2018 Camping Statistics and How to Apply the Findings

Each year the KOA of North America puts out a comprehensive 45 plus page report on the trends, statistics and findings made from the camping and RVing industry over the past year. This year’s report provided a lot of useful information. Below we broke out some of what we consider to be the most useful information and ways you can apply it to your campground.


Industry Year Over Year Growth: 

  • The first thing to note is that the camping industry is not slowing down anytime soon! Since last year, approx. one million new camper households were added to those who consider themselves annual campers, with an estimated 7 million new camper households in the U.S. since 2014.

  • Even better, the percentage of campers who camp three or more times annually has increased by 72 percent. 

  • Half of all campers identified their “love of the outdoors” for sparking their interest in camping. 

What Attracts Campers:  

  • The importance of on-site recreation to campers increased in 2018 with a full 40 percent of campers selecting campgrounds around it, yet can also be seen to fluctuate based on campers’ stages in life.

  • Fishing has continued to trend down, hiking and canoeing continue to trend up. 

  • Luxury cabin and RV rentals continue to outpace all other accommodations. 

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  • Even though only 5 percent of campers use the presence of on-site recreation as a determinant of campground selection, when asked to rate the importance of on-site recreation and the campground’s proximity to local cultural events and attractions in selecting campgrounds, about 4 in 10 camping households view these as important considerations. 

Who Are The Campers: 

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  • Millennials continued to make up the bulk of campers in 2018 making up 56% of new campers and 41% overall. 

  • 52% of campers have children in the household. 

  • Multicultural groups outpaced the percentage of new caucasian campers. 

  • 10% of campers are same-sex households, compared to under 4% in 2015. 

  • 54% of campers travel less than 100 miles from home to camp. 


The KOA makes it easy to figure out who the target market for campers are. 

  • Who they are: Millennials (ages 23 - 38) who have shown a love for the outdoors, and live within 100 miles of your campground will be your campground’s largest target audience. 

    What to show to attract them: They want to be shown pictures of amazing campsites, with easily accessible hiking trails and talk about the surrounding communities attractions. 

  • Other more niche ways to target: If you want, you can even target families and/or same sex couples (by using the same target demographics) with language about the campground being family and/or LGBTQ friendly. 

How and Where: 

  • Facebook and Instagram ads. We have written a lot about how to use Facebook and Instagram audience building tools to market to and attract new customers. From targeting likes and interests (hiking, canoeing, REI) to where they live (100 miles from your address) and even ages, reaching your target audience with the correct message is easy. You can read more about that here. 

  • Pairing with attractions, restaurants and camping supply stores within 100 miles of your campground. Provide them with pamphlets and other materials to promote your campground.  In return, you can also offer brochures and business cards at your office. Guests will appreciate the advice and your partners will love the uptick in business. Step it up a notch and provide incentives for referrals. If they refer people to your park, they receive 10% of the total booking. Keep in mind when designing these pamphlets who the target market is. You can use the same rules and guidelines you used on Instagram and Facebook ads. 

We hope you were able to gain new insights from this information and start to understand how you can use all the insights provided to attract new customers during 2019. If you have any questions about how Bonfire can help your campground gain more customers or about this article, feel free to send our Head Honcho a email by clicking here. 

Click here for the full KOA article.