A family roasting marshmallows around a fire
A family roasting marshmallows on the fire
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Trends + Insights

The benefits of camping and being outdoors

Becky Holmes
Jun, 2024
3 mins

Camping and outdoor activities have surged in popularity over the past decade, reflecting a significant shift in how people choose to spend their leisure time. The 2024 Camping & Outdoor Hospitality Report, sponsored by Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA), highlights key findings that illustrate the benefits of camping, the motivations behind why people camp, and notable demographic and psychographic trends in the camping audience.

"Consumer research is essential to our work at Kampgrounds of America," explains Diane Eichler, Sr. Vice President of Marketing at KOA. "Over the last decade, we've seen camping evolve from a cherished outdoor activity into a significant segment of the travel industry. We continually apply our research insights to meet our campers' needs, creating environments where anyone can connect to the outdoors and each other while creating lifelong memories."

1. Increased Popularity and Accessibility

The overall number of camping households has increased by 23%, while active camping households surged by 68%. This growth is fueled by the evolving preferences of younger and more diverse campers.

2. Rise of Glamping

Glamping has emerged as a significant trend, blending luxury with outdoor experiences. Since 2014, glamping participation has increased dramatically, with many first-time campers opting for glamping accommodations to enjoy enhanced amenities while still experiencing nature.

3. Technology Integration

Modern campers increasingly rely on technology, such as Wi-Fi and AI-based trip planning tools, to enhance their camping experience. This trend reflects a blend of nature with modern convenience, making outdoor activities more accessible and enjoyable.

4. Sustained Interest Post-Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in camping as it was one of the few safe travel options available. This trend has continued, with a significant portion of campers maintaining their interest in outdoor activities even as other travel options have reopened.

5. Health and Wellness Trends

There is a noticeable shift towards health and wellness in travel choices. Campers are increasingly seeking water-based trips, wellness retreats, and experiences that allow them to recharge physically and emotionally.

6. Demographic Shifts

The camping audience has become younger and more diverse. Nearly half of the new campers in the U.S. and over half in Canada are non-white, indicating a broadening appeal of camping across different demographic groups.

7. Blended Travel Experiences

A new trend of "blended travel" has emerged, where campers integrate camping with other forms of travel such as stays at hotels, resorts, or vacation homes. This flexibility allows travelers to enjoy a variety of experiences within a single trip.

These insights from the 2024 Camping & Outdoor Hospitality report demonstrate how camping has evolved into a multifaceted and inclusive activity that offers numerous benefits, caters to diverse preferences, and continues to grow in popularity.