If you thought your favorite campground seemed a little more crowded and expensive this past year, you weren't imagining things. At least not according to camping app The Dyrt, which just released the results of a survey of campground managers and hosts with some fascinating new statistics.
According to its survey, which spanned all 50 states, 48.6 percent of the responding camping hosts and campground managers said they raised their rates in 2022. This increase coincided with a rapidly-rising demand for more campsites. Don't expect costs to decrease anytime soon either. The Dyrt also reports that 46.6 percent of those responding said they plan to raise rates in 2023, and another 27 percent of those surveyed said they raised rates in 2022 and will do so again in the new year. The Dyrt says the survey was comprehensive, covering properties of all types, from those that offer simple tent camping to RVs and even "glamping" experiences.
The news wasn't a surprise to The Dyrt President John Hayden.
"In a year where the price of nearly everything increased, it's not surprising to see campsite rates increase as well," Hayden said in a press release. "But inflation is only part of the story. With a trend toward offering high-end glamping accommodations, activities, and immersive environments like farm stays, the rates charged by state parks are no longer a benchmark. Private camping options are increasingly offering a different product, and they are starting to charge a different rate."
As a case in point, The Dyrt highlighted a California avocado ranch that doubles as a campsite owned by the father and son team of Stephen and Perry Radl. There are only six sites on their property, two for camper vans and four glamping sites, but they have proven extremely popular. The Radls now provide luxury tents, fire pits, and other amenities for guests. They increased their rate from $30 to $60 in 2021, and they now charge $105 for a family tent and $95 for a two-person tent. Despite the rate increases, bookings never slowed.
This seems to align with another survey of campers, which indicated there are many newer campers who care less about a wilderness experience and more about a unique vacation experience. According to The Dyrt, almost a third of campgrounds responding to another survey added glamping-type campsites in 2022. That survey also indicated that campsite demand has surged since 2020 and is outpacing the number of sites available.
"America doesn't have enough campsites," The Dyrt CEO Kevin Long said in a press release. "National and state parks are booked up months in advance and aren't able to add capacity. It's three times harder to find an available site to book than it was pre-pandemic. This environment provides campground owners an opportunity to develop their business in exciting ways."
Personally, I also noticed a slight rate increase at the state level this year when I booked my summer camping trips, and the state parks seemed more crowded than ever before. We'll have to wait and see if the trend continues past 2023.
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