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Calm camping is officially the trend for summer 2024

Embrace the calm camping trend

A man soaking in a natural tub outside of an RV during dusk with a mountain range behind him.
Robson Hatsukami Morgan / Unsplash

Camping is a timeless tradition that offers reliable comfort. From a toasty s’mores to a warm campfire, a camping excursion evokes nostalgia and warm memories of the past for many of us.

While spending a night under the stars never goes out of style, emerging camping trends are shaking things up by leveraging modern amenities, lifestyle-specific accommodations, and the best camping tents and accessories to bring into the great outdoors.

So, what exactly are people looking for when planning their summer 2024 camping excursions? According to a recent study by Campspot, the name of the game is relaxation. 93% of campers surveyed reported feeling relaxed and refreshed after a camping trip. They coined this experience as the “calm-cation,” with calm camping at its core.

Let’s dig into some of the most insightful findings from this study of 2,851 participants to learn how camping is trending as one of the most restorative outdoor activities.

An introduction to the calm-cation trend

Two men resting in two hammocks in the middle of a tall-growth forest.
Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

Calm camping, an outdoor experience focused on relaxation and recuperation, is trending for a good reason. 58% of campers seek a break from routines, feeling the strain of modern work and life obligations. However, 68% of the same participant pool mention that affordability is also key, highlighting that traditional lodging may be too expensive for many.

With the need for a well-deserved break that doesn’t break the bank, a whopping 90% of respondents are open to booking a campsite over another accommodation to meet these needs.

While 43% of travelers prefer peace and quiet on their trips, campers truly crave it, with 70% of them prioritizing a calming experience.

What exactly shifted camping into the realm of retreats from what some may recall as just a weekend adventure? Campspot’s study cites that 1 out of 3 travelers feel uncertain about economic stability, and the last thing people want is for their hard-earned money and time off to throw them into a financial hole.

Camping sheds off the pressure as one of the most affordable outdoor experiences available, a major reason why the camping market remained stable despite economic and social changes throughout 2023.

This leads to a promising landscape for summer 2024, with travelers’ excitement for outdoor relaxation higher than ever before.

But what will the calm-cation look like, and what current trends illuminate how outdoors enthusiasts like to relax? Let’s elaborate on the three types of camping trips that stand out above the rest.

1. Water recreation camping will see a spike

A man laying in a hammock enjoying a waterfall and pool of water
Jeremy Bishop / Unsplash

Campspot’s study first features waterside amenities as one of the biggest trends for this upcoming summer season. Campers love it all – creeks, oceans, and pools. But one body of water takes the cake as the most relaxing and coveted: the serene lake. Three out of four campers felt more relaxed when lakeside than in other natural environments.

Furthermore, according to Campspot, having access to a beachfront for swimming, kayaking, or fishing from a lakefront campsite is the #1 amenity campers will seek this summer.

And it’s not just natural bodies of water that attract outdoor enthusiasts. 50% of them are interested in the water parks, saunas, and hot tubs onsite.

Emerging science supports this trend’s calming benefits. The American Psychological Association has shown that spending time in blue spaces, such as near water, can be as (or more) impactful for our wellness than green spaces.

Campers embracing water wellness will likely head to the Two Lakes Camping Area in Maine, Ames Brook Campground in New Hampshire, and the Steamboat Park Campground in Michigan in 2024.

These waterfront spots will book up quickly, so if the relaxing effect of water is calling, it’s best to make reservations as early as possible.

2. Clean air is an increasing priority

A man looking down into a valley, enjoying the fresh air and taking a pause from a hike.
Chris Hayashi / Unsplash

As the northern hemisphere ushers in more light and warmth, campers are eager for a breath of fresh air under a bright sky or canopy of stars. Air pollution is a major problem for 1 out of 4 Americans, especially with forest fires surging in recent years. So expect to see campers prioritizing opportunities for a lung detox.

77% of campers say that clean, outdoor air is the most relaxing pleasure they experience at the campsite. Paired with an exceptional view and a good night’s rest, one of the best outdoor amenities doesn’t have to cost a dime or a moment of stress.

In general, the cleanest, freshest air can be found in more located locations and lesser-known destinations. However, many popular camping locations have exceptional air quality, including the Smokey Mountains National Park, Big Sur State Park, and Glacier National Park.

It’s easy to embrace this trend in your local area with a bit of know-how when it comes to picking the right environments. Stick to high-elevation locations that sit above pollution. Heavily forested areas also help pollutants while providing plenty of shade for those hot summer days.

3. Campers desire connectivity in nature

Young smiling man sitting near tent with laptop computer and working remotely while camping in nature, happy male freelancer enjoying remote work at campsite during adventure trip in forest
Evgeny Atamanenko / Shutterstock

The final and perhaps most intriguing camping trend for summer 2024 presents a unique paradox. While campers crave disconnection, 64% of them only feel truly relaxed when they have Wi-Fi and cell-signal access.

This summer may mark the official departure from the traditional ethos encouraging us to unplug and commune with nature. Those preferring to go offline totaled just 9% of the campers surveyed in Campspot’s study, with 91% benefiting from some technological infrastructure.

It suggests that in a day and age where we always need to be online, there’s a sense of relief in having the option to connect when need be. From checking emails to watching movies after a long day hiking, access to the internet while camping is now a top priority for many.

As the connectivity trend surges, cell signal data availability can now be found on camping review platforms and forums. Popular apps such as The Dyrt include coverage information for each network, which is especially helpful for dispersed camping enthusiasts who don’t have access to traditional campsite amenities.

In summary, the camping trends of summer 2024 don’t focus strictly on where one goes to camp but on how one feels while immersed in the camping experience.

From taking a breath of fresh air to dipping into a cool lake, the jury is out; campers don’t need a “vacation from their vacation” when they return home. Rather, they seek to bring the great outdoors’s physically and mentally restful elements back with them.

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Rachel Dennis
Artist & writer with a flair for the outdoors, sustainability & travel. Off-duty chef, bookworm, and conversation lover.
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