When my suspicions about what this school year would look like were confirmed, I was disappointed for my kids but relieved and excited about all of the ways we could get creative with distance learning. I like to make lemons out of lemonade, which pretty much describes my approach to most of 2020. This year has looked nothing like we thought it might, but living through a pandemic has helped us focus on those things that really matter. Our vacations and weekends look nothing like our 2020 planner, but the ways we have created memories together have been life changing, forever imprinted on our hearts. Our latest adventure brought us back to one of our favorite ways to bond as a family… cabin camping. Since my kids can learn from anywhere, we decided to spend a few days at San Diego Metro KOA.
This post was written in partnership with San Diego Kampgrounds of America.
San Diego Metro KOA
Located in Chula Vista, California, San Diego Metro KOA is one of the most popular camping resorts in the area, and for good reason. The campground is absolutely gorgeous! We explored the entire destination via banana bikes and had an opportunity to see all of the ways families can camp (and they are numerous!).
The camping resort is ideally situated near the best San Diego attractions including Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, the USS Midway Museum, and more. We had every intention of getting out to explore San Diego, but with so much to do onsite at San Diego Metro KOA, we never left! It is rare for us to have a true staycation, but the campground makes it convenient with every amenity you can imagine available for camping.
There is so much to see and do at San Diego KOA. Here is a list of all the amenities offered (please note that some activities/amenities may be temporarily suspended/closed due to COVID-19):
- Climbing Wall
- Game Room (closed)
- Jumping Pillows (closed)
- Meeting Room with Kitchen
- Surf Shack Shootout Game
- Outdoor Meeting Tent
- Ping Pong
- The Backyard-2 acre grass field
- The Sand Castle Cafe: Need a break from cooking? Enjoy an al fresco meal on the boardwalk. The cafe is open daily and serves baked goods, a pancake breakfast, breakfast burritos, burgers, gourmet pizza, farm fresh salads and treats.
- Kamping Kitchen
- World Class Playground (closed)
How to Camp at San Diego Metro KOA
I grew up camping in a tent, so I can survive for several days with little more than running water. Cabin camping with KOA introduced me to the world of glamping, and admittedly, it is much easier logistically, particularly with kids. With so many ways to camp at San Diego KOA, you can reserve a tent site, Whether you prefer to camp via RV, tent, or cabin, San Diego KOA has sites dedicated to your needs.
My father loved to rent an RV and spend a week or two exploring the California coast. RV camping offers both flexibility and convenience while still connecting families with nature. It has been many years since I’ve camped in an RV (mostly because I do not know how to drive one), but if you prefer this method of camping, San Diego KOA offers sites with full hookups.
I am most familiar with tent camping, which really is the most minimal way to enjoy the outdoors. San Diego KOA offers individual and group tent sites, some of which include water and electricity. If you are traveling with your pet, tent camping is ideal. If you enjoy tent camping but prefer some conveniences (such as a bed and a small kitchen), check out the Glamping Tents at San Diego KOA (we will be sharing more about this unique way to camp soon!) It should also be noted that restrooms and showers are located onsite for those who are tent and RV camping.
Cabin camping is my new favorite way to camp! We have stayed at several KOA locations over the past few years, and glamping cabins make it incredibly easy to camp with kids. San Diego KOA offers three types of camping cabins, including the their brand new Deluxe Poolside Cabins, Deluxe Cabins, and Camping Cabins. The Deluxe Cabins include beds and linens, a full bath with shower, and a full or partial kitchen. The Camping Cabins are ideal for those who enjoy traditional camping, but do not want to set up a tent. These cabins beds and electricity and are close to restrooms/showers.
Deluxe Poolside Cabins at San Diego Metro KOA
The Deluxe Poolside Cabins are the newest and most luxurious way to camp at San Diego Metro KOA. Spacious covered porches, a king size bed, a full kitchen, and a loft make it easy to enjoy the outdoors in comfort.
One of the first things we noticed about the new Poolside Cabins is their location. Our cabin was located steps away from the pool, and the porch made for some lovely sunrise and evening views.
These Deluxe Cabins comfortably accommodate up to 6 people. Our family included 2 adults and 2 children, which left 2 extra beds available. It is important to note that the bunks are ideal for children, particularly given the vertical space. I slept in the upstairs loft, which includes a comfortable queen-sized bed. It should also be noted that the loft has a low ceiling, so older kids and adults may need to duck while walking around.
I am well-traveled and have stayed in hostels and 5-star hotels. The best accommodations for our family are those that include important amenities like a refrigerator, a full bathroom, and reliable WiFi. The team at San Diego Metro KOA really thought about everything with regards to the design of these cabins. Spacious enough to comfortably sleep 6, the poolside cabins include 2 bedrooms and a sleeping loft (linens included), a full bathroom, and a full kitchen. Luxury items include 2 flat screen TVs with over 20 channels of cable. The kitchen includes a refrigerator, a stovetop, a microwave, a toaster, and all of the pots, pans, dishes and utensils you’ll need to prepare meals and snacks. The cabin site also includes a fire pit (perfect for roasting s’mores) and a grill (perfect for burgers and steaks!).
Prior to our visit, we shopped for our favorite camping meal essentials to avoid leaving the campsite. It is rare for us not to eat a single meal out while on vacation. Planning our favorite camping meals helped save money. We also gleaned some ideas from the KOA blog and cooked up some new recipes including Waffle Iron Grilled Cheese and Skillet Cornbread.
Socially-Distanced Activities at San Diego Metro KOA
San Diego Metro KOA is known for their unique amenities and robust activity program. Due to COVID-19, some activities may be altered or on hold to comply with social distancing recommendations.
Swimming: We spent every day of our staycation at the pool. Due to the pandemic, guests must reserve a 2-hour slot during the weekends (same-day reservations can be made at the pool beginning at 8:30 am). The pool is closed and cleaned in between reservation slots. One of the many benefits of staying during the week is that the campground does not require reserved pool slots Monday through Thursday.
Crafting: My daughter loves to craft, so we picked up one of the Activity Packages available at the kids club. There are three packages and the activities include a tie dye shirt, plaster painting, paper games, a s’mores kit, and a watermelon ball. The kids club includes everything you need to complete the crafts and activities such as paint, brushes, etc. You can order an activity package before you arrive or upon check-in.
Bike Rides: One of our new favorite KOA activities is to rent bikes to cruise around the campground. It is also a fun way to get in some exercise. At present, you can rent 3-wheel Fun Cycles, 4-wheel Peddle Carts, and 2-6 Person Surrey Bikes for 30 or 60 minutes.
Due to COVID-19 and the regulations in place to slow the spread of the virus, the following amenities are temporarily closed. As always, be sure to check in with the campsite for the most up-to-date information regarding available activities.
- Jumping Pillows
- Game/Activity Rooms
Socially-Distanced Fall Festival – Weekends in October
Halloween is not canceled! We were so excited to learn that San Diego Metro KOA will host five Fall Fest Weekends in October. Bring your costumes because families will enjoy a costume contest and a Monster Mash. Additional Fall Fest activities include pumpkin carving, an outdoor movie, and more. Be sure to ask for the latest information on current events onsite upon check in.
Camping With Your Pet
San Diego KOA is a dog-friendly campground and features a 7000 square foot dog park called Kamp K9. We rode our bikes over to the dog park and were impressed with the size and play structures available for dogs. Some cabins do not allow pets, so be sure to read the details carefully if you plan to travel with your canine friend.
Ready to book your next stay at San Diego Metro KOA? Visit SanDiegoKOA.com.