"We like camping better!" --Raymond Alexander Kukkee

view of the north shore Critter Pond, KOA Canandaigua NY [c] 2009 jcb

Campground reviews: KOA of Canandaigua, NY

When we say that a campground has something for everyone, that might be seen as a tired cliche. It's just a statement of fact, however, in the case of Canandaigua's KOA Kampground.

view to the south across the pond, KOA Cdga [c]2008 jcb KOA USA has modeled itself as the McDonald's of campgrounds: "you always know what to expect, wherever you may go." While honoring the premise, I'll politely disagree with the reality. Every camping resort is the sum of a whole slew of variables, and not all of them are easily repeated regardless of location.


Let's begin by noting that Canandaigua NY is a beautiful resort destination, no matter where you stay. This area is a magnet for boaters, wine lovers, horse racing fans, bikers and hikers, and so much more. This KOA is surrounded by attractions. The site itself, while not located on any of the area's lakes, offers a small forest of trees, a creek, and a lovely central pond. (We always choose a site along the north shore there.)wooded campsites area back section, KOA Cdga [c]2008 jcb

First impressions:

Most franchise campgrounds start out with a somewhat tacky entrance, and this one is no exception. The Jellystone resorts we visit present this same face to incoming campers. Once you get past the main office, pool, mini-golf, caf, and arcade pavilion you'll find a far more serene camping experience awaits. Despite its commercial front, this KOA even offers wooded no-services tent-sites for the more adventurous. This is no roadside RV Park.

The staff:

The people make the real difference. Canandaigua's KOA is locally owned by some of the nicest people I've met. It's a busy place, but they're always happy to see you walk in the front door to register. And if you have any problem at all, the staff will jump through hoops to find a solution for you.


As for the basics, you'll find everything you might want. The camp store is bright and well-stocked, and you can buy prepared food at the Kafe out back. The pool is big enough, well-policed, and offers sun or shade as you like. Restrooms and showers are modern and cleaned faithfully every day.

Your kids will enjoy the video arcade or miniature golf; or they can rent cars or boats to pedal. Courts for shuffleboard and horseshoes are up front, by the pool. There's room farther back for volleyball and basketball, too. Back in the woods there are biking and hiking trails, an obstacle course, tree house, and zip-line. You can even fish in the pond (catch and release).

pond and cabins from under the awning, KOA Cdga [c]2008 jcb Campsites:

In the end, it's all about your campsite. This KOA offers over 120 sites in seven distinct sections, ranging from full-service to primitive. The big rigs park in pull-throughs, with smaller set-ups like ours scattered throughout the campground. You can camp in circular groups, or choose a corner spot under a big tree. If you came with only a car and sleeping bag, you can stay in comfort in one of the dozen assorted Kabins or Kottages (very nice!). Tent campers can choose from grassy middle-of-it-all sites to a secluded clearing in the woods.


Whether you're touring the country in a giant Class-A motor home or carrying a tent in your Honda's trunk, you'll find a fine site to spend the night or a week at KOA Canandaigua in New York. Stay the whole time, roasting marshmallows over a campfire; or head out for an all-day tourism spree. Bring your whole baseball team, or just one good friend. There really is something for everyone here.

Rating: 4 out of 5 "Recommended"

copyright 2008 - all rights reserved

See this article at Helium.com

How about you? Do you have a campground review you'd like to share? These will be a regular feature here as we move forward. Use this one as a style guide, if you'd like to submit your review for posting here. You can reach me via Comments or by using the link at the top of this page.


  1. Jim this is an excellent article. Sounds like the perfect spot to place a tent.

    We use to camp at KOAs for the swimming amenities and showers lol. This brought back some excellent memories.

    I wanted to tell you, you had two people so far stop by and read your article I posted on the Short Story blogs


    have a great day.

  2. Thanks, Missy!

    I'm trying to offer some useful content here, not just for entertainment. Tho I do love entertainment the most! ;)

    I'll have a look at your link and thinking it should be on the blogfeed, huh? -grin-


  3. Leah Mallory6:55 PM

    We are going to this KOA on October 9th for the first time and your blog has really helped. You just never know what you will be getting when you book something online. We tend to stick with the KOA's because the people for the most part are very friendly, the ammenities are clean and there is always something there to keep the kids busy.
    Thanks for the post
    Leah Mallory

  4. This is one of our favorite places, Leah -- and it's less than 20 miles from our home! We first chose it when gas went to $4 a gallon. Now we go back because we really like it. Glad our experience there helped you make your decision.

  5. Anonymous4:42 PM

    My family and I have never been more disappointed in a KOA in our life. And when we voiced or disappointments to the owner, his response was, "you have your opinion and we have ours." Well thanks for understanding! There were very over priced on the activities and the lack of staff made the wait even longer for the kids. Again they didn't didn't seem to care.

  6. I have a bit of a problem with people who post complaints anonymously. I understand your complaint, though. Not sure if Canandaigua KOA's prices for activities are any different than those charged at other KOAs. As for staff, that location is family owned and operated, and could easily have been short-staffed during your visit.
    Keep in mind, if you're looking to keep kids entertained you'll probably fare better at Jellystone Resorts. Their whole emphasis is about the kiddies. KOAs cater more to owners of large, Class-A RVs, in my experience. Of course, every campground is different. Never hurts to call ahead and do a quick phone interview asking about the amenities that matter most to you.

  7. We really didn't enjoy this campgrounds at all. Everyone is right on top of each other. The activities were not available due to lack staff. Bumper boats were not charged. The owners were even a little rude. We have camped all over the place, mostly at KOA's. We usually love KOA's. This would have to be one of our least favorite.

    1. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience here, Jen! Maybe we like it so much because it feels like 'home' to us. Have to agree that some parts of this resort are pretty crowded. That's why we stay on the north shore of the Critter Pond, room to stretch and relax over there. Thanks for your valuable feedback, Jen!

  8. Holly2:46 PM

    I was all set to make a reservation at the Canandaigua KOA for this summer, when I found it listed on the Bedbug Registry with numerous complaints of heavy infestations! What's worse, it was first listed in Jan. 2010, and the last listing was Sept. 2011, and these posts have not been taken off, indicating that there's no proof the problem has been fixed.

    We were planning on staying in a cabin simply because we'll be on a long trip from VA with a dog, otherwise we'd camp.

    Do you know anything about these claims? No overnite stay is worth that!

  9. Call them directly, Holly -- as opposed to the Reservations Line.

    Ask for Ruth or Victor, the owners. Those cabins are always booked at least 80% full when we go there. Have never heard a word of complaint. But you need to be sure, of course.

  10. Anonymous10:22 AM

    Love it there, we go once or twice a year when we do our self guided wine tours. Great people that really care about you! Only bad thing I noticed was that the "Seasonal people" think their dogs are immune from the camps leash laws.