Last Updated on December 11, 2020 by Chris and Lindsay
This Harvest Hosts review will share some key points as to why you should become a member of one of the best RV clubs and memberships available to North American travelers.
Harvest Hosts is a collection of nearly 1,200 farms, wineries, distilleries, breweries and golf courses across North America.
There are very few places in the US where you can travel and not be relatively close to a participating Harvest Host.
This means that you can either choose to plan your route by where you can stay at a nearby Harvest Host. Or you can simply wander and find yourself camping at a Harvest Hosts location along the way.
We have been Harvest Hosts members since we first discovered the RV membership in 2018.
Since then we’ve been so pleased with our experience and where we’ve stayed that we’ve decided we needed to get the word out about why we highly recommend a Harvest Hosts membership as part of your camping budget across the US, Canada and Mexico.
Affiliate Disclaimer: We are affiliates for Harvest Hosts. This means that we can offer you 15% off your membership by purchasing through our affiliate link. In exchange, we receive a small commission for your membership. But we are affiliates because we truly love Harvest Hosts and highly recommend it for the reasons described in this post!
Why Choose Harvest Hosts?
RV camping at Harvest Hosts locations provides one of the most unique camping experiences you can have. Imagine camping all by yourself in the middle of a vineyard nestled up against a backdrop of mountains.
Or think of how nice it would be to hear only crickets and the sound of the river at night as you camp at a farm in your new favorite state.
The Harvest Hosts network is a constantly-growing affiliation of farms, orchards, vineyards, distilleries and other unique small businesses across the North American continent.
Most harvest hosts are incredibly hospitable and will treat you as though you were members of their own family. Often stays include complimentary facility tours, or conversations at the least, where you will learn about the products that each produces on its property along the way.
Of course, there is always the option (and encouragement) to purchase some of the products offered by hosts, when possible. We’ve stayed at Harvest Hosts locations where we’ve been able to buy some pretty cool stuff (like Alpaca steaks!).
Whether sampling wines or whiskeys, picking fresh organic fruits or vegetables or helping yourself to some lavender ice cream and lemonade – Harvest Hosts offers a wide range of products to enjoy during your stay.
If we were to join one RV club or membership we would choose Harvest Hosts hands down. We are incredibly frugal in our full-time RV budget.
And when traveling through the US and Canada, Harvest Hosts is one of our top money-saving tools for camping on a budget.
|Why You Should Consider Becoming a Harvest Hosts Member||Considerations About Your Harvest Hosts Membership|
|* Incredibly affordable|
* Unique camping locations
* Great web and mobile app
* Ever-Increasing camping options
* Supports small business
* Make new friends along the way with friendly hosts & other campers
|* Dry camping/Boondocking|
* Hosts are not always as responsive as campgrounds and state/national parks
* Not all destinations are represented in the Harvest Hosts network
Reasons to Join Harvest Hosts
Affordability. The average campground can cost between $20-$40 per night. 1-year membership with Harvest Hosts will cost you $79 – $119 (even less with our 15% off discount). This means that you can reasonably expect to pay yourself back within 3-4 nights of camping. If you were to camp every night of the year on a Harvest Host property you would spend $0.22 per night in camping fees. You cannot be that with any RV membership!
Location, location, location. Sure you will come across a host in a louder property from time to time. But most of the Harvest Hosts locations are in beautiful settings away from the hustle and bustle of everyone else’s life. Live simply and quietly in beautiful Harvest Host locations!
Web/Mobile app. Both the Harvest Hosts website and the mobile app are incredibly user-friendly. Search by state or browse Harvest Hosts locations across the US, Canada and Mexico. Create routes and save hosts you’d like to contact. Everything you need to plan your incredible camping experience is in the website/mobile app.
Increasing options. In addition to over 800 traditional Harvest Host locations, there are now more than 300 golf courses that participate as hosts. And the number is growing. While some population centers may not have a Harvest Host in close proximity, there are fewer and fewer parts of the US outside of the reach of a participating Harvest Host.
Supports small business. In nearly every Harvest Hosts camping experience you will be staying on a small business property. Many of these are literal “mom and pop shops” that rely on your interest in what they produce and sell. By purchasing products directly from Harvest Hosts and/or sharing your experience with others you will help small local businesses at a time when they need it most.
Friends and fun times. Whether making new friends with the owners/staff or with other campers sharing the views, you are sure to have conversations with new friends that make camping at Harvest Host properties memorable.
