18 Last-Minute Summer Event Ideas to Drive Reservations

As the sun shines brighter and the days last longer, more campers are looking for opportunities and excuses to get outside. Though many campers tend to plan longer trips further in advance, there are still plenty of opportunities to attract spontaneous guests of all varieties to your property. Check out this list of last-minute summer event ideas to fill your calendar and campsites. 

Last Minute Summer Event Ideas

Choose from the list of summer event ideas below to arrange activities at your campground that will draw in your local community or act as a point of differentiation for guests from out of town considering your campground among other options.

1. Family Field Day

Nationwide, many elementary schools hold field days each year to get kids outside while encouraging teamwork. You can adapt this idea for families staying at your park, too. Think relay races, team-building exercises, water balloon tosses, and tug of war. Annual field day t-shirts branded with your campground logo also fit the theme well. Be sure to advertise a prize for the winning team to entice bookings!

2. Yoga Retreat

Many people enjoy yoga for its relaxing nature and the ability to practice it pretty much anywhere, especially outside. Invite a local yoga instructor to your park to lead a single class or a retreat-style week of yoga sessions. Alternatively, set up an outdoor projector and display a yoga video tutorial from YouTube. 

3. Wildflower Picking

If you have a lot of unused acreage, consider allocating some of it to grow wildflowers. Near the end of the summer season, allow guests to pick fresh bouquets. Campers local to the area can take them home to enjoy and everyone else will enjoy the floral scenery while on site. You could even consider charging per bouquet, or giving them away for free during a you-pick event with food trucks and live music. 

4. Farmers Market

Farmers markets are a treasured asset for produce, artisan goods, and community conversation. Whether your area is lacking one or one is already well-established, you could host your region’s next farmers market. By bringing this outside event to your park, you involve the surrounding community, increase brand recognition for your park and all vendors involved, and enrich your campers’ experience. Double check your state and local laws for any requirements around markets and food sales. 

5. Pop-Up Theater

Many campers like to travel with their portable instruments, including guitars. Transform your recreation room into an open mic stage this summer by inviting local talent and guests to perform. Aside from musical performances, you can encourage campfire stories, improvised comedy, sketch groups, road trip games, or similarly interactive group entertainment. If needed, recruit your staff to start and soon campers will join in. 

6. Summer Solstice

Typically falling sometime around the 21st of June, the summer solstice is the longest day and subsequently shortest night of the year. Often, it will fall on a weekday, which presents a great opportunity to create a solstice discount to increase occupancy.  After all, who doesn’t want to be camping on the official day that marks summertime? Consider pairing your solstice event with a group dinner, like a seafood boil.

7. Tie-Dye Tuesday

Understandably so, Tuesdays are likely not your busiest day of the week. Encourage campers to extend their long-holiday weekend trip by one more day with a fun craft, like t-shirt tie-dying. It’s the perfect practical souvenir to take home. 

8. Scavenger Hunt

Take hide and seek to the next level with a scavenger hunt around your campground. This can be theme-based and curated or centered on naturally occurring finds, such as local plant species and property landmarks. Up the difficulty level and incentivize winners with future- or free-stay discounts. 

9. Whodunit Mystery

Bring Clue to life with a weekend full of whodunit-inspired fun. You can purchase (or find for free) fully-formed mystery plots complete with character assignments, props, and a clever narrative. In addition to an organized mystery experience, you could host a costume contest or invite a magician to perform for your guests. 

10. Community Cookout

Barbecuing is a favorite summer pastime that goes hand in hand with camping. For a per-plate fee or as a first-come first-served “thank you” to midweek campers, hold a daytime cookout. Either way, guests will appreciate the option of on-site food. This could easily coincide with a national food day, such as National Hot Dog Day in July. 

11. Game Night

Between board games, cards, and bingo, there are seemingly endless gaming opportunities to host this summer. Combine any typical game with a tournament structure, teams, prize pool, and food options to increase participation. If you have an arcade or other digitized games, the same ideas can apply. 

12. Model Boat Race

If your property includes waterfront—lake, river, pond—or is close to a public body of water, you can host a model boat race. Either supply guests with the tools to create model sailboats that day or invite enthusiasts to bring their own models during their stay. The top three race winners can go home with a camp store prize or a future stay voucher. Hopefully everyone can cool off with a swim after, too. 

13. Farm to Table Dining

Consumers are increasingly conscious of the origin and quality of their food. Tap into this desire by hosting a farm to table dining experience at your park. Think farm fresh eggs, organic produce, and free-range livestock all sourced locally. Cultivate your own food or partner with local farmers or a restaurateur. A mid-week brunch or dinner date-night would entice locals to camp. Don’t forget dessert! 

14. Charity Event

Most people have at least one charity that is near and dear to their heart, and campground operators are well-positioned to spotlight their favorite charity through a custom event. Incorporate related ideas from this list such as games, crafts, teams, food, and prizes to creatively raise funds for your favorite cause. A lower maintenance fundraising idea is a 50/50 raffle—half to a winning camper and half to your chosen charity. Organizations of well-established peer-to-peer events like Relay for Life also offer many resources so you don’t have to plan from scratch. 

15. Full-Time RVer Meet and Greet

If you traditionally host long-term guests and full-time RVers, bring them together with a little effort and organization. This can be as simple as meeting at the pavilion one evening or it can be more elaborate, like a speed-friending event. These guests will appreciate that you brought them together to form a connection and tell their other RVing friends of your hospitality. 

16. Dog Parade

What better way to celebrate the dog days of summer than with a dog parade featuring all of your furry guests. This could take place at your dog park, along a hiking trail, or elsewhere on your property. Campers can show off their pups and meet fellow dog owners. Consider handing out pup-cups or other cool treats as favors. 

17. Fire Truck Tour

Young children are mesmerized by firefighters and their trucks. Invite your local heroes to the park one day for a fire truck tour and fire safety education. You can also expand this event to invite EMS professionals with an ambulance or police officers. 

18. Community Campfire

Bonfires are one of the most iconic traditions of camping. Show campers how to start, manage, and extinguish a campfire responsibly with a park-wide event. Consider providing s’mores supplies and hosting this event on August 10, which is National S’mores Day. Perhaps Smokey Bear could even make an appearance. 

In addition to attracting campers and filling nightly gaps, these summer event ideas can generate ancillary revenue on their own—and this is just a starting point. There are numerous ways to execute these summer event ideas and many more unlisted ideas waiting to be brought to life. We hope you were inspired and we wish you happy event planning in the summer months and beyond! 

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as snow skiing up north and scuba diving in the Great Lakes. A former Campspot marketing manager, Haley holds a B.A. degree in public policy from Michigan State University and an M.S. degree in sustainability from the University of Michigan. She is passionate about environmental stewardship, exploring the outdoors, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

How to Care for Yourself and Your Team During Busy Season

Whether it’s in summer or winter,  peak camping season brings an exciting influx of guests to campgrounds, as families and outdoor enthusiasts seek adventure and relaxation in the great outdoors. As a campground owner, it’s crucial to ensure the well-being of both yourself and your team during this bustling period. Managing a high volume of guests can be demanding, but prioritizing physical and mental health is essential for maintaining a positive work environment and providing exceptional customer service. In this blog post, we’ll explore busy season tips and practical strategies to help you and your campground staff take care of yourselves and thrive during your peak season.

