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3 minute read

Camping’s Comeback

”When you are camping you get to enjoy being outdoors and getting away from it all,”

The 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic has led to numerous closings and cancellations in the travel and entertainment industries. But, business for one industry has actually increased.

Many people, inspired by cabin fever, have started looking for alternative ways to spend time away from home, and have discovered that camping is the perfect way to get away while still practicing social distancing.

RV Share, a motor home and travel trailer rental site, reported a 1,000 percent increase in nationwide bookings since April 1.

According to the RV Industry Association, recreational vehicle dealers throughout the country experienced as much as a 170 percent increase in sales for the month of May compared to last year.

The reason, experts say, is because Americans are afraid to travel in traditional ways because of the pandemic. The U.S. Travel Association reported that 47 percent of survey respondents said they would be more likely to travel by car during and even after the pandemic subsides, and 42 percent said they would likely choose a destination that is closer to home.

Locally, campground owners have noticed the surge.

Patty Frensemeier, owner of Friends O’ Mine Campground and Cabins (previously named Westward Ho Campground), said it has been chaotic.

“When the Governor opened camping the Thursday before Memorial Day, it got crazy,” Patty said. “Those first two weekends were wild. The phone was ringing off the hook.”

Patty, who took ownership of the campground in May, said she has been surprised by the number of first-time campers who have been making reservations.

“We have had a lot of people calling who are brand new to camping,” Patty said. “They say they wanted to travel and with an RV it is their own bed, their own restroom facilities and their own space, but they are still away from home and able to enjoy nature.”

Having been a lifelong camper, and now a brand-new owner of a campground, Patty said she understands the attraction of camping.

“When you are camping you get to enjoy being outdoors and getting away from it all,” she said. “When you are home, you always have a list of things to do, you never really get a chance to relax.”

Paul Lawson, co-owner of Brown County KOA, said he also noticed the increase in demand. In fact, the campground is currently almost completely booked through July 4.

“When they opened up camping for Memorial Day weekend, we got absolutely inundated with reservations,” Paul said. “We were getting calls from 7:30 in the morning to 10:30 at night. We have had to turn people away because we have been booked. We are really in a sweet little position as far as the travel industry goes.”

Most of the campers, Paul said, have been coming from Louisville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Illinois.

“I think people just want to get out of their house,” Paul said.

“Camping is a great way to get outside and still do social distancing….With RVs you have your own bathroom and bedding, and can do your own cleaning.”

LOCAL CAMPING:

Friends O’ Mine Campground and Cabins

Address: 4557 E State Road 46, Nashville, IN Phone: 812-988-0008 Email: info@friendsominecampground.com Website: www.friendsominecampground.com Amenities: Full hookups, 30 and 50-AMP, pool, fishing lake, camp store, clubhouse/game room, washer and dryer, walking trail, wi-fi, monthly rates available.

Brown County KOA

Address: 2248 State Road 46 E, Nashville, IN Phone: 812-988-4675 Email: camp@browncountykoa.com Website: www.browncountykoa.com Amenities: Full hookups, back-in and pull-through sites with 30 and 50-AMP, pool, playground, Kamping Kabins, camp store, walking trail, pet walk, free wi-fi, cable TV on RV sites and in cabins.

Brown County State Park

Address: West Gate: 1405 S.R. 46 W. Nashville, IN North Gate: 1801 S.R. 46 E. Nashville, IN Phone: 812-988-6406 Website: www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2988.htm Amenities: Cabins, 30-amp electrical service, cabins, horseman camp, Abe Martin Lodge and indoor water park, recreation buildings, canoeing, camp store, fishing lake, hiking, mounting biking, horseback riding, pool (closed in 2020), lookout tower, playground, restaurant, shelters, tennis court.

Bill Monroe Music Park and Campground

Address: 5163 N. State Road 135, Morgantown, IN Phone: 812-988-6422 Email: billmonroeoffice@gmail.com Website: www.billmonroemusicpark.com Amenities: Pet friendly, full hookups, 30 and 50- AMP, rental cabins, playground, lakeside sites, camp store, free wi-fi, monthly rates available, laundry facility, ATM lake for fishing and non-motorized boating, walking trail.