Saturday, December 28, 2013

It’s RV Show Season!

RV Shows are a great place to begin your search for local reputable RV dealers.  RV Shows in this area are scheduled for January & February when dealerships are slower. 

RV Shows provide you the opportunity to see newest models and talk to dealerships that you may not have heard of, and reduce your expenses and time by not having to drive to different dealerships.  As a customer you can see and compare prices, brands, layouts, and more with one stop shopping.  However, there is always a huge range of quality & prices.  So when comparing units, make sure you’re comparing the prices of like models of differing brands.  One RV may look like another one, but you need to compare the options, construction, equipment, and features they both have to offer. See who offers the best deal but remember if the dealer isn’t reputable or isn’t equipped to work on the RV, or is located too far away to conveniently return the RV for service, your purchase may not turn out to be the best deal.  Don’t be afraid to talk with other RVers at the show. Many of these people have years of RV experience and knowledge of different products and dealerships.  Most will be honest and tell you when and where they’ve gotten the best deals & service.        

Buying an RV from a local reputable dealer insures you the best possible service, convenience, and shortest distance to travel for maintenance, repairs, & warranty work.  It is always a good idea to visit the dealership’s physical location before you buy, check out their service department, service hours, etc.  In addition, many RV dealers offer show discounts and sometimes manufacturer rebates are available.  So not only do you save money with the one stop shopping, but there are huge savings in the purchase prices!  Show specials also sometimes include discounts or coupons from campgrounds.  So, your new RV sometimes comes with savings to use it, too!

For more information about local RV Dealers who have partnered with campgrounds in Western PA who offer $500.00 in free Camping and a chance to win another $500 of free camping with the purchase of a new RV in a Very Special Camper (VSC) Contest, visit our website at:

RV shows aren’t just for RV dealers to showcase new and used RVs.  RV shows offer a wealth of information on the whole RVing industry.  Most campgrounds & RV resorts are slow or closed for the winter.  RV shows allow campgrounds to showcase new activities, special events, new amenities & extended stay (aka seasonal camping) availability to potential campers.  Make sure you stop by their booths and find new places to explore and exciting things to do with your family this summer!   

You can also find information for aftermarket RV products, RV accessories, RVing insurance, Camping or RVing Clubs, Discount Clubs, pick up brochures, camping directories for your state, or the KOA directory for the whole USA and Canada, and more! 

Even if you don’t intend to by an RV, you can learn about cabin camping!  Many people think of camping as ‘roughing it” with a tent, the ground, the rain, and a less than pleasurable “vacation”.  This is no longer the case.  For the price of a motel room, most campgrounds are now supplying cabins.  Prices vary by campground and the amenities offered.  Camping cabins are generally the least expensive.  They are generally one room with beds and a table.  Cottage Cabins may offer kitchenettes, or a few more amenities, and camping lodges are deluxe facilities with full kitchens and bathrooms.  So, there is no need to own an RV!  You can enjoy the luxury of RVing with a camping vacation in a cabin and not miss any of the campground recreation programs and planned activities! 

Why not pack up the family for a fun winter-day activity and attend one of the local RV shows in your area.  Invite a friend to come along, and enjoy a day of looking forward to a summer camping season filled with friends & fun at these RV Shows: 

Ohio RV Super Show, January 8-12, at the I-X Center, Cleveland, OH.  Show Hours: Wed. – Fri. 1 pm to 10 pm, Sat. 10 am to 10 pm, and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm.  Ticket Pricing: Admission is $12.50/person.  Two Day pass $20.00.  Children 12 & under are free.  Parking is $8.00.  Discount coupons for admission are available on their website at:!

Pittsburgh RV Show January 11 - 19  At David Lawrence Convention

Center, Pittsburgh, PA!  Show Hours: Saturdays: 10 am - 9 pm, Sundays: 10 am - 5 pm, Monday through Friday: 5 pm - 9 pm.  Ticket Pricing: $10.00 for Adults, $9.00 Senior (55+), $5.00 Children 6-16.  One dollar off Discount Coupons are available online at:! 

Erie RV Show Feb 6-9 At the Bayfront Convention Center, Erie, PA!  Show Hours: Thursday 2 pm to 8 pm, Friday Noon to 8 pm, Saturday 10 am to 7pm, and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm.  General Admission: Adults $5.00, Children 10 & Under Free, and FREE PARKING!  More info online at:

We invite you to attend any and all of these RV Shows!  Stop by the KOA Kampgrounds booth and tell us hello, and that you received your invitation from Meadville KOA Campground’s blog!  We hope to see you there!    

By Robyn Chilson

Tim & Robyn Chilson own and operate Meadville KOA Campground.  Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.  Kampgrounds of America, is now the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public family campgrounds. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

There’s an App For KOA!

Yes, there’s an app for that!  Check out the KOA Press release below! 

KOA News Service – AUSTIN, TEXAS (November 21, 2013) – Kampgrounds of America has a new mobile device application (app) now available that will change the way campers plan their trips. The app was unveiled during KOA’s annual International Convention in Austin, Texas by Marketing Vice President Toby Hedges.

