by | Jun 7, 2023 | Travel

According to Chris Mahony, president of Go RVing Canada, Millennials are flocking to recreational vehicles. Back in the day, RVing was more for retirees, expansive Winnebagos with many of the features of home – cushy seating, kitchen, shower, bedroom.

Related: Discerning luxury-loving travellers have found a new niche with RVs

That’s changing. Mahony says 67 per cent used to be under the age of 55 but that number is growing. Now more people under the age of 35 are coming to it.

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Princeton, B.C., RV park

RVs: Best of both worlds

“That generation wants to get off the beaten track,” he says.

Maybe it’s the lasting impact of two years of pandemic restrictions. There’s no hurry among a good portion of Gen Zers and Millennials to get back to the downtown office. There’s a big push to get outdoors – hiking, fishing, camping, walking, kayaking, mountain biking – while turning off the mobile phone. More people are looking to reconnect with nature, with the therapeutic benefits that meditation and mindfulness bring.

More people looking to get out of cities

Canada is a country blessed with natural beauty and diverse landscapes, so many opportunities to dive right in, right on our doorsteps. RVs, which have evolved far beyond the old Winnebago in terms of features, size and sustainability, are fast becoming an answer to the wanderlust in all of us.
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Similkameen River
Nowhere is the marriage of RVing and natural beauty more on display than British Columbia’s interior, in places like Princeton, located on the banks of the Similkameen and Tulameen Rivers, 100 miles southwest of Kelowna, 75 miles north of the Washington state border.

A town of around 3,000, Princeton’s RV park and camping site is jammed from Victoria Day through Labour Day, and gets another bump from European tourists through the fall. People travel there because Princeton is a real representation of how people envision B.C.’s interior when they read about it or see it portrayed on social media. It’s the postcard experience, and the RV gives you the best of both worlds, the ability to check into a luxury home on wheels after a day outdoors.

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Princeton, B.C., RV park

More Millennials RVing

“I think a lot of people just want to get out of the city,” says Gary Schatz, the town’s director of economic development and tourism. “I live on the river here, so I can go to my backyard and get that experience every night, then go sleep in my bed. For people that come here, staring at the mountains and the stars, the deep forest, breathing the fresh air, that’s a big thrill.”

The RV park has 73 spots and is 85 per cent booked on any given summer day, Schatz says. The adjoining campsites, right on the river, are always full. The RV park has all the amenities people need – showers, bathrooms, even access to high speed WiFi now. After all, for many people, disconnecting is the goal – but they can’t 100 per cent disconnect.

RVers and campers flock to Princeton, B.C. in the summer and early fall

People RV 365 days of the year in Princeton. Schatz says that includes people who work in the mines and mills. They like the services in Princeton’s RV park and campground – water delivery, getting their septics pumped, the WiFi.

“The Cascade mountains are right across from the site, and on some days you can see the mountain goats on the side of the mountain, white dots on the green grass, which is really cool,” Schatz says.

Princeton is like being out and about at a zoo, with elks, sheep, goats nearby, eagles flying up and down the river. Yes, bears too.

IPSOS study: More people intend to RV this summer

“It’s a step into nature with the benefits of having a town nearby with all the amenities in case you need them,” he says. Princeton is a sensory feast, a blank canvas for those seeking deeper, more soulful connections with nature, and with themselves.

RVs offer freedom and flexibility for individuals and families. They offer convenience and comfort, cost savings, plus adventure and exploration.

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Princeton, B.C., RV park
With RVing comes the health benefits, like lower blood pressure, better mood, improved immune system. Mahony says RV dealers can’t keep up with the demand.

A recent IPSOS survey released by Go RVing Canada showed that 49 per cent of those surveyed intend to go RVing this year, up from 38 per cent in 2022. The survey was conducted in January and included current, lapsed and prospective RVers. That was the top choice when it comes to travel.

Diverse Canadian landscapes ideal for RVing

Forty per cent said they intended to RV campground, RV park or resort, up from 28 per cent in 2022.

That all points to what will be a busy summer in places like Princeton, B.C.

Top image by AD Gill Photography on Unsplash

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