If you booked a reservation to stay in San Diego this Memorial Day weekend, consider yourself lucky.
Thousands of people have flocked here for the holiday weekend, boosting bookings at hotels, restaurants -- and even campgrounds.
Wendy and Andre Jackson told NBC 7 that Memorial Day weekend wouldn’t be complete without family – so every year, the Corona couple come back to the place where they became one.
“We got married here in 2016, so this is like our #1 place right here…this campground is special to us,” said Andre of the Chula Vista Kampgrounds of America location.
They say this weekend is about making up for lost time with loved ones and getting back to normal.
“Everybody is family -- you see people from the year before, end up linking up and having fun…that’s what it’s all about…things are getting back to normal. We still don’t know what the future holds but, in the meantime, we need to live our lives and keep going,” said Andre.
They’re just one of an estimated 18 million households Kampgrounds of America says is celebrating the unofficial start of summer with the official start of our new normal.
“Memorial Day is the start of summer,” said Clint Bell, whose family owns and operates seven of Kampgrounds of America’s over 500 resorts across the U.S. and Canada. “It’s cookouts, it’s campfires, it’s smores and hotdogs and friends starting to come together again and family starting to travel again and it’s just really exciting to be a part of it.”
Bell told NBC 7 his Chula Vista location has been sold out since February -- 24 acres of tents, RV’s and cabins full of happy campers this weekend.
“People are now camping in droves,” Bell said. “We are up in reservations throughout the course of the year higher than we have ever been and it will be a record year 2021…right now it’s hard to get reservations at any campground on the weekend so people are starting to come midweek.”
Bell says his locations were able to stay open throughout the pandemic with limited capacity, but the campgrounds are coming out of the pandemic stronger than when they went in, with business up nearly 30% up from 2019 numbers.
“2019 was a great year, but we’re up even better than that…camping became a perfect solution to ‘covid couped up’,” Bell said. “When you bring families around a campfire it makes them a stronger family group and whatever we can do to help support that, that’s what we’re going be a part of.”
Part of a community bringing new visitors in and loyal campers back after a year that tested everyone.
The Jacksons say they’re already planning their next trip to the Chula Vista site for the 4th of July.
Bell says with the state on track to fully reopen June 15, he’s preparing for the busiest summer in the businesses’ 53-year history.