Ventura Ranch KOA: Grand opening Friday of already popular destination

June 08, 2011
Santa Paula News

Although built to be environmentally friendly, it’s the more obvious fun and adventure factor that is sure to draw visitors from far and wide - and even just down the highway - to Ventura Ranch Kampgrounds Of America.

Ventura Ranch KOA will be celebrating its grand opening on Friday, June 10, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

With its array of camping sites, RV parking with patios, glamour tents, deluxe lodges and even upscale teepee accommodations, Ventura Ranch KOA is far from a traditional campsite. It is, instead, a playground perfect for locals to escape and spend quality time together.

Visitors will be able to see for themselves Friday by touring the overnight accommodations, as well as having the chance try out the thrilling Zipline, bounce on the jumping pillow or even climb the Rock Wall. Ventura Ranch KOA will also hold a grand opening private reception for invited guests only.

According to Scott Cory, who co-owns Ventura Ranch with Steven Bitter, Friday’s grand opening reflects more than a year of improvements and renovations waiting to be unveiled. And, said Cory, there are more to come.

In early 2010 Cory and Bitter “hung the KOA flag,” and in that year alone the 76-acre camp, located at the base of the Los Padre National Forest near Steckel Park north of Santa Paula, hosted 15,000 camper nights with guests from more than 25 countries. “It’s been a big boon for tourism” in the local area that spills into Santa Paula and Ojai and throughout the county, Cory said.

Ventura Ranch KOA has about 80 RV spots, half a dozen glamour lodges that can sleep up to about six people, and teepees, “five as of today and we’ll have three more finished in two weeks.” The unique teepees are “getting bigger and more beautiful,” and each can sleep up to six guests - that is if you can get one, as the teepees are almost sold out for the summer.

Ventura Ranch KOA is perfectly situated to provide guests with the peace and quiet of nature along with numerous hiking trails, while still in close proximity to Ventura’s vast beaches 14 miles away.

Ventura Ranch KOA has a strong sense of place: “the natural beauty of the oak and sycamore trees, the natural sound of Santa Paula Creek, the starry nights” that Cory said can be found just a few miles from “downtown Santa Paula or 100 miles from Los Angeles... but you feel like you were transported 300 miles back into a forest.... Staycations,” vacations close to home that save on gas, convenience and the stress of longer journeys “are very easy to do at Ventura Ranch KOA.”

Even so, he admits the “numbers astound me, the growth we have had under KOA... the goal was to build a vacation destination where people can quickly get away from the busy city and relax and enjoy the beauty of Southern California at their comfort level. I’m happy we can offer such a unique experience.”

And that includes the Zipline, the first and only such attraction of its kind in the KOA family of more than 470 parks. The Zipline, said Cory, is “more than 750 feet long; we haven’t timed it on speed yet,” but he estimates it will travel 30 mph to 40 mph along the approximately 50 foot drop from the Pavilion area to the creek’s edge.

Cory, who was in senior management with KOA corporate before he and Bitter decided to have their own KOA franchise, said there is also a new rock-climbing wall and jumping pillow at the campground. And to preserve the camping resort’s breath-taking surroundings, Cory and Bitter made sure that Ventura Ranch practices ecotourism with low impact development.

“From the beginning, we have made it a priority to protect the natural surroundings of Santa Paula and we have created a place where we can enjoy the outdoor environment that nature provides,” said Bitter. “Buildings and tent sites were constructed in locations best suiting the natural layout of the property, while trimming trees was kept to a minimum.”

Ventura Ranch KOA is located at 7400 Pine Grove Rd., Santa Paula, and is open all year with activities dependant on the season. Special grand-opening activities will continue Saturday for Ventura Ranch KOA camping guests.

For more information on Kampgrounds of America, visit To make your reservations at Ventura Ranch KOA, visit

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