Surge in RV Popularity Resulting in Price Increases at Campgrounds

bridge-bay-campground-yellowstone-national-park-crowdedIf you are planning a big camping trip for the summer of 2018 plan on spending a little more for campsites. survey results found that 57% of campground and RV park operators reported raising their nightly camping rates in 2017, with 73% of operators reporting a rate increase within the last 2 years.

Demand for campsites is being driven by changing travel trends and the mass retirement of the baby boom generation. This past September represented the “best shipment record in 40 years” (RVIA Press Release Oct 25 2017). The question for the campground and RV park side of the business is where are all these RVers going to camp?

“RV camping is an incredibly affordable and enjoyable way to explore this country” stated Mark Koep, Founder and CEO of “but we had to ask what is happening now that so many people are discovering this lifestyle?”

Anecdotal reports have surfaced of crowded campgrounds and parks filled with a glut of RV travelers seeking campsites. is analyzing if this is a real trend and how this increased demand is impacting decisions by park operators. The analysis was given further weight after the National Park Service last week released a proposal to raise entry fees significantly at 17 of the most popular parks in the US.

“Have you tried to visit one of those 17 National Parks during peak season over the last 2 years? It is a crowded nightmare” added Mr. Koep. “This proposal from the NPS is really a demand based pricing scheme disguised as a needed rate increase. We expect to see more of these from park operators across the US as the popularity of RV travel continues to expand”. queried operators with 835 unique responses from both public and private agencies asking them “when was the last time you raised your rates?” The responses were:

  • 56.7% of parks last raised their rates in 2017
  • 16.7% of parks last raised their rates in 2016
  • 17.8% of parks last raised their rates between 2015 and 2013
  • 6.7% of parks last raised their rates more than 5 years ago
  • 2.2% of parks have never raised their rates

What do you think of the increasing cost of RV travel? Login and comment below to discuss with others.

  1. Superslif

    I don’t mind if every few years a park raises their nightly rate. We do mostly state and national parks. As far as private parks, if a resort type campground is charging $100 (a night) I can make a choice not to go there.

    We use multiple discount cards (Ohio Buckeye Card-Ohio Residents 60 and over 50% off state park campgrounds Sun-Thur, 10% weekends, Federal Access Pass – 50% off national park, US Forest Service and BLM campgrounds “base” overnight rate and free access into the national parks, And Good Sam Club 10% select private campgrounds and 5 cent off Pilot / Flying J fuel)

    So I figure I try to plan my trip around as many of these as I can. So a dollar or two extra is not going to break the bank.

    The only pet peeve was when the PA. State Parks back about 10-12 years ago raised all their campground fees 60% in one year.

  2. Avatar

    I stay at the same RV Park for several months during the winter. I don’t mind them increasing there rates as long as they make some improvements. Two years ago they raised there rate but no improvements which turned some folks away.

  3. Avatar

    Our favorite park raised their prices a bit this last summer. It was still crowded and honestly only cost us a bit more ($3 per day). I was just looking at our budget and surprisingly found that we spent less this year on camping than we did in years past. The biggest reason was much cheaper fuel for our RV and toad. Obviously I do not want to spend more but the park did install a new playground set for the kids, doesn’t impact us but still adds to the appeal of the park, and cleaned up the sites a bit.

    They could actually raise their rates a lot more and still be busy. A few dollars each year is not without reason.

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