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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Outdoor Vacation Activities market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?


For the purposes of this Report:

  • An outdoor vacation is a vacation that includes outdoor activities.
  • A vacationer is defined as an adult who has been on a vacation in the past 12 months.
  • An outdoor vacationer is a person who has participated in an outdoor activity while on vacation in the past 12 months.
  • Outdoor activities include visiting national parks, fishing, camping, snowboarding, and hiking among others.

Readers of this Report may also be interested in Mintel’s Family Vacations – US, February 2018 and Outdoor Enthusiasts – US, March 2017, The Experiential Traveler – US, April 2018 as well as the upcoming Travel Booking – US, June 2018.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by John Poelking, a leading analyst in the Leisure & Media sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

As travelers put greater emphasis on experiences over destination, vacations that include outdoor activities can provide an escape from daily life. Leisurely outdoor activities appeal to a broader group of vacationers, but active outdoor activities tend to attract a more dedicated group of enthusiasts. The opportunity to connect with others and relax outdoors is likely the biggest draw to outdoor vacation activities. John Poelking
Leisure & Media Analyst


What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • The issues
            • Leisure prominent but less engaging
              • Figure 1: Outdoor vacation activities, January 2018
            • Classic nature-based vacations face stiff competition
              • Figure 2: Dream vacations, by vacationer and outdoor vacationer, January 2018
            • Frequency, diversity of activities stifles growth
              • Figure 3: Number of outdoor vacation activities, January 2018
            • The opportunities
              • Emphasizing experience
                • Figure 4: Attitudes toward vacation destinations, January 2018
              • Family and fun are significant motivators
                • Figure 5: Outdoor activity motivation, January 2018
              • Cross-category opportunities for outdoor vacations
                • Figure 6: Outdoor vacation purchases, January 2018
              • Tapping into alternative accommodations
                • Figure 7: Outdoor vacation activities, by type of accommodation, January 2018
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Travel and tourism growing
                  • Outdoor participation continues to increase
                    • Ease of travel important
                      • Confident travelers should lead to more growth
                      • The Travel Market

                        • Travel spending on the rise
                          • Figure 8: Total US vacations and tourism market value, 2013-17
                        • Who goes on vacations?
                          • Figure 9: Profile of the vacationer, January 2018
                      • Market Breakdown

                        • Who participates in outdoor vacation activities?
                          • Figure 10: Profile of the outdoor vacationer, January 2018
                        • Outdoor activity participation on a slow rise
                          • Figure 11: Outdoor participation – Number of participants, 2007-16
                      • Market Perspective

                        • Eight in 10 vacationers stay in a hotel
                          • Figure 12: Accommodations stayed in the past 12 months, January 2018
                        • Leisurely outdoor pursuits significantly more popular than active ones
                          • Families looking for adventure
                            • Figure 13: Run – Go RVing TV Commercial, April 2016
                          • International tourism stagnating
                            • Domestic travelers stay close to home
                              • Figure 14: Map of the US, by nine US Census divisions
                            • Difficult to disconnect
                            • Market Factors

                              • Sizable iGen, Millennial populations seeking adventure
                                • Figure 15: Population, by generation, 2018
                              • Consumer confidence inspires discretionary spending
                                • Figure 16: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007-March 2018
                              • Steady gas prices encourage travel
                                • Figure 17: US gasoline and diesel retail prices, January 2007-March 2018
                            • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                              • Shaping the outdoor experience
                                • Threats to land could stunt growth
                                  • Care: for self and others
                                  • What’s Happening?

                                    • Being part of the experience
                                      • Figure 18: Marriott International “Marriott Traveler” email, August 2017
                                    • The role of the sharing economy
                                      • Curating experiences for experiential travelers
                                        • Glamping goes mainstream
                                          • Figure 19: Perricone MD “No water, no problem” email, June 2017
                                      • What’s Struggling?

                                        • The future of national parks
                                          • Price hikes at popular destinations
                                            • Starbucks opens at Yosemite, amid cheers and boos
                                              • Easier to sell land
                                                • Extreme weather a threat to outdoor participation
                                                • What’s Next?

