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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Harvest Host Offers Free Camping

Vineyards, farms and other small businesses are welcoming self-contained campers and RVs to sample their wares and spend the night.

America’s seniors are fond of their recreational vehicles (RVs). More than 10.5 million U.S. households have one or more RVs, leading to lives often filled with travel near and far. There are a lot of upsides to RV camping: it’s quick and easy, and avoids the hassles of tent camping. Who wants to stay in a tent when it’s raining? Plus, you can install a good mattress in an RV and enjoy the convenience of a refrigerator and stove while still using electronic devices. Now, there’s one more reason you may want to get an RV (or camper van) to enhance your travel: Harvest Host.

Useful RV Information

For a list of useful resources, including campgrounds, check out Go RVing. You’ll find tips and inspiration, including stories from a multitude of diverse people who have taken up RVing for fun and adventure. Don’t forget that the National Parks America the Beautiful senior pass offers Americans 62 or older a lifetime pass for $80 that gets a carload of people (up to four adults) into the 108 of 422 National Park Service sites that charge entrance fees. Better yet, it offers half-price camping for the life of the cardholder. 

Started in 2015, Harvest Host offers a network of campsites. For an annual charge of either $99 or $139, you can park overnight at any of more than 2,000 golf clubs, wineries, museums, breweries, farms and country clubs across the U.S. and Canada, as often as you like. It’s a lot more fun than parking at Walmart, and a lot cheaper than paying campsite fees every night. How does it work?

You have to stay in a self-contained vehicle. All classes of RVs are accepted, as are towed trailers, fifth wheel campers, travel trailers, toy haulers, camper vans and truck campers. Cars and tents are not part of the deal; you must have your own toilet, water tank and indoor cooking to qualify. Water, sewer, electric and restrooms are normally not included at host sites, although a few places may offer electric and/or water. 

Campers are expected to spend $20 at their host’s business, although it’s not required. You’ll have over 500 farms, 200 breweries and distilleries, 500 vineyards and wineries, 300 museums and other attractions, and 300 golf courses and country clubs (on the pro plan) to choose from.  Stays are for one night only, although the host may choose to offer another night to individual guests. Young and old are welcome, and give Harvest Hosts 98% positive reviews on the Apple App,
perhaps due to making friends at each stop — this is often with hosts, but it can be with fellow RVers, although Harvest Host camping areas tend to be much less crowded than traditional sites and you may be the only one there. 

What if you don’t have an RV but you’d really like to participate? You can rent one on OutdoorsyRVshare or RVezy. Renting allows you to try out different models and brands to see what fits your lifestyle and usage. A million Americans live in their RV year ‘round. 

One night you may check into a date farm in southern California (try their shakes!), another may find you outside a vineyard further north. You could spend an entire summer sipping wine at a different winery every night with new friends, or golfing on a new course each day. Even if you don’t drink or golf, every locale is peaceful, quiet and offers a beautiful view. Bring a bottle of wine home for friends, or purchase breakfast at the golf club and you’ve helped out your hosts while getting a great gift or delicious meal in return. 

Try using code HHFRIENDS15 at checkout for 15% off a new Harvest Hosts membership (coupon valid at the time of this posting).