KOA Road Trip Editor’s Note: Kampgrounds of America Inc. released its 2023 North American Camping & Outdoor Hospitality Report on Tuesday (May 2) and, as always, the report is loaded with a ton of data. In order to break down some of the key areas of the report, WOODALLSCM.com (WCM) will be focusing on a new section over the next few days as WCM works to ensure park owners get a grasp on the key data coming out of the report.

The classic road trip is something that always captures the hearts of campers, as they seek to explore unique destinations. The 2023 North American Camping & Outdoor Hospitality Report notes the appeal of these trips and highlights some of the major trends when it comes to taking a road trip.

While “short weekend road trips are generally seen as more accessible to a broader set of people, almost half of campers (48%) are interested in taking an extended road trip (defined as traveling eight hours or more),” notes the report. “Four-in-ten respondents are interested in taking an adventurous trip designed to explore new places.”

“People want that nostalgic type of road trip and even in the off-season, we saw that even among the hardcore set of campers,” said Scott Bahr, who has worked on the report over its nine-year existence and who is president of Cairn Consulting Group. “They still wanted to do road trips.”

Other road trips that people want to take include:

  • A trip that includes visiting familiar places (40%)
  • A trip that minimizes the use of electronics (36%)
  • Sharing the road trip with kids or grandkids (35%)
  • Recreating trips that they took when they were younger (33%)
  • A trip that combines different types of stays (31%)

Campers are also looking for eclectic experiences when they plan a trip, including trips to locations that have specific natural events or attractions (40%), visiting small towns (31%) and more.

“They want to stay in a place where there’s a lot to do around them and there’s this interest in natural occurrences, whether it’s a meteor shower or an eclipse,” Bahr explained. “Bird watching has been increasing in popularity. It’s not pigeonholed, people want to try all these different things.” KOA Food Tourism

Perhaps the most interesting type of trip is one that involves so-called “food tourism.” Which involves looking for unique culinary experiences. Thirty-six percent of campers are looking for a food tourism experience.

The report dedicates a whole page to the importance of food while camping and the types of campers that are looking for unique culinary experiences. Many parks have added food options or offer access to food options, either through delivery or local food trucks, and the importance of those moves is fleshed out in the report.

“More than 4-in-10 campers say that it is important for a campground offering outdoor hospitality to also provide food service,” the report notes. “More than half (56%) say that when glamping they are most likely to expect the food and beverage service to be of the highest quality compared to all other attributes.

“Similarly, almost 6-in-10 (57%) want access to local dining options,” the report adds.

Bahr noted to WCM that food tourism is growing in popularity.

“These people will spend significant amounts of money on food in the local areas,” he said.

In fact, the report shows that campers interested in food tourism will spend an additional $300 per trip when compared to other campers or travelers.

To read the full report go to the KOA Press Room at http://www.koapressroom.com/.