In the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, record numbers of people "stayed home" in tents, campers and RVs they took with them to Tennessee's state parks.
Camping in the last two months of 2020 reached historic highs in state-run parks, according to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation that oversees them. Four of the top 10 camping months ever in state parks happened in 2020, most likely driven by visitors seeking the outdoors during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, TDEC Commissioner Jim Bryson attributed the surge to the search for well-being.
"The impact of COVID-19 simply underscores a growing awareness that the outdoors are a sanctuary for mental and physical health," he said. "The appeal of louder, busier, and crowded entertainment venues has given way to the space, freedom and connection the outdoors provide."