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KOA, Madras, Oregon, USA

Pastoral, restful, family-friendly!

Central Oregon

We’re not usually big fans of KOA campgrounds. Often, they’re too slick, too busy, and too expensive to appeal to our RFT editors. The KOA just outside of Madras in Central Oregon is an exception. Located a half mile off busy highway 97 across from pastoral agricultural fields and tucked underneath plenty of cottonwoods, this family-friendly campground makes for a quiet, restful retreat in the high desert of Oregon.

The camp is run by a multi-generational family – mom, dad, granddad, grandmother, children, and even nephews help run this park. The site features pull- in and pull-through spots, some with water and electric; others with sewer hookup. They also have tent sites and several little modular log cabins. All come with fire rings and picnic tables. Despite the high desert location, these folks keep the grasses cool and green.

There’s plenty of shade in this high desert KOA.

This is especially a great place for kids. There’s an outdoor pool, volleyball court, horseshoes, and air hockey and pool (both under a big tent). They rent sand bikes and kids are safe to ride their bike around the gravel driveways. In the fields behind the park, a half dozen savvy horses have figured out their many RV visitors are usually good for apple treats.

What makes this KOA really special is the owners sincere efforts to make families feel welcome. They offer all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfasts for $3 (a bargain), free ice cream socials in the afternoon, and a kids’ parade in the evening featuring plenty of glow sticks, cheers, and singing.

The camp also has a well-stocked store onsite, an RV dump, and a propane tank for fill up. The shower house, though a little small with only three showers, is kept clean and doesn’t haven’t those pesky coin-operated showers.

This family-friendly camp offers both pull-ins and pull-throughs.

The Madras KOA makes a great home base from which to explore central Oregon. Climbers, rock hounds, fishermen, hikers, or anyone who enjoys the outdoor beauty of the high desert will find plenty to do. It’s just a hop from the KOA to Lake Billy Chinook where the Deschutes, Crooked, and Metolius Rivers come together, and Haystack Reservoir is only 15 minutes away, and scenic Smith Rock State Park is nearby. Of course, the pastoral setting of this park may convince you to just hunker down with a book and enjoy the day.

2435 SW Jericho Lane
Culver, OR

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Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at