Costanoa (5)

Worth every penny.

We don’t usually camp in KOAs, unless we are on the road and are looking for conveniences. But this is no ordinary KOA. And it comes at a price point we don’t normally hit. But this place warrants the premium price tag, provided you are willing to fork over the extra fee to lock in a specific site. There are five or six premium sites in the first loop that have views of the ocean, your own patio area, and plenty of spacing between you and your neighbors. Otherwise, the rest of the sites are more in line with your typical KOA spacing, where you can be very close to the rigs in the next sites. But even beyond the luxury level experience, this campground is situated inside a resort complex with a nice (but pricey) restaurant, a high end general campground store, and lots of activities for campers of all ages. My favorite campground amenity? Why, that would be the roving BAR CART of course. It’s like an ice cream truck, but with margaritas. All of this, right off Highway 1 south of Pescadero. It is a splurge worth doing every now and again.

Most impressive campground store ever

We pulled in after sunset on Friday and went to the general store. There we found teeny tiny containers of Ben & Jerry’s, among many other things. There was an impressive array of scented candles, which our daughter enjoys. I sent a photo and she chose Big Sur. I smelled it later and it was nice, but I’m not sure what kind of smell is supposed to capture Big Sur. What comes to mind right now is the odor of heavy construction machinery clearing slides. I doubt that essence would sell too many candles though.

One of the few remaining signs around this area of the serious nature of the recent storms

Richard went out riding on Saturday and did a little disaster tourism while he was at it. We’ve seen videos of parts of Stage Road sliding downhill into oblivion, and since that is a road Richard sometimes rides, he was curious about its current status. What he found made him nervous to even approach for fear more of the roadway would suddenly give up the ghost and go join its fallen bits down below. Meanwhile I had brunch to go from the restaurant. I was surprised to learn that lunch did not officially start until 2pm, but I guess that’s a luxury schedule for you. Then I sat with my breakfast burrito and waited for Richard to return, while quietly looking up the prices of all of the patio furniture. I’ll just say, $329 poly Adirondack chairs are comfortable, though cold.

This would be the “swirl” technique

At 1pm, I joined in on the campground Tie Dye activity and selected a T-shirt to make. How fun is that?? I have an embarrassing lack of tie dye anything (meaning precisely zero things), considering I am a native Californian with all the bonafide credentials of being a sixties hippie flower child, raised in a commune, and cohabitating occasionally with Joan Baez. It does not seem right that I have no tie dye anything. The activity facilitators assisted me in making a swirly patterned, rainbow colored T shirt. It was loads of fun and now I can get my hippie groove on with my ultra luxury, KOA made clothing, with the Costanoa logo proudly centered in the middle of the swirl. I’m not sure how my parents would have felt about the corporate image placement, but at least now I have something to wear at school the next time it is Tie Dye Day.

A helpful sign had in fact warned us about this. But we are rebels who do not believe signs.

After that, we went out hiking toward the beach and Franklin Point. Right away, we came upon a sign warning that the trail was flooded ahead. Both of us immediately thought, “Well how flooded?” and continued right on. The answer turned out to be: “Quite flooded, why must you question everything?” We turned around and backtracked to a different trail leading to the same place.

Watch your step!

The North Whitehouse Creek Trail was a more established route, though it too had pockets of squishiness and some spots that were actually submerged. Those were passable if you went a bit around though. Closer to the beach, there were sections that are beginning to slide off and someone is going to need to adjust those trail ropes to compensate. There also appeared to be lots of movement in the sandy approach down to the beach, I imagine a spontaneous river running through there on its way to the ocean. In fact, we saw little waterfalls here and there as the saturated earth is still seeping rain water from every possible pore. We overcame all of the trail obstacles and returned before sunset.

Yes please 🙂

Again, I was able to justify the outrageous cost of the site, by virtue of the fact that we were able to enjoy a glorious sunset, right from our patio. And if that was not enough bang for your buck, the icing on the cake was Richard appearing, having tracked down the BAR CART, and handing me a margarita.

Not your ordinary KOA

I would quite happily spring for this site again. It’s like all of the elements of staying in a luxury hotel, except you get to stay in your own space with your own stuff. Cleanup crews come through each site between guests, wiping down the $2500 patio furniture set, cleaning the complimentary grill, and leaf blowing any trace of nature away from the brick patio and walkway. The staff is incredibly friendly and determined to make sure you enjoy your stay. Kids were entertained with organized activities, playgrounds, s’mores parties, and more. It’s a great place to go when you want to get away, but not rough it in any way. If you’re on the hunt for a premium “camping” experience, with emphasis on the quotation marks, this is an excellent place to stay.

Total miles: 75.8, 17.4 mpg, 2 hours 45 min. Site 13 premium, full hookups. LTE for Verizon, no cell for ATT, could hit campground wifi from site, which is pretty fast wifi. Excellent wifi (enough to download) in front of general store. Nice patio with furniture and grill and view of ocean. Incredible facility with very nice bathrooms, store, group activities, playground, gathering areas, stables. Expensive but worth it.

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