and release fishing in any of our ponds and lakes, or just relax by a campfire and enjoy the stars.  In our weekend agenda, we even provide you star gazing tips, so you can teach your kids about the stars and planets that you can’t even see under those city lights.

We have lots of outdoor recreation!  We have open swim from noon-4 and 5-8 daily.  4-5 is our adults only swim.  We have catch and release fishing in any of our ponds, and we have a one acre and a two acre lake!  We have volleyball, basketball, playgrounds (3), hiking trail, creek, horseshoes, and all the equipment you need to play!  We even have movies you can borrow to watch (at no cost)!  You can sign movies and the equipment out/in at the office.  There is no charge.  

We have minigolf, paddleboats, pedal karts, and a jumping pillow!  We have amenity rentals & a fun band program for the tweens and teens!  You can rent the minigolf, pedal karts, and paddle boats individually for a one time use, or you can purchase a “Fun Band” and keep the tweens and teens busy all weekend long for one low price.  And on weekends, it includes the Jumping Pillow that runs for an hour each time on Sat. morning, Sat. afternoon, and Sun morning, all for the same low price!   

Each weekend, all summer long, we provide a themed weekend.  After choosing a theme, we then create a whole series of activities and events around the theme.  We provide you, each weekend all season long, a written agenda that lets you know where and when each activity is taking place.  In addition, each campsite gets an opportunity to play Camper’s BINGO with the numbers hidden within the agenda, and win 2, free ice cream cones if they get a BINGO.  We give away 4-6 free ice cream cones, per weekend.  One weekend out of each month, we have a weekend designed for younger children which features our Brookdale Express Engine #9 Kiddie Train Ride.  So if you have a young family (children under 48” tall), then these weekends are for you!  We also provide free children’s crafts every weekend all summer long, and we provide a ceramics program.  Prices vary by piece but there are lots of different priced pieces, and there are pieces you can do in one day.  Our weekend agenda features our planned activities, and it always includes at least one wagon ride per weekend. 

If all that isn’t enough to keep your family busy while you vacation, there are tons of other local events and festivals for even more fun!  There are not one but two nearby amusement parks (We have discount combo tickets for Waldameer Amusement Park & Water World), the hot balloon festival held each June on Father’s Day Weekend, The Saegertown Steam Engine Shows, Local Amish School Auction, Roar on the Shore Motorcycle Rally, The Crawford County Fair in August, Thunder in the City, Conneaut Lake, Pymatuning Spillway, The Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad, Drake Well and Museum (featured on the History Channel), Presque Isle & Beaches, Presque Ilse Downs and Casino, Grove City Outlets, Tom Ridge Environmental Center, and much, much more all within one hour of our location!

You can come to Meadville KOA with your week planned, and packed with activities, or spend your week lounging by the pool, enjoying nature, a good book, and campfires.  In other words, your vacation can be as intense or relaxed as you choose to make it.  Or, mix it up and do a combo!      

Did we by chance mention that we offer a weekly discount for your vacation?  Camp 7 nights for the price of six, all season long!  And, if you’d rather do more long weekends than one week at a time, we offer returning camper discounts!  You can find them on our website Discounts Page, all summer long. 

Did we mention that we also have free Wi-Fi so you can check your email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.  (Did you know we’re social as MeadvilleKOA?).  We hope you’ll drop by our pages and Follow or Like Us!  We offer specials, special discounts, contests, camping and RVing tips and info, recipes, and much more!  We hope you’ll join the conversation!

We hope that you’ll come see what’s behind the yellow sign at Meadville KOA this summer, bring the family and spend your vacation enjoying a campground where modern convenience meets nature! 

Until we see you, we wish you safe and happy kamping, where ever your travels take you!     

By Robyn Chilson

Tim & Robyn Chilson, CPOs, who own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA. Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

What's Behind the Yellow Sign at Meadville KOA?

We love it when our campers come to us and tell us what a nice campground we have.  We read our NPS scores and customer comments, and work hard to keep making positive impacts on our campers camping experiences.  To us, that is the bottom line.  Our very favorite awards, are those that we receive from our camping customers.  So we decided that we should share with our readers, what our campers say makes Meadville KOA Campground one of their favorite places to camp!  

