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National

Camping reservations skyrocket across the US during pandemic, experts say

 

People tired of being stuck in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic are looking for the perfect socially distant getaway: camping.

Campgrounds across the country have seen reservations skyrocket as the coronavirus shrouds the U.S., news outlets report. Health experts have said it’s safer to be outdoors than indoors as COVID-19 continues to spread.

“The final word on outdoor recreation?” Claudia Finkelstein, an associate professor of family medicine at Michigan State University, told CNN. “Of course, go out and be active. It’s important for your mental and physical health. But, choose wisely, be prepared and stay safe.”

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Americans have listened to the advice, and they are heading to campsites in high numbers. RV and camper sales have gone through the roof, WSYX reported. Campgrounds are booking up quicker than ever, multiple media outlets reported.

Before the pandemic, camping accounted for 11% of all vacation-type trips, The Columbian reported. Experts predict it will jump another 5%.

“Camping is going to hit a record-breaking increase this year, and that’s only going to be magnified,” Kevin Long, CEO of The Dyrt, a startup that describes itself as the Yelp of campgrounds, told the news outlet.

Campsite managers have seen this spike already. In Colorado, Bridget Kochel, a public information officer at Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told The Denver Post that the state parks saw the highest number of campers in June over the past four years, and occupied nights increased 22% compared to last year.

In Pennsylvania, camping reservations have also soared, PennLive reported.

“Camping reservations and state park attendance both are going through the roof,” Terry Brady, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, told the news outlet. “All phases of camping are up significantly, with weekends — and especially holiday weekends — seeing parks booked solid.”

Campgrounds at Minnesota state parks were booked full, KSTP reported.

“I think people are taking advantage of what they can,” Holly Kapla, who was getting ready to go camping with her children, told KSTP. “Just hiking, fishing and swimming.”

More people have also been buying RVs, trailers and campers — including Airstreams — during the pandemic to take manageable trips without staying in a hotel or rely on public spaces, WSYX reported.

“It does allow you to get out but maintain that social distance,” Monika Geraci, a senior manager for the RV Industry Association trade group, told USA Today. “We’re hearing from dealers across the country: their foot traffic (and) their sales are up.”

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