Kampgrounds of America’s July 2023 Monthly Research Report found more than 21.5 million households camped over the Fourth of July holiday. The total is flat from 2022 and is about 9% higher than 2021’s holiday camping household total.
The report revealed some hesitancy on campers’ part. More than half of campers (56%) said they have postponed trips to either later in the summer or the fall. Among all leisure travelers, one-third said they postponed trips.
“We must examine challenges campers may be facing even as we are seeing high participation,” Whitney Scott, KOA senior vice president of strategy. “We know that campers are an enthusiastic group that will adjust their plans to continue camping, whether that means shifting dates or picking different locations. We are looking at what leads to those shifts to better serve our guests.”
Weather conditions were cited as reasons for adjusting plans, with 62% of respondents altering plans, 22% changing where they camp and 18% revising their trip entirely.
Almost one-quarter of campers (22%) said the weather led them to cancel camping.
The report found overcrowding was another potential obstacle to camping. A total of 71% of campers mentioned overcrowding in 2022, 2023 or both years. Three-quarters of those who mentioned overcrowding (73%) learned about it from word of mouth rather than first-hand experience (39%).
“Campers are sharing that overcrowding is affecting them,” Scott said. “However, some of this might be more chatter than reality. That said, whether real or perceived, we must examine space and capacity with a critical lens to continue providing the best experience for campers across the industry.”