Cleanliness:  We love to hear it, and it is okay with us if our campers tell us that in every guest review.  We never get tired of hearing it!  It means our staff is doing it the right way!  We hear that our campfire rings are clean, that the restrooms and cabins are clean, that our campsites are clean and litter free.  That is what we strive for and we thank you for noticing!

Family Environment: We’re a family campground.  So we enforce a family atmosphere.  We enforce quiet hours (11pm-8am), etc.  So if you’re looking for a quiet, family campground to bring your family to, then our campground is right for you.

Spacious Campsites:  So many times we’ve heard that our campsites are more spacious than most other campgrounds.  It provides families some room to spread out, some privacy, and reduces noise issues with neighboring campsites.    

Themed Weekends with Planned Activities:  Each weekend, we have a weekend theme with planned activities, including free crafts for kids.  If you haven’t experienced fun, family activities, come try us out!  We have one weekend each month themed for entertaining younger children.  It always includes our Kiddie Train Ride!  Make sure if you have young children, that you visit on one of those weekends!  But that’s not all, we have special events for teens, and of course adults too.  We’re all kids at heart, right?  And if it’s rainy, we have moves in the Rec. Hall and provide free popcorn. 

Our Fun Family Wrist Band Program: Our Rental Wrist Band Program will keep the tweens and teens busy for the whole weekend!  We do a one low price provides unlimited rides on the paddle boats, pedal karts, mini golf games, and they can jump on the jumping pillow the whole hour it’s open twice on Saturday & on Sunday morning!  Our campers love that plan, because the teens and tweens aren’t constantly asking for money, and they are off having lots of fun! 

Free Wi-Fi:  Many campgrounds charge a fee for their Wi-Fi, or restrict how long you can be on it before paying for it.  We don’t do that.  We include it in our camping rates.  Because we feel that it should be available to everyone.  We do however, restrict band width so that everyone can use it to check Facebook, tweet, or email.  That means that it won’t allow you to stream movies, and it isn’t compatible with Netflix or HBO On the Go.

Free Recreation!  Our campers love our catch and release fishing.  We post your biggest fish, or your first fish you ever caught at Meadville KOA on our website if you send us your photo!  But that’s not all…  you can relax by the pool, wade in the creek, explore our hiking trail, catch some butterflies or fireflies, enjoy our playgrounds, sand box diggers, baby swings, throw a game of horseshoes, shoot some hoops, play a game of volleyball, kick the soccer ball around, or get a pickup game of whiffleball started!  We have all the equipment you need!  You just sign it out and back in at the office when you’re done playing.  Oh, and if it’s rainy, we have free DVDs you can borrow to watch!        

Campfires:  Campers love their campfires!  And of course, we sell firewood.  But that’s not all!  We have campfire cooking supplies from cast iron fry pans and Dutch Ovens to pie irons!  We have color crystals to add to your campfire to wow the kids with all the colors of the rainbow.  And of course, nothing beats enjoying a campfire with good friends, good food, and star gazing…

We were among 156 of the 485 KOA Campgrounds who achieved the President’s Award at the end of 2013.  We thank you again for your great reviews and for helping us to reach that goal again for our 3rd year in a row!   

In 2014, we’re hoping to reach even higher heights.  We continue to try to make improvements to our park to provide you the very best camping experience we can.  We thank you for sharing your comments and reviews with KOA, and hope you will continue to do so, as we continue to strive to make that experience better with each visit.

Please feel welcome to comment on this blog and tell us your favorite things about camping with us at Meadville KOA.  We love to hear from you.

We hope to see you again soon, and hope that you will continue to tell your friends about us at Meadville KOA Campground!  If you love to camp with us, please follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter where you’ll receive special offers, discounts, contests, info on RVing, and much more!     

Until we see you again, we hope you know that it always our pleasure to be able to serve your family, and we enjoy you sharing your camping experiences with us at Meadville KOA.  It is always our hope that Meadville KOA Campground is where your camping adventures start, and that you leave with memories that will last a lifetime.   

By Robyn Chilson
Tim & Robyn Chilson are CPOs, who own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA. Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.  

Friday, May 30, 2014

Affordable Vacations Despite High Gas Prices!

In May 2007, the gas prices were at about $3.23 per gallon.  This year, prices are at almost $1.00 more per gallon.  But even at a $1.00 more per gallon, what does that mean to your travel budget for camping?  If your tow vehicle or motor home gets 10 miles to a gallon of gas or diesel, and you take a 50 mile trip, your total trip cost increase will be only $10.00 more!  If your tow vehicle gets better mileage, your cost increases will be even less!  