Things To Consider
Although Harvest Hosts is a great organization, like all things there are some disadvantages to membership.
Dry camping / Boondocking. If you expect campground amenities such as full hookups and shower facilities then you’re not going to find this with Harvest Hosts. However, dry docking does not have to limit your experience – unless you happen to be out of freshwater or full of grey or black water! Plan ahead and ensure that you are self contained and adequately prepared for your stay with the Harvest Host and your time will be enjoyable and memorable.
Hosts can be busy/unresponsive. The Harvest Hosts main business is not running a campground. As such you may call and not receive an answer or call back. Sometimes you might talk to a new staff member who has no idea what you are talking about when you request to camp on their property. Have patience and persistence in your outreach and be kind. Everything will work out if you are!
Not everywhere. While there are currently nearly 1,200 Harvest Hosts locations across the US, Canada and Mexico, there are still pockets where there are no Harvest Hosts. But if you plan accordingly you will not travel far before you come across another opportunity! Plus the organization is continually adding new hosts so it won’t be long until you have options everywhere!
How Does Harvest Hosts Work?
After becoming a Harvest Host member ($79 discounted by 15% if you follow our link) you receive access to hundreds of hosts throughout North America.
The Harvests Host website is incredibly user-friendly and helpful in determining which hosts you are interested in contacting. The mobile app is also great and probably even more useful since you are likely to need to find a Harvest Host while you are on the road.
The website/app will provide the contact information and preferred method of contact for each host. Reach out and ask them about their availability to host you during the dates you request. It is always better to call than to email, unless otherwise stated.
Some hosts will be busier and less responsive than others. Remember, their primary business is not providing free camping. Especially during harvest season you may have a difficult time contacting certain hosts.
But once you establish communication with the host, they will let you know where and when to arrive on their property.
Do not expect concierge service as you might at some RV campgrounds. Many times you will have to knock on doors or search for people throughout the property to help you determine where to park your RV.
But once this is established you are in great hands!
Many Harvest Hosts will give you full run of the property by yourselves after hours. Some hosts live on the property and will share time and conversation with you as if you were part of their own family.
In either regard, one of the best parts of Harvest Host is that these properties are usually in beautiful places where you can have a truly unique camping experience.
What To Expect
Expect to be entirely self-sufficient at Harvest Host properties.
While some hosts might have dedicated areas with relatively level ground for RVs and campers, others might just point to an area on the property and tell you to do your best to settle in.
You will be dry camping with each Harvest Host. On the rare chance there may be a nearby power cord or hose, do not expect to use it.
In fact, it would be considered rude to expect anything more than a nice, free place to park for the night.
- Follow typical camping protocol. Everything you do should keep respect in mind.
- If you have to run a generator, it is best to ask the host when the best time to do so would be.
- Don’t dump any tanks on the property – including any sink or kitchen water you might collect.
- Share the space with other campers if you are not alone.
- And, most importantly, be a good tenant of the opportunity to camp for free on someone else’s property.
In some cases the hosts live on the property and are literally sharing their home with you!
Examples Of Great Harvest Hosts
Among other places we’ve stayed, these two stood out as some of the most memorable of any camping experiences we have had in nearly two years on the road!
Harvest Hosts Review of Rio Vista Winery (Chelan, Washington)
Rio Vista Winery is located along the Columbia River just outside Chelan, Washington. What started as a small retirement project has turned into a full-time wine business.
The owners do everything from planting and tending a variety of grapes to processing, marketing and distributing the finished wine products.
We stumbled upon Rio Vista Winery by accident when camping nearby. Although we found a decent campsite in a state park, we wanted to have a little more privacy and room to relax.
It was a busy weekend for the park and we had neighbors packed in all around us.
When we searched the Harvest Hosts app we discovered Rio Vista Winery a short drive away in a part of the state we did not think to explore.
We reached out to the winery and spoke with the owner who graciously invited us to spend the weekend on the property.
When we arrived they showed us a quiet area in the grass out of the way of daily business and told us that the place was ours to explore. We participated in a free wine tasting and selected a bottle we purchased to enjoy later that evening.
At 6PM when the last staff member left we literally had the entire property to ourselves to explore. We’ve stayed at campgrounds across America that didn’t offer the quiet beauty of Rio Vista.
We wandered through the vines, swam in the river and basked in the beauty through which dozens of types of birds frolicked.
