The Rising Popularity of RVing

Perhaps the travel bug bites often, or the open road calls you. Perhaps you have a gypsy heart and can’t stand to be in one place for very long. No matter the reason why, the solution is easy: buy an RV. Rent an RV. Life in an RV will allow the windshield to be transformed into an ever-changing picture. Traveling families can spread out comfortably within an RV while both driving and camping. At the very least, another great aspect of RV travel is not having to haul around suitcases. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference, right? 

While RVers used to be reserved for retirees heading to Florida for the winter, the past few years have really blown the market wide open. There is now a healthy mix of ages, family types, etc. 

What changed the demographic makeup of RV ownerships? Why has there been such an increase in tourist destinations such as national and state parks?  How has the title of snowbirds been extended to include all regional destinations? When did something set primarily for retired citizens extend down to twenty-somethings?

Look Back at the Boom

With the kickoff of Covid back in 2020, RV ownership numbers have greatly increased. Stats show that over 600,000 RV shipments occurred during this year, with the RV market earning a value of $21.95 billion. When we welcomed in 2021, a survey listed 31 percent of poll participants as first-time RV owners. It was during 2021 that the RV market size valued in at $2.92 billion, due in part to short-term rentals during the pandemic. 

During 2002 saw a bit of a drop from the previous year, down by 15.6%. When comparing March of 2023 to 12 months earlier, the numbers did show a decline in sales. 2023 showed a slight uptick of sales, due to prices being a bit lower, allowing shoppers to take advantage of a buyer’s market. 

With 40 million Americans taking annual camping trips, and a record high number of RV owners, 11.2 million of them, RV sales is still showing a rising popularity. In fact, 2024 models are predicting RV shipments to reach the mid-300,000 mark in 2024, with a median number of units in the amount of 348,400. Predicted range is listed as 354,400 to 342, 500.


Americans have been taking RV trips recently more than ever.

With all this data, RVing and RV ownership numbers are still on the rise. Now that the new 2024 models are either on display now or scheduled to arrive soon, 2024 promises to be an exciting year for RV travel. 

Whether a weekend warrior camper, a week-long adventurer, or a long-term resident RV user, this article will highlight travel options, the most popular RV sold, changes in typical ages in ownership and more helpful information.


Lots of detailed information has changed from 2020 until the upcoming 2024 year. The most startling change, in some people’s mind, is the age group that controls the majority of RV owners. While RV drivers seemed to belong to the older generation, ‘snow birds’, there is a new surge in younger owners. 

According to Condor ferries, 13.6% RV owners in 2022 belonged to the age group of 35-54. Additionally, shares the average age of the RV owner has dropped significantly. Their average age is listed as 33. This makes sense, as camper vans have seen a large spike in sales as well, for both the size of the rig and the price. 

A statement posted by the blog, Dream Big Travel Far, in May of 2023, states that adults ranging from 18 to 34 years old comprise 22% of the RV market.

In regards to the furbabies, RVIA reports that more than 65% of RVers bring along the family pets. Not surprisingly, dogs hold the lead. Fido makes up 93%, while felines at a mere 8%. Some bring along one or more of each, which explains the 101% total for the two groups. 

Because of this, it is common practice for most RV sites to allow dogs, with certain restrictions. Leash laws are almost always set for pet owners to follow.

Types of RV owners

There are seven distinct groups of RV travelers, according to RV Industry Association ( 

  • Casual Campers– 39% of RV users
  • Adventure Seekers make up only 1%
  • Happy Campers – only 3% of RV users belong to this group.
  • Avid RVers- 6% of total RV users
  • Escapists are 16% of RVers
  • Full Timers aren’t nearly as prominent, coming in at 1.5%
  • Family Campers- 33% of total RVers

Three groups stand out as popular choices and a breakdown of each is below. 


Casual, Happy, and Family Campers are the three main groups of RVers!

Happy Campers

This group is primarily thought of as snowbirds and use their vehicle to escape reality for about half the year. Escaping from both winter weather and living expenses tied to household needs, this small but cheerful group make up a minuscule 3% of total RVers. 

On average, it is recorded that they spend 180 days per year in the RV. 41% use a fifth-wheel travel trailer, 28 % in a conventional travel trailer and only 10% choosing a Class A motorhome. 

Casual Campers

This relaxed group of RV travelers spend an average of 16 each year vacationing.  Of the 39 % within this group, 82% are over the age of 55. Also, 55% are listed as retired, with 48% opting for a conventional travel trailer. Fifth-wheel travel trailers make up 14%, with 9 % sharing their favorite trailer being a folding or pop-up camping trailer.

