Thousands of families are packing up and planning to hit the road around West Michigan this summer for what is predicted to be one of the busiest in the last few decades, according to the Automobile Association of America. Many of those families will be traveling by RV to visit one of the state’s more than 1,000 private, licensed campgrounds.
Grand Rapids-based dealership, American RV, is preparing for a busy year with an increase in sales and rentals this season. “After such an intense winter, we are seeing more families eager to start their camping season, says Chad Neff, General Manager of American RV. “We are seeing an increase in customers shopping for an RV with double-wide bunks to accommodate the whole family,” says Neff.
“We believe this summer will be huge for camping and RVing in the state of Michigan,” says Bill Sheffer, Director of the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds. “The difficult, long winter and late start to spring has created pent up demand for travel and leisure. Both the private and state owned campgrounds are gearing up for a great season,” says Sheffer.
The RV industry is already experiencing an increase in sales this year. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association reports a surge in first quarter shipments reaching 89,971 units through March, an increase of 13.3% over the 79,422 units shipped during the same time frame in 2013.
At the same time, campgrounds like Hidden Ridge RV Resort in Hopkins was completely sold out for the Memorial weekend since early April. “We’ve definitely noticed an increase in bookings not only for Memorial weekend but also for our seasonal guests who are planning longer stays this year,” says Janie Linscott, Manager of Hidden Ridge RV Resort.
While cabins and seasonal units continue to be a popular choice among campers, many West Michigan families choose to rent an RV during a summer vacation. “As one of the only dealerships in the area that offers RV rentals we are definitely preparing for a busy few months ahead,” says Neff of American RV.