Your campground of the future is just around the corner. Imagine your camping experience featuring everything from self-driving smores delivery bots to elevated campsites built atop water causeways. Kampgrounds of America’s big reveal spotlights what the future of RVing and tent camping may look like.
What is Your Campground of the Future?
If anyone knows what the majority of RV and tent campers want, it’s KOA. Each year their annual North American Camping Report releases survey results that shed insight on the habits and camping wish-lists of long-time and newbie campers alike.
Most recently, the report indicated that campground visits are booming. Since 2014, there has been an addition of an estimated 7 million new camper households in the U.S. The percentage of campers who camp three or more times annually has increased by 72 percent.
Even more telling is the report finding that modern campers are seeking more than a fishing derby or campfire cookout. Younger campers want to steer clear of cookie-cutter concrete campgrounds. They want different types of experiences, like glamping and van dwelling outings that get them closer to nature.
“With the increase in camping popularity comes a greater need to ensure the longevity of camping through smart design and preservation of nature,” said KOA’s CEO Toby O’Rourke. “We believe that thoughtful use of technology and devotion to sustainably growing camping offerings will meet the increased expectations of campers, while further enhancing that connection with nature that camping provides.”
Your Campground of the Future Forecast
At a recent RV industry trade show, KOA turned heads when the company showcased their take on camping experiences of the future. KOA’s Campground of the Future website is a jump into the company’s forecast of futuristic camping experiences that take guest wishes into demand as well as incorporate modern energy-saving features.
Divided up among Forest, Coastal, Desert, Mountain and Urban settings, website users can explore futuristic amenities for each type of setting. It also features less dreamy camping elements already in use at some KOA campgrounds, such as the LazyDays Tucson KOA with a huge solar array that offers power and shade to campers.
“We have a massive solar parasol structure that covers two acres of RV sites at our Tucson/Lazydays KOA Resort in Arizona,” O’Rourke said. “That structure supplies more than enough power for the campground, while providing partial cooling shade for the RVs parked beneath it. That’s just one example of the futuristic steps that are already being taken.”
Another amenity in use that was once considered outlandish includes pet-friendly “drive in” campsites with perimeter fencing for free-roaming pets. In the near future, KOA campground across North America could offer other elements such as:
Camping over the water on “camping causeways,” or even under the water in unique below-the-surface cabins.
Secluded campsites that blend into surrounding natural elements
Cantilevered mountainside campsites with automated guest delivery services
Rooftop treehouse-style camping in urban settings
Love it or hate it, KOA’s Campground of the Future campaign made a big splash at the 2019 RVX: The RV Experience industry trade show. Viewers should remember that it’s not quite an exact blueprint of what each KOA will offer. Instead, the campaign is more of a forecast of what campgrounds of the future could look like. It’s one way KOA is striving to meet modern day camping demands of up-and-coming, younger lifetime campers.
Whether or not these campground elements actually occur remains to be seen. Until then, your Campground of the Future glimpses are a fun way to explore the possibilities.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.
Glen Fotre says
David Gearhart says
Glen, your ‘HATE IT ! ‘ reply is pretty strong, with capitals (shouting ) and exclamation mark. Let’s try it without : ‘ Hate it.’.. LOL ! ! Caps and exclamation mark ! But your opinion is right on the money. I think the trend to ‘RV Resorts is a business move, more investment but way more profit. And attracting new RV folks who want wifi and TV connections without the distraction of dirt, trees, hiking trails, mountains or deserts. Let’s protect the wild land we still have, connect to the outdoors , and educate people to love the land, not the WiFi, the game and computer rooms, big screen TVs, the Activity Director, the Camp Store and children’s playground. And don’t forget the Dog Park, because we can’t have dogs running around in an RV Resort ! ! !
Agree! Stayed at a KOA for the first time: worse than being in my neighborhood which I was trying to get away from! All the increase in numbers of campers are people who should not be camping in the first place. The industry has catered to those who would normally find camping too difficult, ruining it for those of us who enjoy nature intimately, without noise and light pollution. By making camping easier, without having to sacrifice anything, they are allowing them to continue their self centered and inconsiderate ways in a communal environment. They are not being instructed in the culture of camping: respect and consideration of nature and those around you. This industry is going to end up with diminishing returns. What will be left of the natural environment, the deformation the accommodations will cause, and having to share it with this non camping culture will demotivate the true campers.
David Gearhart says
No, no, no, NO THANKS ! The photos and descriptions are in general what KOAs and all campgrounds are doing : getting bigger, ‘better’, fancier, more money . . . . $$$$$. I want simpler ,cheaper camping., MANY campgrounds are now costing as much as a motel !! Mr Scamp and Compact Jr.
We were at Tucson Lazydays last summer while they were upgrading many of their sites so they could charge more. Since there aren’t enough Big Rig sites in the rest of Tucson, they will accomplish their goal.
KOA still works most of the time for us but prefer to not pay more for amenities we don’t need or want.
Kim Fenske says
KOA visionaries know how to spin fiction. The low camper densities are a joke in these glances into our future. The cost per campsite would be several hundred dollars in today’s economy due to the lack of concentration and costs of infrastructure. A movie theater for the masses is nonsense, since individual choices rule creating demand for technology pods, tiny, isolated rooms that integrate WiFi and smaller individual screens with video selections. I see walkways in the sky, but no function. I see large spans of play areas, but no utilization. The best places to explore nature is outside of KOA (also, outside over-developed national parks) and in congressionally-designated wilderness areas; national monuments; unregulated national forests; and BLM lands. My biggest criticism of KOA lay-outs today is that they are too noisy for tent campers. The KOA lands are usually in noisy locations beside freeways or inside urban noise centers. Last month, I did a 4,000-mile loop (New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado) as often as possible in KOA campsites nightly. This month, I did a 1,000-mile remote trip (New Mexico) with dispersed, primitive, and public-created camp settings. The primary advantage to the KOA stops are good showers. Free and low-cost public camping beats KOA most of the time. A couple of well-designed KOA campgrounds with tucked-away, quiet tent sites and kitchenette facilities besides good showers include: Crescent City, California and Cannonville, Utah. The bad KOA campgrounds are too numerous to list, such as all of the KOA parks with tent sites beside major highways; urban high-traffic corridors; go-cart tracks; and railroad tracks.
Stephen Hawn says
I avoid KOA’s at all cost, there pricing is too high and too crowded. I think there advertising are aimed at the younger crowd. Give the the open sky with no one around.
Eldon Farmer says
These pictures are FAKKEE!!!
David Gearhart says
Eldon, Let’s just say that these pictures are ‘computer generated images that show possible looks at the future’ . I hope they never come about. Most of us want grass and trees, as natural as possible, perhaps a pond or lake, and a quiet spot at a reasonable price. DG
No way no how. I would never spend a nickel in this carnival show. How sad that the beautiful outdoors is not enough for the video generation.
H. Goff says
I live in the southeast with little public land – so we’re forced to go to formal campgrounds – general state/national park type – but utilize private campgrounds as well. Our experience with KOA is (as above) crowded. If they want to improve anything – give me more privacy and more distance from the next camper. I don’t want to hear you talking inside your camper when i’m trying to go to sleep!! I don’t need the whizz-bang technology – just privacy and quietness.
Mario Hernandez says
I agree with some of the complaints about amenities, but for some families that is the compromise between the hotel and a tent.
But if what you are looking for is Natural setting… then you have to leave it all behind at a trail head. Get your backpack, your sleeping bag, a fishing rod and some good hiking boots. and enjoy nature!