Virginia State Parks continues the year-long trend of record-setting holiday weekends with a Labor Day weekend attendance increase of 16 percent above last year.
The Sept. 3-6 attendance of 204,531 was an increase of 16 percent over Labor Day weekend 2009. The attendance was the busiest Labor Day weekend on record, surpassing the 2007 record of 202,319.
The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
“Initially, we had concerns that Hurricane Earl might affect visitors’ travel and vacation plans, but the impact of the storm was clearly marginal,” said DCR Director David Johnson. “Across the Commonwealth, the weekend weather was glorious, and our parks saw not only an increase in attendance but increased visitation to cabins, campsites, swimming pools and beaches, too.”
Through Aug. 31, year-to-date visitation has increased 5.6 percent over last year, from 5,442,249 visitors to 5,744,917 visitors. Last year there were a record high 7.5 million visits, a 4 percent increase over 2008.
“We’re very confident that 2010 will be another record-setting year in Virginia State Parks,” said DCR’s State Parks Director Joe Elton. “Our campsites remain open through the fall, and cabins and family lodges, which are open year-round, are popular well into the winter. Our parks will continue to draw healthy numbers for the fall foliage season and for winter getaways. We take reservations 11 months in advance, so now is the time to make plans for Independence Day weekend, 2011.”
Increases in other park offerings also continued through the weekend. Swimming revenue increased 21 percent over Labor Day weekend last year. Merchandise sales were up 10 percent, and food and beverage sales jumped 27 percent.
“Total revenue for Labor Day weekend was $467,381, an increase of 7 percent over last year,” Elton said. “In this uncertain economic climate, Virginia State Parks remain a reliable vacation option that’s close, convenient and affordable. Our parks also remain an important force in Virginia’s overall economy.”
The statewide estimated economic impact of Virginia State Parks in 2009 was $175 million.
Virginia State Parks continue to offer festivals and educational programs well into the fall and winter.
For more information about state park activities and amenities, or to make reservations in a campsite, cabin or family lodge, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at (800) 933-PARK or visit our website.