November 16, 2023

Tennessee’s Paris Landing/Kentucky Lake KOA Holiday beats out hundreds of campgrounds to win major award for new campground owners

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Nov. 16, 2023) – The Paris Landing/Kentucky Lake KOA Holiday, owned and operated by Marc and Starr Peterson, has been named the Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) Rising Star for 2024. Announced Wednesday, November 16, during KOA’s annual International Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Rising Star Award is awarded to an exemplary campground that has been a part of the KOA campground system for less than five years.

Owning a picturesque campground near a lake in Tennessee was not part of the Peterson’s plans. Living in the suburbs of Chicago, Marc was busy working in corporate America while wife Starr was beginning a new teaching job. It was when Marc was laid off that the plan changed.

“When I got laid off, I decided I needed to do something different,” shared Marc Peterson. “I thought, I thought, I’m getting old or too worn out, and I said, ‘What do I love to do?’ I love to go camping, and we go to many KOAs, and I love the brand. I saw a link that said, ‘Own a KOA’ and clicked on it.”

Eventually, that one click led the Petersons to a quiet Tennessee campground built in 1974 near Kentucky Lake. When the couple bought the campground in 2018, they immediately began adding more sites and creating a five-year plan. Three years later, they not only met but exceeded their goal.

“We quadrupled our revenue within the first few years. Now, COVID helped, but a lot of that held sweat equity,” Peterson said. “It is all blood, sweat, and tears in this place. I mean all three.”

The Petersons have made significant changes and improvements to the campground, including the recent addition of two Deluxe Cabins and five new RV Sites with KOA Patios, in addition to upgrading 23 existing sites with KOA Patios. Wi-Fi upgrades keep campers connected on all their devices.

Campers themselves, the Petersons still take a lot of inspiration from their fellow KOA owners.

“In the off-season, we camp and stop in and meet people,” Peterson said. “We love meeting new people and other owners. We have got to be getting close to 90 or maybe even 100 different KOAs that we have visited or stayed at, and I’m proud of that.”

The family’s upgrades and focus on customer service have not gone unnoticed. The campground ranks 17 in the KOA campground system with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 92. Paris Landing/Kentucky Lake KOA Holiday has also won the prestigious KOA Founder’s Award all five years of its operation.

“Marc and Starr have taken on the challenge of campground ownership and truly flourished,” said Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO of Kampgrounds of America, Inc. “To achieve such a high level of success in such a short timeframe is a true testament to the Petersons’ entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to every camper they serve.”

For more information about the Paris Landing/Kentucky Lake KOA Holiday, please visit the campground’s website.



Kampgrounds of America, Inc. has been the definitive leader in outdoor hospitality for more than 60 years. United under the mission of “connecting people to the outdoors and each other,” the company consists of two unique brands: KOA and Terramor Outdoor Resorts. KOA, the world’s largest system of privately-owned, open-to-the-public campgrounds, consists of more than 500 franchised and owned campgrounds. With unrivaled brand visibility, KOA also offers campground owners and operators unparalleled support in campground education, design, recruitment, marketing and technology. Terramor Outdoor Resorts, a glamping venture, opened its first flagship property in Bar Harbor, Maine in 2020.  Literally meaning ‘Love of Land,” the brand focuses on delivering a refined and upscale outdoor experience. For more information, visit KOA.com and TerramorOutdoorResort.com.