High gasoline prices historically cause Americans to make modifications to their travel plans but generally won’t cause them to cancel. So, here are some tips on how to still have a great summer and not let the price of gas ruin your vacation. 

Cook & eat at the campsite or RV!  Cooking over the fire is a favorite of campers and RV’ers, but even if cooking on the fire isn’t your thing, cooking and eating at your RV will help you save enough money on your vacation to pay for the gas price increase and allow you to afford the same vacation you took last year. 

Stay in a Cabin!  Not owning an RV isn’t the end of your camping experiences especially if tent camping is out of the question for you.  Most campgrounds have cabins that provide non-RV owners a fun camping experience at a very affordable rate.  The cabins are about the price of a hotel stay, but they have a wide range of amenities.  Camping cabins can be very basic (just beds and a table); kitchenette cabins provide the ability to cook indoors; and deluxe full service cabins have multiple rooms, kitchens, and bathroom facilities.  You can drive the vehicle that gets the best mileage, cook at the campground over the campfire to save money on meals, and enjoy a fun and affordable vacation with your family.    

Take only one vehicle to the campground or on vacation!  Coordinate schedules and carpool!  It saves you gas and reduces consumption!  Reducing consumption makes the price go down.  If everyone would lower consumption, our high fuel prices would come down.

Stay Closer to Home.  Rethinking your vacation location may pay back big dividends!  Save the cost of travel fuel by RVing and camping closer to home.  Not only do you save money on gas and wear and tear on your RV but you also spend less time traveling and more time having fun with your family!

Stay Longer once you get there.  Instead of making four, 2-day camping trips with the RV this summer, make three (3), 3-day stays.  You get an extra day of camping in, and the travel expense for only 3 trips!  It saves you money on the gas and again uses less gas, but that’s not all many campgrounds offer lower prices during the week.  So not only do you save with less travel but you also save on the stay costs too!

Become a Seasonal for the summer at your favorite campground!  To really save money on fuel and get the maximum use of your RV this summer, why not park the RV for the whole summer?  It’s a great way to think locally and act globally, and it’s a great way for your family to enjoy camping every weekend at the most affordable rate.  It maximizes your family’s enjoyment and minimizes the cost.  Most families can camp for the whole summer for less then a one-week vacation at Disney or at the seashore!

You don’t have to spend all that money on fuel to still enjoy a great vacation!  You can plan a great vacation by utilizing any one or more of these tips!  And, there are so many fun things to do and see right here in NW PA, you don’t have to go a long way to get away!

By Robyn S. Chilson

Robyn & Tim Chilson, CPO, Own and Operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA.  You can contact her at 814-789-3251.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Comparing Seasonal Camping!

  To decide where you want to camp Seasonally, you’ll want to compare the type of campground, location, camping rates, ratings, things to do in the surrounding area, events, activities, and amenities the campground provides, and more.  We’ll look at each of these items individually, highlight the differences, and look at why they’re important to consider when choosing the right campground for your family.
There is more to comparing Seasonal Camping at campgrounds than just rates.

What is Seasonal Camping?  Seasonal camping is best described as parking your RV at one campground for the entire summer (or year), versus traveling.  Why would people want to do that? Travelling, while fun, is a lot of work.  You have to pack and unpack, set-up, tear down, etc.  Parking your RV for the summer provides you almost a vacation home-like get away!  You set it up in a park, and then go to camp when your schedules permit.  It saves a lot of time, work, and wear and tear on you the camper, and on your tow vehicle.  You can also drive a more economical fuel vehicle back and forth to camp, thus saving money on fuel.  And of course, Seasonal Campers pay a flat fee for the whole summer.  They get a greatly discounted rate over the weekend rate.  In other words, it allows you to maximize the use of your RV, while minimizing the costs.  Basically, it provides you the equivalent of a summer vacation home.   