The new KOA Camping App is now available for download free for all mobile devices at both the Apple App Store and Google Play. The KOA Camping App allows campers to quickly use filters to search through KOA’s 486-campground system in North America, research different locations, make reservations and complete their transactions, all from their smart phones or other mobile devices.

The KOA Camping App also integrates with popular online navigation systems to provide hassle free directions from the camper’s current location to their favorite KOA.

App users will receive instant notifications to keep them up to date on the latest special offers from KOA, and KOA Value Kard Rewards members will be able to store and view their program information using the app.

The KOA Camping App is the perfect travel companion, since campground information and driving directions will also work when the user’s device is off line. Campers can even mark their favorite KOAs for later access, and receive emergency alerts to keep abreast of road closures, approaching storms or other emergencies – all directly from KOA campgrounds where they have reservations.

The KOA Camping App is available for download TODAY at the Apple App Store and Google Play sites. For more information or to view a special video on the KOA Camping App, go to

Campers can now search for KOA Campgrounds, research different locations in the area, make reservations, complete their transactions, and get directions to the KOA of their choice all through their mobile device!  RVing at KOA Kampgrounds across America has never been so easy!  It’s pretty cool!  We hope you’ll check that out and add it to the list of camping and RVing apps that you have to have!

Speaking of things you have to have, we hope that you’re both asking for and giving camping related items this holiday season!  Don’t forget that you can purchase KOA Gift Certificates at and  you can get PaCamping gift certificates at:

When you’re sitting around the holiday tables this year, it’s a great time to make plans with your family and friends for your camping vacations and weekend get-aways!  So, don’t forget to make those camping vacation plans this holiday season, and as always, we hope your plans include Meadville KOA Campground!  Don’t forget to book early so you get your desired campsite on the dates you want to camp!

And, until we see you next spring, or this winter at the RV Shows, we want to wish you and your family from us and our family, the very happiest of holidays and a Very, Merry Christmas!

By Robyn Chilson

Tim & Robyn Chilson own and operate Meadville KOA Campground, A President's award-winning KOA Kampground since 2011.  Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.  Kampgrounds of America, is now the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public family campgrounds.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Seasonal Camping – Why It’s The Right Choice For Your Family!

As summer gives way to autumn, most campers’ thoughts turn to thoughts of leaf peeping and then the chore of winterizing their RV’s to place them in storage for the long, cold non-camping season ahead. 

Instead, turn your thoughts to next summer, and begin planning your family’s vacation and recreation time!  Here are some reasons why seasonal camping may make good sense for your family and some tips on how to shop for and compare seasonal camping sites!

There is convenience!  Camping is a lot of fun for the whole family, but let’s face it, there’s work involved too.  You have to pack, hook-up, tow, unhook, set up camp, tear down camp, hook-up, tow, unhook, and unpack.  Seasonal camper campers don’t have to do all that.   You get to spend a lot more time camping and enjoying your family and a whole lot less time working! 

Save money!  Recent studies have documented that camping is the least expensive way to vacation with your family.  Take that thinking one step further and you will see why seasonal camping is the least expensive way to vacation with your family all summer long!  A seasonal campsite costs less then one week long vacation at a resort.  So why not enjoy your RV every weekend, all summer long, for less than the price of one vacation?  Now that’s being a thrifty shopper!  Don’t forget that if you have a week (or two) that you can vacation, that spending it at your seasonal campsite makes a great deal of sense!

Shorter Commute!  Towing creates wear and tear on your RV, your tow vehicle, and on you, the driver!  There are also fuel and maintenance costs associated with weekend travel.  So unless your family is determined to try a new place each weekend, why not camp at your favorite campground for the whole summer?  The money you save in wear and tear, and by not towing will more than offset your extra expenditures on gas to get you back and forth each weekend! 

The Price is right!  When you compare unlimited camping rates to overnight camping, the discount you get by being a seasonal camper is huge!  Most campgrounds provide similar services and activities, but ask about extras!  Some campgrounds provide all inclusive seasonal rates (like Meadville KOA) and some do not.  Make sure you know exactly what your expenses will be before you sign that Seasonal Camping Agreement!   When you do the math, you’ll find that the price is right!    

Think Location, Location, Location, versus price.  The more centrally located a campground is to a large metropolitan area, the more likely their rates will be higher.  A little longer commute may provide you even bigger savings in a lower seasonal camping rates! 

What park type fits your family’s needs?  That means that if you’re looking for a family campground, make sure the place you’re becoming a seasonal isn’t a party haven!  Can you count on them to provide fun, family oriented activities for the entire family?  Are there fun things to do that will keep the kids or grandkids busy and having fun?  Does your prospective campground provide them at no additional cost or are there extra fees?  Again, make sure you know those details.

Right now is the perfect time to select a site!  Most campgrounds have a few openings for next season in the fall, so it’s the perfect time to shop for a campsite!  Many have winter payment plans, and some may even include onsite winter storage (Think Meadville KOA again)!  If you normally pay for a storage facility, that’ll save you even more money!   

Save more by getting an early bird discount!  You can save even more money by  paying for your campsite early.  Many campgrounds provide discounts or rebates for those who pay for their campsite early!  Again, ask those questions, because the answer can save you money! 