1. Prioritize Self-Care

During hectic times, it’s easy to neglect your own well-being. However, prioritizing self-care is crucial for maintaining balance and avoiding burnout. Encourage your team to:

Establish Routines

Encourage staff members to establish daily routines that include proper sleep, regular exercise, and healthy eating. Consistency in these areas helps maintain energy levels and supports overall well-being.

Take Breaks

Encourage staff (and yourself!) to take short breaks throughout the day to relax and recharge. Stepping away from workstations, even for a few minutes, can alleviate stress and improve focus.

Practice Mindfulness

Encourage mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing exercises like yoga or meditation, to help reduce stress and increase mental clarity.

2. Foster Communication and Team Support

During busy seasons, effective communication and a supportive team environment are essential. Here’s how you can foster these elements:

Regular Team Check-Ins

Schedule regular team meetings to address any concerns, provide updates, and foster a sense of unity. Encourage open dialogue and actively listen to your staff’s feedback and suggestions.

Delegate Responsibilities

Delegate tasks among your team members to distribute workload fairly. Encourage teamwork and collaboration to ensure everyone feels supported.

Provide Adequate Training

Ensure your team receives comprehensive training to handle the increased workload efficiently. This reduces stress and boosts confidence in their abilities.

Read Next: Get Certified with Campspot

3. Encourage Work-Life Balance

Striking a healthy work-life balance is crucial for mental and emotional well-being. Consider the following:

Set Reasonable Expectations

Encourage your team to set realistic expectations for themselves. Remind them that it’s essential to prioritize their personal lives outside of work.

Flexible Scheduling

Whenever possible, provide flexible scheduling options to accommodate personal obligations and promote work-life balance. Offer rotating shifts or opportunities for time off when needed.

Encourage Time Off

When it comes to busy season tips, this one might seem a little counterintuitive when you’re in a season that requires all hands on deck. However, it’s important to encourage your team to take their allocated time off and plan vacations or breaks to rejuvenate. Taking time away from work is essential for recharging and avoiding burnout.

4. Recognize and Appreciate Your Team

Recognizing your team’s hard work and expressing appreciation can boost morale and motivate them during the busiest times. Consider the following:

Express Gratitude

Regularly acknowledge your team’s efforts and express gratitude for their dedication. A simple thank you or words of appreciation can go a long way in fostering a positive work environment.

Incentives and Rewards

Consider implementing an incentive program that rewards exceptional performance or milestones achieved. This can encourage healthy competition and motivate your team to excel.

Celebrate Success

When the busy season winds down, organize a team celebration to recognize and appreciate everyone’s hard work. It reinforces a sense of accomplishment and unity among your staff.

Caring for yourself and your team during your busy camping season is crucial for maintaining a positive work environment and delivering exceptional customer service. By prioritizing self-care, fostering communication and team support, encouraging work-life balance, and recognizing your team’s efforts, you can create a thriving workplace that promotes physical and mental well-being. Remember, these busy season tips can create a healthy and happy team that translates into a remarkable camping experience for your guests.

Read Next: How this Campground Stays True to Its Brand

Grow This Season With Campspot

How to Leverage Astrotourism as Part of Your Campground’s Revenue Strategy

Have you ever thought of the starry night sky as a business resource? If not, there are in fact many reasons why you should! Astrotourism—recreation and travel related to observing outer space—and camping are aligned in many ways.

First, campgrounds are often located in the wilderness or more rural areas where there is less light pollution. Less light pollution means better stargazing conditions. Second, most people choose to camp during astrotourism experiences because they expect to stay up later and stay closest to where they can easily observe celestial objects.

In the second webinar of our astronomy series, we were joined once again by physics and astronomy expert Doug Arion to understand how campground operators can leverage astrotourism as a long-term business opportunity. Below, we summarize the key insights he shared with attendees. 

Tap Into Major Celestial Events

Throughout any given year, there are numerous celestial events that either occur regularly or once in a blue moon. These major events include total solar eclipses, lunar eclipses, meteor showers, and more. The well-known Perseid meteor shower, for example, occurs every August. To view our curated list of notable 2023 celestial events here.

Because events of this nature are highly publicized by the media, you can simply latch onto their publicity to host a related event at your property in tandem. In the case of the upcoming solar eclipses, you can also research how close your park is to either the path of the total or annular eclipse and use this as a promotional tactic. Overall, use the big events happening in 2023 and 2024 as a launch platform to generate astrotourism buzz during future camping seasons.

Read Next: What Your Campground Needs to Know About the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Promote Lodging Around The Lunar Cycle

Fortunately for campground operators, astrotourism has grown to be much broader than just a few main events, which means you can leverage niche and off-/shoulder-season opportunities. Avid stargazers and amateur astronomers pay attention to the lunar cycle, or the moon’s phases. Because a full moon creates natural light pollution, a new moon—its opposite—provides optimal sky viewing. Since most new moons don’t appear on weekends, you can fill midweek spots by advertising better stargazing to a captive audience.

In Doug’s words, “The sky does not know about days of the week. You can take advantage of that.” Conversely, when the moon is full, its mesmerizing nature and brightness offer the perfect chance for a moonlit hike on your property. Let the moon be your guide and don’t be afraid to get creative by planning events around lesser-known astronomy themes. Super moons are an especially fun opportunity for an advertised evening hike with headlamps! 

Connect with the International Dark-Sky Association

If you believe your location is extremely dark at night and well-equipped for stargazing, you may be eligible for certification by the International Dark-Sky Association as a dark sky place. Even if your park doesn’t meet the Association’s standards for designation, you can see on their website how close you are to a local dark sky place. These special areas are huge draws for outdoor and astronomy enthusiasts alike—and they will want a place to stay overnight.

In the spirit of promoting darker skies, consider how small changes at your park can reduce light pollution and boost astrotourism opportunities. Large bright lights will attract insects, raise your electric bill, and ruin nighttime wildlife and sky viewing for your guests. Doug recommends campground lights be only as bright as necessary for safe operations, be strategically targeted and controlled across your facilities, and emit warmer colors when possible (avoiding blue light especially).

Read Next: 6 Environmental Education Programs to Host at Your Campground

Partner with Local Astronomy Clubs and Academic Institutions

It may surprise you to know there are over 600 amateur astronomy clubs in the United States and 90 clubs in Canada. Invite these experts to bring their telescopes and knowledge to your park to lead a camping star party. In exchange for their wisdom and borrowed tools, you can offer a compensated stay. Go Astronomy lists a full directory of clubs by state and province on their website.

