If you’re planning to go camping over the Labor Day weekend – or any other weekend this fall – and you don’t have a reservation in hand, you might be out of luck.
Major camping companies and campground associations are forecasting big numbers for the last holiday of the summer.
Show me the numbers
Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) said 28.46 million households across North America are expected to camp over the Labor Day (Labour Day in Canada) weekend in the U.S. and Canada. Those numbers, which are an estimate for all camping – not just at KOA parks – is an increase of 60 percent over this year’s Memorial Day weekend counts and 44 percent more than the Fourth of July results.
About one-fourth of all campers over the Labor Day/Labour Day weekend will camp over the long weekend only. Almost 1-in-5 plan to add 1-2 additional days around the holiday, and only 12 percent plan to camp the entire week. For campers who will only be camping over the holiday in the next 30 days, almost half – 40 percent – plan to do so for the long weekend only.
KOA said the popularity of the holiday weekend is projected to continue into the fall as 28 percent of all campers say they plan to take more trips this autumn. While COVID remains a concern, overall cancellations and changes to camping plans will be low – only 1-in-5 note they have made changes to fall camping plans.
“Last year we experienced our best fall on record at KOA,” said Toby O’Rourke, President and CEO of Kampgrounds of America. “As people felt more comfortable traveling and restrictions continued to loosen, we saw people extend their camping into the fall shoulder season. The results of this month’s research, as well as our advanced reservations, make it clear that fall camping is only becoming more popular.”
What about the numbers for the whole year?
Looking at the year as a whole, the August report finds that 54.5 million households plan to camp in 2021. KOA estimates that 5.3 million new households – a 1 million household increase from the 4.3 million projected in May – will camp in 2021.
They’re not alone…
KOA isn’t alone in forecasting big numbers for Labor Day and beyond.
Paul Bambei, president & CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), said, “Everything we are seeing points to record crowds” for Labor Day weekend and the rest of the fall.
Trent Hershenson, Vice President of Marketing for Leisure Systems Inc.’s Jellystone Parks, said both camper traffic and revenues have been “sky-high” at Jellystone locations this summer. “Based on currently available data, revenue through the end of July was up more than 48 percent compared to 2020,” he said.
Hershenson said Jellystone Park locations traditionally tend to sell out completely for the Labor Day weekend. “September and October are also very strong for us, as many parks sell out multiple Halloween-themed weekends during those months. I expect our record-breaking revenues to continue throughout the next few months.”
Hershenson also said huge increases in consumer interest means “There simply won’t be space available at Jellystone Park locations to meet that increased demand.”