Kampgrounds of America Inc.’s (KOA) popular Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend May 11-12 hosted nearly 10% more campers this year than in 2011, according to a press release.
“A combination of great weather, stabilizing fuel prices and fun event planning by our campground owners really brought out the campers,” said Mike Gast, vice president of communications for Billings, Mont.-based KOA. “Of course, it’s the official kickoff to KOA’s 50th birthday, so that didn’t hurt, either.”
Participating KOAs throughout North America logged nearly 42,000 camper nights between last Wednesday and Sunday, a double-digit increase from Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend 2011.
Nearly 400 of the 480 KOA campgrounds in North America participated in the 9th annual event, where campers received a free night of camping last Saturday if they stayed as paying guests on Friday.
The annual event also serves as the largest single fundraiser for KOA Care Camps for children with cancer, the official charity of KOA and the KOA Owner’s Association. KOA Care Camps is a network of 44 specialized summer camps that provide a free summer camp experience for children with cancer and their siblings.
Donations are still being counted from this year’s fundraising efforts, but last year, KOA campers helped raise more than $500,000 to benefit the charity.
“Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend isn’t just the official start of the summer camping season,” said Gast, “It’s also a pretty good indicator of how things might look for the rest of the summer.”
Advanced reservations for the summer months at KOA are running ahead of last year. The increase in KOA’s inventory of deluxe cabins, which feature full bathrooms and kitchens, is also fueling increased camping by bringing in new campers.
“The public’s desire to reconnect to the outdoors is certainly increasing,” Gast said. “Camping is the perfect, affordable answer.”