KOA Data Suggests Active Summer Ahead

A picture of the entrance to a KOA campground, with a pickup hauling a Keystone RV Cougar fifth wheel

The latest data released by Kampgrounds of America (KOA) shows month-over-month growth in camping lifestyle interest.

The KOA Monthly Research Report – July Edition estimated 24.5 million campers will venture out in July. The figure is more than double the 11.7 million households KOA projected to camp in June in its previous report.

KOA also noted impressive growth among new campers, with the new camper segment estimated to reach 4.9 million by the end of the year. This is up from estimates of 4.3 million in May and 4.8 million in June.

In all, KOA projects 53.5 million households will camp in 2021. That figure is revised up from 53.1 million households projected a month earlier.

“It’s very encouraging to see month-over-month growth in camping interest among veteran and new campers,” KOA President and CEO Toby O’Rourke said. “While we are still seeing outside factors, like Covid and now gas prices in the U.S., affect travel, camping is not only proving to be a top vacation option but the preferred mode of travel for a growing segment of the population.”

KOA research shows 52% of all North American campers plan to camp this summer, even as monthly research shows campers across the U.S. and Canada are dealing with outsides forces that may affect camping behavior.

Although Covid concerns continue to be the primary reason for changes to camping plans (40%), financial concerns and gas prices are also considerations. Nearly 70% of campers say climbing gas prices could affect their summer camping plans.

“As a business that is tied to road travel, we keep a close pulse on fuel prices,” O’Rourke said. “We have seen exponential growth in camping households across the U.S. and throughout our organization. In fact, the dramatic year-over-year growth KOA experienced for 10 years after the 2008 recession began as prices at the gas pump started to rise, indicating resiliency among our camping base. People may be taking trips closer to home or staying at locations longer, but we are not seeing a slowing in the desire to camp.”

Notably, 31% of campers said gas prices would have no impact on upcoming camping trips. Most campers said higher prices would cause them to take fewer trips (37%) or trips closer to home (33%).

Top states for summer camping include California, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania.

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