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Who Takes Camping Vacations and Where are They Going?

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Camping vacations are by and large one of the most popular family vacation ventures in the nation. Over 40 million Americans over the age of six went camping in 2013, according to a 2014 American Camper Report. That’s 14% of the national population over the age of six. Who is taking all these camping vacations and where are they going? We’ve done some research into the camping industry, who takes the most camping vacations, and the types of campgrounds they choose to visit to answer just that. Here’s what we found:

  • Campers are outdoor enthusiasts. Nearly 60% of campers also participated in other outdoor activities as children. Only 25% of on-campers, on the other hand, were likely to enjoy other outdoor activities in their youth.
  • Campers learned to appreciate camping early. A full 85% of campers took their very first camping vacation before their 15th birthday. For those over the age of 15 who hadn’t already been introduced to camping, the chance of taking a camping trip was slim.
  • Many had their introduction to camping from their immediate family. For a number of campers, their very first trip was with their immediate family. Around 12% of surveyed adult campers said their first camping vacation was with their parents and siblings.
  • Over one-quarter of households camp and that number is only growing. In 2015, 28.6 million households went camping, representing 28% of all U.S. households. This is an increase of 1.2 million households since 2014 when “only” 27.4 million households took camping trips. That boils down to one million new households deciding to take camping vacations in 2015.
  • Not surprisingly, almost all campers are repeat offenders: 99% of campers surveyed for the 2014 American Camping Report said they were “likely” or “very likely” to camp again next year. The vast majority said they’ve already planned an average of 4.9 trips. As many as two-thirds of respondents said they’ve got at least three trips on the roster already.
  • Active campers are only becoming more active. While camping vacations remain popular among the entire American population, the frequency of campers’ outings is increasing. A full 30% of active campers said they’re going to increase the number of their trips in 2016.
  • They’re staying out longer. A full 46% of campers said they’re planning to extend their nights beneath the stars in 2016. Tent camping showed the greatest change in duration between 2016 and 2015: In 2016, nearly twice as many campers said they were taking longer tent camping outings.
  • Campers are diverse. In 2016, one-fifth of new campers in America were African American/Black. The number of Hispanic campers in state and national park campgrounds increased by 5%, while there was a 7% increase in African American/Black campers in 2016. Campers of Asian decent rose even higher with 10% more taking camping vacations in 2016.
  • The majority of campers live in the Western United States. In 2015, 66% of residents in the Western U.S. said they camp at least occasionally. In the Midwest and South, 57% indicated the same, while 54% of Americans living in the Northeast said they camp at least occasionally.
  • Campers will travel 186.7 miles on average to find their camping destination.
  • The vast majority (around 70%) of camping vacations are taken in public campgrounds. Over 30% will opt for cabin camping.
  • National and State Parks are equally appealing. Half of campers planned to visit U.S. national parks and half said they were going to state parks in 2016.

Why go camping?>/h4>

  • For the pure enjoyment: 47% of adult campers say they camp simply because they enjoy doing it.
  • To spend more time with your family: 13% chose family camping vacations as an opportunity for family bonding.
  • To explore new areas: Around 20% chose to go camping in 2015 because they wanted to explore new areas and outdoor attractions.
  • It encourages healthy habits: As mentioned above, camping gives children a huge leg-up on outdoor recreation. Children who camp are twice as likely to engage in other outdoor activities as children who don’t camp.

When will you take your next camping vacations?

With all this talk about who is camping, where they’re going, and why they’re choosing camping vacations, only one question remains: When are you going to book your next camping vacation?