Family Campers

The age range of this particular group is close to 50/50. The younger age group of 18-34 makes up 52%, while 35–54-year-olds comprise the other 48%. On average, family campers spend 13 days on average vacationing with their RV. Conventional travel trailers weigh in at 26%, while only 11% choose an expandable trailer. Sport utility/toy hauler trailers make up only 8% of family campers. 

This specific group can easily fold into the next section, as can the full timers. 

Road School Scholars

While most parents are preparing for another day-in, day-out school routine, some of the homeschool parents are taking their show on the road. Road schooling, as the title suggests, is homeschooling during the journey of the RV trek. Some road schoolers are part-time road warriors, while others opt to be on the go all year. Bringing history alive with stops at historical sites and at historical re-enactments, while showing maps and geography first-hand, homeschooling on the road is also a part of the RV community that is on the rise. 

Families can join online groups, such as Facebook groups, allowing meet-up opportunities and extra-curricular events and get-togethers, along with support for and from other road school parents. 

While younger homeschoolers will need more time and attention, older students might benefit from being enrolled in an online curriculum, as offered by sites such as 

While parents are driving, middle schoolers and/or highschoolers can get their schoolwork done, allowing time for exploring once 5pm arrives. The joy of this setup, of course, is making your own schedule, finding what works best for you and your family. 

A brief fact on homeschools vs. public schools: homeschoolers typically score between 15- and 30 % higher than traditional students. While data couldn’t be found, it is safe to assume that road school students learn even more due to hands-on opportunities. 

All things Staycation

For those looking for long-term residency opportunities, plenty more locations have recently been added. While standard RV parks often welcome permanent and semi-permanent vacationers, new, more luxurious destinations have opened in the past few years.

One of those places definitely worth mentioning is Margaritaville. With many locations to choose from, ranging from Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Georgia, an escape to a luxury RV resort is easily within reach. Covered sites, buddy sites (for your caravan travels) and premium spaces are all available options, along with monthly extended stays. 

State/National Parks

These locations have definitely skyrocketed in recent years, with no signs of slowing down. While the summers have been especially crowded, the fall and winters are great times to visit with fewer travelers. In a way to explore our nation while enjoying the open road, stops at treasured state and national parks is a great option.

The fall foliage is a welcoming site upon arriving at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. A trip to the Florida Everglades is perfect year-round.  Yellowstone National Park is beautiful in the winter but be sure to have those snow tires ready. 

Many flock to state parks such as Morro Bay, California’s Morro Bay State Park & Campground, Sand Hills State Park in Hutchinson, Kansas, as well as Dead Horse Ranch State Park, along the Verde River in Cottonwood, Arizona.


A Stay-cation can be just what you need!


Some RVers prefer to remain self-sufficient, opting to camp with no assistance. Parking at an overnight rest stop or truck stop, backing into some open backcountry field or similar tactic is boondocking. The advantage of course is no RV park fee, with the downside being no electricity, no access to water or sewer and no included activities and amenities. 

Preferred RVs

In 2023, the top five RV brands were listed as:

  • Grand Design 
  • Airstream
  • Winnebago 
  • Oliver Travel Trailers
  • Newmar Dutch Star

Building on this information, it is important to mention that the five most popular RVs within 2022 are the Grand Design Imagine, Keystone Sprinter, Grand Design Reflection, Newmar Dutch Star and the Winnebago Travato. 

The Class C is often considered to be a popular choice, especially for first time RVers. This model type provides a more natural feel behind the wheel. Whether compact, super-sized or full-size, these motorhomes exude flexibility and drivability. 

Condor Ferries list the Class B motorhomes as the fastest-growing class within the RV industry, showing a 30.2% increase back in 2020. 

To Summarize

What once was a mode of transportation for older adults to descend upon tourist locations such as Branson, Mo, Dollywood in Tennessee and the Sunshine State is now open to all ages. All ages that are set for any and all destinations throughout the United States, and beyond. 

Seems something good did come out of the pandemic. The shared vision of a great way to travel. With families, solo travelers or caravans of friends with family, RV travel is still as popular today as it was at the start of 2020. With no sight in slowing down, the popularity of RV ownership is still America’s favorite travel mode. Where will the road take you? 

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About Debra Pamplin

Since 2007, Debra Pamplin has worn her freelancing hat proudly. Though she has written about music and RV topics over the years, travel writing has always been her priority. Since the beginning of her career, she has had many articles published on a variety of topics. Websites such as USA Today Travel, Coldwell Banker and have published her stories. Her byline has appeared in numerous print publications and popular websites over the years.

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