Harvest Hosts offers overnight camping at unique locations

SUV and Travel Trailer

Can you imagine camping in the shadow of a rocket at a space museum? How about waking up to the sounds of farm life?

I can, because Harvest Hosts offers overnight camping at unique locations for fully contained RV or van camper owners.

The idea of a Harvest Hosts membership first came up a few years ago. At the time, I was planning a road trip to Alaska as part of a church mission trip. The lure of the open road, the promise of amazing wildlife sightings and the smell of clean mountain air was too tempting to pass up. Planning the road trip of a lifetime is one thing. Affording it is a different matter entirely. That’s where free campsites come into play.

My usual free overnight camping spots are a Walmart or truck stop. Rest areas are popular but are often full at night. You can’t always park overnight in rest areas though. Some states have a limit on how long you can park in a rest area.  (My home state of Tennessee allows two hours). That’s not enough rest for the driver when you’re on a road trip.

Harvest Hosts membership opens up a whole new world of unique lodging opportunities. We’re talking about a network of over 700 amazing host sites that provide free camping for fully contained RV owners. Membership is $79. Save 15% by using this link to register.

Unique sites include vineyards, farms, attractions and museums (my favorite). I will say  that parking next to an airplane at a space center is much more interesting a campground. A vineyard can be a great place to find peace and quiet.

Security is another aspect that drew me to the program. Sometimes I don’t feel comfortable at a truck stop or in a dark corner of a rest area. Also, some local ordinances prohibit parking overnight at Walmart which can really complicate finding a secure place to stay for the night!

In exchange for free overnight camping, Harvest Hosts ask members to arrive during the site’s operating hours and to consider spending $20 while you’re there. That’s not unreasonable. After all, Tennessee State Park campgrounds like Fall Creek Falls can run $32 and the K.O.A. in Pigeon Forge can run as high as $101.00 in peak season.  Grabbing junk food and snacks for two at a truck stop can easy run $25 and a meal at a truck stop restaurant like the Iron Skillet can run much higher.

Harvest Host sites do ask you to spend at least $20 when you spend the night as a thank you. This encourages you to buy fresh farm produce or visit the attraction. To me, it’s a small price to pay to overnight at unique attractions. Besides, how else can you wake up underneath at static jet display like this one at the Stafford Air and Space Museum?

Stafford Air & Space Museum taken by Gayle Crabtree

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