Our car load of passengers can spot a yellow KOA sign from miles away now.
(We've been visiting them on an across country trip covering 12 states.)
Driving back home from an adventure is always less exciting than heading out to an adventure. But if the KOA sign represented travel and distance and excitement on the way OUT to Colorado, then the KOA sign represented stability and comfort on the way home.
(It's probably why people love to stop at Cracker Barrel on a road trip. You have options for meal choices, but you know what to expect.)
Our family has come to know KOA as a safe landing spot. We know there will be a comfortable bed. We know we can all fit there. We know we can park our ride directly beside our lodging and unload only the essentials. We know there will be some form of recreation if we are energetic enough to embrace it. (Swimming or mini golf or a nature walk.)
Somehow Hot Springs, Arkansans was on our route home. (Hey, I never claimed to be taking the most direct route there and back again.)
I was drawn in by the name of the nearby town - Hot Springs. Quotes from websites nearby with words like "soak in the rejuvenating waters of the natural hot springs" influenced my choice of this KOA. I'll just tell you right off, after 15 days on the road, we probably all NEEDED a soak in those rejuvenating waters, but, after 15 days on the road, ain't nobody in our car have the pep or the mental capacity to travel another step to embrace those invigorating waters.
Instead, we pretty much just crashed on the shores of the Hot Springs National Park KOA.
The staff had a little sign with our name on it to greet us and they were really funny and welcoming people. Understanding of our road weary condition, they registered us quickly and directed us to our spot and took care of our immediate needs. For which all six of us were grateful.
The pool looked inviting and the weather was hot enough in Hot Springs, but we were tired and the swimsuits were under someone's cowboy boots under someone's backpack, under the cooler, under the games ... you get the idea. The pool was pretty crowded anyway and we let the hard to find suits and the people be a sign that the pool was not in our evening's agenda.
We stretched our legs and wandered the camp grounds for a good little bit. We walked past the fishing pond and the mini golf area. Both spots were not quite as up to date as the pictures on the website show them to be. The campground, overall, however, was very pretty. And maybe even more so pretty to our family because it was a familiar to us kind of pretty. Shady oak trees, rolling hills, a little like home after our drive through the southwest and the midwest.
The bathrooms were still a situation for us. These bathrooms had a code to get in, which - on one hand - makes you feel safer. But, on the other hand, every camper knows the code so, yes, no non-camper can enter the bathroom, but every camper has the same code we had. There was no family bathroom and this entire trip convinced me of the need for family bathrooms. (Maybe I'll make that my life's work. Eh. Probably not.)
I really did wish I had more time to explore Hot Springs. Or more energy. I made a quick drive through of the town and it seemed like a fun little spot - maybe worth a day or two of adventure. (Although probably not an entire week's worth.) We did stop at a completely charming pottery shop called Fox Pass. The couple running the shop were great and they were very talented - although the prices reflected that talent. I snagged the absolute ONLY bowl that was a mistake and it was only $8. It became my Hot Springs souvenir. (I'll let you eat a Cereal Sundae from it next time you visit.)
The tent sites here were a mix of grass or gravel -- and you know how I feel about gravel tent sites. The cabins were placed in shady spots near the bathrooms and the RV spots all had plenty of shade too.
I honestly don't know if Arkansans is on my list of Future Places to Revisit, but the KOA at Hot Springs is still a solid choice if we wind up in that section of the United States again.