Island KOA park named to top RV park list

HARLINGEN — Location isn’t just about buying the right home.

The South Padre Island KOA campground has been named among the top dozen RV parks in the nation.

“Texas’ only island is packed with activities, including surfing, fishing, snorkeling and plenty of shopping and nightlife,” was how the judges viewed the park. “The campground is a KOA property, so catering to families is a given. Visitors rave about the clean grounds and friendly, responsive staff.”

The dozen top RV parks were selected by Thor Industries, a company which manufactures RVs. The parks range from Maine to Alaska, but the South Padre Island KOA was the only Texas park to make the list.

“We’ve always done well,” park manager Tom Brooks said yesterday. “We’ve had a KOA Founders Award just about every year since we’ve been here, which is almost 12 years now. So somebody talked to somebody — and I’m happy.”

The KOA park on the Island juts out into the Laguna Madre, is near Isla Blanca Park, and is just a few hundred yards north of Brazos Santiago Pass and the jetties.

The park is more than just another pad for a motor home. It has 200 RV sites and 22 rental cabins, a 23-meter pool, hot tub, exercise gym, commons area with ping-pong and games, an event/activities room, children’s playground, twin bath houses and a pair of laundries.

Also located on the site are Osprey Cruises which offers deep-sea and bay fishing as well as dolphin watches. Perched over the Laguna Madre on the campground’s bay side is the Pier 19 Restaurant and Bar.

Brooks said the 200 RV sites are mostly full of Winter Texans this time of year, but in the summer, he said families with kids find the location attractive.

“This park is owned by the KOA Corporation,” Brooks added. “There are about 30 company-owned parks and about 500 franchise-owned.”

With shopping, gulf beaches and the Laguna Madre close by, the amenities practically sell themselves.

“Plus, we’re right across from Schlitterbahn, so we’ve got an ideal location,” Brooks said.

Top RV parks nationally
  • Crater Lake RV Park, Oregon
  • Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
  • Yosemite National Park, California
  • Fernwood Campground and Resort, California
  • LVM Resort, Nevada
  • Boyd’s Key West Campground, Florida
  • Acadia National Park, Maine
  • Camp Gulf, Florida
  • Lake George RV Park, New York
  • Trailer Village RV Park, Arizona
  • South Padre Island KOA, Texas
  • Petoskey RV Resort, Michigan
  • Source: Thor Industries, Best RV Parks in the U.S.