Flagstaff With Kids

Circle Pines KOA in Williams

Circle Pines KOA in Williams. Camping in Arizona is so much fun. The varied landscapes and climates within this beautiful state creates the perfect scenario for diverse adventures, all within a few hours drive. One of the most fun and kid friendly campgrounds I have ever been to is the Circle Pines KOA in Williams.

Liz Haveman

Circle Pines KOA in Williams. Camping in Arizona is so much fun. The varied landscapes and climates within this beautiful state creates the perfect scenario for diverse adventures, all within a few hours drive. One of the most fun and kid friendly campgrounds I have ever been to is the Circle Pines KOA in Williams.

Williams is a unique destination on its own merit. It has an old west era vibe that sets the scene for nostalgic entertainment. It’s an engaging way to immerse yourself in history, but with lots of modern fun attached. Add to this a great and inexpensive place to stay, and this could easily become your family’s go to weekend getaway.

KOA’s are known to have convenient amenities, such as real restroom facilities and hot running water. But this KOA goes above and beyond, providing such offerings as an indoor pool, two playgrounds, a jumping pillow, and a restaurant.

There are also more sleeping options offered here than most campgrounds. There are sites dedicated to large RV’s, with convenient pull through-lanes. Small campers and pop-ups are welcome, and all camper sites have electricity and water hookups. Tent sites have restrooms and washing stations close by, and each site has electricity. It’s very helpful having your own dedicated place to charge your phones and lanterns.

There are three more unique sleeping options offered here. You can book a cabin, a teepee, or a covered wagon. Yes, you read that correctly. A teepee, or covered wagon. Both of these options offer heat, air conditioning, a mini fridge, fire ring, wood grill, a king or full bed, and bunk beds. Linens are provided. The wagons sleep up to six, while the teepees sleep up to five.

If you want a cabin, there are several options available. There are family cabins that sleep four, and deluxe cabins that sleep up to four or six, and include a partial kitchen, air conditioning, shower and bathroom. One deluxe cabin sleeps up to eight, and is basically a full house in the middle of the campground. The “camping cabin” has no shower or bathroom, but sleeps four to six depending on if you reserve a one room or two room. The camping cabins also specify to bring your own linens. There are water spigots outside of the cabins.

One problem my family has encountered with camping is that after the initial excitement of arriving, setting up, and roasting marshmallows, the kids are suddenly bored and don’t know what to do. It’s hard to resist pulling out those electronics when it’s 2 p.m. and our plans did not extend beyond having a restful afternoon. My kids are, unfortunately, not big fans of restful afternoons. Scooters and board games can only get you so far before it’s late enough to pretend it’s bedtime.

Herein lies the amazingness of this particular KOA: my kids were never bored. Whenever we had down time, it was easy to walk to one of the playgrounds or the jumping pillow. There was a free barrel train ride, and for a few extra dollars, the options of mini golf or go carts. The kids couldn’t get enough of the indoor pool.

When we were caught in a sudden downpour, we ran into the main building and found a small game room we hadn’t even realized was there. It rained for a long time, and a staff member gave my kids a big handful of quarters so they could play air hockey. In that same room were a few crane games (that definitely left my kids crying; we did warn them) a display of brochures for local activities, and a shelf full of board games. This room was located right next to a laundry room.

We wandered over to the general store in the same building to enjoy looking at small toys, and get some food for lunch. It was great to know that if we forgot something, this shop had most amenities.

We did not get the chance to eat at the Bear Trax Cafe, but it looked and smelled delicious. There were occasionally long lines in the morning, but things seemed to move pretty fast. The cafe is covered and technically indoors. However one wall is completely open, so you are protected from the elements but can still feel like you are eating outside. It’s open Sunday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. for breakfast, and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for dinner. It is located next to the general store.

If you want to do some cooking on your own, you can rent BBQ’s and propane fire pits to make cooking more convenient. This site also rents bikes and helmets. Having less stuff to haul is always helpful when space inside your vehicle is limited.

There were a few downsides to this location that could really be a major issue for some people. The biggest one for my family was that the campside was loud. Being located right off the highway is so convenient. But there was never a stop in the highway noise. All night long I was being woken up by traffic and trains. We were camping in a tent. If you are in an RV, that might afford you some sound proofing.

Second, this campsite was bright. I also have a hard time sleeping when it’s not dark, and while I understand the lights are important for safety when you inevitably have to walk to the restroom at night, that made it hard for me to sleep.

Third, tent camping is all surrounded by the small roads campers need to move their vehicles around. We were on a corner lot, and several times at night I was afraid a car was going to roll right over my head. While this would be very improbable as there was a wooden log between us and the road, it was disconcerting to have tail lights shining through my tent as someone was backing up right next to us.

Overall, these issues would not deter us from returning, and the positives far outweighed the negatives. The only change I will make next time is to request not to be on a corner lot. The Circle Pines KOA was a great experience, and we look forward to our next visit.

For more information, visit their website! More information about KOA’s in Arizona can be found here.

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