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General Campground Question

My wife and I have camped since about '87. Due to family situation (a 16 year old who would not go any more and my wife tending to her mom after her father's death) we got out of camping for the last 3 years. So, now the wife, dogs, and I are back in! Well, camper is on order. While shopping for a camper, we were told that the Millennials are getting into camping and it is taxing the RV manufactures. Oh, and down sized for several reasons.

So, on to my question....

Are campgrounds getting noticeably more crowded?
If so, is the crowd mainly in the private campgrounds?
What about Federal and State campgrounds?

Sorry Millennials. I do not mean any offense!!! Welcome to RVing.
Camp with my lovely wife, Rat Terriers and Jack Chi
2022 Rockwood Minilite 2205S
2015 GMC Canyon, crew cab, long bed
2 Honda EU 2000i
Andersen WDH

OK, been part time RVing for 19 years and now have been to 190 different RV parks in 11 western states and two western provinces. I am not a knowitall (just ask my wife) but we have been a lot of change.

Yes, more rigs for sure from baby boomers but another factor is the rentals - my God, the rental units! Mostly class C and mostly people from Europe.

Which is why we reserve spots way ahead with a lot of trip planning. Do we make changes? Not often but we do - and when we do we reserve at the place we are changing to.

We prefer to be at a place enjoying it rather than spending time looking for a place who might or might not have space.

Just our observations / comments.
Barbara-DW 55 years
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20 yrs PT RVing - 190 RV parks; some many times

My husband and I are technically millennials (born in '82 and '83). Most campgrounds seem to either be filled with families with elementary aged kids (so probably not millennials) with smaller travel trailers/pop-ups, or older retirees or close to retirees. We rarely meet people our age or younger. Most of our friends are either not campers or they do tent camping.

FWIW, I grew up tent camping for family vacations and my husband's family had a travel trailer when he was a kid.
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In the campgrounds we have been to, a mix of state/county parks and private campgrounds and resorts, the bulk of campers are older than Boomers, Boomers and Gen Xers. We've seen a few folks we'd consider millennials, but not many.

Michael Girardo
2017 Jayco Jayflight Bungalow 40BHQS Destination Trailer
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Thanks for the replies. Last RV I purchased was in '04 (5er). The lead time on orders was about 6-8 weeks. We did experience a delay then due to the gas value in RV ovens were not available. Something a bout the value supplier factory fire or re-tool, whatever. Anyway, it was over the winter and we waited it out maybe 90 days.

The latest shopping trip, one RV dealer tells us in may be 6-18 months. WHAT? Go to another RV dealer and he tells us 6-10 weeks. Sounds more reasonable. I know a lot of that depends on brand and also the volume of the dealer. Anyway, we settled on the KZ Spree Connect Lite. Since it is just my wife and I, and of course our 4-legged buddies, we figured a small rig would work and maybe get us into spaces we use to not fit.

We live in NC and have traveled the east coast. Prior to our kid, we did mainly federal parks, Blue Ridge Parkway ans Smokey Mountains. We also did state parks when close to the area we wanted to explore. We found it difficult getting our daughter into unplugging in these parks, so private campgrounds became our destinations until "family" camping ended 3 years ago.

Thanks for your responses.

I feel like I am a kid again waiting for my unit to be delivered. Maybe 6 more weeks! Oh, and I am sitting on 2+ weeks of vacation I have to use by the end of the year. 🙂
Camp with my lovely wife, Rat Terriers and Jack Chi
2022 Rockwood Minilite 2205S
2015 GMC Canyon, crew cab, long bed
2 Honda EU 2000i
Andersen WDH

We snowbird in winter and usually take a trip out west during summer and yes we feel campgrounds are being used much more. For example we used to use a couple of southern and coastal Fl. state parks and could get reservations OK or even possibly just drive in. Now we can't even get reservations; period. Not willing to be on the computer exactly 11 months in advance and still get frustrated. Right now we are wrapping up a trip to Glacier NP thinking usage would be light since kids are in school. Wrong. Even with the smoke. Reservations are much advised and take nothing for granted about being able to get a site.

Explorer II
Explorer II
Millenials....the ones I know seem to be split in at least 2 classes. The highly educated yuppies think RV's are low class and redneck. There is another class of them that have money and don't spend it. Unlike us boomers. They drive old cars and live in old houses. They don't have gardeners and work on their old cars themselves. They save their money. Then there are a few like us..mortgages and RV's. I think it is mostly baby boomers buying RV's and the few young ones that may have grown up with them.
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I guess a lot has to do with where you plan to camp and when. If you are planning to camp during the summers and on weekends, then yes, there are more RVs. If you plan to go to touristy places on weekends and during school holidays, yes, there are more RVs.

If you plan to camp in the spring, fall and winter, there are still plenty of sites available. You will most likely need to make reservations if you plan to go to those touristy spots, even during the off-season.

We also camp-host and there are more younger families camping both in tents and with RVs. It's great to see them enjoying time with their kids. That's one of the reasons we continue - our kids really love it, even though they get busier each year.
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Must be specific locations. We've not had any problems getting into anywhere, with a little planning and some reservations. Another tip, we don't camp at the high profile parks. We enjoy the unknowns, out of the way, places that don't draw a lot of go-getters. Camping is peaceful, and depending on week-end or week-day, or holiday or not, may be filled up or may not.

