KOA Watkins Glen – Camping Review

KOA Watkins Glen

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I stayed at the KOA Watkins Glen/Corning location in upstate New York.  Julie and I booked this back in February right after we bought the new motor coach and decided we still wanted to go do our annual Wine Weekend.  We decided to make it over July 4th, and take the motor coach up to the finger lakes.  We booked a new spot in the “premium” sunset acres section which was not cheap, but we felt the patio and the new section was worth it to have a nice relaxing weekend.  I wish I could say it was great, but unfortunately, it had to be one of the worst places and experiences I’ve had in my short time camping.

KOA Watkins Glen – Camping Review

From the start we entered the office of the KOA Watkins Glen, there was 5-6 girls there all chatting that never even acknowledged we were in the room. Finally my wife said something and one of them in a snarky fashion said “I’ve got these people”. Then the fun REALLY began.

We have a 34′ coach towing a jeep and we have NEVER not been escorted to our spot to help us navigate the best way. They just pointed to the map and sent us on our way. Needless to say…we took a wrong turn, could not back up, had to detach the jeep on a hill just to get turned around and try to find our spot.  The funny part this lack of escort would crop up again later in the weekend only in a much bigger set of problems.

We were placed in a nice end spot in the NEW sunset acres area which was premium pricing in spot F177 on the end. Come to find out next to this spot is all the cheap tent sites. This would not have been a problem, but there were tenters driving ACROSS the lawn cutting in front of our coach on the left side between the coach and the fence, which frankly NEEDED TO BE LONGER to prevent such activity.  I ended up having to park the jeep in front to prevent people from doing this.

As if THAT was not enough, a Mercedes Van drove BETWEEN F177 and F176 on the grass and patio where our coach and another coach was parked, WHILE OUR DOG was outside on a 5′ leash!!  Julie was standing in the kitchen and sees a van drive over the lawn and patio and nearly had a heart attack that Max had been run over.  Multiple times I was running down careless drivers that refused to stay on the roads, and frankly this is ALL due to the fact this KOA did NOT escort people to their spots.  Even the driver of the van was not even aware what he did.  He insisted that was a road between the coaches!

Ultimately we spent the next three days looking over our shoulder for cars that might hit us while trying to enjoy our weekend. The fact we did not feel safe was insane, and multiple people saw this entire mess going on. The owners of this KOA refuse to escort EVERY customer, and that alone was the root cause of many issues I saw. I could not believe how poorly run this place was and how people were just allowed to be unsafe and careless. The excuse we got was “it’s July 4th, we are understaffed and cannot escort or police everyone”. Well I know us and at least 6 other families that will not be going back there unless they CHANGE their standards. For the money we spent for those spots, we were unsafe and the issues were never addressed.

I also sent some of this to the KOA Watkins Glen Home Office and all they did was forward it to the owner and manager.  The really great part is all both of them did was reply to me saying they talked to the people who drove between the coaches and they “denied doing it”, even though 5 other campers around us all saw it.  They supposedly issued them “red Tags” for their parking tag, but we never saw them in the van.

They even just made excuses that they had more tenters than ever, but the funny thing is they could have made the decision to turn people away and say they were full.  Instead they made the decision to just keep piling people in, and on top of that never bother to escort people around the park to ensure safety yo everyone.  Frankly, the fact the owner and the manager both decided to reply to my concerns with emails telling me I was out of line, less than honest, and full of excuses just made me even more upset.  People in the service business really need to learn better customer service.

Let me ask you this…..had that car killed my dog…..what conversation would we be having now?  What other safety issues were being caused by reckless drivers and lack of escorts?  The KOA Watkins Glen owner should take that into consideration as that would and is always their responsibility.  He also seemed upset that I was going to post on social media and blog about my poor experience.  I said to him that in this day and age the fortunate and unfortunate aspect of business is that people post review and opinions online all the time.  That’s how people decide who they want to do business with going forward.  I’m not telling anyone not to go there, I am simply providing my experience and opinion and I can say I will never go back.  Anyone reading this is still free to make their own decision about the KOA Watkins Glen location themselves.

About Chris Colotti

Chris is active on the VMUG and event speaking circuit and is available for many events if you want to reach out and ask. Previously to this he spent close to a decade working for VMware as a Principal Architect. Previous to his nine plus years at VMware, Chris was a System Administrator that evolved his career into a data center architect. Chris spends a lot of time mentoring co-workers and friends on the benefits of personal growth and professional development. Chris is also amongst the first VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX#37), and author of multiple white papers. In his spare time he helps his wife Julie run her promotional products as the accountant, book keeper, and IT Support. Chris also believes in both a healthy body and healthy mind, and has become heavily involved with fitness as a Diamond Team Beachbody Coach using P90X and other Beachbody Programs. Although Technology is his day job, Chris is passionate about fitness after losing 60 pounds himself in the last few years.

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