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The Future Of Camping: People Want More Unique Lodging Experiences

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A company known throughout the United States for operating public campgrounds has spent the past five years forecasting the future of camping. KOA, or Kampgrounds of America, will introduce their Campgrounds of the Future concept this week in Utah at the RVX: The RV Experience in Salt Lake City. 

You may have seen a bright yellow sign with the letters KOA lining highways and byways advertising places to park your camper or pitch your tent. Now recreationists can view interactive animated illustrations featuring concepts of what it might look like to camp in 2030.

"We have played around in our models with a few extreme sites," said Kampgrounds of America Inc. newly named CEO, Toby O’Rourke. "In our mountain landscape, we [have] RV sites built into the sides of our mountains almost cantilevered out, so it gives you that full experience of being on the side of the mountain. We also played around with underwater cabins in our ocean concept."

KOA used five years of findings from the North American Camping Report to create concepts for Gen Xers and Millennials seeking more unique lodging experiences like treehouses, safari tents and yurts.

"Particularly in the Millennial generation they are camping in larger groups," O'Rourke said. "There are a lot of multi-generation camping happening. The average group size of a Millennial group size is eight to ten people."

The 2018 NACR showed that the future of camping is bright said O’Rourke. Notably, 32 percent of Gen Xers and 29 percent of Millennials say they would like to experience more unique lodging experiences. While the tradition of camping is becoming further weaved into the fabric of North American families as evidenced by millennials camping with their own children more frequently. Specifically, 94 percent of teen campers stated they were enthusiastic toward camping and claim they intend to camp as adults, and if they have children, they intend to bring them along.

Forest, mountain, urban, coastal and desert campgrounds of the future include ideas like retractable roofs on cabins, on-site automated voice command technology for ordering services and unique water features.

At 14-years-old, Kerry began working as a reporter for KVEL “The Hot One” in Vernal, Utah. Her radio news interests led her to Logan where she became news director for KBLQ while attending Utah State University. She graduated USU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and spent the next few years working for Utah Public Radio. Leaving UPR in 1993 she spent the next 14 years as the full time mother of four boys before returning in 2007. Kerry and her husband Boyd reside in Nibley.