Campspot Reveals The Tranquil Camping Trend Taking Off In 2024

In 2023, many returned to travel, taking big trips to dream destinations. And it wasn't long before international destinations began bursting at the seams. Rocketing visitor numbers to Greece saw access to the Acropolis limited to 20,000 people per day. In Japan, the beautiful former capital, Kyoto, introduced measures to combat overtourism. Even here in the U.S., Lake Tahoe was inundated with visitors and new residents, causing traffic jams and packed beaches. Now, many visitors are looking to escape the chaos. 

According to 2024 survey research from Campspot, this is the year of calm-cation. Almost 70% of campers said that they are seeking relaxation in 2024. But why camping and not other types of vacation? Well, 58% of respondents claimed that camping gives them more of a break from routine than other vacation types. It's not just an escape from the crowds people are looking for. 

One in three survey respondents said they were stressed about economic uncertainty in 2024, with 68% of respondents mentioning camping's affordability as a factor in choosing this type of vacation. Additionally, 43% cited the tranquility of camping as a major factor in feeling refreshed. An affordable vacation in a peaceful location is 2024's answer to luxury travel.

What a calm-cation is all about

For many survey respondents, a calm atmosphere is created with a splash. We're talking lakes, oceans, rivers, and creeks. A waterfront location was the number one element contributing to campers' feelings of relaxation. And 63% of survey takers said water recreation activities like kayaking and fishing were the most important amenities. Many campers also noted that fresh air was a huge contributing factor to a sense of relaxation while camping, and over half of the survey respondents were looking for clear night skies to enjoy the stars.

It's not just an urban (or should that be rural) legend that nature has healing powers. A 2019 research published in Scientific Reports showed that spending just two hours per week in natural environments can significantly improve health and well-being. If two hours per week can do that, imagine what an outdoor vacation can do.

However, most people who took Campspot's survey weren't looking to disconnect completely. 91% of campers said they would like internet access at their site, while 64% said they felt most relaxed when high-speed internet was available. A calm-cation doesn't necessarily mean a tech-free trip.

Top picks for a tranquil adventure

The U.S. is blessed with hundreds of thousands of campsites, so if you want to enjoy a calm-cation, there is no shortage of places to go. To fully embrace the trend, look for campsites near water in an area with good air quality and the chance to enjoy star-lit skies. Here are just a few of the many thousands of places that might fit the bill.

In Texas, the community of Horseshoe Bay lies on the shores of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, about 50 miles from Austin. It has good air quality and is a designated Dark Sky Community (meaning Dark Sky International recognized it for having low levels of light pollution). Campgrounds are on the lake and by the river that feeds into it, and cell service coverage is excellent! Out West, Rockport State Park in Utah is a great pick. It has dark skies, a reservoir for fishing and boating, campsites by the water, clean air, and pretty good cell coverage — the holy grail.

On the East Coast, head to Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina. You can camp on the beach at this International Dark Sky Park. There are no amenities, but cell service is available in most places, and the air quality is top-notch. To truly immerse yourself in the wilderness, consider a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. While cell phone coverage is patchy, it checks the other calm-cation boxes: dark skies, fresh air, and tons of campsites on the water.