Campground Shortage Coming This Summer | Polls Find Camping Popularity in the US Is Outpacing Campground Supply

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Many folks spend more time outside during the summer. PC Scott Goodwill

Today, the top U.S. camping app, The Dyrt, released new data indicating that camping will be more popular than ever this year, surpassing last year’s record-breaking season. Additionally, 91% of campgrounds expect more campers, and 71% of campers plan to camp more.

“The surge of new campers is like nothing I’ve seen in the last decade. And those who camped for the first time last year are coming back for more. It’s really fun to see so many newcomers making camping a permanent part of their lives.”

– Kevin Long, CEO of The Dyrt

The Dyrt has the largest community of campers in the US, and their Annual Camping Report discovered that 71% of campers plan to camp more this summer. Campers were quoted saying:

“We’re so excited about the new travel trailer we bought and have some great Florida trips planned. Our new rig allows us to travel further and camp more than we could before.”

– Tracy Peugnet, a camper from Michigan

“We’re going to start camping in May, and then have the entire summer booked. The crowds were real last year so we made sure to get a jump on planning.”

– Dawn Heiselman, a camper from Pennsylvania

The Dyrt also has the most comprehensive database of campgrounds in the US. They surveyed campground owners and found that 91% expect more campers this summer. Campground owners were quoted saying:

“Since January 2021, we’ve seen an increase in reservations beyond our expectations. We have been operating at maximum capacity for the last two months and online traffic continues to increase. Many guests are now working from home or their children are taking online classes, which gives them the ability to travel during the week or lengthen their stay.”

– Jason McKinnon from Point of Rocks Campground in Prescott, Arizona

Liz Fons, co-owner of Double J Campground in Chatham, Illinois, explains, “we are booking more campsites than ever before. Now that vaccinations are widely available, people are more comfortable traveling, and camping seems to be the way people feel the most comfortable.”

Shelley-Ann Hincks from Arlington, Vermont, and the owner of Camping On The Battenkill, notices a similar uptick. “Last summer was busy, but this summer is definitely going to surpass it. Both new campers from last year and long-timers are wanting to get back outdoors. And with families still staying closer to home, they believe camping is the best way to spend time together.”

With the high level of camping demand, The Dyrt focuses its efforts on helping people have the best camping experience this year.

“If you want to go camping and don’t have reservations already, start planning now. There are still lots of places to go, but things are filling up fast.”

– Kevin Long

Year in Review. Credit: The Dyrt

The Dyrt has compiled its Top 5 Tips to help people find campsites this summer:

#1: Plan Ahead: Popular government campgrounds fill up in advance

Reservations at popular campgrounds like national parks have been filling up since January. If you haven’t booked a site yet, you may want to do so now. is the booking platform for many government-run campgrounds nationwide, with over 2400 to choose from.

#2 Explore Alternatives: Go beyond government campgrounds

There are plenty of places to camp besides famous national parks. Glamping is booming thanks to companies like Tentrr that offer beautifully staged safari tents, making the camping experience easier and more upscale. If you have an RV, there are thousands of private campground options found on niche sites like RVonTheGo.

#3: Camp For Free: Public land allows free camping for all

Did you know you can camp for free on most National Forest and Bureau of Land Management land? Finding these areas has been a challenge in the past, but thanks to apps like The Dyrt PRO, which shows public land map boundaries and your GPS location, campers can now easily and confidently find free camping away from the crowds. As always, remember to leave no trace.

#4: Keep Checking Back: Watch for cancellations

Many people are booking a spot that they don’t end up keeping. That means cancellations and last-minute vacancies. So keep checking back at your favorite campgrounds to be the first to grab open sites. You can also use services like Campnab that do this work for you for a small fee.

#5: Be Careful with First-Come-First-Serve: Go early and have backups ready

In some cases, gone are the days where you could show up at a beautiful campground on a Friday night and find a site. If you’re going the first-come-first-serve route, plan to get to the campground as early in the week as possible. And ideally, have multiple campgrounds in the area as backups.

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