                                                  • Millennials provide new base for sustainable tourism
                                                    • Emphasizing the “getaway” mentality
                                                      • Popping up outdoors
                                                        • Figure 20: Blink by Black Tomato, November 2016
                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Outdoor activities bring life to all vacation types
                                                        • Relaxation is mandatory
                                                          • National parks have strong appeal
                                                            • Family comes first
                                                              • Groceries are a top travel purchase
                                                                • Getting vacationers to new destinations
                                                                  • New activities may be enough of a thrill
                                                                    • Opening up outdoor opportunities
                                                                    • Vacation Preferences

                                                                      • Overview
                                                                        • Travel companions and proximity may be deciding factors
                                                                          • Figure 21: Types of vacations taken, January 2018
                                                                        • Outdoor vacations face stiff competition
                                                                          • Figure 22: Dream vacations, by vacationer and outdoor vacationer, January 2018
                                                                        • Activities can dictate vacation preferences
                                                                          • Figure 23: Dream vacations, by type of outdoor vacation activity, January 2018
                                                                      • Vacation Essentials

                                                                        • Overview
                                                                          • Outdoor vacationers more likely to want excitement
                                                                            • Figure 24: Vacation essentials, by type of vacationer, January 2018
                                                                          • Young men want to speed it up
                                                                            • Figure 25: Vacation essentials, by age and gender, January 2018
                                                                          • Lower income vacationers want a getaway
                                                                            • Figure 26: Vacation essentials, by age and gender, January 2018
                                                                        • Outdoor Vacation Activities

                                                                          • Overview
                                                                            • Leisurely pursuits popular on vacation
                                                                              • Figure 27: Outdoor vacation activities, January 2018
                                                                            • Seven in 10 vacationers participate in few outdoor activities, or none
                                                                              • Figure 28: Number of outdoor vacation activities, January 2018
                                                                            • Young vacationers hit the outdoors hard
                                                                              • Figure 29: Outdoor vacation activities, by age, January 2018
                                                                            • Adventures in alternative accommodations
                                                                              • Figure 30: Outdoor vacation activities, by type of accommodation, January 2018
                                                                          • Outdoor Activity Motivation

                                                                            • Overview
                                                                              • Family, fun drive people outdoors
                                                                                • Figure 31: Outdoor activity motivation, January 2018
                                                                              • Motivations shift to family as outdoor vacationers age
                                                                                • Figure 32: Outdoor activity motivation – Select items, by age, January 2018
                                                                              • More involved activities require input
                                                                                • Figure 33: Outdoor activity motivation – Select items, by type of outdoor activity, January 2018
                                                                            • Outdoor Vacation Purchases

                                                                              • Overview
                                                                                • Hotels remain top lodging choice
                                                                                  • Figure 34: Outdoor vacation reservations, January 2018
                                                                                • Food prep crucial to outdoor vacations
                                                                                  • Figure 35: Outdoor vacation purchases, January 2018
                                                                                • Lower income households may be spending to save
                                                                                  • Figure 36: Outdoor vacation reservations and purchases – Select items, by household income, January 2018
                                                                                • Spending more on the slopes and the campground
                                                                                  • Figure 37: Outdoor vacation reservations and purchases, by type of activity – Select items, January 2018
                                                                              • Attitudes toward Vacation Destinations

                                                                                • Overview
                                                                                  • There is always more to do
                                                                                    • Figure 38: Attitudes toward vacation destinations, January 2018
                                                                                  • Younger vacationers more driven by new and different experiences
                                                                                    • Figure 39: Attitudes toward vacation destinations, by age, January 2018
                                                                                  • Hispanics want more out of outdoor destinations
                                                                                    • Figure 40: Attitudes toward vacation destinations, by race and Hispanic origin, January 2018
                                                                                • Attitudes toward Outdoor Activities

                                                                                  • Overview
                                                                                    • Capitalizing on new, exciting outdoor experiences
                                                                                      • Opening up the outdoors to new opportunities
                                                                                        • Relaxation driving interest
                                                                                          • Traveling to do what they want
                                                                                            • Figure 41: Attitudes toward outdoor activities, January 2018
                                                                                          • Young vacationers looking for more
                                                                                            • Figure 42: Attitudes toward outdoor activities, by age, January 2018
                                                                                          • Less affluent travelers make the most out of outdoor vacations
                                                                                            • Figure 43: Attitudes toward outdoor activities – Select items, by household income, January 2018
                                                                                        • Attitudes toward the Outdoors

                                                                                          • Overview
                                                                                            • Time outdoors is best in a group
                                                                                              • Figure 44: Attitudes toward social outdoor activities, January 2018
                                                                                            • Soaking up the outdoors on vacation
                                                                                              • Figure 45: Attitudes toward the outdoors, January 2018
                                                                                            • Parents want to spend the day outside with kids
                                                                                              • Figure 46: Attitudes toward the outdoors, by parental status, January 2018
                                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                            • Data sources
                                                                                              • Sales data
                                                                                                • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                  • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                                        • Terms
                                                                                                        • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Outdoor activity participation and growth, by number of participants, 2015-16

                                                                                                        About the report

                                                                                                        This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                        • The Consumer

                                                                                                          What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                        • The Competitors

                                                                                                          Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                        • The Market

                                                                                                          Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                        • The Innovations

                                                                                                          New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                        • The Opportunities

                                                                                                          Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                        • The Trends

                                                                                                          What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                        Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.