Meet new people!  Seasonal campers are like a small community.  They become friends, hang out, play cards or yard games, have group campfires, their children become friends, and much more!  Many volunteer to help with activities and events and bring lots of fun to their camping environment in a family-friendly way!  What a great way to meet new people and make new friends!    

Make the right choice!  The closer you camp to where you live the better it is!  That is how you’ll get the most use out of your RV!  But remember, the experience isn’t just something, it’s everything!  It’s much better to drive a little further for that higher rating, those award-winning activities, or those special friends you love to camp with!  Don’t sacrifice quality for closer. 

Seasonal camping maximizes your summer vacation time and use of your RV while minimizing your expenses!  It can provide your family a summer full of fun, family oriented camping experiences for about the same price as one vacation!  Make sure you take a little time to consider that idea, and how it can help your family get the biggest bang for your buck next summer!  Then, we hope you’ll start looking at local campgrounds and thinking about becoming a seasonal camper!  It’s not too late to move onto a site this fall!  Campground owners are looking forward to talking with you and showing you all the fun events and activities we’re already planning for next summer! 

By Robyn Chilson

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

Friday, July 26, 2013

Camping Courtesy and Etiquette – Some things you should know before you camp!

Whenever camping, it’s important to remember that all campers want their own camping space to be “theirs” for whatever period of time they are occupying it.  So there are some common courtesies that we should all follow to make everyone’s camping experience the very best it can be!  Here are a few examples to consider:

Follow the pet policies.  Whatever the campground’s pet policy is, make sure you know it and follow it (and state apply, too!) if you’re taking your pet camping.  If you’re a pet owner, this is important because you want your favorite campground to remain pet-friendly.  No one wants to be next to a dog that barks continuously.  So, make sure your family’s 4-legged member doesn’t become “that dog” and minimize their barking.  Never tether your pet to trees, picnic tables, fences, or campground buildings.  Always (even in dog walk areas) clean up after your pet 100% of the time, pets should always be leashed (unless in a doggie park area).  If the campground has a doggie park, follow the posted rules. And last, but certainly not least, if your pet is not well socialized either with people or other animals, leave them at home.  Take them to a kennel or hire a dog sitter.  A campground is no place for an aggressive pet, period.  Always carry a copy of the dog’s shot records with you so that if there ever is an incident, you’ll have them.  

Don’t encroach on other people’s campsites.  Typically, an RV or electric and water tenting site, are from electric box to electric box.  But if you’re not sure of your “boundaries” ask.  And teach your kids that these invisible boundaries should be respected.  Make sure the children don’t “cut through” someone else’s campsite on the way to the rest rooms and shower house.  Make sure your dog isn’t tethered where it’s on someone else’s campsite, and/or worse yet, doing its’ business there.  And remember, if you’re in close proximity to others, loud music is also an encroachment.  You may not have the same taste in music as your neighbor.  So if they are country music lovers, and you’re a heavy metal fan, and you’re both playing music, no one is going to have a good camping experience.  The best policy is that if you can hear it at your neighbor’s campsite, it’s too loud. 

Follow the campground’s visitor, guests, vehicle registration and parking policies.  Many people don’t understand why campgrounds limit the number of visitors or people per campsite, nor the number of vehicles per campsite.  Too many vehicles per campsite create a safety hazard for the wagon ride, kids on bicycles, kid’s running into the campground street from between cars, etc.  In addition, they make getting emergency vehicles through the campground to a campsite where its’ needed, impossible.  And third, too many visitors or too many vehicles encroach on your camping neighbor’s access to his or her site and create a noise encroachment. 

Remember, 12 people on a campsite, by default, are going to be noisier than 4.  Your neighbor may have come to this campground to get away from his neighbor at home who is constantly throwing pool parties.  And put yourself in his shoes for minute, because if the roles were reversed, you’d most likely be an unhappy camper too.  If you’re expecting a lot of guests, make arrangements for that in advance with the campground.  Most will work with you to create a great party for your family at a pavilion or other community area which will keep your group from bothering the neighbors.  This provides a great camping experience for your party and your camping neighbors too, so everyone wins.    

Follow the Policies that are there for your safety!  Believe it or not, thousands of children are injured each year in accidents.  That is why most campgrounds have policies about playgrounds closing at dusk, bicycle riding ending at dusk, bicycle riders being required to wear helmets, speed limits, no jumping or diving in the swimming pool, no fireworks, no leaving campfires unattended, life jackets being required to paddle boat, and more.  Many are dictated by state or local laws, and some are dictated by our liability insurance companies because they are statistically a higher risk activity, and are for your protection.  While campground owners are in the business of providing fun recreation, they have to do so in a way that keeps their campers safe.  So help them out by being a shining example.  Follow the posted rules, and be the kind of camper who enforces those rules with your children, too.  Don’t make the campground owner the bad guy for enforcing the rules.  He or his employees are just trying to keep the kids safe and run a fun and clean campground for your family to enjoy.  Campgrounds are never trying to discourage fun, but there is nothing wrong with kids learning to have fun responsibly!  It’s a great life lesson they will carry with them for years to come.    

