The latest Easter Weekend in 68 years, coupled with rough weather in several parts of North America, led to mixed camping results during the holiday weekend, according to Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA)
But KOA Lodge camping was a sure bright spot, with an increase of 90% in lodge camping nights compared to the same calendar weekend in 2010, according to a KOA news release.
“This year, Easter was three weeks later than in 2010,” said KOA CEO Jim Rogers. “That makes an ‘apples-to-apples’ Easter holiday week comparison very difficult.”
In 2010, the earlier Easter weekend was just at the end of the traditional “snowbird” winter camping season in the South. The earlier Easter in 2010 led many “snowbird” winter campers to stay around for the 2010 Easter holiday.
This year, with Easter falling during the fourth weekend in April, most snowbird campers had already headed north. That resulted in Easter Week 2011 numbers falling below camping totals for Easter Week 2010.
“But, when we compare the 2011 Easter week to the same one-week calendar period in 2010, we see an increase of 9% in overall short-term camper nights, a 30% increase in KOA Cabin nights, and a 90% increase in KOA Lodge nights,” Rogers said.
KOA Lodges are luxury camping accommodation units now available on nearly half of KOA’s 475 locations that include full bathrooms and kitchens. KOA Kabin and Lodge units open the camping experience to new segment of campers who may not own a recreational vehicle or traditional tenting equipment.
Staying in an accommodation such as a KOA Cabin or Lodge also saves on fuel costs, since campers can drive their smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles to their area KOA, where they still receive a traditional camping experience with all of the comforts of home.
Another factor affecting Easter holiday camping results was a pattern of severe weather that spawned thunderstorms and some tornadoes from the Texas gulf coast to New England. But, that didn’t slow things down in KOA campgrounds such as the Williamsport South/Nittany Mountain KOA in Pennsylvania, owned by Michelle Strock.
”We had more than 30 kids for our Easter Egg hunt,” Strock said. “Luckily, we have a huge indoor recreation hall, so the rain really wasn’t a factor.”
At the sunny San Diego Metro KOA in California, all of the campgrounds Cabin and Lodge units and tent sites were rented, and a plethora of events kept campers – and the Easter Bunny – hopping.
“We started the weekend with Easter arts and crafts, then our hay ride, then an outdoor movie, a pancake breakfast on Saturday, and a massive Easter egg hunt with 750 eggs,” said owner Clint Bell. “Easter was very, very good.”
“The bottom line is that 9% more camping families stayed with us last week than during the same week in 2010,” Rogers said. “That bodes very well for the rest of the 2011 summer camping season.”
The next “big event” at Kampgrounds of America is the annual KOA Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend event May 13-14 at participating KOAs across North America. Campers who stay as paying guests on Friday, May 13, will receive a free night of camping on Saturday, May 14. The event also serves as a fundraiser for KOA Care Camps for children with cancer. KOA campers will have a chance to help raise donations on May 13-14 to help send children with cancer to one of 44 specialized summer camps in North America.