Similarly, there are over 3,000 colleges and universities across the United States. Many offer public programming at their observatories, which serve as great nearby attractions to promote. After surveying institutions within a day’s drive of your park, invite a professor to come lead an educational lecture or activity. It’s likely in line with their institution’s mission of public service and something fun for your guests—win win. These enriching guest programs could be complimentary with lodging or priced separately depending on demand and your goals. 

Rent and Sell Nighttime Observation Products

Camp stores are an excellent way to generate ancillary income. Whether you have a well-established store or are considering selling products, Doug described some basic astrotourism tools your campers will need. Red flashlights are essential because they provide ample visibility without affecting one’s night vision. Stocking “DIY” regular flashlights and red balloons (for covering the lights) will also do the trick. Binoculars are great for both viewing the night sky and daytime wildlife, and this dual-use makes for an easier sell. Who doesn’t love reading a good book while on vacation? You can stock books ranging from various star guides to children’s literature and astrology favorites.

Doug was a co-founder of the Galileoscope telescope kit, which was designed to be high-quality and low cost. These kits can be purchased in bulk and resold to your campers to help them enjoy celestial events and the night sky. For eclipse-specific items, like viewing glasses, be sure to order them early and from a reputable vendor. Finally, Doug suggested investing in some tablets and installing Sky Safari or a similar app to each. Guests can rent a tablet during their stay and use it to go exploring. Through the app, holding the tablet up to the sky will reveal constellations, additional images, and neat facts.

As with most marketing ventures, trying, testing, and tweaking will go a long way in aiding your campground’s success. Whether it’s surrounding the 2024 total eclipse or an everyday celestial experience, we hope you confidently apply your creativity and these tips to try out astrotourism!

Want to watch the full webinar? Learn more about leveraging astrotourism for your campground below.

How to Leverage Astrotourism for Your Campground Revenue Strategy

Click to watch: 

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as snow skiing up north and scuba diving in the Great Lakes. A former Campspot marketing manager, Haley holds a B.A. degree in public policy from Michigan State University and an M.S. degree in sustainability from the University of Michigan. She is passionate about environmental stewardship, exploring the outdoors, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

6 Environmental Education Programs to Host at Your Campground

No matter your location or unique brand of camping, we all share a common denominator in this industry: the great outdoors. From rugged to glamping, outdoor spaces and places make our businesses possible. This fact calls upon every campground operator to be a steward of their land. Campers have a big responsibility, too. Unfortunately, the Leave No Trace Center found that 9 out of 10 outdoor visitors had “not had the opportunity to receive education on minimizing their impact.” Fortunately, campground operators are in the best position to bridge this education gap to benefit everyone by offering environmental education programs!

The more campers that have intimate experiences outside and fall in love with nature, the more they will want to return to your parks and the environments that make them special. Education is the key. In the spirit of Earth Day, here are six environmental education programs you can implement at your property year-round to attract campers of all ages and better our shared planet.

1. Offer Guided Nature Hikes

You don’t need access to expansive forests or mountains to offer guided hikes. Any private path that you can mark with signage will do. To make it stand out, tailor this pathway to the unique flora, fauna, and funga in your region. For example, self-guided signs along the trail could identify your state bird, flower, and mammal, or note the dominant type of tree growing on your land. Include benches or covered platforms as rest stops along the way.

marked path through a forest

If you have the capacity to regularly lead walks, factor seasonality into your environmental education programs, such as leaf identification during fall color change and tadpole hatching during spring. If available acreage is an issue, a labyrinth-style walkway makes for a compact yet welcome relaxation site. You can start even simpler with a bird feeder, bird bath, and dedicated viewing station for guests to enjoy.

If you can accommodate large groups, consider hosting Boy and Girl Scout troops. There are numerous nature-themed badges for scouts to acquire, and your nature interpretation programming could be the perfect fit for their goals. Invite local chapters of environmental groups, such as Audubon, for a weekend retreat at your park, too. Whether you address new or old features, account for accessibility measures to ensure all campers are able to enjoy your trails.

2. Lead a Foraging Expedition

Morel mushrooms in a blue basket sit on the forest floor

Speaking of funga, are you a fan of morel mushrooms? This wild treat grows across the Southeast, Midwest, and parts of the Pacific Northwest from April to May when conditions are just right—especially moist soil and temperate weather. Foraging for morels has become an annual hobby for many outdoor enthusiasts, and perhaps it could take place at your campground.

Searching for wild food resources, or foraging, takes us back to our literal roots and instills in us a new appreciation for the origins of our food. Varieties of berries, mushrooms, herbs, and more are common goodies found when foraging. If this is all news to you, that’s alright—just make sure you know your morels from your brain mushroom. Avoiding toxic lookalikes, researching dangerous species near your park, and practicing identification with an expert are critical steps before you begin.

If wild edibles aren’t native to your property, consider planting a small garden, berry pasture, or fruit tree field where guests can pay to pick during certain times. Popular fragrant herbs such as lavender or mint could also be camper favorites.

Read Next: 5 Ways Your Campground Can Help Our Planet

3. Create a Rain Garden

A sign for a butterfly and rain garden

While flooding is detrimental anywhere, it can be especially harmful to overnight campers and campground operations. One way to mitigate runoff and the urban pollutants it contains is by creating a rain garden. A rain garden is an intentionally depressed area of land, planted with native grasses and flowers, to allow excess water to flow and soak into it.

In addition to localized flood control, rain gardens can provide vital pollinator habitats, improve water quality through pollutant filtering, and are aesthetically pleasing. After constructing your rain garden, you can use it as a model to host guest workshops on how to create their very own rain garden at home. Rain gardens also make ideal locations for wooden bee hotels: permanent housing during the early stages of the pollinator’s life.

Using native vegetation in your rain garden is crucial to avoid the need for fertilizer, weed control, and high levels of maintenance. Native plants also have deep root systems for better water utilization and they attract more pollinators. If you need help sourcing the right native plants for all your campground’s landscaping needs, turn to a nearby conservation district. These governmental entities offer natural resource education and often directly sell native plants. With nearly 3,000 conservation districts nationwide, odds are there’s one in your county.

4. Partner with Wildlife Rescue Organizations

An owl perches on a man's hand

Animal ambassadors can teach us a lot about the natural world and their important roles in it. According to The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the role of an animal ambassador “includes handling and/or training by staff or volunteers for interaction with the public and in support of institutional education and conservation goals.” Some animal ambassadors will even travel to you, which presents an enriching and fun opportunity for your guests.

For example, Amazing Animals Wildlife Preserve in Florida offers “zoo to you” environmental education programs featuring their three-banded armadillo, Amazon parrot, and various reptile ambassadors. Midwestern states could consider partnering with wildlife rescue organizations focused on beloved birds of prey ambassadors, like red-tailed hawks and great horned owls.

It’s important to note that not all animals are suited to be ambassadors or for travel. Many animal ambassadors are in their roles only because they were found injured or abandoned at birth and can no longer survive in the wild. You need to thoroughly research any prospective partner organizations to ensure they have the highest accreditation and animal welfare protocol in place. If you already have resident pets or traditional farm animals on site, consider how you can enrich their care and incorporate environmental education programs beyond serving as an attraction.