Leave the campsite and the animals the way you found them, or better.  You should never leave garbage behind at your campsite, or place non-burnable items in the fire ring.  Teach your kids not to litter and that leaving litter behind endangers the animals.  Speaking of animals, no matter where you camp, you should never mess with wild animals.  The mother’s will sometimes abandon their babies if you’ve touched them, and they carry your scent.  And, you’ll create a problem if you think it’s cute to start feeding them, or dumping bacon grease in nearby wood lots versus properly disposing of it in a sealed bottle or can and the placing it in the dumpster or garbage cans.  Teach your children to never take food into a tent with them, or leave it sitting out in the campsite over night.  You’re just asking for furry visitors who will endanger your family. Raccoons, skunks, opossums, and such can carry rabies and other diseases that require painful treatment.  Bears who learn that they can score an easy meal at a campsite will return and become ever more brazen until they become a danger to campers.  When animals become a nuisance, they are often disposed of or trapped and relocated by the game commission, which isn’t fair to that animal.  Please remember, it us who is encroaching on their territory.  We should do so respectfully – by leaving our campsites as clean or cleaner than the way we found it, and by not enticing the animals with food.       

In the end, the very best policy to follow is the old adage to “do unto others as you’d have done to you”.  Place yourself in your neighbor’s shoes, and ask yourself, “would this bother me?” You may find that you’re encroaching or ignoring important safety or courtesy policies that you shouldn’t be.  If everyone would make that extra little effort, then everyone would have a much better camping experience!             

By Robyn Chilson
Tim & Robyn Chilson, own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA.  You can contact Robyn at


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why Are Visitor Fees Charged At Private Campgrounds & RV Parks?

No matter which campground that campers choose to stay at, chances are they will have friends or family living in the area who wish to visit them.  When guests arrive at the campground, they are often charged a visitation fee.

The campground’s facilities can only handle so many people at a time.  It isn’t that campground owners don’t want visitors.  On the contrary, we love you to invite people to come visit.  We love to have people see our parks.  We take great pride in them.  However, additional people place an extra burden on the facilities.  There are the obvious additional expenses of toilet tissue, paper towels, cleaning supplies, attendant’s labor, garbage bags, and more.  The prices of these supplies have sky rocketed with increased petroleum prices. 

Popular, private campgrounds receive hundreds of visitors a month, which can translate into thousands of visitors a season, which translates into huge extra expenses for the campground.  The less obvious long-term expense is that expanding facilities is a huge investment these days and in order to maintain the facilities a campground has, they have to stay within the capacity boundaries for which their water and sewage systems were designed.  Water system quality, pool samples, and sewage testing are required by the state to the tune of thousands of dollars a season.  All for good reason, as they are designed to keep the public’s drinking water, swimming facilities, and ground water safe.  However, when extra burdens are cast upon those facilities, the costs to maintain and operate them increase as well.  If the testing of those systems is that expensive, imagine the increased operating expenses for them as well. 
In addition, the visitor rates aren’t normally set on the person who uses the facilities the least, but on the average cost of the visitors to the campground or RV park.  The campground owner assumes that your family will participate in activities and events, enjoy the entertainment provided, and or utilize the swimming pool, and other facilities and amenities.  These business owners know that their visitor rates go up dramatically on holiday and special event weekends.  The numbers of visitors increase because we have special activities and events; have better entertainers or entertainment and more things to do. 
Parking extra vehicles is another issue.  In most campgrounds, real estate is a premium.  So, too many cars per campsite quickly become a congestion and safety issue.  Most campgrounds limit the number of vehicles per campsite to one or two for safety reasons and rescue vehicle access.  Therefore, the campground needs to provide extra visitor parking areas to relieve that congestion and ensure access for emergency vehicles.  That means that there is a clerk that has to assign the visitors tags, provide access to the park, a campsite map to help the visitor to find the folks they desire to visit, and finally directions on where they are to park.  All of these materials and the employee’s time is an additional increase to the cost of operations to the business.  
Increased visitors increase a campground’s liability insurance costs.  The rates for a campground’s liability insurance are based on the risk assessment and the number of people who occupy a campground during a season.  The higher the number of occupants in the RV Park or campground, the risk increases accordingly.  In addition, some insurance carriers argue that visitors are more likely to be injured because they are unfamiliar with their surroundings, may not be aware of all the rules or safety policies at campgrounds, and are less likely to be dressed appropriately for the camping or outdoor experience.  All of these things place the visitor at an increased risk for an injury. 
Remember that privately owned and operated campgrounds aren’t subsidized by tax dollars like federal, state, and county parks.  Even at most of those campgrounds, there is an entrance fee, and then camping fees on top of it.  
Read the back of your visitor's tag!  Many campgrounds, Including Meadville KOA, offer a full refund if you're only there a short time (less than an hour).  You jut take the time-stamped tag back to the office and they'll refund your visitation fee if you were there in less than that amount of time.
Visitor’s fees, as you can see, are necessary.  There are additional costs associated with visitors.  It isn’t fair to pass those costs on to all the campers.  That is why most campground owners believe that the people receiving those services (i.e. the visitor) should pay for the services rendered. 
So the next time you hear someone complaining about a visitor’s fee, or worse yet encouraging another person to cheat or to avoid paying a visitors fee, remember that it is you, the RVer or camper, who will ultimately pay for that visit.  At the end of the business year, when the numbers come in, and that owner looks at the bottom line from that camping season, the campground owner will have to set their rates for the next season to offset their losses.  In other words, they’ll have to raise the campsite prices accordingly to pay for those extra supplies, extra tests, extra labor and extra maintenance.  So when visitors cheat, they aren’t cheating just the campground owner.  In the end, they are cheating the American consumer, and in this case, that is you, the camper. 

