KOA Report Finds Camping Interest Sticks

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

Kampgrounds of America’s (KOA) latest monthly report found camping households expecting to camp in September and the fall. Plans remain despite continued pandemic concerns.

KOA’s September edition of its Monthly Research Report found 10.6 million households expecting to camp in September and 25 million planning a fall camping trip.

“Over the last few years, we have seen a marked increase in the number of fall campers,” said Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO of KOA. “Between the scenery and the weather, it is 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%.”

Although the outlook for fall is strong, KOA found Covid is still affecting campers. Nearly 24% of campers canceled a planned fall camping trip because of Covid concerns, up slightly from August. Conversely, nearly 1-in-4 campers say they plan on taking more camping trips, camping more nights or replacing other trips with camping trips because of the pandemic.

New international restrictions are prompting 16% 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,” O’Rourke said. “What is 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.”

Across the U.S., 54% of 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.

According to the latest projections, 54.5 million households are planning to camp in 2021, compared with 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 with other forms of travel.

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