While he thought the summer was better than average, Scott Madson, owner of Otter Tail Beach Resort, told the Fergus Falls (Minn.) Journal that most people book their stays way before they can see a weather forecast.

“I think the economy is just getting a little better,” Madson said.

The economy always plays a role in the success of resorts and campgrounds, and Fair Hills Resort president and owner Beth Schupp said people seemed to have the confidence to do a little more spending over the summer.

“I think people had put off taking vacations for a couple years when the economy was in the tank in ‘09, ‘10 and ‘11,” she said. “People finally saved enough to go or were feeling a little more optimistic, so they said, ‘lets do it.’ I think that people decided it was time to get a break in their life again, and we saw the result of that decision.”

They were responding to the recent findings published by the Minnesota Resort and Campground Association (MRCA) survey that 70% of respondents rated the 2012 season “good” or better, and 22% even said this summer was the best they ever had.

On top of more people taking vacations, Schupp said visitors seemed more willing to spend money on gift shop items and extra services.

Nobody in the survey said this summer was terrible, and only 14% said it was “not so great.” These down areas were likely affected by flooding or the storm near Duluth in June, according to the study’s report.

It is unknown what next summer will hold for vacationers, but area campgrounds and resorts will continue to adapt and find ways to bring people in for a great Minnesota summer.

“I think next year is looking good,” said Madson. “I expect it to be similar to this year. I have a fair amount of space I can still fill.”

While all reservations are still tentative at Fair Hills Resort, Schupp said next summer will likely be at least as good as the “above average” 2012 summer.

“It looks like it’s going to be another good summer,” Schupp said.

About 60 resort and campground operators participated in the survey: 43% from the central region, 32% from the northeast, 19% from the northwest, 5% from southern Minnesota and 1%  in the Twin Cities area. Respondents represented 29% resorts, 22% campgrounds and 19% with both cabins and campsites.