By Robyn Chilson

Tim & Robyn Chilson, own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA.  You can contact Robyn at

Monday, June 17, 2013

Benefit Blind Auction & Themed Basket Raffle!

On June 22 at 7:00, we will be hosting a Blind Auction and Themed Basket Raffle to benefit one of our camping families who were badly burned during a freak accident. 

The Fricks are a Seasonal camping Family who were life-flighted to the West Penn burn unit, where Diana underwent multiple skin graft surgeries for her burns.  Joe was injured too while trying to extinguish the flames on his wife. 

This benefit is the work of their Seasonal camping family and friends at Meadville KOA.  All of the blind auction items and themed baskets were donations from friends, fellow campers, and local businesses.  All proceeds (100%!) will go to the Frick family to help offset their expenses during their time of need.

The Blind Auction is held by placing new items in brown paper bags!  To add some fun and creativity to this event, we've asked the campers to provide a hint for the bidders.  This fun and crazy event will include items for kids to bid on!  So come join the fun!

Then, immediately following the blind auction, we'll have a "Themed Basket Raffle".  We'll be selling raffle tickets for $2.00 each, 3 for $5.00, or an arm's length for $10.00.  You can "bid" on the basket or baskets of your choosing by dropping one of the raffle tickets you purchased, into the container marked for that basket.  If your ticket is drawn, then you'll be the lucky winner of that basket! 

We hope, if you know the Fricks, or are friends or campers at Meadville KOA, that's you'll come join us this weekend for a weekend of fun and fellowship as we enjoy "Death By Chocolate Weekend" and this fun-filled family event of the blind auction and themed basket raffle!  We thank you for camping with us, and as always, we thank you for your generosity for our friends in need!  THANK YOU!

By Robyn Chilson
Tim & Robyn Chilson Own and Operate Meadville KOA.  You can contact Robyn at 814-789-3251. 


Monday, June 3, 2013

There’s a Lot Happening in June at Meadville KOA!

June is a great month to celebrate graduations and dads!  So while you’re celebrating graduates and dad’s this month, look at all the summer fun your family can have at our weekend themed events with planned activities when camping!

June 1 – 6th Annual Car Show Weekend! Save $10.00/night on your camping if you cruise-in to our Car Show with your classic, hot rod, truck, or sport compact and compete to win a trophy! We’ll have door prizes, trophies & more!

June 8 – Wizard’s Weekend! Come join us for a mystical weekend filled with activities like make your own wizard’s hat and wand (free crafts!), fill your cauldron scavenger hunt (prizes by age), a wizard’s magic show by Devin Knight in the evening! All aboard! The Brookdale Express will be running for all children under 48” tall!

June 15 - Father's Day Weekend! (VKR Kids camp free!) It’s time for the Brookdale 500 Mini Auto Race (for guys only, Ages 16 thru adult!) Race a stock, 2 oz. or under Matchbox type car). Father & child (under 13) bean Bag tourney! We'll have Smith’s hotdogs & a potluck picnic dinner for dad! Bring a tureen side dish or dessert to share at our Father’s Day picnic pot luck dinner! The Thurston Classic Hot Air Balloon Festival!

June 22 – Death By Chocolate Weekend! You're going to think you've died and gone to heaven! We'll have candy bar BINGO (7 games on one, full-size candy bar!), a free ice cream sundae social made with Marcie’s homemade, hand-dipped ice cream with all the fixings, and an after-dark flashlight chocolate hunt! It’s heavenly! But that’s not all, we’re having a fundraiser blind auction and themed basket raffle. All proceeds benefit a camping family that were burn victims!

June 29 – BINGO, BINGO, BINGO Weekend! We'll have candy bar BINGO for kids (7 games on one full-size candy bar!), family BINGO for everyone, and adults BINGO (with bigger payouts!). We have specials at every game, door prizes, and much more! If you love BINGO, you’ll love this weekend!

And that’s not all! We also have a Facebook Photo Contest Going on! You can find details about it at!

No RV?  It's no problem!  We have cabin rentals too!  From camping cabins to deluxe cabins, we have the perfect fit for your family!  So become a fan, submit your photos, and join the fun! It’s gonna be a great month to celebrate graduates and dads at Meadville KOA!  

By Robyn Chilson

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

Thursday, May 23, 2013

KOA Summer Camping Season Off to a Fast Start

BILLINGS, MT (May 23, 2013) – Summer camping at the 485 Kampgrounds of America locations around North America is off to a fast start, according to numbers released this week by KOA, the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds.