5. Embrace Nighttime Activities

Campers gather around a fire at night near a tent

There are many advantages to a park being tucked away in a rural area or remote wilderness. For one, it will receive less light pollution from man-made sources at night and offer much better stargazing opportunities. Dark Sky RV Park in Utah is one Campspot customer that has leveraged their desert surroundings to the fullest. If you are located in a similarly remote environment, your property may even qualify to become an “international dark sky place” through the International Dark-Sky Association.

Watch Next: How to Make Astrotourism a Part of Your Business Strategy

If you are located in a more urban setting, you can still encourage campers to use a mobile app, such as Night Sky, to help identify constellations from their sites. For general information on how to host astronomy education, check out Mountains of Stars. This nonprofit’s mission is “creating environmental awareness through a cosmic perspective.” Their website includes recommended books, presentations, videos, downloadable resources, and more. They can also bring their portable planetarium and telescopes to parks in northeastern states for special programs.

Beyond stars, nighttime is full of life no matter where you are. Plan an “Insects After Dark” summer series to spot fireflies and encourage children to care about even the smallest creatures among us. Lead a walk at dusk where campers are specifically looking for bats flying around and feeding. Have your camp host lead a campfire chat where campers try to match animals to the nocturnal sounds they hear: hooting barred owl, chirping spring peeper, and clicking ​​cicada. The possibilities are as limited as your imagination.

Read Next: What Your Campground Needs to Know About the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

6. Host an Earth Day Event

A bee sips from a flower

Since 1970, Earth Day has marked “the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement,” and it remains a day of action. This is why you often hear of global clean-up events on Earth Day, but there are many ways to honor this holiday and involve your campers.

If you are open for the season, invite campers to participate in 1-hour shifts to pick up debris in an adjoining park or along a throughway near your property. Although this may seem counterintuitive while on vacation, “Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world” and eco-tourism is on the rise. Folks who don’t care to participate won’t and folks who do will be thankful for the opportunity to do their part. You could incentivize camper participation with a future stay discount, too.

Beyond trash removal activities, involve campers in tree planting or early spring gardening activities on site. Science proves that neighborhood trees can reduce stress and improve overall health outcomes. Host environmental trivia at your park’s restaurant or recreation hall. Stock your camp store with state-specific field guides, nature-themed coloring books, and copies of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Organize a scavenger hunt for campers to identify specific plant species, animal tracks, or hidden Earth Day clues around your property. If your park won’t be open by April 22, sponsor other volunteer events in your community instead for brand exposure and goodwill.

The best part about Earth Day is when it reminds us that every day should be Earth Day, even when we’re quick to forget. No matter how you choose to incorporate environmental education programs into your business, remember how much it matters to our industry and how much it will benefit generations of campers to come.

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as skiing up north in the winter and scuba diving the Great Lakes in the summer. A former Campspot marketing employee, Haley is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She is passionate about solving the world’s sustainability challenges, enjoys performing improvisational comedy, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

Image credit in order of appearance: Finger Lakes Campground, Adobe Stock -leszekglasner, Haley Dalian, Adobe Stock – Bethany, Haley Dalian, Haley Dalian, Haley Dalian, Adobe Stock – anatoliy_gleb, Haley Dalian 

What Your Campground Needs to Know About the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Perhaps you remember The Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017. As the first of its kind in the hyper-digital era, around 20 million people across the United States witnessed this rare occurrence. Now, another solar eclipse is on the horizon that’s set to last nearly twice as long and capture even more of the public’s attention. According to Travel Market Report, April 8, 2024 is poised “to be the biggest mass travel event ever in the United States.” To understand how campground owners can make the most of this special event and what eclipse resources might be available, Campspot invited Doug Arion, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at Carthage College and Executive Director of Mountains of Stars, to join us for a webinar series.

In the first webinar we hosted, he explained why this rare celestial event poses an immense opportunity for the campground industry and should not be missed. Below, we summarize the content covered by Doug, including how you can prepare for the 2024 total solar eclipse now as well as where to find eclipse resources.

What is a Solar Eclipse?

As the moon orbits the earth, it periodically comes between the earth and the sun. When this happens, the shadow of the moon hits the earth and blocks the sun. Eclipses are so rare because the width of the moon’s inner shadow—the portion that creates a total eclipse—is only about 100 miles across while the earth is 8,000 miles across.

Many eclipses happen over the ocean where access to and timing of viewing is virtually impossible. Additionally, because the moon’s orbital pattern is somewhat tilted, the moon’s shadow is often cast above or below the earth and on average misses us. Therefore, only people on a tiny bit of land at a very specific time get the benefit of viewing this astronomical wonder.

Why Does the Solar Eclipse Matter for Campgrounds?

First and foremost, campgrounds operate in environments where people go to do things they otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t do at home: pitch a tent, roast marshmallows, unplug, and stargaze. Stargazing is a major pastime and huge draw for people—from dedicated dark sky parks, to events, clubs, and entire books on the subject.

Unfortunately, 80% of the world’s population can’t see the stars in the night sky due to light pollution in or from urban areas. People must seek out the right conditions and places for optimal viewing, including for the daytime solar eclipse. This makes campgrounds the perfect host locations for this memorable and magical viewing experience. Given the rarity and popularity of celestial events like this, the upcoming total solar eclipse represents a major revenue opportunity for parks, too.

Where Can Campers View the Solar Eclipse?

In 2024, the stars have aligned for the best eclipse viewing to take place in the United States. There are actually two major eclipses happening within the next year: an annular solar eclipse on October 14, 2023 (or “ring of fire” eclipse) and a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

Major U.S. cities in the path of the October eclipse include Oregon Dunes, Lake Powell, Four Corners (UT/AZ/CO/NM), Santa Fe, Roswell, and San Antonio. Major U.S. cities in the path of the main event on April 8 include Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cape Girardeau, Rochester, and Buffalo. Cities in these paths will have a tremendous opportunity to host guests traveling from around the world and provide coveted views.

People are already booking accommodations in cities along the total eclipse pathway. If you’re near or just outside of one of these cities, you still have a strategic advantage. As other areas fill up, your location may offer visitors less congested and less competitive lodging. Furthermore, guests who stay at your park can always drive closer to view the eclipse as needed.

Even if your park isn’t located within the direct path of the two major events, some portion of the sun will still be eclipsed and visible from North America, except for western-most Alaska. A partial solar eclipse is an equally rare and mesmerizing opportunity for viewers, especially considering an event like this won’t happen again in the U.S. until 2045!

What Can I Do to Take Advantage of the Solar Eclipses and When Should I Start?

Start now! It’s not too soon to start planning for the 2024 total eclipse, and certainly the 2023 annular eclipse. The best way to take advantage of the crowds these events will draw is to decide now what type of package you want to offer—if any. Here are a few examples and considerations that were discussed.

