I gave Harpers Valley KOA a rating of 3, which is sort of an average of the things that we found great and not so great about the campground.
The community facilities here - pool, jumping pad thingy (whatever it's called), the store (which includes a very nice little theater and free movies), and so on - are among the best we've seen from all the campgrounds we've stayed at, and at this point in our RVing "career" that's quite a few. This includes a very generous parking area in front of the office for registration. There are lots of activities available for kids and families. Taken on their own, the facilities would easily rate a 4, and for families I would daresay a 5.
The location is also perfect for visiting Harpers Ferry and the Shenandoah River area. You can, of course, drive the 1.5 or so miles to get to the "downtown" area, or you an walk on a trail that starts from the park just around the corner from the KOA. For those who, like us, enjoy sampling wines, you're only a few minutes away from an impressive set of vineyards. If you need to do any major food or other shopping, or you want to expand your choices in restaurants (although Harpers Ferry has some very good places to eat), Frederick, MD is only 25 minutes away.
The Not So Great:
We stayed here in our 38 foot motorhome, so I can't comment on the tent camping areas (which seemed decent enough to my inexperienced eye) or the back-in sites for smaller rigs. But I can say that the larger RV sites, especially the pull throughs like the one we had, were awful, among the worst we've ever had. The asphalt roads through the RV area are in horrible condition, with several areas suffering from major erosion that hasn't been addressed by the park staff (note: we also saw evidence of erosion problems in other areas in the campground). I would guess that in a couple places the ruts on the edge of the disintegrating asphalt are more than six inches deep, with one area that we had to skirt cut out about a foot deep. Most of the sites are terribly off-level, so plan to bring plenty of blocks to boost your wheels and jacks (our front right tires are up about six inches off the ground - on blocks, plus blocks under the front jacks - and that still wasn't enough to get us level). On top of that, the slope from the gravel pad to the roadway when you pull out of your site can be precipitous. We decided to back out of ours, because I was afraid of bottoming out the tail of the RV. The sites themselves are gravel (which isn't a bad thing, but just wanted to note that). The power pedestals also looked a bit worn, and ours had an intermittent short in the 50 amp plug that the maintenance folks quickly fixed. Unfortunately, on the driver's side was a junction box for the cable TV system that was standing open with wires sprouting from it - very ugly to see when you open your door to step outside. This was not addressed by maintenance.
The sites are also pretty narrow. We had room enough for our slides and awnings, but if you're the type of traveler that has lots of patio "stuff", you might find yourself straddling your neighbor's sewer hose.
Another thing that was a bit annoying was that the previous guest apparently left the picnic table - which on our site was huge, probably big enough to seat 10 people! - right in the middle of the site. No one from staff had checked over the site to make sure it was ready, so we had to stop, get out, and drag this monstrosity to the side so we could get in. Last but not least, our sewer connection was up on a rise next to the site, which made it a real pain when dumping the tanks: water tends not to flow uphill very well.
So, my rating for the RV site experience would be a grudging two stars. I hesitate to give it one, because I know there are worse places out there, but the RV site area does not at all come close to the standards of the communal part of the KOA. This site was hands down the worst among the 20 campgrounds we stayed at this summer.
Also, typical of most campgrounds, the wifi was essentially useless. Depending on your carrier, you may or may not be able to get a network connection on your smart phone or hotspot - we have Verizon, and our phones generally weren't able to connect at all, but our Jetpack (fortunately!) could.
Bottom line: if you're on a family vacation and are camping in tents (with the caveat that I can't really give an effective evaluation of the tent camping here, but it looked pretty good compared to the RV sites!) or have a small rig or camper, this would probably be a great place to stay. If you're traveling in a larger rig and are drawn by the KOA's location or amenities, be prepared to negotiate some crappy roads in the campground to reach your site, and as I mentioned earlier, have lots of blocks ready to help you level up.
- Also Known As:
- Harpers Ferry Koa Hotel Harpers Ferry