Great Smoky Mountains — If you want to give old-timers something they enjoy griping about, a decent choice is millennials. Elders have often lamented the distracted generation raised among YouTube and social media for their heavy dependence on smart phones and online connectivity.

Those old and wise folks concerned about the downfall of natural society will be glad to hear a new study shows plenty of people still enjoy old-fashioned camping in the great outdoors. They may be surprised to know a lot of the credit goes to millennials.

Modern tents and camping equipment at the Elkmont Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Modern tents and camping equipment at the Elkmont Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains.
WBIR

A 2018 study by the Cain Consulting Group, funded by KOA (Kampgrounds of America), indicates a steady rise in the popularity of camping in North America. The study said millennials account for 40 percent of all campers.

The KOA report indicates the amount of households in the United States that go camping has grown by 6 million since 2014. There are now 77 million households in the United States with someone who camps at least occasionally.

The Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
WBIR

At the Elkmont Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, camper Patrick Farnsworth said he is not surprised by the results of the study. He and his girlfriend, both millennials, love to camp because it is inexpensive and easy to drive to campsites, Modern tents and camping equipment have also made excursions easier.

The KOA study indicates millennials typically do not want to go entirely off the grid. Rather, they prefer to share their camping experiences online and on social media.

Elkmont campers millennials
Young campers enjoy the great outdoors at the Elkmont campground in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the rare wilderness destinations for campers with very little cell service. The Smokies remains a place where visitors can truly unplug. Yet, campgrounds in other parts of the country are increasingly installing wi-fi for customers.

You can see the full 2018 KOA North American Camping Survey results at the link below.

LINK: 2018 KOA Camping Survey

KOA campground in Pigeon Forge.
KOA campground in Pigeon Forge.
WBIR