Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Charlottesville KOA Campground, Charlottesville, Virginia

We stayed for one night at the Charlottesville KOA Campground in Charlottesville, Virginia. When I was planning our trip I did a lot of looking for campgrounds in the Charlottesville area and this one is it! The biggest tourist attraction in this area is Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. The City of Charlottesville is also the home of the University of Virginia, started by Thomas Jefferson. The Charlottesville KOA is not far from Monticello.

I wrote about driving to this campground in a previous article, but this is so important for RVers and Roadtrekers that I am going to repeat it. This campground is located in the woods in the mountains. The campground website has a clear statement of warning about two routes to not take in an RV or trailer when coming to or leaving the campground. Here is that statement right off their website -

WARNING: DO NOT take exit 120 off I-64 as some GPS and online maps may suggest. This route (631/Old Lynchburg Rd) is not recommended; it is very narrow and has sharp turns! We also DON'T recommend route 708/Red Hill Rd coming from route 29 if you are driving an RV.  

You will not find this warning on the KOA pages for this website and because of that I almost got into a problem. I had planned to come into this campground from Route 29 on Red Hill Road. The campground is located on Red Hill Road and there is a way to get to Red Hill Road from Route 20 - which is also a turning mountain road but far less daunting than the roads they are warning you about - especially if you have a large RV or trailer. For the heck of it, as I also wrote about in another article, I tried leaving by heading toward Route 29 on Red Hill Road and it was a little more than I was comfortable with in the Roadtrek and I would not do it in the rain or in the dark. Take Route 20 and you will be fine. 

So, the Charlottesville KOA is, as just said, in the mountains and in the woods and the campground is what you would expect in the mountains and in the woods. It is very rustic and it is very nice. This is not a large campground and has only 54 RV/Trailer sites. They can accommodate RVs up to 45 feet long in pull through sites and smaller RVs like the Roadtrek or just larger in back in sites. The sites that they offer to RVs and trailers have water, electric, sewer, and cable TV connections. They also have sites that are just water, electric, and cable. They do have a dump station if required. I noticed that this was located at side of the entrance/exit road to the campground and wondered how this would be to use if an RV or trailer was coming through on that road. The pull through sites have 50 amp/30 amp/ 20 amp electric service. The back in sites have 30 am/20 amp service. A Roadtrek only requires 30 amp service so any site here is fine for a Roadtrek. There is free wifi throughout the campground that was not bad. No tents are permitted on RV sites and there is a limit to six people to an RV site including visitors.  In addition to RV/trailer sites, there are tent sites, one room cabins, a two room cabin, and a cottage. 

I did not want to arrive at this campground after dark because of the road warnings and because I was unfamiliar with the campground, as well as the roads coming to it. We arrived well before the office hours ended at 7:00 pm. The office/registration is just into the campground from the entrance road to the left in a building that also has a small gift shop and supplies store. There was not that much in the store. The campground is run by a young couple who I understand from doing informal research on this campground recently took it over. Prior it had been owned/run by an older gentleman and his wife who are spoken well of in comments about the campground. I am uncertain, but I suspect, that one of this couple is related to those former owners. The young couple was very nice. Check in was fast and pleasant. 

All of the roads in the campground are gravel and all of the sites are gravel. There is a fire ring at each site. Backing the Roadtrek into the site was no problem at all, though I will caution that if I had pulled to the very back of the space, I would have been very close to a drop off that went several feet down to another row of sites below. Go too far and you can go over with nothing really to stop you.
Electric service tested perfectly. There was a water connection, a cable connection, and a sewer connection also at our site. The site was almost level. It was not bad and not very much off level. I am always wondering if these sites are leveled for much larger RVs than the Roadtrek and that is why it is hard to find a spot that is level all around with the Roadtrek. You can see in the photo that I settled on a spot that was close to one side as this is what I found to be acceptably level.

For the middle of the week in mid-August the campground was not crowded but there were a number of RVs and trailers there. And, we saw another Roadtrek at this campground - an older, Dodge model Roadtrek that was parked in a site in the row below ours. We also saw another Class B - two Class B sitings in one campground was a first for us.   

When we arrived we decide to take a walk around the campground. The main area of sites is a circle around with pull through sites in the middle. You can walk both up hill and down hill toward other areas in the campground. As I said earlier, there was a row of sites on a road that was below our site in the back. That row did loop around toward some of the facilities at the campground. 


This campground has a nice little playground shown in the photo on the left. 

There is also a swimming pool. The pool is small but large enough for a campground this size. There were a number of adults and kids in the pool so I did not want to take photos, but here is the entrance area to the pool - which is uphill from the rest of the campground. You can see the fence to the pool on the left with table umbrellas inside. 

There was also a sports field and you can see in this photo the volleyball net that was set up and the tether ball court. 

There is a game room and a laundry room in their own building near the entrance to the campground. 

The campground also has a hiking trail through woods and this seems to head down a path to what was marked on the campground map as a beaver pond. I thought it would be fun to go and check this out but the path was through the forest and steep. A more adventurous camper than I would have no problem getting to it.  


Everything at this campground was very well maintained. We went into the restrooms to see how well they were kept up and they were very good - clean, well lit, and well maintained. The restrooms are closed every day at Noon for cleaning.  Here is a photo of the men's room. This was located on the side of the building that housed the office. As you look at this photo, not all of those stalls are toilets. The one at the end is a shower stall. For those of you who have never been to a campground before, I have a photo to the right looking into that stall with its privacy shower curtain. There was another building with restrooms near the swimming pool. 

The cable service was clear. There were only 25 channels with just one movie channel and it had commercials in that selection.  For those who travel with pets, the campground is pet-friendly. Generators may not be run at any time. There is one central dumpster near the office building to put trash.  

View of the Campground sites
View of the Pull Through Sites

After our tour around the campground, we went out to Charlottesville to dinner. When we returned to the campground it was the middle of the night and I did the trip down Route 20 in the dark. It was a little more harrowing than it was in the daylight and when we got on the road that the campground is on, we drove v...e...r...y  s...l...o...w...l...y so that we would not miss the entrance. 

There have been comments about this campground that there is poor cell phone service here. We did not have that experience. We had voice cell service on T Mobile and on Sprint. Data service was marginal but there is wifi in the campground so data service is not necessary. I am not sure how anyone can blame a campground for any level of cell phone service, as this is in no way in their control. Anyway- we had no problem with cell service.

We will be returning to the Charlottesville KOA. We liked it. Because of its location in the woods on a mountain it was very much what one would imagine a campground would be. It certainly was quiet. There is nothing around to make noise, though you are just several miles from main roads to take you into Charlottesville or out to western Virginia or east to the coast. You make reservations for this campground through the main KOA website. You can reserve a site online or use the number there for this campground to call the campground directly to make reservations. The campground does have its own website which you should definitely look at in addition to the KOA website. After your stay, KOA does send out a survey asking if your stay was satisfactory, so there is someone keeping tabs on how things are at KOA sites. They got an excellent report from me.

The address of the Charlottesville KOA Campground is 3825 Red Hill Road, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903 Albemarle County. The phone number is 434-296-9881.  If you are a KOA member you will get a discount on the rate.


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