Last Updated on July 9, 2021 by Chris and Lindsay
RVers are raving about Harvest Hosts and we are no exception! We’ve been members of Harvest Hosts since we began living full-time in our RV in the spring of 2018. It is by far our favorite camping membership and in this Harvest Hosts review, we will share some key points as to why you should consider joining one of the best RV clubs and memberships available to North American travelers.
Harvest Hosts is a unique collection of nearly 2,400 farms, wineries, distilleries, breweries and golf courses across North America where members are able to camp overnight.
Every month the number of participating hosts grows so there are very few places in the US where you can travel and not be relatively close to a participating Harvest Host.
As Harvest Hosts members we’ve found ourselves planning entire trips based just on which Harvest Host locations we wanted to visit. And we’ve also found ourselves scrambling to find overnight camping on short notice when we’ve stumbled upon amazing nearby Harvest Hosts.
Since 2018 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!
8 Reasons Why You Join Should Harvest Hosts Today
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 fall asleep in your camper 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 and lavender ice cream!).
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|
* Beautiful camping locations
* Unique experiences
* Great web and mobile app
* Ever-Increasing camping options
* Supports local businesses
* Make new friends along the way with friendly hosts & other campers
* Makes a great gift
|* You must be self-contained Dry camping/Boondocking|
* Hosts are not always as responsive as campgrounds and state/national parks
* Not all destinations/geographic areas are represented in the Harvest Hosts network
Harvest Hosts is incredibly affordable. While the annual membership fee recently increased to $99 in the spring of 2021, this is still a bargain. Plus you can get this membership for 15% off ($84.15 annually) when you shop through THIS LINK.
If you consider that the average campground will cost anywhere between $25-$50 per night you can see how quickly your membership will pay for itself.
We have shared how frugal we are in budgeting our travel. So we try to camp for free as often as we can. But when it comes to trying to decide whether to camp at a Wal Mart or Cracker Barrel parking lot or to find a nearby Harvest Host the option is quite easy for us.
Whether you are not necessarily interested in saving money, for $84.15 annually we think this is a great membership to keep in your back pocket – especially when it comes to our second reason to join!
Pro Tip: Combine your Harvest Host membership with these other RV clubs and memberships to save lots of money camping throughout the year – especially if you are a full-timer!
2) Location, Location, Location!
Most Harvest Hosts are located on off-the-beaten-path properties that makes you envious of the surrounding beauty they have each day! Whether on a mountainside, next to a river or set out on the hills and plains each host offers a great opportunity to stay where you want to be.
And with the addition of golf courses and local attractions near metropolitan areas you have the chance to stay in or around a city where there may not be other RV camping opportunities.
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!
Plus there are so many different Harvest Hosts that it is really hard to find a geographic part of the US where you won’t find a place to stay.
3) Unique Experiences
How many of your friends can say they woke up with a curious alpaca peeking into your camper window? And how many of them can say they harvested their own fruits, vegetables or herbs to throw into a fresh meal on-site?
When you camp with Harvest Hosts you are all but certain to have a unique experience that adds to the joy and adventure of the RV lifestyle on the road.
Sometimes hosts can actually become destinations in and of themselves because of the experiences that you seek. We’ve sought out the best BBQ in Virginia, charming horses in Upstate New York and delicious wine tasting in the famous Columbia River Valley in Washington simply because we knew that our Harvest Hosts membership gave us access to these places.
And then there were the surprise experiences, like the curious alpaca in Montana who kindly shared their field with us. Or the time we helped harvest cherries when we were in Washington.
Your Harvest Host membership is going to open the door to incredible unique experiences you wouldn’t otherwise find – for FREE!
Also, don’t forget that if you upgrade to the + Golf membership you can also play a round of golf first thing in the morning when you wake up at the golf course!
4) Support Small Businesses
Part of the commitment of being a member of Harvest Hosts is to support the local business where you camp. Not all of the hosts have products or services to offer. And sometimes they are not necessarily the kind of things that you may buy.
But Hosts do not receive any financial gain for offering their property to members. Thus any kind of support you can show them in buying products and services helps keep them in business.
Pro Tip: We always look for Hosts that have products and services we know we’d purchase anyway. We don’t drink very frequently and we don’t play golf. But we love staying on dairy farms and cattle ranches, on fruit and vegetable farms and coops and other places where we can buy delicious things to add to our pantry.
5) Expanding Host Network
When we first shared this post there were only 1,200 Harvest Host locations across the country. In just over a year the number has gone up to nearly 2,400 camping options. And the number is growing.
While some population centers may not have a Harvest Hosts location in close proximity, there are fewer and fewer parts of the US outside of the reach of a participating Harvest Host.
Unlike some of the other camping memberships that seem to have reached their maximum camping hosts, Harvest Hosts is actively growing and you can count on more locations added over time.
6) Robust 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 country – including Mexico and Canada.
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.
And when it comes to researching potential hosts, each Harvest Host has its own page complete with a description about the host property and business, camping and parking arrangements, contact information and even individual reviews left by campers.
Pro Tip: Be sure to reach out to potential Harvest Hosts well enough in advance that you can work with them in planning your arrival. Sometimes hosts are already booked or you may find they have specific instructions to allow you to camp even if they are not there. Use the mobile app to quickly find host contact information and preferred method of contact. Sometimes all it takes is a text!
7) Make 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 locations memorable.
Of course, we enjoy having a Harvest Host property to ourselves when we can. But making new friends among other campers is always fun.
Plus other Harvest Hosts members have stayed at other Harvest Hosts loations you may not have considered so if you have flexibility in your travel itinerary you may be able to find a few more jewels during your trip.
Chances are, you are more than likely reading this Harvest Hosts review to determine whether the membership is right for you. However, Harvest Hosts makes it easy to gift a membership to the RVers in your life.
This is a thoughtful way to gift all of the above awesomeness to friends and family!
Things To Consider About A Membership
Although Harvest Hosts is a great organization, like all things there are some things to consider about joining:
Self-Contained 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 locations.
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!
Harvest Hosts locations are not everywhere
While there are currently nearly 2,400 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 you receive access to hundreds of host locations throughout North America.
The Harvests Hosts 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 a full run of the locations 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 camper parking, 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!
Pro Tip: Check out our top tips for how to dry camp in THIS POST.
Examples Of Great Hosts
Among other places we’ve stayed, these two stood out as some of the most memorable of any camping experiences we have had over 3 years on the road!
Review of Rio Vista Winery (Chelan, Washington)
Rio Vista Winery is located along the Columbia River in the heart of wine country 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 6 PM 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 of 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!
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 for the night 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 local business, and appease our 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!
FAQ About Harvest Hosts Membership
How much does a Harvest Hosts membership cost?
1-year memberships cost $99 for an annual Classic membership. Joining the + Golf plan is $139 per year. Receive a 15% discount on either 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 1,900 farms, wineries, breweries and distilleries. The + Golf membership provides additional access to over 300 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. Regardless, you need to be self contained with an interior toilet and black tank and you must also cook your meals inside your camper.
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. You need to be entirely self-contained. The host agrees 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 a Harvest Hosts Membership 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 overnight 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 every night in a Harvest Hosts location, 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!