SNOWBIRDS USE THE WILLCOX / COCHISE KOA AS A BASE CAMP FOR NATURE AND HISTORY TOURS IN SOUTHEAST ARIZONA
The 94-site campground, one of the highest rated parks in the KOA network, has completed more than $1.5 million in improvements
YUMA, Ariz., Nov. 13, 2019 – Everybody knows that thousands of snowbirds settle in Arizona parks during the winter months.
But that doesn’t mean they’re sedentary. Many of them venture off to explore different areas of the state, such as the Willcox area, which has a variety of interesting attractions for nature and history enthusiasts.
“There’s a lot to do in our area,” said Dennis Crull, who co-owns the Willcox / Cochise KOA Holiday campground in Willcox, adding that snowbirds and other travelers like to use the 94-site campground as a base camp for exploring scenic and historical sites in southeast Arizona.
His winter visitors include birding enthusiasts, who come to see the area’s famed sandhill cranes, which grow to about four feet in length and have a wingspan of seven feet. Thousands of the migratory birds spend the winter in the greater Willcox area.
“People come from all over the world to see them,” Crull said, adding that there are many different species of birds that congregate in the mountains and valleys near Willcox. So many, in fact, that Willcox has an annual event in January called Wings over Willcox, which includes numerous seminars, educational displays and tours for birding enthusiasts and nature photographers. The next Wings over Willcox event is set for Jan. 17-19 at the Willcox Community Center.
Crull said his guests also visit Chiricahua National Monument, which is home to more than 100 different types of birds, including colorful northern flickers and acorn woodpeckers as well as sweet sounding canyon wrens.
History buffs, for their part, like to visit the Cochise Stronghold, which is the site where the famed Chiricahua Apache Chief Cochise and about 1,000 of his followers resisted U.S. forces for many years during the late 1800s. According to historical accounts on CochiseStronghold.com and other websites, Cochise was a master strategist who was never conquered in battle. He died peacefully on the Chiricahua reservation in 1874 and was buried in a secret location.
Astronomy enthusiasts also come to Willcox to take part in weekend tours of the Mount Graham International Observatory, Crull said. The observatory features three telescopes, including the world’s most powerful telescope. However, because of the observatory’s 10,500-foot elevation, tours are only available from mid-May through October.
Crull said his snowbird visitors typically stay for a few days while exploring interesting scenic and historical sites in the Willcox area as well as its wineries, though a few stay longer, partly because of the many improvements he has made at his park during the past two years.
Indeed, Crull estimates he and his business partner, Joe Ben Stone, have spent more than $1.5 million in improvements, which have helped them increase their business levels while obtaining some of highest ratings in the 500-unit KOA franchise network. Improvements include equipping every campsite and cabin with 30-50 amp electrical service, 48-channel cable television and fiber optic WiFi.
“We have 500 megabits per second coming into our park. We have both 2G and 5G WiFi,” he said.
Crull and Stone have also installed a new heated swimming pool and spa, a new dog park and a full-service restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner from October to May. Other improvements include new ADA-compliant restrooms, a remodeled laundry facility with new equipment and two new deluxe cabins to complement the park’s existing log cabin.
For more information, please visit https://koa.com/campgrounds/willcox/.
The Willcox / Cochise KOA Holiday is affiliated with the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, which hosts a travel planning website at www.GoCampingInArizona.com. The association also publishes the Arizona RV and Camping Guide, which won the State Directory of the Year Award from the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC). The 32-page color guide features more than 90 campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the Grand Canyon State. Consumers can request the guide by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.