I suppose, being older, we ran and did so much when the kids were little, we enjoy the quiet, peaceful, low activity, places. Indiana has several State Parks, some not so popular as others, but as far as camping goes, you couldn't ask for anything nicer. The problem is if you want to park somewhere with a high profile energy atmosphere. Yea, those are crowded and can be unruly.

We've noticed an increase of seasonal campers in private parks though.

Get ready for some changes.
1. Historically a recession occurs every 6-9 years. We've experienced 8 years of growth. We're due.
2. Stocks are extremely over valued.
3. The FED hasn't taken a significant increase in interest rates in several years.
4. Inflation has remained at an all time low.
5. Illegal aliens (ie: Hispanics) are no longer flooding into the US at record numbers. This is putting a strain on our economy. The cost to build houses is increasing rapidly due to lack of cheap labor.
6. Any import trade restrictions the US levies will raise the cost of imports raising inflation. Countries will react with by taxing US exports which will also raise inflation.
I'm proud to be an American. I voted for Trump. Let the bashing begin. Facts are facts. We're over due for a huge market correction.
This will negatively affect the RV industry and we will be able to camp anywhere anytime as long as we can afford the gas to get there.
"If the women don't find you handsome, they better find you handy". Red Green


Agree that it's us baby boomers, not the millennials.

And out West, campgrounds ARE more crowded, even off season.
We found this last winter, that there are more retirees in RVs. There are more filling up campgrounds and RV parks starting in November.

We never camp in the summer or holidays but we're finding that even spring and fall camping is more crowded.
Dan- Firefighter, Retired:C, Shawn- Musician/Entrepreneur:W, Zoe- Faithful Golden Retriever(RIP:(), 2014 Ford F150 3.5 EcoboostMax Tow pkg, 2016 PrimeTime TracerAIR 255 w/4pt Equalizer and 5 Mtn. bikes and 2 Road bikes

Explorer II
Explorer II
We're currently in a NY state park campground that was 100% booked except for some of the primitive tent sites in the weeks leading up to Labor Day. As of Tuesday afternoon, the park was down to about 15% occupancy, and about 10% today. As already said, most of our reservations for this winter in Florida, where we mostly hop from state park to state park, were made before we left last winter. Even then we were unable to get into a couple of our first choice parks at 8am on the day the 11 month advanced reservation windows opened at Reserve America. Fortunately, we were able to fill those gaps later on when the 6 month window opened for the national parks. "It's a jungle out there!"... 😉
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Isaac - your are correct for that area. We went through there in the spring and had no problems getting a site on short notice. It's a different story in the more populous areas of the country. Cape Cod, June through September, you need reservations, weekend and week day.

South of I-4 in Florida (considered to be the >70 degrees line), people make reservations for next winter when they leave in the spring. I've seen several posts here announcing an upcoming cancellation in the Keys that get snapped up immediately.

Just a few years ago when I was researching being on the road for a winter, the general consensus was that unless you were going to extreme south Florida, reservations weren't needed. I found that mostly to be true, but we had reservations in advance for south of I-4.

And as I said, if you want to pay $100 a night, you can usually get a site anywhere. We tried to average $35 a night. One night in the Keys would have meant 3 nights in a Walmart 🙂
Jerry & Jeanne
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2014 Equinox AWD / Blue Ox

I keep reading this, but I just have not seen it, though I too just got back into RV travel after a 15 year break last year. Sure the crowds may be up a bit, but there are still spaces out there. I just returned home to Louisiana from Wyoming where I toured Yellowstone and then watched the big Solar Eclipse. Sure I made reservations for Yellowstone, and the place where we watched the eclipse, but statistics say there were more vehicles visiting Wyoming that day than there are vehicles registered in the state. However for the 9 day somewhat round about drive home by way of Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas thanks to Harvey I never made a reservation, and had no problems finding a place to spend the night. This included a popular small Forest Service campground, two nights in a popular state park, a couple of local city/county RV parks and even a KOA in Texarkana as Harvey was making its second or third landing in Louisiana. Now because I was taking my time waiting for Harvey to get out of the way, I was stopping earlier in the day most days, and there were few spaces left available at some of the more scenic campgrounds. However on the other hand I did spend the night at the Kansas State Fairground RV park where I was one of 5 or 6 RV at the 120+ space campground on a non-event weekend. Even the KOA in Texarkana was only half full on the Wednesday before Labor Day. I also had contingency plans for the Labor Day weekend if Harvey had stalled in Louisiana like it had in Texas, and had found multiple COE and State Park campgrounds in southern Arkansas with available for the weekend as late as the above mentioned Wednesday.

My wife and I were in California last year early summer, we made reservations for Sequois and Yosemite of corse but thought as we came on east over the mountains to 395 we would have no trouble finding a spot each night..........wrong..... during the week days " tues, wed,thur, we went to 8-9 campgrounds looking for a spot hookups or not we didn't care, we ended up staying in a hotel in Bishop CA for a couple nights.

to answer your question yes camping is really taking off seems to me and we make reservations every time we hook up to the camper now.
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