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Astrotourism for Campgrounds and RV Parks

“Build it, and they will come” may work for baseball, but it’s not the nature of campgrounds and RV parks. Instead, you need to create amenities and activities that differentiate your property, execute effective marketing campaigns, and create a great camping experience. 

Your campers and RV travelers already feel a connection to the great outdoors, so capitalize on their interests by embracing astrotourism.


What Is Astrotourism


As one type of scientific tourism, astrotourism encompasses observing or learning about the astral bodies — the sun, moon, planets, and stars. Stargazing in remote areas is a common astrotourism activity due to the absence of light pollution.


It’s for Every Campground and RV Park


Astrotourism can benefit both you and your visitors. It enhances the guest experience with activities, amenities, and experiences your campers may not normally take part in. It also can encourage return bookings as well as attract new short-term campers, digital nomads, and eco-friendly travelers. 

Stargazing at campgrounds in dark sky locations isn’t the only activity included in astrotourism. Regardless of location — in rural areas, cities, or mountains or on the plains — your campground or RV park can be a premier astrotourism destination. 

What is the potential for you? One region, the Colorado Plateau, generates about $5.8 million in astrotourism visitor spending.

Let’s take a look at how you can capitalize on astrotourism.


5 Ways To Capitalize on Astrotourism


1. Total Solar Eclipse 2024

On April 8, 2024, the next solar eclipse will cross North America. With the event occurring on a Monday, you should plan for campers to extend their stay one or two additional days.

Who will see the eclipse? Parks located in the path of totality aren’t the only ones that will benefit from higher-than-average bookings. Instead, 2024 eclipse camping will take place coast to coast. Areas as far away as Atlanta, GA will see 85% of the sun blocked by the moon, while even Spokane, WA will see a 25% eclipse. 

Use this simulator to preview how observable the eclipse will be in your area, and then you can start promoting the event at your property accordingly. With the right eclipse planning and marketing, you could reach full occupancy faster than you would think.


2.  Dark Sky Weekends

If your park is in or near a dark sky area, attracting stargazing campers can be a profitable business opportunity.

Here are a few ideas to get you started with monthly or quarterly dark sky weekend events:

Turn off the lights. Encourage all campers to turn off outdoor lighting and stick to red-filtered flashlights. Keeping safety in mind, turn off your inside lighting as well.

Offer stargazing accommodations. Dark sky weekends are the perfect excuse to add glamping accommodations with skylights to your park. Your campers can relax in a luxurious bed in a pod or yurt with a skylight to view the stars in privacy.

Guided stargazing. Enhance the experience by offering guidance. Some guests will enjoy learning about constellations or facts about what they are seeing. Consider inviting an experienced local educator to mingle with guests; or at least, provide a list of stargazing apps.


3. Supermoons

Have you looked up to see a huge, mesmerizing orb illuminating the night sky?

That most likely is a supermoon, which is the name for the moon when it is closest to the earth while also being full. Camping under a supermoon, especially in more remote areas, can be magical. Planning special events around these upcoming supermoons in 2023 and 2024 will attract and delight campers::

  • August 1, 2023
  • August 30-31, 2023
  • September 28-29, 2023
  • August 19, 2024
  • September 18, 2024
  • October 17, 2024
  • November 15, 2024


4. Kids’ Camps

Activities for kids are a big draw for families who camp. Regardless of your location, you can hold a camp for children focused on astronomy. This can be as in-depth as a week-long summer camp, complete with a counselor/educator to lead camp activities about the sky, or as simple as evening arts and crafts activity time. 

In areas conducive to stargazing, you could offer an evening gathering for kids to discover stargazing. Invite a local teacher out for an hour or two in the evening to show the constellations and answer questions. Parents are likely to enjoy this as well!


5. Equipment rental or purchase

While stargazing can be done with bare eyes, some solar events, like eclipses,  should never be viewed without proper eye protection. In addition to providing information about how to view the event, you could also consider selling or renting out equipment to enhance the experience, such as: 

  • Flashlights with a red filter
  • Binoculars
  • Telescopes
  • Solar filters and viewers
  • Reclining camp chairs
  • Star charts
  • Books about astronomy or printed guides

Also, you may see an unusually high number of inexperienced campers during events like solar or lunar eclipses or asteroid showers. To assist these first-time campers, provide a brandable First Time Camper Guide to help them know what to pack. Additionally, you should stock items campers without experience might forget.


Promoting Astrotourism for Your Property


Using robust guest experience and marketing tools will help you promote your new astrotourism activities, amenities, and packages. Remember to share information with the campers already in your contact database, offer packages or equipment rentals and sales during the booking or confirmation process, and update your online travel agency (OTA) listings with your astrotourism offerings.


For a comprehensive marketing plan, download our Complete Campground Marketing Toolkit, including all of these resources:

  • The Ultimate Communication Guide for Campground Owners
  • Customizable First-Time Camper Guide
  • Campground Marketing Best Practices
  • State of the Industry Report
  • Get Found Online Webinar


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