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. I will stop at rest areas, but they’re often full at night. Plus, some states are joining Tennessee in strictly limiting the hours that you can stay to two or four. 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.
You can see how Harvest Host sites can save me a few bucks. The $20 they ask you to spend on fresh produce or museum tickets is a bargain compared to the campgrounds and places already mentioned. Plus, you get to wake up to sights like this one.