Campgrounds differ greatly in the kinds of campers they serve.  Campgrounds can be primarily travel parks where travelers stop in, stay a day or two, and then continue their travels towards their destination.  They are usually located near a major highway (or intersecting highways).  There are also tourism/recreation destination parks that cater to people in the area for another reason, usually for a large amusement park, or a high tourism or recreation area (near a beach, lake, state or national park, etc.).  And then there are destination campgrounds, where people camp to attend the events, activities, and utilize the amenities that are specific to that particular campground.  Because campgrounds serve different types of campers, as you might expect, they also vary in what they have to offer in the areas of facilities, activities, events, and amenities.  Some are family campgrounds, some cater more to partying, and some are adult only parks.  These are not hard and fast rules, either, of course.  Our KOA is primarily a destination family campground, but we receive travelers too, and we have lots of couples without children who camp with us.  And many times, our campers attend local fairs, concerts, amusement parks, and more.  So while a campground may consider themselves primarily in one of these categories, they certainly can fall into all of these categories.

Seasonal Camping Programs Vary.  Some campgrounds sell the site, and campers become part owners in the park and then they pay a maintenance fee (much like a HOV fee), for their seasonal services.  There are good points and bad points to owning a campsite.  Many times, it is very involved, and when you are ready to leave, you then have to sell your lot and RV which can take a lot of time.  Often they are run by an owners association, which may or may not have people on the board who know anything about running a campground.  And, by the time you purchase, pay for insurances and yearly fees, you could have camped seasonally for many years without all the additional liability, costs, and other issues.   

Location, Location, Location!  When choosing a campground for Seasonal Camping, you want one with a close enough commute that you can maximize the use of your RV, but minimize your travel and time commitment.  That said, it is well worth your money and time to travel a little further to get you to that higher rated campground, that serves your camping needs better than to camp at a not as nice park, that your kids are bored at.  The difference between those two are as different as day and night, and may make all the difference between a happy family and a very unhappy family. 

Are There Additional Charges for Facilities, Amenities, Activities, and Events.  Many campgrounds offer children’s crafts, events, activities, or rental amenities.  These items often have additional costs associated with them.  So the campground that charges less per season for the campsite, may sound more economical than a campground charging more for the campsite, until you look at all of the ancillary charges.  Some campgrounds charge for 2 adults and extra for each child, some (like us) it’s a family of 4, some limit your camping to just weekends, and some (like us) have unlimited camping.  You have to ask a lot of questions when pricing for a Seasonal Campsite, and not just how much the site is. 

Questions You May Want To Ask:  Who does the mowing?  What does it cost to have the campground mow it?  If they don’t, when can you mow?  Do you need a shed to store the mower in or are you going to haul your mower back and forth?  What are their visitor’s fees?  Do they allow other people on your camping agreement?  What are the charges for those?  Do they offer 50 amp electrical service?  Are their sites spacious?  What recreation do they offer?  Is there a charge for the recreation?  What rental amenities do they have to keep the kids busy?  Is there a charge for those?  Do they offer Wi-Fi?  Is there a fee for it?  Do they offer cable TV?  Is there a fee for it?  Do they offer meals?  What do they cost?  Do they allow golf carts?  What are the rules?  When is quiet hours?  Are they enforced?  Do they offer onsite winter storage?  What’s the charge for that?  How does their payment plan work?  Do they charge interest? 

So make sure you add all of those individual charges that aren’t included, to look at them versus a campground where they are included, to see which one is really the most affordable.  You need to know the real bottom line total before signing on the dotted line!          

Check campground ratings before you become a Seasonal Camper.  If they aren’t rated well by their overnight guests and campground directories, chances are, you aren’t going to have the family experience you seek.  Make sure that the place you choose to spend your summer serves their campers well.  When you look at campground ratings, you’ll know where you’ll want to be, and where you won’t want to be.  Just don’t underestimate their importance!    

As you can see, there are probably more variables involved than you originally thought.  Choosing the right campground to camp for the season is important.  Don’t short change your seasonal camping experience by picking a campground without fully investigating what it has to offer and what it’s really going to cost you to camp there.  The old saying of “the devil is in the details,” says it all.  So make sure you ask the right questions and know exactly what your camping will really cost you, before you sign a seasonal camping agreement! 

You can check out our Seasonal Camping Sites that are available for 2014 at http://www.meadvillekoa.com/seasonal-camping/.  As always, we hope that you come see us at Meadville KOA Campground and allow us to show you what we can provide your family!    

By Robyn Chilson
Tim & Robyn Chilson are Certified Park Operators who own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA. Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.