Opening Day

If April 8 is sooner than your usual opening day, decide if you want to open earlier in 2024 (weather depending) or only open for that weekend and resume regular operations in May. Offer day passes for viewing if overnight accommodations will be too much to manage.

Multi-Night Requirement

Since April 8, 2024 is a Monday, consider putting a three-night minimum in place to ensure weekend traffic or a discount for guests who want to extend their stay into the following week days.


Decide how you will adjust your rates for this special weekend or leverage Campspot’s dynamic pricing tool.

Retail Opportunities

Consider selling unique souvenirs to mark the memorable occasion, such as branded and dated t-shirts. You can also sell certified safe eclipse viewers and glasses or even affordable telescopes (more on that below!)


There are many related groups you can partner with to enrich the guest experience. Charter a bus to transport guests closer to a direct-path viewing site. Connect with your local astronomy club or university to bring an expert guide/speaker on site.

Elevated Experience

Because the actual eclipse will only last a few minutes at most, expand the event to include other local attractions at your property, such as a food truck, post-eclipse fireworks, or Pink Floyd tribute band.

Are There Eclipse Resources and Items I Should Purchase in Preparation?

Absolutely. The number one item that is likely to sell out by fall 2023 is eclipse glasses to protect your eyes from harmful rays. Eclipse glasses are just as important, if not more important, in regions of the country that will only experience a partial eclipse because the glasses will be necessary for the entire eclipse. Doug cautions operators and campers alike not to buy eclipse glasses on Amazon. There were many sellers of counterfeit glasses leading up to the 2017 eclipse and these did not offer adequate eye protection. Here is a list of vendors who supply safe solar filters and viewers.

Galileoscope is a low cost, high quality telescope kit that was invented by industry experts, including Doug. It’s uniquely compatible with proprietary solar filters and sun shades, which are perfect for viewing the eclipses. The company offers educational webinars on how to assemble and use the Galileoscope along with its optional tripod. To stock up your camp store for this summer, you can pre-order here.  

Further Eclipse Resources

The mission of Doug’s organization, Mountains of Stars, is to persuade people to treat the environment better through astronomy education and training. Their website has a wealth of information about the upcoming eclipses. They also host remote educational programs and they have portable planetariums and telescopes available for use in northeastern states.

The American Astronomical Society has downloadable photos, posters, and other eclipse resources for promoting and planning ahead. Here is a list of their upcoming webinars, too. Finally, here is an interactive map where you can enter your exact coordinates and see the type of eclipse (partial vs. whole) that will be visible from your property and the estimated eclipse duration.

Watch the Webinar for More Revenue-Driving Tips and Eclipse Resources

To watch the full webinar recording from March 22, click here.

Doug Arion presents a discussion on the upcoming eclipse and how to make the most revenue.

How to Leverage Astrotourism as Part of Your Campground’s Revenue Strategy

Want to keep learning about how to take moments like the eclipse (or even full moons, new moons, or meteor showers) to drive revenue for your campground? Check out this follow-up to our first webinar with Doug on the topic of astrotourism and dark skies.

Eclipse Resources Recap

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as skiing up north in the winter and scuba diving the Great Lakes in the summer. A former Campspot marketing employee, Haley is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She is passionate about solving the world’s sustainability challenges, enjoys performing improvisational comedy, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.


Top 11 Add-On Campground Amenities To Increase Revenue

This post was originally published on August 31, 2021. It has been updated to include recent data and insights. 

Campgrounds have evolved in recent decades from simple sites and a fire pit to offer other campground amenities galore like waterparks, glamping yurts, portable jacuzzis, and more. Incorporating add-on amenities that compliment your park will not only attract more campers but also increase your revenue.

Campspot campground owners earned over $33 million in add-on revenue in 2022, a 26% year-over-year increase.

So far, from January 1 to March 14, 2023, campground owners on Campspot have already made nearly $7 million from add-on revenue alone.

After camp store revenue, the top revenue stream for campground owners in 2022 was add-ons such as firewood and daily rentals. As far as what types of amenities and add-ons campgrounds are looking to add in 2023, dog parks topped the list (26%).

After that, campground owners wanted to add internet access (23%), bathrooms (19%), special events (15%), general stores (13%), and playgrounds (13%).

Free Download: The Latest Camping Insights for Campground Owners 

Luckily, there are more opportunities than ever to offer new and creative amenities and items that delight your guests. View our top list of park add-on amenities that have not only grown in popularity but have generated substantial park revenue.

Read Next: Campspot’s 2022 Year-End Reca(m)p

Top Add-On Campground Amenities

1. Golf Carts

With expansive parks and numerous attractions, golf cart rentals are a great option. Many campgrounds already feature golf cart rentals but with the ability to include them as an add-on option within Campspot’s reservation platform, many have seen an increase in popularity.orange golf cart rental on webpage

2. Bike Rentals

Similar to golf cart rentals, bikes have great revenue potential. Eliminating the hassle of transportation, bikes allow campers to arrive with minimal camping supplies while still having the ability to travel to neighboring attractions or adjacent bike trails. Some bike options are more recreational than others and include multi-person bikes or pedal carts. Understanding the amenities and location of your park will help understand add-on revenue potential and what bike style is the best investment for your park.

3. Linens

For cabins and rentable units, linens are a must. Including these as an add-on option acknowledges the value of the product as well as eliminates the hassle later. A family arriving may need an extra set of linens and adding this product when booking the site, eliminates possible confusion later.

young girl stretching on bed in cabin on website checkout page

4. Boat Rentals

Rental boats showcase your natural resources and eliminate the hassle of transporting boats for guests. Water frontage is a selling point for booking campground stays. Find ways to showcase the natural amenity through add-on options.

5. Hammocks

Hammocks are a trendy item that has grown in popularity over the recent years. The ability to have compact travel and storage has been increasingly convenient when camping. For parks that offer tree coverage, this add-on option is a great consideration. A camper may not be committed to personally purchasing a hammock but may find it a convenient amenity to have available.

young girl in blue hammock outside on website checkout page


6. Mini Golf

Catch guests before their vacation time is filled with other activities and highlight your mini-golf course. By allowing them to book their experiences with their stay, you can showcase your amenities and make sure they have a complete picture of everything they can do within the park.

7. Jacuzzis and Hot Tubs

With waterparks and larger campgrounds, finding site-based attractions has been an add-on revenue generator. Personal hot tubs delivered to sites have been a fun option that many guests would not be aware of without add-on attention. Jacuzzis have a great way to keep campers inside the park and entertained.

Children in hot tub at campground cabin on website checkout page

8. Firewood and Fire Pits

As the camping industry has grown in recent years, it is apparent that many guests want to camp with ease and convenience. Providing firewood or access to a fire pit is just a simple way to add to the ease of the stay. Not only does offering firewood as an add-on allow you to understand your supply and demand before campers arrive, but it offers convenience for your guests.