At the end of our time, we wound up having quite the unique experience picking cherries at a neighboring orchard.
We can’t promise you will have the same experience. But we cannot stop speaking positively about the owners and their genuine hospitality toward us.
If you find yourself at Rio Vista Winery please let Little John and John know that we sent you!
Harvest Hosts Review of Purple Haze Lavender Farm (Sequim, Washington)
After spending nearly eight weeks in the wilderness of Alaska we were quite shell-shocked to return to such a busy place as Seattle.
While we found a campground just north of the city in which to settle down and regain our bearings, we were not happy being back in the fast-paced world.
So we immediately took to our Harvest Hosts app to search for nearby hosts that might extend their hospitality to us for a few days.
We found the Purple Haze Lavender Farm in Sequim, Washington to be just the place we were seeking.
Located a few minutes from the ocean, Purple Haze was just as it sounds – a sea of lavender set upon green fields and colorful flower beds.
In a similar fashion to Rio Vista Winery, the staff at the Purple Haze Lavender Farm pointed us to a quiet place to park and told us we could wander the property to our heart’s content.
Once the last of the staff left we had the property to ourselves. Well, we shared it with quail, bees and hummingbirds!
To support the business, and sugar tooth, we purchased some lavender ice cream and lemonade from their shop.
We also paid to pick our own lavender, which we carried with us for the next year.
There is no doubt that we will return to Purple Haze Lavender Farm the next time we are in the area!
Harvest Hosts FAQ
How much does a Harvest Hosts membership cost?
1-year memberships cost $79 for the Classic membership and $119 for the + Golf membership. Receive a 15% discount on your membership using this link.
What is the difference between the Classic and the + Golf Membership
The Classic membership is the original plan that includes access to over 1,200 farms, wineries, breweries and distilleries. The + Golf membership provides additional access to over 360 golf course facilities to increase your camping coverage. We have only ever been Classic members and have never had an issue finding a place to camp.
What kind of RVs can camp at Harvest Hosts?
Most Harvest Hosts can accommodate any size RV. However, it is advisable that you reach out to each specific host to ensure that they can accept your RV. Most of the hosts are small businesses and many of them have limitations on larger RVs. But always confirm with each host as there is no blanket answer to this question.
Are pets welcome at every Harvest Host location?
Most hosts permit pets as long as you follow basic pet etiquette. Keep your pet on a leash at all times, clean up after it and do not allow it to harass any animals on the property. As always, please confirm with each individual host prior to arrival.
How long can I stay at a Harvest Host location?
The technical answer to this is “one night.” However, if a host invites you to stay for more than one night then it is up to them. However, each host has agreed to allow you to camp based on the idea that you will spend no more than 1 day on their property.
Am I obligated to purchase something from a host?
No. However the host is not receiving any form of compensation for allowing you to stay on their property. Please try to support Harvest Hosts whenever possible. Sometimes you may find that you are not interested in items for sale. You will not lose membership. However, remember that you can support small local businesses that need it now.
What kind of camping amenities can I expect?
None. Host agree to provide you a (usually) level place to set up camp for the night. Many hosts have come to understand the RV lifestyle and may offer access to 20amp power or city water. But you should not expect anything to be offered. Only ask if it is a dire need. Hosts do not need to be pressured into providing services when you are expected to dry camp and be self contained.
Where can I find more information on Harvest Hosts?
Hopefully this review of a Harvest Hosts membership has helped you decide to become a member. However if you still have more questions we’d refer you to the Harvest Hosts FAQ for any further information.
Wrapping Up: Is Harvest Hosts Worth it?
If you’re still asking “is Harvest Hosts worth it,” then you may be better off sticking with other camping memberships!
Harvest Hosts provides access to some of the most beautiful land in North America. We’ve camped at places that made us feel like the whole world was ours!
You could easily expect to pay as much to camp for one night in some of these places as you spend for a one-year membership in Harvest Hosts.
If you take advantage of the growing network of host locations and plan to spend at least 4-5 nights camping on Harvest Hosts locations then you will more than earn your money back.
Any more nights you spend makes camping that much more affordable.
Even if you don’t spend 365 nights per year in Harvest Hosts locations, you are bound to have memories for years and savings that will allow you to continue to travel.
Be sure to save 15% off your Harvest Hosts Classic or Golf Memberships and let us know your thoughts on your camping experiences!