By Mike Gast
The camping research numbers for this summer keep rolling in. They all point to a record year for camping in the U.S.
A recent survey by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is projecting that 56 million camping families will hit the road this summer in an RV. On Thursday, Kampgrounds of America Inc. released results of its May KOA Monthly Research Report. It projects more than 17.8 million households will kick off the camping season over the Memorial Day weekend alone in the U.S. and Victoria Day weekend in Canada.
Extended stays on holiday weekends
The KOA study also found that 14% of those holiday weekend campers will be staying in campgrounds (all campgrounds, not just KOAs) an additional day or two beyond the holiday, and 10% are saying they plan to stay an entire extra week before or after the holiday weekend.
The scientific KOA survey said there were 6.75 million families camping in March and 7.24 million camping in April. In addition, 21 million families are projected to camp during the entire month of May.
KOA’s study compared to RVIA’s version
KOA’s overall study is a bit less aggressive on the total camper numbers for the year than RVIA’s version. KOA is projecting a total of 52.6 million camping families in 2021, up from 48.2 million in 2020. That includes 4.3 million brand-new campers this year. Again, these numbers are for all campers, not just those using KOA parks.
“As the travel industry continues to rebound from the pandemic, we believe it is important to closely monitor campers’ behavior and sentiment toward camping and travel in general,” said Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO of Kampgrounds of America. She continued,“Campers continue to indicate that they feel camping is safer than other forms of travel. This, coupled with lower rates of COVID-19 impacting summer camping plans, gives us a positive outlook for a strong camping season ahead.”
Two-thirds of campers surveyed will be vaccinated this summer
A full 67% of campers responding to the KOA survey said they are or will be vaccinated this summer.
The KOA Monthly Report said the top three locations for camping this summer will be national parks (74% of campers), state parks (73%), and private campgrounds (68%).
You can view the full KOA Monthly Research Report here. Cairn Consulting Group conducted the survey for the report.