9. Cabanas

Do you have an expansive waterpark with cabana options? Highlight this feature when reserving sites! Most guests may be unaware that you offer private cabanas unless notified before the stay.

cabana pool pavilion with curtains and chairs on website page

10. Fun Pass

Do you offer many family fun amenities? Including a fun pass as an add-on may be just right for you. Combine several attractions into one pass and showcase what activities you offer. Include gem mining, crafts, jumping pillows, laser tag, and more! Even bundle a souvenir cup for more of an incentive.

11. RV Rentals

When it comes to campground amenities, RV rentals are another type you might consider making available at your park. It’s a great way to introduce curious campers to this type of camping. Set up and maintain a rig to allow campers an affordable but more upscale experience that allows them to be more hands off while still enjoying all of the incredible perks of the RV lifestyle.


Add-on campground amenities not only offer a differential advantage from other parks but create substantial revenue. You may already be offering many of these amenities, but highlighting them as add-on options will create further popularity and sales. With nearly 40% of campers saying they spend the entire time or most of the time at their campsite, there is more opportunity than ever to showcase all your park has to offer!

This post was originally published on August 31, 2021. It has been updated to include recent data and insights. 

Top Camping Weekend Predictions for 2023

As campgrounds gear up for the busy summer camping season ahead, it’s helpful to anticipate when you’ll be at your busiest. To help you prepare, we reviewed the top camping weekends (non-holiday) from 2022 and looked ahead to 2023. These top weekends have potential to drive revenue for your campground as some of the favorite non-holiday times for campers to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. But what about days that fall outside of holiday and these “top weekends?” What can your campground to do to drive reservations and revenue on less popular camping dates?

Gather round and explore the answers below!

Top Camping Weekend Predictions for 2023

6 Ways to Drive Revenue for Non-Holiday Weekends and Weekdays

1. Advertise Outdoor Activities in Your Area

In the first issue of the Campspot Outdoor Almanac,  81% of campers reported that the campground itself is an important part of their trip. Of course, that’s why you work so hard to ensure your campground is the best experience possible for your guests. However, we also saw that “family vacation time” and “proximity to state and national parks” were listed as the number two and three reasons for why campers go camping. Is your campground located near something that would enhance your campers’ stays? A winery? An amusement park? Cute shops and restaurants? Public lands? You never know what might entice a particular camper, so be sure to make it clear what you’re near in all of your marketing materials—including any listings you have on online marketplaces.

2. Pepper Your Calendar With Non-Holiday Events

Creative events are a great way to attract more guests during less typically busy times. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about the different types of gatherings you might host:

  • Pancake breakfasts
  • Concerts with local musicians
  • Craft activities for kiddos
  • Week-long summer camp curriculums
  • Classes with local artisans like painters or potters
  • Social meet ups for various groups like owners of a particular dog breed
  • Indoor or outdoor film screenings

3. Update Your Photography

Did you know that campgrounds on Campspot Marketplace that have complete marketplace listings make 20% more revenue on average? Whether its your listings on online marketplaces or the way you feature your campground on your website or social media accounts, high-quality photos can greatly impact a potential camper’s confidence in booking a stay. Investing in professional photography is a great way to set camper expectations and showcase what makes your corner for of the world so special.

4. Play Up Your Amenities

When campers have many choices of where to stay, available amenities help them make a purchase decision. Do your website pages and marketplace listing pages clearly articulate everything that’s available to your guests? Are you planning on adding any amenities soon for the upcoming season? Share that information far and wide to ensure your campers are in the know and excited to be there to enjoy them. Not sure what amenities to invest in? Consider surveying your past campers and community members to see what’s most important to them.

5. Take Advantage of Astrotourism

Campgrounds are often in spots that are incredible for stargazing. What better way to make a random Tuesday a REALLY EXCITING camping moment than to invite guests to come stay to observe a meteor shower? There are loads of way to leverage celestial events to gather a crowd at your park. Host a super-moon hike (there are a handful ever year!). Invite a local astronomy club or professor to come guide your camper’s observation of the night sky. Review the calendar for the upcoming months and choose a few moments to celebrate and then create special events to encourage guests to come stay.

6. Run a Promo

We can’t forget discounts! When times are especially hard for the larger economy, that can impact camper travel habits. Discounts or promotions have the power to help trips feel more realistic to a camper, especially when they’re booking a trip for a large group. Select a few promotions to run over the season and get creative about what they encourage campers to book. Want campers to book more weekdays? Longer trips? Offer deals that encourage the specific behavior you’re looking to drive.

To boost the number of campers that see your camping promos, be sure to opt in to our program to ensure your codes get featured on Campspot’s Marketplace Promo Page.

However you choose to drive reservations outside of top camping weekends, consistent messaging across all of your channels is the best way to ensure campers have all the information they need to make a purchase decision. We hope this list helps you think creatively about how you might entice even more campers to join your community.

Get Growing With Campspot

How to Get Your Campground Ready for the Summer Season

We know there’s always a laundry list of to-dos for campground operators when welcoming the change in seasons—no matter where you’re located. Let’s dust off the cobwebs and focus on the top tasks to get your campground ready for the summer and possibly opening day.

Do a Deep Clean

We were serious about the cobwebs, and it’s nothing personal! Dust has no doubt accumulated in your rental cabins, recreation hall, on bathhouse surfaces, and elsewhere. Developing a monthly or seasonal deep cleaning checklist—especially one ahead of the busy summer months—will help you stay sane by knowing exactly where to begin spring cleaning each new year.

Easy-to-forget tasks include:

  • Scrub grill grates
  • Clean leftover debris from fire pits
  • Replace paper products
  • Touch up faded or dirty signage
  • Restock cleaning supplies

In addition to deep cleaning, be sure to revisit any neglected maintenance orders from the prior year. Having multiple family or staff members walk the grounds and do a thorough visual inspection will go a long way in catching any overlooked areas. Don’t forget to inspect your maintenance equipment as well to avoid using a faulty ladder or dull tool.

Read Next: Creative Ideas for Marking Campsites

Begin Hiring Staff

Depending on your park’s capacity, amenities, and number of returning employees, your seasonal staff hiring timeline will vary. Generally, we recommend updating and posting summer positions between January and March. There are many different applicant sourcing options, from LinkedIn and Indeed to direct advertising in your area and referrals.

You might be familiar with Amazon’s CamperForce program, which gained notoriety from the 2021 Oscar’s Best Picture Nomadland. Since 2008, CamperForce has been a desirable option for full-time RVers to make extra money on the road and have their lodging compensated by the retail giant. As of December 2022, Amazon announced the end of CamperForce to streamline its seasonal hiring. This hiring void will likely cause former Amazon workers to look elsewhere for work camp postings, which is good news if you’re in the market for flexible help.

Here are a few websites where you can advertise help wanted and find work campers: Workamper News, Workamping Jobs, Workers on Wheels, Happy Vagabonds, and the public Facebook group Workampers.

