As the transition between seasons keeps outdoor enthusiasts guessing, campgrounds are already in full swing preparing for the spring and summer months.
Despite the unpredictable weather, some campgrounds have opened their reservations, signaling the start of the planning phase for many campers.
Elevated Experience Camping, which oversees the operations at Willey West Campground (Alberta, Canada), has initiated the reservation process as early as January 15.
Carmen Kowalchuk, a co-owner of the company, noted that campers are keen on securing their spots, especially for long weekends which tend to fill up quickly. The official start of the camping season at Willey West is slated for April 26, promising a range of activities and amenities for visitors.
This year is particularly significant for Elevated Experience Camping as it marks its fifth anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, the company has planned festivities for each long weekend throughout the year.
The May Long weekend will feature an array of vendors from the local farmer’s market, a junior rodeo, and activities organized by the archery club. In July, campers can look forward to crafting pokersticks with a visiting crafter and enjoying performances by a fire dancer in the evening. The focus for August and September will shift to celebrating Christmas and Halloween, holidays that are traditionally not observed during the camping season.
In the February 2024 edition of the MC Hospitality Highlights report, the significance of hosting special events at campgrounds and outdoor resorts was underscored as a strategy to attract new visitors, enhance community ties, and boost marketing efforts.
The report notes that a majority of campers already celebrate special occasions during their trips, making campgrounds a sought-after venue for such celebrations. Holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and July 4th are particularly popular, with these periods witnessing a surge in camping interest and travel.
The report further elaborates on the types of events that have a substantial impact on a camper’s decision to choose a campground, with music festivals, family gatherings, and holiday celebrations topping the list.
Kowalchuk describes Willey West as akin to a “mini resort,” offering a variety of camping sites including glamping, full-service, power, and no-service options. The campground is equipped with a minigolf course, nature walks, a gnome forest, an ice cream parlor, orienteering courses, and geocaching, ensuring a rich experience for all visitors.
For those waiting for warmer weather, Pih To Kwe Campground will begin accepting reservations on April 1 through Alberta Parks. Mike Schoenthal, president of the Metis Multicultural Youth Society and caretaker of the site, aims for a May 1 start, depending on the condition of the frost.
The campground operates as a not-for-profit entity, with proceeds supporting the Metis Multicultural Youth Society. It offers both power and no-service sites, along with parks for children and an exercise area for adults, catering to the needs of families and individuals alike.
Featured image by Willey West Campground via Elevated Experience Camping