KOA’s advanced registrations for the Memorial Day Weekend are up more than 4 percent over the same period in 2012. Advanced reservations for the entire summer peak season (Memorial Day to Labor Day) are even stronger, showing an increase of 8 percent for that period compared to 2012.

“The 12-day period surrounding the Fourth of July holiday is actually up more than 14 percent over that same period in 2012,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier. “All indicators show a strong summer camping season on the way.”

According to a recent survey by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), an estimated 14 million Americans will enjoy the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend in an RV. The survey also said 71 percent of RV owners intend to use their recreational vehicles more this summer than they did last year, and an additional 21 percent intend to use their RVs at least as much as they did in 2012. Only 5 percent reported that they intend to decrease their camping.

Kampgrounds of America officially launched its summer camping season with its 10th Annual KOA Care Camps Big Weekend May 10-11. More than 12,000 KOA camping families stayed more than 25,000 camping nights during the event. Campers who stayed as paying guests on Friday, May 10 received a free night of camping on Saturday, May 11. The event also serves as a major fundraiser for KOA Care Camps for children with cancer, a network of 55 specialized summer camps for children with cancer located throughout North America.

Kampgrounds of America is celebrating its 51st Anniversary in 2013. KOA, the world’s largest network of family-friendly campgrounds, was born on the banks of the Yellowstone River in Billings, Montana in 1962.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Travel Apps You Need To Know About!

  So, we thought it’d be fun to share some of our favorite travel Apps.  So here they are.  Try them, and use only the ones that you think make your travels easier or more fun!  And, if you know some that we didn’t mention here, email us and share it with us!
More and more people are traveling with and using smart phones.

First and foremost, we use our Gasbuddy ( to find the cheapest gas near where we are when traveling.  You can find regular, premium, and diesel fuel prices while on the road.  And remember, it’s only as good as the users, so if the prices aren’t posted, and you have the app, post the price while you’re filling up!

We also love IExit.  It’ll tell you what eateries are coming up.  This is especially important if you’re looking for a special place like DQ or Sonney’s Barb-B-Q!  So, if you haven’t tried it, please do!
Around Me and Maps are also great tools to help you get around and find your way!  You can use maps like a GPS, and Around me will help you find places you didn't know even existed! 

One of our favorite Apps is of course, the KOA Mobi ( site.  I can find and book any KOA Kampground in the USA and Canada right from my phone.  So, if you haven’t tried that, you’ll want that too.  Don’t forget to bookmark that site on your phone!  

Another great within PA is PA Camping (  If you camp in PA, it’s a must have in your toolbox!

And speaking of Tools, we use other apps too like GS Camping (Good Sam Camping) for your smart phone!  Then after you try a few, you’ll figure out what your personal standards are, and you’ll choose the campgrounds that best meet your families needs!

So, we hope you’ll find these tools useful, and we wish you Happy Kamping wherever your travels take you this summer!

By Robyn Chilson

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What You Need To Know About KOA!

The Kampgrounds of America (KOA) system has over 480 member campgrounds making it the largest and most recognized camping franchise in the world, with campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada.
When we joined KOA back in 2011, people congratulated us, because people familiar with the KOA system know KOA’s reputation as high quality franchise system.  It was a confirmation of the high quality standard that has always been Meadville KOA’s goal.  Many also know that it will bring even more visitors to other local businesses.  It’s like the “hotel chain” of campgrounds, if you will.

One of the most frequently asked questions is, “Do campers have to be members to camp at KOA Kampgrounds?”  The answer is no, you do not have to be a KOA member to camp at any KOA Kampground.   KOA Kampgrounds are open to the general public.    

KOA’s does offer a “Customer Loyalty Program”, known as the Value Kard Rewards (VKR) Program.  As a Value Kard Rewards member you receive a 10% discount with each stay at any of the 480 plus KOA Kampgrounds across America and Canada.  In addition to the discount, you also get reward points (much like a hotel points systems), which can be redeemed for additional discounts and free camping.  It costs only $24.00 yearly membership fee to become a VKR Member.  So as you can see, that’s a great deal if you’re planning to camp or RV at KOA Kampgrounds often.         

The KOA brand is the most recognized camping brand in the USA and Canada.  A Big Mac is a Big Mac, anywhere you go.  A KOA is a KOA.  It’s the same thing.  There’s a certain level of expectation there, and KOA meets it for their camping customers.  You are pretty much assured that you’re going to get a clean, well run campground, and the services that KOA requires, like Wireless Internet Services (known as Wi-Fi) for their camping customers.  All KOA’s have to provide Wi-Fi to their guests.  At some KOA’s there is an additional charge for that service and at some it’s included in the campsite fee (like at Meadville KOA). 

