Camping is an experience that’s been redefined regularly, especially in the past century since the first RVs started wheeling out into the American countryside.

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash., reported that just a few decades ago, most people would define camping as the heading out to sleep under the stars, sheltered perhaps by a tarp, in a tent or at least in some sort of camping vehicle out in the woods, on a mountain or along a stream or beach.

That’s changed, especially for city folks, where camping may not even require getting out of town.

Riverside State Park’s Bowl and Pitcher Campground is on the west edge of Spokane’s city limits, yet roughly 50% of the clientele at the park’s four campgrounds are locals, said Chris Guidotti, park manager.

More than half of those staying with Kampgrounds of America (KOA) say they were at home the night before arriving at the campground, according to KOA CEO Jim Rogers. That’s a 25% increase over seven years.

Rogers says work demands, kids’ schedules, high gas prices and other concerns are all contributing to the trend. “They just want to stay within reach and go away for shorter time periods,” he said.

And if there are no good hiking or biking trails nearby, many commercial campgrounds have rooms with treadmills, weights and exercise bikes.

The low cost of camping compared to staying in motels or lodges is an attraction that hasn’t changed with trends to more amenities, relatively speaking. Sites at developed campgrounds in California can be found for $30, but you’ll look hard to find a motel room at that price.

The most obvious trend in recent decades are the options and amusements available at developed campgrounds.

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