KITCHENER -- With travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic keeping people close to home, many are packing up and heading to the campground.

National and international travel is still very limited, enticing first-timers to try out camping.

Kitchener's Adventure Guide Inc. says more rookies are showing interest in heading outdoors after months of being stuck inside.

"We're really seeing them come in and experience the outdoors for the first time," owner Mike Furey said. "This has been a big impetus to get people started."

The push to head outside has also made some camping gear hard to come by.

"The hardest thing to keep in stock right now has been prepared food for camping," Furey said. "The two-persons dinners have been super popular. PFDs, commonly known as life jackets, are in tight supply right now."

Danielle Saint-Onge said she's already spent a lot of money this year on outdoor gear.

"We thought this summer, we'd get outside and get active in different ways," she said.

Her family plans to rent kayaks for a summer getaway closer to home.

Wilmot's Landings Campground is so busy, its been turning business away.

"It's been a very busy spring for sure and a little different," owner Peter Bingeman said.

The campground doesn't allow day trips. Some amenities are open, but only with reservations. The campground is currently only allowing RVs and trailers because washrooms are still closed.

"We want to keep control of things, so anybody who's coming in has to be completely self-contained," Bingeman said.

Furey hopes this will become the beginning of a fresh air tradition.

"If we build a lifetime of experience and an appreciation for the wilderness, an appreciation for the outdoors and the ability to respect it, then we're all in a good state for the future," he said.

Bingeman suggests making a reservation before investing in a tent or trailer, since spots are filling up fast.