Stock Your Camp Store

Camp stores are an ideal way to generate ancillary income at your property while providing convenient shopping for campers. After all, who hasn’t forgotten sunscreen, snacks, or been tempted by a souvenir while vacationing? Prior to the bustling summer season, you want to ensure you have enough of the right inventory in stock and a plan for periodic reordering.

Industry trends and consumer appetites change from year to year, which is something to consider when deciding what consumables, necessities, and novelties to sell. We suggest discounting limited, dated, or out-of-season inventory early on to clear the shelves for relevant products. The products you sell should cater to your main audience, such as families with young children or full-time RVers. If you run a dog-friendly park, don’t forget about pet treats and accessories.

While you’re providing TLC to your camp store, this is also a great time to ensure your point-of-sale (POS) system is up to date. Thankfully, online software providers like Campspot have fully integrated POS capabilities for ease of tracking and transacting.

Read Next: The Best Camp Store Merchandise to Sell

Focus on Landscaping

Another great way to get your campground ready for the summer is to focus on landscaping. Depending on your local climate and planned opening day, snow removal may be a persistent part of your reality even late into May. Make sure you are continuing to use salt or sand mixtures to prevent icy pavement and be prepared for late spring snowfalls. Once spring thaw has begun, however, you can take stock of necessary landscaping duties.

Common outdoor maintenance tasks include:

  • Rake remaining fall leaves
  • Adjust paver blocks and level walkways
  • Clear dead branches and plants
  • Address any trees at risk of falling

Aside from old trees, your docks, decks, and the other wooded parts of your property could be compromised. Check twice for any loose or rotten boards to avoid safety hazards.

Showcase New Campground Photos

While photos taken during the soggy winter-to-spring transition might not flatter your property, it’s possible you took great photos last year when the sun was shining and business was in full swing. If so, now is the perfect time to upload those photos across your business’s online presence: social media platforms, website, OTAs, and online booking interface if applicable.

If you’ve added a new amenity or changed your map, a brief video walking tour of the grounds would be a fantastic tool appreciated by prospective and returning guests alike.

Plus, did you know campgrounds with a complete listing on Campspot Marketplace make 20% more revenue on average? All the more reason to ensure your presence, in every place it lives, is crisp, clean, full of powerful imagery, and up to date.

We hope this list inspires you to tackle plans to get your campground ready for the summer. From staffing to cleaning and everything in between-ing, we wish you the best for another great year of camping!


Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as skiing up north in the winter and scuba diving the Great Lakes in the summer. A former Campspot marketing employee, Haley is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She is passionate about solving the world’s sustainability challenges, enjoys performing improvisational comedy, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

7 Tips for Campground Operators to Rock 2023

Each new year invites ample personal resolutions, but what about resolving to strengthen your business in 2023? As a campground operator, devoting some R&D and TLC time to your annual business plan is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. We know it can be daunting to consider reinventing your campground management plan year after year. That’s why we’ve curated the top seven tips for campground operators from our Campspot Outdoor Almanac to help you build upon your seasoned base of camping knowhow.

The following statistics come from our survey of Campspot campers and campground owners and the supplemental report we compiled just for campground managers and operators. Use these insights as inspiration to chart a fresh course for campground management in 2023.

Top Tips for Campground Operators

1. Understand Your Core Audience

At Campspot, you’ll hear us speak often about each Campspot customer’s unique brand of camping. That is, there’s something special that sets your campground apart: uncommon amenities, historical significance, proximity to a famous attraction, a year-round theme, or otherwise. We always recommend keenly understanding what your unique brand of camping is and who it resonates with most. This is your core audience of customers—even if it’s all dogs!

For example, in our Almanac survey of campers, we found that 23% camp for family vacation time, 19% camp for relaxation, and 17% camp to be closer to the outdoors. In each of these examples, a unique brand of camping and marketing tagline emerges: “family-first park welcoming young children,” “couples retreat with a bookable massage therapist every weekend,” and “get lost in over three miles of wooded mountain biking trails.”

Because millions of first-time campers are set to hit the road in 2023, consider how your business can uniquely cater to them.

2. Adjust Your Rates

For the majority of campers, their per-trip budget is under $500. Unsurprisingly, 51% of guests also look for deals when booking their next camping trip. The common denominator here is your rates. While we recommend regular rate assessments and use of Campspot’s dynamic pricing feature year-round, now is a great time to evaluate your reservation rates by campsite type, season, proximity to amenities, and more.

A good place to start for this exercise is calculating the average amount spent per visit at your campground. (This can be calculated by taking your total spend and dividing it by your number of guests). Aside from lodging, this logic also extends to the activities or camp store purchases guests make while at your property. Once you have this baseline number, you will be able to make more informed rate adjustments and offer appropriate discounts.

3. Invest in Google Ads and SEO

Formerly known as AdWords, Google Ads is a necessary tool in your advertising box. In fact, 65% of Almanac respondents said Google search is their favorite way to find camping information, and 85% of campers turn to online search to find a new place to camp. By running Google search ads, you can bid to ensure your campground’s name pops up near the top of the results page when a camper searches keywords relevant to your ad.

If digital advertising is still foreign territory or you’re not ready to invest money, consider investing time into search engine optimization (SEO). This simply means ensuring that your campground website is following all of Google’s best practices to drive search traffic, like incorporating relevant keywords throughout your site and designing it in the most user-friendly way. Fortunately, Campspot already implements SEO best practices for its software customers through each park’s online booking page, but we highly recommend you review your main website in the new year, too.

4. Upgrade Main Infrastructure

The majority of campers (54%) said that bathrooms are their #1 amenity when choosing a campground, while 40% said internet access is top of mind. Campers want to unwind in nature without completely disconnecting from the common comforts of home. If the winter is your off-season, January through March could be the best time to upgrade your bathhouses and internet infrastructure. Before adding flashy new amenities to your property, consider the basic ways you can update existing necessities, such as the following:

  • Install an electric hand dryer
  • Expand laundry facilities
  • Reglaze or re-tile showers
  • Offer lotion and special toiletries
  • Switch or upgrade your internet provider

These enhancements can make a significant impact on your guests’ experiences throughout their stay at your campground.

5. Take Property Photos and Videos

Did you know that campgrounds on Campspot with complete* Marketplace listings generate 20% more revenue than campgrounds with incomplete listings?

*A complete Campspot Marketplace Listing is defined as a park with 5 photos, an about description, and at least 1 photo per available campsite.

If you’ve made changes in the last year, early 2023 (depending on the local climate) may be an ideal time to capture fresh, high-quality photos of your property. If your region has already been graced by snow, mark a date on the calendar for late spring or early summer to photograph the grounds. If fall colors are in full bloom in your state, schedule a photo shoot in October and use these fall-themed images promotionally for advanced bookings the following year.

Documenting individual site types—a paved versus gravel RV site, or a standard versus waterfront tent site—provides crucial visual information to campers during the online booking process. Because most smartphones now have incredible cameras built in, you can also film a brief walking tour video so new guests can spatially experience the layout and feel of your park. Update these visuals in your Campspot booking platform and share them on social media to drum up excitement for the next camping season.

