Michigan saw massive increase in camping over past few years

Photo of Chris Carr
FILE— A mother and child look out on a sunset beside their RV.

FILE— A mother and child look out on a sunset beside their RV.

Gabi Aymat/Getty Images/iStockphoto

According to new data, Michigan is ranked at number four among states that have seen an increase in camping during the past few years.

Michigan camping saw a 229.1% increase in popularity from 2015 to 2020 with a total increase of 36,312 camping reservations over this span of time, according to the website Outdoorsy, which compiled and analyzed information from Recreation.gov to put together this ranking.

“The increased popularity of camping has been fueled by a combination of long-term trends and more immediate factors related to the pandemic. Over the past several years, camping trends such as 'vanlife' and 'glamping,' as well as the increased availability of wifi and better cell phone service at campgrounds, have helped attract new campers and offered seasoned campers new ways to enjoy the outdoors without completely foregoing modern-day comforts,” the data from Outdoorsy states.

The most popular destination for camping in the state over the past few years has been Hiawatha National Forest, according to Outdoorsy. In 2020 alone, Michigan saw 52,165 camping reservations throughout the state.

In addition to the pandemic creating a niche for outdoor recreation, Outdoorsy also attributes the rise in numbers to an increase in movement of young people.

“In particular, Gen Zers and Millennials are camping in greater numbers and account for an increasing share of all campers. In 2015, members of these generations accounted for 34% of all campers according to KOA. By 2020, this number climbed to 48%,” the analysis reads.

Michigan is behind only three other states in this camping increase. Indiana, Nevada and South Dakota took first, second and third respectively for highest camping increases from the years 2015-2020.