There seems to be a lot of camper research going on of late. One of the veterans in the camping research department are the folks at Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA). Their most recent monthly research report for September shows that COVID-19 concerns are causing nearly 24 percent of all campers (not just those at KOA parks) to cancel their fall camping trips.
Before you rush to your computer to book what you think will be one of many now-open campsites, KOA is also reporting that 10.6 million camping households – 25 percent of the active camping households in the U.S. – say they still plan to camp in September.
No leaf-peeping for you!
You also may not be able to see the forest for the campers if you plan to visit the woods to see the annual explosion of fall colors. The KOA September report says 25 million U.S. camping households plan to go “leaf peeping” at some point this fall.
Across the United States, 54 percent of all campers indicate that they are planning a camping trip to explore the changing colors of fall foliage. The most popular locations for these leaf-peeping trips include Vermont, New York and Colorado. (How about trying one of the lesser-known spots or even Utah?)
“Over the last few years we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of fall campers,” said Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO of Kampgrounds of America. “Between the scenery and the weather, it’s a wonderful time to get out and explore. Last year, as COVID restrictions loosened in many areas, we saw a dramatic increase in campers – between early September and the end of the year registration revenues were up more than 25 percent.”
Camping > European vacation
Nearly 1-in-4 campers say they plan on taking more camping trips, camping more nights or replacing other trips with camping trips due to the pandemic. New international restrictions are prompting 16 percent of campers to say they plan to replace a European vacation with a fall camping trip.
“The effects of COVID continue to be felt in every industry and camping is no different,” said O’Rourke. “What’s definitely promising for now and future is that camping continues to be a really trusted form of travel. Our research tells us that campers consider camping a safe form of travel. We’ve seen that first-hand throughout our business and camper feedback.”
According to the latest projections, 54.5 million households are planning to camp in 2021, compared to 48.2 million in 2020. An estimated 6.2 million households will camp for the first time this year. Half of campers believe camping is the safer alternative compared to other forms of travel.