Port Huron KOA Makes Big Lodge Investment
The Port Huron, Mich., KOA campground, following a national trend to more cushy camping options, has 13 new family lodges.
Set in a row near the back of the 75-acre campground, they’re for social people who like being near others while getting away from it all, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“This is the direction campgrounds are going,” said Anthony Jacobs, general manager. “We’re about six to eight years ahead. I think the old camping stuff is gone. We’re more of an amusement park or family fun park. People pull in here with a tent and upgrade to a Kabin or a Lodge. Once they stay in a Kabin, you’ll never see the tent again.”
The Port Huron KOA is part of the chain of more than 450 private Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) campgrounds nationwide. The campground has 119 Kabins, 19 Lodges, two Kottages (both with indoor plumbing) and spots for RVs, trailers and tents.
Amenities and atmosphere are the huge differences between private campgrounds such as KOA and more stately traditional camping parks, such as Pinery Provincial Park in Ontario.
But before you write a eulogy for traditional camping, hold on.
“We will not be changing our approach anytime soon,” says Alistair MacKenzie, ecologist at the Pinery, which has 1,000 campsites and not a single cabin. “A lot of people still value sitting around a campfire and sleeping in a sleeping bag under the stars.” On a busy summer weekend, the Pinery can have 8,000 to 10,000 campers.
In a horrible economy, indicators are good for camping.
The sales of tents, sleeping bags and camping furniture was up in the first quarter of this year, according to the Outdoor Industries Association. The travel research firm Leisure Trends Group forecasts more people interested this year in “accessible adventure” 50 miles or less from home, with “larger families most likely to be camping, with their top activities fishing, biking, hiking, picnicking and barbecues.”
There are an estimated 8,000 private campgrounds in the U.S. and about the same number of public ones.