KOA vs Thousand Trails – Which is Beginner Friendly?

koa vs thousand trails
koa vs thousand trails

If you’re a camping enthusiast in the United States or Canada, you’re most likely familiar with KOA and Thousand Trail services. These camping services allow you to have a private and customized experience during your camping trip. So, you can enjoy all the comfort you desire whether you enjoy RV or tent camping.

However, it can be difficult to determine which camping subscription would work best for you and your family. You’ll need to consider several differences before purchasing a membership to one of these campgrounds.

Please continue reading to learn everything you need about the differences and similarities between KOA and Thousand Trails. In addition, we will discuss the benefit you can expect when you choose a campground membership for your travels throughout North America.

Similarities Between KOA and Thousand Trails

Now that you understand the general purpose of purchasing a membership with these campgrounds, it’s time to discuss their commonalities.

The reason these campgrounds are comparable is that several things are parallel with each other. So, despite all the differences between these campgrounds, you might be happy with either option.

Easier Travels

electrical outlets

Purchasing a membership with KOA or Thousand Trails will make your travel experience much easier. Both campgrounds offer electrical outlets that you can use to charge your appliances or supply power to your RV. You can also plan a camping trip surrounding these campgrounds so that you always feel accommodated while you travel.

Travel Cheaper

Travel Cheaper

Spending money at different campsites every time you visit can rack up a hefty bill. You can minimize your expenses by purchasing one of these memberships to keep yourself comfortable and financially secure. These memberships are excellent for people who go camping frequently.

Comfort Camping

Comfort Camping

People purchase memberships through these companies to stay comfortable during their camping trips. Unfortunately, many publicly owned campsites don’t properly maintain their facilities, making you feel gross during your trip. However, both campsites pride themselves on maintaining the area so you can stay comfortable.

Differences Between KOA vs Thousand Trails

KOA Campground

Even though there are plenty of similarities between these campgrounds, plenty of things differentiate them from each other. Therefore, it’s important to consider the differences before purchasing a membership so that you feel comfortable with your decision.

The table below displays the main difference you should consider before choosing your membership.

KOA Thousand Trails
Membership Type As You Go Pre-Paid
Availability Expansive Limited
Price $36 yearly $580 yearly

This chart may seem clean-cut, but there are more things you should understand before purchasing. Below, we will detail these differences so that you understand them better.

1. Membership Type

Membership Type

As you can see from the above table, KOA and Thousand Trails Charge a yearly fee. However, these membership types are completely different. The yearly fee you buy when you get a KOA makes you a member, but it doesn’t cover the cost of campgrounds.

You must pay for these campgrounds nightly during your visits. Alternatively, purchasing the Thousand Trails membership gives you access to each campground without paying every time.

So, if you go camping often, you will get more bang for your buck by using this membership plan instead. The type of membership you purchase depends on how often you go camping and how many places you want to visit.

2. Availability

KOA has more campsites

KOA has more campsites you can visit throughout North America. So, if you’re planning a road trip, you should choose this option because you’ll have more options available.

In addition, this can help you save money on travel accommodations like hotels and other campsites that charge on a nightly basis. Unfortunately, Thousand Trails doesn’t have nearly as many campsites as this competitor.

There are still plenty of options throughout North America, but if you’re planning a road trip or want to visit every state, you should choose a different membership plan.  Also, you don’t want to limit yourself when you go on long vacations because it could cost you a lot of money.

3. Price

purchasing the campsite membership

The more affordable option between these campsite memberships depends on how often you spend time outside. For example, if you only go camping once a year, you’d be better off purchasing the KAO membership to save yourself cash.

However, if you go camping frequently, you’ll save more money by choosing the Thousand Trails membership. You must consider how often you go camping before purchasing a membership if you want to choose the best budget option.

For example, you don’t want to spend $580 annually if you only camp two nights out of the year. On the other hand, if you camp often, you don’t want to spend money on fees every time you pay a visit.

Benefits of These Memberships

Now that you understand the similarities and differences between these campground memberships, it’s time to discuss how they would benefit you.

Many people purchase these types of memberships, so they always have somewhere to go while traveling. In addition, some purchase these memberships to supply electricity to their RVs during camping trips.

Great For Camping Enthusiasts

Great For Camping Enthusiasts

The cleanliness standards at these membership-based campsites are usually much better than your average campground. Many campers report enjoying the bathrooms and showers much more at these membership campgrounds than at a state campground.

When you purchase a private membership, you can expect better customer service and higher standards regarding the quality of your visit. Even if you don’t mind going outside and getting dirty, it can be nice to shower in a clean environment and use the bathroom somewhere comfortable.

Unfortunately, many people sacrifice comfort when camping entirely by settling for public campgrounds that don’t maintain their facilities. You can have the best of both worlds when you choose a private campground membership instead.

Although tent capping is considered an affordable hobby, certain aspects of that hobby can start to rack up expenses. One of the main expenses tank campers have to worry about is their nightly fees at campsites. These fees can range greatly depending on how popular that campsite is.

When you choose a campground membership plan, you no longer have to worry about unexpected nightly fees. KOA offers campgrounds that range around the same prices depending on your desired amenities. Alternatively, Thousand Trails eliminates nightly fees by offering you an annual membership.

Plan Flexibility

cabin while Traveling

Both camp memberships offer different options for people who prefer different camping styles. For example, if you prefer staying in a cabin while traveling, you can upgrade your plan through either service. You can also choose campgrounds that offer more RV accommodations if you frequently hit the road in a camper or trailer.

The following are upgrades you can add to either plan for additional fees. You don’t have to settle for the basic membership if you want more from your camping experience.

  • Stay in one spot year-round or seasonally
  • Enjoy your winter camping trip
  • Stay and upgraded cabins
  • Stay at campsites with RV accommodations
  • Upgrade your membership to participate in special events
  • Upgrade your membership to accommodate large groups of people at the campsite

Thousand Trails Las Vegas RV Resort

People who go camping usually bring groups along to feel safer and have more fun away from technology. Many memorable camping experiences feature friends and families that come in large groups.

You’ll need to let your membership plan know if you plan to host large groups frequently. This flexibility plan can help you when you want to experience different camping situations.

For example, many camping enthusiasts prefer experimenting with their campground and alternating between tent, cabin, and RV camping. Some people might prefer camping in a tent for overnight stays, while others prefer staying in a cabin all the time.

Enjoy The Fresh Air Often

Enjoy The Fresh Air Often

In our opinion, the biggest benefit you’ll expect when purchasing a plan through either of these companies is spending more time outside. Many studies show physical and mental health benefits when you enjoy more time outdoors.

Going on a camping trip forces you to get out and enjoy nature more than you normally would. Additionally, choosing a membership plan for your camping experience can encourage you to take advantage of campgrounds more often.

It’s a great choice for people who want to get more in tune with nature but don’t know where to start. You can travel affordably from one campground to another and spend more time outdoors than ever.

Bring Your Dogs!

Bring Your Dogs

Many outdoorsy people have an animal companion they want to bring with them during a camping trip. However, as many dog lovers know, finding a campground that allows them to bring their canine companion can be difficult. Fortunately, both campground membership plans have options allowing pets to tag along with you.

Final Thoughts

Overall, we believe people who camp often would benefit most from the Thousand Trails membership. When you choose a membership through this company, you don’t have to pay nightly fees to stay at a campground. However, KOA has its merits as well.

Campers looking for a broad travel experience would be better off choosing a KOA membership because there are more campgrounds through this company. In addition, you’ll have an easier time traveling North America when you have a camping membership that enables you to do so.

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