6. Include Furry Friends

If you’re a dog-friendly park, it might not surprise you that 26% of campground owners want to add a dog park to their property. Camping with pets is becoming an increasingly popular trend, and some RV owners even have live-in cat companions.

Now could be the best time to build or revamp a pooch-exclusive place at your property. If you don’t allow pets on property, consider if this policy still fits your brand of camping and the pros and cons of changing. Better to think through the new rules and revenue opportunities now if you do decide to convert later.

7. Plan Events in Advance

You can save considerable last-minute planning time and potential headaches by launching an annual events calendar ahead of your opening day. This gives both your staff and prospective guests plenty of notice for all the fun you’ll be offering throughout 2023. In fact, 52% of Almanac respondents said they like having the option to participate in campground activities and events during their stay, and 17% love these opportunities. Think through the best mix of events that your core camping audience would enjoy and the best event timing based on your seasonality.

Neither Rome nor (most) dog parks were built in a day. Take these tips as inspiration, but don’t feel the need to implement them all at once—you’re the expert of your campground. Most importantly, we wish you rest and refreshment as you recharge for another great year of camping. Happy planning and Happy New Year!

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as skiing up north in the winter and scuba diving the Great Lakes in the summer. A former Campspot marketing employee, Haley is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She is passionate about solving the world’s sustainability challenges, enjoys performing improvisational comedy, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

Data and Reporting: How to Track the Health of Your Campground

We live in a data-driven world, which is why it’s more important than ever for campground operators to understand how to navigate it and what tools are available. To help provide the best perspective on data and reporting metrics for campgrounds, we interviewed Casey See, Campspot customer and co-owner of Piney River Resort in Tennessee.

Casey, tell us more about you and Piney River Resort.

I’m one of the owners of Piney River, and we’ve been in the campground industry for three years now. We’re definitely a family-first park. We are also big supporters of military families, first responders, and our overall community.

We offer a wide range of accommodations, including traditional RV sites, premium RV sites, tiny homes, and we’re now onboarding our first set of glamping units and premium tent camping. Our tiny homes are branded to each have their own unique story. For example, guests can stay in a tiny home where musical instruments and Grammys decorate the walls. We always hear people say how amazed they are at the attention to detail.

Source: Piney River Resort Facebook

What key business metrics do you track on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis?

As a business approach, we’re heavily into data, numbers, and forecasting.
Day-to-day, we look at all reservations that come in, whether it’s a large or small number. We study Google Analytics to see “who” made the reservation and where these reservations are coming from.

On a weekly and monthly basis, we care most about our revenue compared to the previous month and the same timeframe last year. We spend a lot of time comparing occupancy trends.

For 3 months now, we’ve been able to use Campspot Analytics’ pace reporting to project our future business growth compared to how full our park was last year, for example.

That’s great to hear you cross-reference Google Analytics. Can you elaborate?

We spend a lot of time looking at Google Analytics to know how guests got to our website and from which platforms. We want to know if they come from another website, social media, a third-party partner, or elsewhere.

Geographically, we like to see where the visitor came from, such as what part of the country and their average distance away from our park. We are also interested in their device usage, like mobile phone versus desktop, and other demographics. We overlay information from our Google Analytics and ad campaigns with Campspot Analytics’ various reports.

What metric is most important for managing your business?

The most important thing for us is the guest experience. Regarding the math side of our business, revenue is our main metric. The tip of the spear for revenue is occupancy. So, even as we’re managing daily rates, dynamic pricing, and all other revenue-related items, it all comes back to occupancy.

What healthy business indicators do you like to see?

We look for growing occupancy. This may vary if we’ve expanded sites and then expect to see a temporary dip in occupancy percentage, but overall occupancy is our guiding light.

Because RVing and camping are so seasonal, we always compare year over year—sometimes by a single month, or by lumping months into seasons as well. As mentioned earlier, the new Pace Report in Campspot Analytics allows us to track this exact past-to-present-year change, such as how many reservations we actually have compared to the same day in 2021. We make significant financial decisions based on our occupancy trends, like which new amenities to onboard and whether to expand.

Graph of Campspot Analytics data

What are red flags you keep an eye out for?

​​We watch out for trends, which are like a journey. They tell us the history of where we have been and the future of where we may be going. Whether it’s a change in the economy, travel patterns, gas prices, unseasonable weather, or occupancy, we need to know where we’ve been and where we are headed. Closely monitoring trends allows us to react and adjust with as much accuracy as possible. Some businesses might look at their numbers and say they are either good or bad. We try our best to look at data from the standpoint of, what exactly do we need to change?

How has your experience been using Campspot Analytics?

We have used Campspot Analytics since September 2022. It’s more comprehensive and user-friendly than traditional reporting and spreadsheets. We used to download a handful of reports to build our own custom spreadsheets. Now, it’s much less of a manual process.

Campspot seems to be very receptive and responsive to park owners’ needs. The creation of their analytics tool is one example. We’re still learning about analytics, too, but it has really helped us so far. The support and customer service we receive is also very good.

What is your favorite part about Campspot Analytics?

We really like its visual and graphical reporting. The embedded charts are helpful to view at a glance and see a snapshot of performance. Additionally, what backs them up are csv files that one can look at day by day and make important comparisons. You can see exactly in detail what your park’s occupancy is and where the trends are headed.

What sort of business adjustments have you made so far based on insights from Campspot Analytics?

In general, we make necessary adjustment decisions on a weekly and monthly basis.
With the economy taking a bit of a downturn lately, we have seen this reflected slightly in our occupancy or Pace Report numbers. We have used this cue to make more specific and aggressive marketing adjustments to compensate for the soft market.

Once we have the chance to use analytics for longer, it may help inform other strategic decisions, such as which amenities we add, when we choose to market heavier, and what specials we offer.

Campspot Analytics and Reporting Metrics for Campgrounds


Campspot Analytics allows campgrounds to access their data in visualized dashboards that help users track performance and quickly gain answers without the need to download a massive spreadsheet. Here are the seven Campspot Analytics dashboards that help campground operators access key reporting metrics for campgrounds and make impactful business decisions:

  • Portfolio Overview
  • Operations Summary
  • Occupancy Pace Report
  • Park Overview
  • YoY Metric Comparison
  • Campspot Value
  • Cancellation Insights
  • Coming Soon: POS Dashboard

It’s clear that the ubiquity of data in our technologically-advancing world will only grow. Becoming a data-oriented park operator now means learning to access reporting metrics for campgrounds at your fingertips to stay ahead of the curve later. Your campers and your bottom line will thank you. To learn more about how current campground owners are leveraging the power of data through Campspot Analytics, click here!

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as skiing up north in the winter and scuba diving the Great Lakes in the summer. A former Campspot marketing employee, Haley is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She is passionate about solving the world’s sustainability challenges, enjoys performing improvisational comedy, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.