The Dyrt, the No. 1 app for camping information and booking, has found that it was nearly five times more difficult to find an available campsite in 2022 than it was in 2019.
According to the 2023 Camping Report, last year was the most booked-up year on record as campsites were twice as scarce in 2022 than they were in 2021.
Key findings of the Dyrt data
“I tried to book a campsite as far out as possible for an event. I set an alarm and even then, when I logged in and tried to book, the sites were already taken,” says The Dyrt camper Clair Jones of Colorado.
“It felt like trying to buy concert tickets!” In 2019, just 10.6 percent of respondents said they had a hard time finding a site to book because reservations were full.
That percentage ballooned to 58.4 in 2022. The Camping Report also found that there are more than 80 million campers in the United States, a number that has risen by 15.5 million over the past two years.
“I tried numerous times to book a site — any site — just a month or so in advance, but there were no campsites available until months later,” says The Dyrt camper Rachel Pennington-Smith of Georgia.
Dyrt data’s solutions to this
Responding to the surge, camping property managers and private landowners across the country are increasing capacity, adding dates and offering new types of camping.
The report found that 35.7 percent of property managers added campsites in 2022 and 18.6 percent of them expanded their calendar.
Also, 48.6 percent raised rates in 2022 and 46.4 percent said they planned to raise rates in 2023. As for the property managers who chose to offer a new type of camping, 44 percent of them added glamping.
“Because we have to book a year in advance just to get a spot, it makes it difficult to move your reservation if something comes up and you have to change your plans,” says The Dyrt camper Jennifer Kincaid of Virginia.
“I’ve had to move a trip to a state park three times. Unfortunately most of the dates we now have available, they have no spots.” While campgrounds are sold out and booked up, cancellations happen frequently.
The Dyrt recently launched The Dyrt Alerts, which are availability scans that send text notifications when a sold-out campground gets a cancellation.
Campers select up to five sold-out campgrounds, choose the dates, and they’ll receive a text message when there’s been a cancellation.