Our family loves Ft. Collins, CO- it is a diverse and expanding college town about 40 minutes south of the Wyoming border. To the west, it's easy to fall in love with the picturesque views of the Rocky Mountains and to the east the vastly different, but beautiful, prairie lands stretch as far as the eye can see. Ft. Collins is within close distance toRocky Mountain National Park, Pawnee National Grasslands, Roosevelt National Forest, and the gorgeous Cache La Poudre River/Valley. We try to make it to the area about two times a year and we've never had the same experience twice. Although we do recommend a summer visit over a winter visit, just because once everything is green, the area just opens up so much more. Not to mention, it is much less crowded when the students aren't in school. Ft. Collins actually has three KOA's - Fort Collins/Lakeside, Fort Collins North/Wellington and Fort Collins/Poudre Canyon. We've been looking at the Lakeside location for some time now due to its proximity to Ft. Collins. But since we are primarily tent campers we are unable to book it due to the fact that there are five of us and you can only have four to a site. Because of this we kept Lakeside in the back of our minds and figured it would be on a top ten list once we finally bite the bullet on that RV we've been dreaming of for about 127 years now.
That's when the stars aligned - about mid-March we started getting our hopes up that Spring Break was going to be warm (high-60's), here in Colorado that is not usually the case. Although it was no where near tent camping weather we started thinking about a cabin and remembered that Lakeside has several cabins right next to the lake. With the continued warm weather and cabin availability, we made online reservations for a few days and were on our way!
Today, we're only going to talk about the actual campground. We'll talk about the cabin tomorrow, so please come back for that.
Our first impression of the KOA was the size, it is huge! We counted more than 160 RV sites, 14 cabins, and 5 tent sites. A large building just past the entrance houses a well stocked camp store which is also the check-in, a gym, restroom, laundry, and library.
The friendly staff made check-in painless and welcoming. Following with KOA tradition they showed us to our cabin, answered any questions we had and pointed out where the closest bathhouse was. The bathhouse was convenient to our cabin and obviously newly renovated. We know some of you must share our curiosity about campground bathrooms before you book so we were sure to take some pictures!
The campground has four bathhouses in all. We didn't visit any others, so we can only attest to what we used. The bathhouse had 5 separate bathrooms all with a sink, toilet, and shower. All were clean, in working order and worked well. Good water pressure and temperature. We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, this type bathroom because we can tag team showers and pajama time with the boys and all be in the same space. Compared to his and hers bathrooms where a parent is left alone to battle against the children.
Based on the size of the campground I wondered what the wait would be like during the busy summer season. Then I started thinking - if the majority of the RV'ers are using their own facilities, including the fact that some of the cabins have their own bathroom, then really, you're only competing with tent users, some cabin people, and maybe a few RV'ers. Really those odds of waiting in line aren't bad at all.
During our stay the boys wanted to scooter around, so we grabbed the camera and tried to capture some of the campground. Another thing that caught our eye was the number of long-term RV's on site. There were at least 30 RV's with covered wheels and insulation around the bottom. This says to me that the campground is pleasant and friendly - welcoming to long-term camping. Certainly they must be friendly to the weekend warrior.
You can see in the picture below - past the deluxe cabin - the lone tent camper that weekend. The tents and a few of the cabins are on the lake's edge. Now that we've seen the tent sites we understand their four person rule - the tent pads are small. A large tent like ours would never fit on the pad.
During the off-season the large pavilion protects the picnic tables and is unusable. There is also no Chuck Wagon or other food service available during this time.
The centerpiece of the campground is definitely the lake, which is actually a large holding pond, common to the surrounding farm land in the area. The ducks and geese were plentiful on the lake and made for peaceful background noise.
The campground also houses a well maintained mini golf, pickleball court, sports area, a nice shuffleboard, arcade, and a playground that puts most city parks to shame!
This playground was the highlight of the camping trip for our boys. It is huge! Best of all it does not have your typical swings, springy horses, and teeter totters like all the others. It's obstacle course like structure gave way to impromptu little kid American Ninja Warrior challenges between the three of our boys, which just so happens to be their most favorite show. There is even a sandbox off to the side, aptly named the Lakeside Beach! A real kudos to the owners - this playground is a home run!
All in all it's easy to see why they just won the KOA 2015 Founder's Award and President's Award.
Things to know: the Wi-Fi is not usable for streaming or downloading (which they do tell you that specifically), but our Verizon cell phones had perfect reception so it wasn't a big deal. Garbage pick-up from 8-10 AM is very nice, though there are three dumpsters just in case you forget. Do not bring out-of-state firewood. Campfires are only allowed in the grills or raised firepits (bring yours or rent one from them). When you turn into the campground entrance you may feel lost - there is old, rusty, large equipment on both sides of you, it's a little odd, but you quickly forget about it once you're in the campground. Lakeside also has it's own independent website full of information.
Our stay during the off-season had it's benefits - not at all crowded, very quiet, and discounted rates were definitely worth the stay for us. However, we all agreed a return visit in the summer is absolutely necessary! (Lakeside follows your typical Memorial Day through Labor Day season.) The summer amenities are abundant!
- Paddle boats
- Bumper boats
- Catch and release fishing in the lake - you don't even need a fishing license
- Jumping pillow
- Mini golf
- Two pools including a kiddie pool
- Ladder golf
- Shuffle board
- Rec center
- Bounce house
- And every Saturday they offer Super Saturday Activities that are always changing - ice cream socials, bingo, and crafts - just to name a few
Not to mention how beautiful the grounds will be with full trees, green grass, and flowers in bloom!
As I said before, this KOA is the closest to Ft. Collins (actually it's less than a five minute drive) which makes it a perfect option if you're looking to explore the city and surrounding areas. Although it is secluded enough that on our second night all we could hear were neighboring cows. As you can see, we enjoyed our stay and definitely can't wait to go back in the summer.
Questions? We might have an answer - leave your comments below! Unfortunately, due to 100's of SPAM comments per day that I couldn't get control over, I had to disable commenting on this post. If you have any questions please feel free to email us - you can find our contact info at the top!