Dayton Beach KOA – Campground Review

Since our friends were in a housing transition and staying with family, it was important to us to be able to visit with our friends at our campsite rather than expect them to host us. The Daytona Beach KOA gave us a great location to be able to do that. Here’s our campground review (spoiler alert: it’s a good one)

Price: $70 for 2 nights (not including KOA member discount)
Location: convenient to most Daytona Beach attractions. It’s not walking distance to the beach, but according to the website, it’s the closest campground to the beach.
Facilities: Great playground and a good laundry room. Bathroom and shower facilities were nothing special but perfectly adequate.
Site-description: Grassy sites with plenty of trees. The sites were also larger than what we experienced at many KOAs.
Neighborhood: November is obviously far from peak season, but on the weekend there were still a number of other campers in a variety of ages with a variety of camping styles.
Website: http://koa.com/campgrounds/daytona-beach/
Comments: Fire rings are not included in the cost of the site, but cost $1 per day to rent.

Funny story about the fire rings: A couple that was tent camping on a neighboring site had read ahead of time that fire rings had to be rented for an additional fee. So they decided to buy their own fire ring to take with them. Once they had assembled it and used it for the weekend (literally 2 fires on 2 nights), they realized that they couldn’t fit the assembled ring back into their car to take it home with them. So they gave it to us and we happily accepted it. But for them, I’m pretty sure that renting for $2 would have been a better deal.

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Daytona Beach

Jess and I met in college. We had the same major, the same minor, shared faith and a lot of common interests. We were fast friends. After graduation, she headed off to teach as a missionary in Ecuador, and except for an occasional email, we lost touch for a while. A few years later, she was married to an Ecuadorian man and we reconnected over the headaches involved with sponsoring our foreign husbands through the American immigration system. One more thing we had in common. Oceans and time zones have made it difficult to stay in touch regularly but we have always been able to pick up where we left off whenever we do reconnect.

We hadn’t seen each other for 10 years, since we were wearing caps and gowns. I had never met her husband. We’d never seen each other’s children. The most exciting part about re-routing our trip through Florida was the chance to pass through Daytona Beach. We happily made plans to get together.

We made it to Daytona Beach on a Saturday afternoon, checked in to the Daytona Beach KOA, and set camp. Jess, David and little Matthias joined us soon and we headed out to get pizza and catch up. We could probably have sat at that table and talked until they closed, if not for the three very tired little people we had with us.

Sunday morning we went to church with them, grabbed a quick lunch and then headed to the beach. There was something satisfying about a dip in the Atlantic, making it official that we had literally been coast to coast on our trip. Perhaps even more satisfying was sitting on a sunny beach in November, well after the first snows had fallen at home in Sweden.

IMG_3185The kids preferred the sand, while watching Pappa run off into the surf.

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If you live this close to the beach, you have plenty of sand toys to share with friends

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We ended the day back at the KOA, cooking dinner and roasting marshmallows over a campfire. In other words, perfectly. The sun went down, the bugs came out, but still we sat “just a little longer.”

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Look! We’re riding a horse together!

IMG_3090This is all very exciting!

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Eventually, the needs of our little people forced us to reluctantly end the evening. It was more than sadness at saying goodbye to friends we rarely get to see. We both sensed a deeper loss, as though something was ending…

Gulf Coast part 2: the Florida Panhandle

Continuing east into Florida, we stopped and spent a night at the Tallahassee East KOA campground. We had plans to meet up with friends in Daytona Beach for the weekend, so we did not take time to see or do anything in the area.
Here’s our review:

Price: $33/night after KOA member rebate
Location: Convenient to I-10 in the Tallahassee area.
Facilities: Great shower and bathroom facilities. The common room was comfortable, with armchairs and sofas like a family living room, and I sat there to work on updating our blog. I would have preferred to be able to sit in the camper, but the internet access didn’t extend out to the campsites, so that was a drawback. The playground was a little old and rundown, but since the ground was like one big sandbox, our kids were content to play around the campsite.
Site-description: Sand with some grass (the way it often is in areas where there is more sand that dirt on the ground); well-shaded with plenty of trees.
Neighborhood: A nice mixture of families and retired couples. No problems with noise or partying from other campers.
Website: http://koa.com/campgrounds/tallahassee/
Comments: This campground offered baked goods at check in, and free continental breakfast including freshly made waffles on the weekends. But since this is no longer mentioned on their website, though, they may have stopped offering it. We would also recommend camping further away from the road. For us, the road noise was a drawback of this campground.

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