There are so many different types of RV camping. In popular vacation destinations, one can often find an assortment of traditional camping sites, resorts, RV parks, and more. Within the same realm of RV site possibilities, there are also many types of free camping. These include boondocking in the wilderness, dry camping in Walmart lots and other parking lots, casino camping, and more. Beyond these free sites on public land and in parking lots, you will find another type of camping: camping with a host.
There are a handful of RV membership clubs in existence, of which the most popular and unique is Harvest Hosts. Harvest Hosts offers members the option to stay for free overnight at a collection of 1200+ sites across the US and Canada. All that is required in exchange for overnight accommodations is support of the local business at which you are staying. Does all of this sound right up your alley? Read on for even more reasons why you should camp with an RV host.
Host camping versus other types of free camping
Overnight camping with a host is unlike any other type of free camping. Blacktop boondocking (staying for free in parking lots) surely has its place as far as convenience goes. Still though, it is certainly not the kind of quiet camping one can expect in the wild or at an RV host location.
While boondocking in the wild can be an adventure, staying at Harvest Host locations can provide unique experiences all their own. In addition to the variety types of host locations, each offers conveniently-accessed sites, beautiful and remote views, and the opportunity to meet new members of the community.
Types of hosts
Within the realm of Harvest Hosts camping, you will find many different types of hosts. These include wineries and vineyards, breweries and distilleries, farms and markets, museums and other attractions, and golf courses, which are offered with a membership upgrade. More specific host examples include dozens of vineyards in California’s wine country, alpaca farms across the Midwest, lavender farms in Washington, an automobile history museum in Pennsylvania, beautiful desert golf courses in the Southwest, a wonderful variety of breweries across the Northeast, and so much more. With 1200+ host locations to choose from, the variety is seemingly infinite, and each experience is like no other.
At each of these different types of hosts, you will also find a plethora of different offerings. These can include wine tastings and tours, brewery tours, restaurant food, hay rides, markets, goods for sale, vegetable and fruit stands, petting zoos, u-pick fruits and veggies, live music, events, food trucks, and more.
This entire network of camping possibilities is available to Harvest Host members for just $79 per year. For an additional $40 per year, campers can access an additional 350 sites at golf courses and country clubs across the country with discounted amenities. A Harvest Hosts membership offers individual and unique experiences at businesses across North America and one-of-a-kind camping opportunities that you will likely not find elsewhere.
What to expect
Because each host is so different, it’s hard to say exactly what to expect when staying with one. However, there are a few standards you can anticipate when camping with most hosts.
First of all, you will get to experience a small business and see how it runs. With free overnight accommodations, there is an expectation that you will visit the business and make a purchase. This is different at each host, but it could be a couple of bottles of wine at a vineyard location, a case of blueberries at a farm, or a few tickets for admission to a museum. When visiting the establishment at each host, you will get to take a closer look at some of the unique small businesses of America. This provides potentially new insight for people of all ages.
With the ability to stay overnight, you will also get to see the business after hours. Some places will have more after-hours activity than others, but each will offer some kind of behind-the-scenes encounter. This could be something like seeing the hosts pick grapes in the morning, watching farmers feed their livestock, or even just watching a beautiful sunset over the fields in the evening. Again, because of the variety of each individual host, it’s hard to say exactly what you will experience once the business is closed to the public for the day.
Finally, you can expect to park somewhere quiet. Once the business shuts down for the day, members often have the space to themselves. This is certainly quieter than spending the night in a crowded parking lot, and it may even be quieter than boondocking in the wild.
What’s in it for hosts
After reading the above, you may be thinking that this membership club sounds excellent for RVers. However, the relationship between Harvest Hosts members and hosts also benefits the business owners. In many ways, it allows the business owners to build relationships with people who are truly interested in seeing their operations at work. In addition, the hosts receive more business and traffic from individual RVers. When RVers enjoy a certain host, they will likely send their friends and family to check it out as well.
Furthermore, this program gives hosts the opportunity to share their story and their legacy with members in a very personal way. Most Harvest Host members are very interested in the individual businesses and love to see how everything works. Many members will want to hear hosts’ stories and learn all there is to know about individual businesses. Some members may even be willing to help out around the farm or the winery. In this way, hosts are able to keep their work alive while gaining new customers and maybe even some friends.
So what are you waiting for? With almost 1200 locations, your next destination could be in the next town over or across the country at one of our Harvest Host locations. Join now to start making memories and new connections.
Ready to join as a host? We’re always prepared to connect small businesses with the tight-knit RV community. Become a host and see how the program will benefit you and your business.
Are you a Harvest Hosts member? What other questions do you have? Feel free to drop a comment below!
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