Petaluma KOA Photo courtesy Daniel Trumm (CC)
KOA (Kampgrounds of America) has been a leader for decades in expanding its amenities to attract a broad demographic of vacationers. Most of the company’s more than two dozen properties in California have dog-friendly cabins for rent, and almost all offer a dog run or other fenced area where Astro can stretch his legs. Cable and WiFi access come standard, and some properties recently have added platform tents with varying degrees of amenities, from bare-bones cots to hotel-quality beds and linens. The Barstow/Calico KOA, for example, offers pet-friendly safari tents, while Ventura Ranch KOA classifies its tents as either “Serengeti” or “Glamour.” San Diego Metro’s “expedition” tents include a camp kitchen. Amenities and dog-friendly policies vary among KOAs, so be sure to ask before you book.
KOA might be the country’s best-known RV resort franchise, but it’s not the only paw in town. Dog-friendly Sunland fills a different niche with eight luxury properties in Southern California. No safari tents or cabins here; the closest Sunland comes are the hotel rooms and villas on offer at its Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert. “Dog-friendly” is the policy at all Sunland parks, which offer a variety of canine-oriented amenities. The Escondido property, for example, recently added a dog park that helped it earn top pet-friendly honors from the Good Sam Club, a 1.5 million-member organization of RV enthusiasts. Both Emerald Desert and Golden Village Palms in Hemet have dog runs and host regular “bark and wine” gatherings, as well as annual pet parades.
With a swimming pool, cabins, rec center, snack bar, leash-free dog park, agility course, hay rides, horseshoe pits, climbing wall, playground, wine tasting, and guided tours, the dog-friendly San Francisco North/Petaluma KOA is not your ordinary version of a campground. But, it may be the new, four-paws ideal. No RV? No problem. This 70-acre property also offers tent sites with and without electricity, one-room cabins (BYO sleeping bags) and larger lodge units tricked out with furniture, linens, bathrooms, showers and kitchenettes.
Many other private RV parks across the state offer dog-friendly features such as their own versions of camping cabins, most of which are actually “park models” built on RV chasses, rolled into place and hooked up to utilities. By law they can’t exceed 400 square feet, but with decks, lofts and other accouterments, they can comfortably accommodate a family of four. Plus Fido, of course! A great source for finding a dog-friendly RV park in the region you want to visit is Camp-California.com, a site devoted to road-tripping in the Golden State.