KOA Quality is recognized by our kampers.  KOA emails each camping customer after each stay at a KOA Kampground and asks them just two questions.  The first is, “How satisfied were you with your stay at this KOA Kampground?” and then, “How likely are you to recommend this KOA to others?”  They then take those ratings, based on the customer’s input, and turn them into a score.  The Net Promoter Score (NPS), is the basis on which KOA determines its President’s and Founder’s Quality Awards.  This system is the cornerstone to achieving customer satisfaction with campers across the country.  You can't be an award winning KOA Kampground without meeting KOA's Quality Standards and getting high marks from your campers. 

KOA made Kabins kool!  KOA was the first national camping franchise to add cabins.  They started out providing kamping kabins, to get those poor tent campers out of the elements.  That idea has now blossomed into 480 plus campgrounds across the USA and Canada who offer camping cabins, cottages, and deluxe cabin accommodations.  So now anyone can enjoy camping without having the expense and work of owning an RV. 

KOA website provides online, real-time reservations.  Kampers can make a reservation at any time of the day or night!  The other really significant thing about that is that when you include your email address on your reservation, you also get an immediate email confirmation.  You’ll know what your total costs were, what your deposit was, and what is due upon arrival.

The KOA website is the most utilized camping website in the country.  Not only can you make reservations, but you can plan your vacation route with the KOA Trip Planner, and you can sign up for the KOA Kompass – KOA’s Online Newsletter, to receive special offers, contests, camping recipes, RV maintenance tips, and more!  (  It’s a fun way to hear about camping!

KOA Sponsors Care Camps.  Care camps are special camps sponsored by the KOA organization to send critically ill children to enjoy the healing nature of camping.  We raise money each year for the kids.  And our KOA campers come and camp on those weekends that we designate to raise money, and they generously donate to help send sick kid to camps, complete with whatever medical care and staff needed.  We know what value there is in camping, and they choose to share it with sick children, who need it the most.  One child said, “At camp, they just let me be a kid!”  Doesn’t that say it all?

People camp at KOA for the love of camping!  KOA gets it.  They know that camping is about making memories with your families, whether that it is the goofy events and activities you laugh about for years, scary stories by the campfire, or eating s’mores.  Camping at KOA is about the camping experience. 

So when you’re thinking about camping, or taking your next RVing or camping vacation, give KOA a look, and see what it that they can do for you!  We think you’ll be glad you did.

We almost forgot to include that KOA is Social on Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest!  Which, by the way, we are too!  Come join the conversations with us at Meadville KOA!  We provide info about camping, RV Maintenance, local RV shows, our discounts and special offers, and much more! 

We look forward to talking with you!

By Robyn Chilson
Tim & Robyn Chilson Own and Operate Meadville KOA.  You can contact Robyn at 814-789-3251. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Meadville KOA Celebrating 35 Years of Fun!

Meadville KOA Campground is celebrating 35 years of serving camping families.  Located just seven miles east of Meadville on Route 27, this one-time fish hatchery and auction barn is now a highly rated, award-winning KOA Campground.

“We have multiple generations of campers camping with us,” said Meadville KOA owner Tim Chilson. “We’ve not only served them and their children, but we now have their grandchildren and great-grandchildren camping with us.  Our goal is to provide a fun and safe family camping environment where families make memories that last a lifetime.”

The Meadville KOA is offering multiple special discounts and vacation specials this summer to celebrate their 35th year of operation, as a thank you to their camping guests.  Those discounts can be found on their website at

“We’ve got some great discounts planned for the 2013 camping season as a thank you to the great camping families who’ve camped with us over these many years,” Chilson said.  “We’ve been very fortunate to meet and serve so many wonderful camping families over our 14 years of ownership.  It is truly our pleasure to serve them, and we’re honored that they rate our facilities and service so highly.  We’ve watched their children, and in some cases grandchildren grow up to become fine citizens and young adults.” 

The land was originally purchased from the Holland Land Company in 1893 by the McClemens family, who built a homestead and barn at the site in 1914, in an area known at that time as McClemen’s Flats.

In 1945, the Roae family purchased the property and turned the farm into an auction barn and built ponds for a fish hatchery, where they raised and sold flathead minnows for fishing in Pymatuning Lake. In 1978, they turned the auction barn and farm into Brookdale 1914 Campground, taking the name directly from the date on the old red barn and the brook that runs through the center of the property.

The barn served as the main building complex for the campground until it burned in 1984. The campers helped rebuild the main building, which now serves the campers and local community with a camping & mini-mart store, which is operated seasonally with the campground. The building also houses a recreation hall, game room, restrooms and showers, and a laundry facility for campers.

Brookdale Campground was purchased by Tim & Robyn Chilson in October of 1999 and renamed Brookdale Family Campground. Since their purchase, the Chilsons have added 10 new full-hook-up pull-thru 50 amp campsites for big rigs, free Wi-Fi to all the campsites, a new camping cabin, two new deluxe lake-front cabins, and additional rental recreation with an 18 hole mini golf, a jumping pillow, and pedal karts.

In 2011, Brookdale Family Campground was invited to join Kampgrounds of America as the Meadville KOA. KOA is the largest and most recognized camping franchise in the world with 488 member campgrounds throughout the U.S. and Canada. Meadville KOA was honored to achieve both a guest "A Rating" from Guest Reviews (, and the KOA President's Awards in 2011. They have won the KOA President's Award each year since joining the KOA family.

