Joe McAdams - CEO, Thousand Trails

I don't know how many of you may have caught the recent article in USA Today entitled, "RVs make inroads with families" but in case you didn't, the word is that RVing has become one of the newest travel trends.

New trend? Makes me chuckle since our industry is celebrating 100 years and Thousand Trails has enjoyed more than 40 solid years in business. So what is it that's making "RVing" the buzzword of the 2010 summer travel season?

According to the article the fastest growing segment of RVers is the younger market ages 35-47 who are starting to hit the road with their families. Let's think about that one for a minute. As a family campground group, we've enjoyed the company of you and your families for years now. Take a look at the piece in our Trail Mix feature about the young couple that met as kids at our Hershey Preserve. Love blossomed over the years; they got married and now plan to make camping a family activity for their new family. Nothing trendy to them just a familiar habit in which the foundation of their new family had deep roots in.

Another point mentioned is the fact that many of the campgrounds offer a host of resort-style amenities and access to plenty of activity. Again, if you take a look at our Preserve Highlights section in any given month, you'll see plenty of activity. A brief nod to park models is also highlighted in the article park models, one of our most popular options for overnight, weekend or seasonal escapes.

Proximity is another point. Parks within 150 miles of metro areas are most popular easy to get to, not too much of an expense in the fuel area. With a portfolio that stretches from coast to coast, I think we've got that one covered. Another interesting piece of reading to bring up is the results of a recent survey completed by Outdoor Foundation that analyzed outdoor recreation and participation. Survey says..."camping continues to be strong as it can represent a cost-effective activity or vacation for the whole family." Additionally, results show that "participation in 'core' outdoor sports and activities has increased from 97.5 million to 100.7 million Americans (ages 6 and above)."

In regard to outdoor activities, again, our preserves offer a variety from pickleball tournaments to canoe races. According to the survey, the popularity of hiking, featured in our April issue, has increased almost 10 percent over a 9-year period and canoeing and kayaking, featured this month, has increased as well.

Summer is here! Rev up the RV, set up the, glamp or do whatever it is you've been doing all along. Isn't it nice being a trendsetter!

Joe McAdams
President, Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc.