Everybody loves the great outdoors, especially camping and campgrounds. While hotels and airplanes were skipped by many last year after the COVID-19 pandemic started, many were able to social distance and vacation by camping.
Ashley Rossi, managing editor of Togo RV, told the USA Today this month, “Traveling with your travel bubble to a campground is one of the easiest ways to follow social distancing and maximize your time outside – you can avoid indoor dining, bring everything you need with you, socialize comfortably outdoors and get direct access to hiking trails and other outdoor activities.”
Rossi pointed out that “camping” does not have to mean roughing it, adding: “So many campgrounds now offer cabins and other glamping experiences.”
Camping Was on the Rise Heading into 2020
Camping – as part of the “car, backyard and RV camping sector” -- has been one of the favorite outdoor activities in the United States, on a steady rise in popularity, climbing from 36 million participants in 2013 to 48.9 million in 2019.
According to Statista, only the category of “running, jogging and trail running” in 2019, with 61 million participants, was the only outdoor activity clearly ahead of the camping group.
The other three outdoor activities in 2019 that just nosed ahead of the camping category were:
- Freshwater, saltwater, and fly fishing 50.2 million
- Hiking 50.1 million
- Road biking, mountain biking and BMX 49.7 million
The report said, “In general, camping participants from North America come from a variety of backgrounds and most of them camp to relax, escape daily life and because it is an affordable vacation option.”
Campground and RV Park Mixed Projections
The market size of the campground & RV park sector in the United States reflected an upward trajectory in the past decade, according to Statista, reaching its peak in 2020 at 8.73 billion U.S. dollars. The sector was, however, forecast to decline by over 13 percent in 2021.
Part of that decline forecast could be attributed to campers still putting off travel plans until COVID-19 vaccines reach a wider segment of the American population.
Kampgrounds of America (KOA) issued a special report last May “North America Camping and the Effects of COVID-19” that showed a lot of change in travel plans because of the pandemic including when it came to 2020 the state of travel + camping plans were:
- Less than half, 41 percent, were still planning to take their trip.
- 22 percent had cancelled their trip.
- 13 percent had postponed or likely to postpone their camping plans.
- 10 percent they would likely cancel their travel.
- 9 percent were uncertain about what they would do.
- Only 5 percent never had plans or had not made plans yet to travel.
The good news for 2021 is that when KOA did a Fall 2020 update to the May report, they found an unexpected rise in camping took place over the summer.
The report said: “Camping continues to experience a strong rebound with its ability to meet travelers’ desires to experience the outdoors with natural social distancing. Once travelers felt it was safe to resume travel, camping experienced a summer boom with campers taking more trips than originally planned and new campers trying the activity for the first time.”
The study found:
- 46 percent took their first camping trip ever or reconnected with camping after an absence.
- Of those first-time campers: 19 percent were millennials; 17 percent were Gen X; and 15 percent were Gen Z.
- 42 percent said they were taking their planned trips the remainder of the year with 17 percent having cancelled and 10 percent likely to cancel.
Creating the Right Playground Equipment for Campgrounds
Having the right playground equipment at a campground can make sure that the customers are “happy campers”.
Miracle Recreation has six areas to consider when outfitting a campground:
Aesthetics: Add equipment that blends into the natural environment.
Inclusivity: Build a playground that can be used by all ages and abilities.
Safety: Safety surfacing, grips, and other features are a must to keep campers safe.
Engagement: Hold your campers’ attention with exciting equipment.
Amenities: Benches, picnic tables, litter receptacles, bike racks, fire rings, grills, and athletic equipment can add to your campground’s overall appeal.
Not Just for Kids!: Do not forget the youth and teens as well as the adults, who are often like “big kids” when they go camping. Consider equipment for their use.
May Recreation Equipment & Design in the greater Houston area carries commercial-grade park and playground equipment, including Miracle Recreation products.
Contact May Recreation today to find out how we can provide you with recreational design concepts emphasizing safety and fun while utilizing competitively priced products manufactured by companies who share our high standards of ethics, quality, and reliability.