Tim and Robyn Chilson are Certified Park Operators by ARVC (The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds). They are members of ARVC and are graduates of the ARVC’s National School of RV Park and Campground Management.  They are members of the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association where Tim serves as the regional vice-president for Western PA, and they are members of KOA Owners Association.   

By Robyn Chilson
Tim & Robyn Chilson Own and Operate Meadville KOA.  You can contact Robyn at 814-789-3251.

Friday, February 1, 2013

February RV Shows!

Erie RV Show Feb 7-10 At the Bayfront Convention Center, Erie, PA! Show Hours: Thursday 2 pm to 8 pm, Friday Noon to 8 pm, Saturday 10 am to 7pm, and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. General Admission: Adults $5.00, Children 10 & Under Free, and FREE PARKING! More info online at:

Summer Fun Camping & RV Show at the Clearview Mall, in Butler PA!  February 15 - 17, 2013 Time: During mall hours! 
We invite you to attend any and all of these RV Shows! Stop by the Meadville KOA Campground booth and tell us hello, and that you received your invitation from our blog! Stop by the KOA booth for your free KOA Directory and those great KOA tote bags!

We have fun online in the winter with our campers too! Follow Meadville KOA & PA Camping on Facebook for your chances to win FREE tickets!We hope to see you there!

By Robyn Chilson

Tim & Robyn Chilson own and operate Meadville KOA Campground. Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251. Kampgrounds of America, is now the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public family campgrounds.

Monday, January 21, 2013

North Huntington Couple Wins $500 of Free Camping

(Shown in photo from front left are: Kathy & Dennis Quigley from Yogi Bear's Jellystone at Kozyrest Kampground, Winners William & Mary K. Weiss, Carletta Wigle from Yogi Bear Mill Run, Randy Giancola from Clem's Trailer Sales, Rick & Debbie Yeager from Rose Point Park, Robyn & Tim Chilson from Meadville KOA Campground, Mark Wineman from Kalyumet Camping and Cabins, Ed Tanski from Buttercup Campground, and Elizabeth & Matt May from Presque Isle Passage RV Park & Cabins.)
PITTSBURGH, PA (January 21, 2013) – William and Mary K. Weiss of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania already had plans to camp more this year with the RV they purchased in 2012 at Clems’s Trailer Sales.  They just never dreamed that after receiving $800 of free camping in 2012 with the purchase of that RV that they’d wind up winning another $500 of free camping for 2013 too!   

The Weiss family were recently named the winners of the fourth annual Very Special Camper Contest (VSC), sponsored by participating campgrounds and RV Dealers in Western Pennsylvania.

“This program gave us the opportunity to visit campgrounds we’d never been to before,” said Mary K. Weiss. “We didn’t realize all of the wonderful things that the campgrounds in Northwestern PA had to offer.” 

Like the Weiss family, any camper purchasing a new RV from any of the participating RV dealers receives one night of free camping for a family of four from each of the 24 participating Western Pennsylvania campgrounds.  This program is valued at over $800 of free camping.  

In addition, any camper who stays at eight or more of the 24 participating campgrounds and RV parks and then submits their completed contest entry form is then entered into a special drawing to receive an additional $500 in gift certificates, which can then be used at any campground in the organization.

Denny Quigley, owner of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest Kampground, said the successful contest will be available again in 2013.  Quigley added that, “Anyone planning to purchase an RV in 2013 can get more information from any participating RV dealer displaying the Very Special Camper 2013 information, or at any of the participating Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association campgrounds which can be which can be found at

Participating Western Pennsylvania RV dealers for 2013 program include Hufnagel & Majors in Harmony; Fame RV Center in Saegertown; Clem’s Trailer Sales in Ellwood City; Starr’s Trailer Sales Brockway; Boyer RV Center in Erie; Brooks Camper Sales Connellsville; and B & R Campers Sales in Butler.

The participating Western Pennsylvania campgrounds include Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest Kampground Harrisville; Kalyumet Camping & Cabins in Cook Forest; Rose Point Park Cabins & Camping in New Castle; Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville; Goddard Park Vacationland Campground in Sandy Lake; Farma Family Campground in Greenville; Shenango Valley RV Park in Transfer; Pineview Campground in Linesville; Nautical Mile Campground & Marina in Templeton; Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Mill Run; Buttercup Woodlands Campground in Renfrew; Campers Paradise Campground and cabins in Sigel; Sparrow Pond Family Campground in Waterford; Bear Run Campground in Portersville; Butler North KOA Campground at Peaceful Valley in West Sunbury; River’s Edge Camping & Cabins in Connellsville; Harts Content Campground in Beaver Falls; Harecreek Campground in Corry; Friendship Village Campground in Bedford; Oil Creek Campground in Titusville; Camp Wilhelm Campground in Clarks Mills; Rocky Springs Campground in Mercer; Presque Isle Passage RV Park & Cabins in Fairview; and Benner’s Meadow Run Camping and cabins in Farmington. 

By Robyn Chilson
Tim & Robyn Chilson own and operate Meadville KOA Campground.  Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.