Ford and Airstream recently asked us to take a weeklong Texas Adventure driving a 2018 Ford Expedition Limited Max, towing a new Airstream Tommy Bahama 19-foot Special Edition Trailer and camping out at KOA Campgrounds in Texas.
In our third installment of our 1,500-mile Texas Adventure story – we look at the KOA Campgrounds we stayed at in Lake Livingston/Onalaska, Port Lavaca/Matagorda Bay and Fredericksburg.
KOA Campgrounds are well placed for adventure in Texas
There are over 500 KOA Campgrounds across the United States with 24 in the State of Texas. Texas KOA locations are located in nearly every area of Texas – including North Texas, the Panhandle, East Texas, across the Gulf, out to West Texas and beyond.
Ford and Airstream challenged us – in six days – to visit a representative group of KOA Campgrounds in Texas while fully exploring the capabilities of the 2018 Ford Expedition Limited Max and the new Airstream Tommy Bahama Special Edition.
Our Texas Adventure journey was carefully plotted to run around five hours daily. That allowed time for full exploration of the trailer on site and to explore each area. Our route took us to KOA’s at Lake Livingston/Onalaska (East Texas), Port Lavaca/Matagorda Bay (Gulf Coast) and Fredericksburg (Hill Country Wine Region).
KOA Lake Livingston/Onalaska
We departed DFW late in the first day, arriving at the first KOA location just before dusk giving us our first challenge. Good news was, though the office was closed, they had left our reservation information at the welcome kiosk. It was complete with everything we needed to locate our lakeside spot. As dusk fell, we did find it a bit challenging to get everything set up that first night. But with plenty of light from the Expedition and the power lift on the trailer, we nailed it.
This was our favorite of the KOA sites we visited. It was a beautiful property along the lakeshore. All of the sites ‘terraced’ up the slope from the water so every site had nice views. Not only did they offer RV sites both pull-through and back-in, but also rustic and luxury cabins plus basic and premium tent camping sites in a wooded setting.
Also onsite was a covered marina, boat launch and fishing dock. It should be noted that the fishing at Lake Livingston is highly rated. National bass tournaments have been held there in recent years.
A restaurant was located waterside adjacent to the marina. It even had docking facilities for people to come off the water for a meal. There was a very nicely laid out children’s area with a small stream and an old fashioned ‘fishing hole’ for less adventurous anglers.
Their lakeside beach swimming area featured group gathering space and picnic facilities. The sparkling swimming pool was nearby. We noted that sunsets from the pool or cabana were spectacular.
The management team there is seasoned, professional and generously helpful to their guests.
If you forgot anything for that longer stay, Onalaska is close by with all of the retail you might need.
The KOA site in Fredericksburg is located smack dab in the middle of the Texas Hill Country wine region. Fully equipped on a nice wooded site along the highway, this location is one that you would use as a base camp site to explore the area – and there is well-more than several days’ worth of things to do.
In just a few minutes you can run down the road to visit Luckenbach, Texas and check it off your Bucket list.
Going east from the KOA, is the fast-developing Hill Country Wine region with vineyards and wineries right and left for miles. Yes, even there are even craft breweries and, just recently, a host of craft distilleries have sprung up. Whatever your taste in adult beverages, this area has it.
This is also Texas Peach country in season. With soils and climate that favors both grapes and peaches, a visit in late spring or early summer will treat you to some of the juiciest sweet peaches you have ever eaten.
On the same route is the well-known Wild Seed Farm where they grow acres upon acres of the prettiest flowers found in this climate, then harvest and package the seeds and send them all around the country.
Turning east from the KOA – is historical Fredericksburg, early settlement for German immigrants in Texas. Today a shopping mecca for all things country, fine food with lots of German heritage in the menus it gives a glimpse into the culture and life of the immigrants who settled this part of Texas in the 1800’s. Make sure you note the architecture influences and see what was called a ‘Sunday House’.
For WWII history buffs, just off Main Street is the famous National Museum of the Pacific War. It features many artifacts – along with the history of the war in the Pacific – in a nice climate-controlled building. If you want more and do not mind the heat, you can go down the street to the ‘Pacific Combat Zone’ exhibit where you can see live recreations of typical beach and assault operations from the Pacific war.
There is still more, but we will let you discover that yourself. Ask the KOA staff, they will help you find it.
KOA Port Lavaca/Matagorda Bay had only been open a few days and much was not completed. In addition, the location is well off the main highways of the area and not as close to Port Lavaca or even close to other Gulf activities as we expected. We will give them a pass this time and revisit a year from now.
About KOA Campgrounds
KOA Campgrounds offer new or updated, clean and well-located facilities to travelers. Typically, they all feature playgrounds, laundry facilities, KOA Convenience stores and even Kamp K9 pet parks. Depending on the particular line of amenities available, they are classified as follows:
KOA Journey: Usually found near main travel routes, easy to get to with pull-thru RV sites that, at the end of a long day on the road, offer after-hours check-in services.
KOA Holiday: For that longer stop offering activities on site and attractions nearby.
KOA Resort: A destination vacation site provides the widest range of amenities and activities – including food services – without having to leave the campground.
KOA Campgrounds can or do include:
|Pull-thru RV Sites||30/50-amp power and cable hookups|
|Restrooms and Showers||RV Sites with KOA Patios|
|Basic Tent Sites||Premium Tent Sites|
|Rustic Camping Cabins||Luxury Cabins with full baths|
|Unique Theme Lodgings (tree house or teepee)||Group Activity or Meeting Facilities|
|Sparkling Swimming Pools||Watersports|
|Restaurants on site or nearby||Local Attraction Assistance|
We would give another ‘shout out’ to Ford and Airstream for loaning us the Expedition Limited Max and Tommy Bahama Special Edition for the ‘real world’ field test opportunity.
Oh yes, you all passed nicely.
Also, to the team at Vogt RV Centers in DFW (https://www.vogtrv.com/) for the excellent briefing they provided on the proper setting of a trailer and connecting to water, power, cable and sanitary at campsites. We were able to handle that correctly every stop in about 15 minutes.