As the Memorial Day weekend nears, state campgrounds and New York’s private campground owners are reporting occupancy rates at 80% percent to 100%, but the nature of camping is changing.

Tim and Stephanie Cicotta of Irondequoit, for example, enjoy camping with their two young daughters, Julie, 10, and Jamie, 9. But their family getaways no longer entail stuffing the car with all sorts of gear and then pitching a tent, the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat & Chronicle reported.

The Cicottas are regulars at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort in North Java, Wyoming County, where the lodging options go way beyond a basic tent campsite. Available for rent are lakeside cabins, camping trailers, chalets and what the Cicottas like best, deluxe cabins trimmed in knotty pine that include a queen bed, sleeping loft for the kids, full bath, kitchen area, fireplace, television, Internet and air conditioning.

“It’s our way of roughing it, I guess,” said Stephanie Cicotta, 33. “The kids loved tent camping but it killed our backs sleeping on the ground. Comfort is a big thing for us. And in a tent, if it rains, the weekend is over. It’s nice to be indoors and the kids like it because we’re still away (on an adventure).”

A stress-free adventure, said Tim Cicotta, 44.

“I think it’s great. It’s camping without the pain,” said the former truck driver who is studying to become an accountant.

Old is new again

In the wake of $4-a-gallon gasoline prices, a recession and a national push to get outdoors more, camping is cool again. But customers like the Cicottas want to experience nature pain-free. In response, campgrounds are offering a wide assortment of lodging options.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of motor home and travel trailer owners are opting to rent campsites close to home by the season. By parking in one location, they save on gasoline and lost time setting up and tearing down camp.

In response to demand, more campgrounds are becoming resort-like with fitness clubs, spa services, live entertainment, and free WiFi so campers don’t have to feel “unplugged.”

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