Are you considering buying a Harvest Hosts membership? Before jumping in, let’s weigh the pros and cons so that you don’t end up with Harvest Hosts regrets. Is it the right membership program for you? Let’s dive in!
What Is Harvest Hosts?
Harvest Hosts is “a membership program that invites self-contained RVers to have unique overnight stays.” Various wineries, breweries, farms, golf courses, museums, and other businesses across the United States have joined this program.
Some of these locations have hook-ups, but most of them don’t. Travelers can stay one night for free at any of the 2,200 plus sites with their Harvest Hosts membership.
The primary purpose of Harvest Hosts is to provide overnight parking in scenic locations instead of parking lots. Many times travelers just need to pull over and stay one night as they pass through an area. The program offers beautiful scenery, friendly hosts, and a way to support small businesses.
How Does Harvest Hosts Work?
A Harvest Hosts membership lasts for one year from the date you sign up. For $99, RVers have access to unlimited stays within this network of locations.
Harvest Hosts has two requirements. One, you must have a self-contained RV with a working toilet, water tank, and inside cooking facilities. You shouldn’t need access to a bathhouse, water hook-ups, or electricity. Two, you can’t have tents of any kind.
They do ask travelers to purchase something from the host to support the small business. For example, if you stay at a winery, have dinner there after you arrive. If you stay on a dairy farm, visit the country store on the property and buy a package of goat cheese.
They have locations across the lower 48 states, Alaska, Canada, and Baja California, with more added regularly. These include distilleries, meaderies, planetariums, aquariums, wildlife rescue facilities, an alligator ranch, farms, orchards, flower and herb gardens, creameries, and so much more.
Pricing and Membership Tiers
The program recently introduced the new Harvest Hosts + GOLF plan. It costs $139 per year, renews 365 days after initial purchase, and offers access to over 2,600 locations. Plus, you get access to over 400 golf courses, country clubs, spa facilities, and restaurants.
The classic plan does not offer these additional locations, but you still have access to over 2,200 locations for $99 per year. Both plans include unlimited overnight stays with no additional camping fees. They also have a three-month money-back guarantee if you try the program and realize it’s not a good fit for your travel needs.
Pro Tip: Unsure if you should sign up for Harvest Hosts? We uncovered Which Campground Memberships Are Right For You?
Top 5 Regrets of a Harvest Hosts Membership
Harvest Hosts sounds like a great membership program. It’s cheap, and with so many locations, it’s easy for RVers to find a place for an overnight stay. However, as with all membership programs, it has a few drawbacks. Let’s take a look at a few Harvest Hosts regrets.
1. Limited Stay Length
If you don’t like moving frequently and don’t like the idea of only staying one night in a location, you might not enjoy a Harvest Hosts membership. RVers can only stay one night at each location.
Occasionally, the host may invite travelers to stay another night, but guests should avoid asking. A quick, overnight stay as you travel to your next destination may work for some people. But if you only travel around one area, you’ll have to hop from one host location to another every day.
You may find this an annoying and unenjoyable way to travel, which might lead you to regret a Harvest Hosts membership.
2. Usually No Hookups
Hosts require self-contained RVs because most locations don’t offer hook-ups. A place with hook-ups is an exception and not the norm. Guests must operate within their RV without electricity, access to a water source, or sewage.
You can get by one night without power on a nice fall or spring evening, but you’ll miss that air conditioning in the summer if you don’t have solar installed. If you can’t live without hookups, you may have a Harvest Hosts regret later.
3. Makes Advanced Planning Difficult
Some RVers plan out trips, especially if they have to work on the road. They know several weeks out where they will stop, what cell signal they’ll have, how long it will take to travel between locations, etc.
However, they don’t offer advanced reservations. Many hosts use an online Request-A-Stay system, but this is for making a reservation a couple of days in advance, not months.
Just a note about checking in and reservations — you must call ahead to check availability, and you must arrive during business hours. You can’t pull into a campsite late at night here.
4. Off the Beaten Path
Although you have access to thousands of locations, not all of them are easy to get to. With a larger rig, you may have trouble accessing some of the locations. The host’s information page will likely mention this.
Also, some places are well off the interstate. Therefore, if you need a quick, overnight stay between points A and B, you might have to take a detour for several miles to find the nearest Harvest Hosts site.
This can add time to your travel day and mileage to your vehicle that may not be worth the free stay. If you continually run into problems finding a location on your route, you may regret using Harvest Hosts.
5. Not Using It Enough
As with all membership programs, you may regret purchasing a Harvest Hosts membership because you don’t use it enough. Although the cost is minimal, if you only stay twice a year at a Harvest Hosts location, you’ll have spent $50 a night.
Plus, they ask you to support the small business by spending at least $20. In that case, you’ll spend $70 a night if you only stay twice a year. Is that worth it to you?
Is a Harvest Hosts Membership Worth It?
Yes, the price is great, and the benefits far outweigh the cons. Guests and hosts connect and share experiences. You can’t do that in a Walmart or Cracker Barrel parking lot. Plus, you’ll receive amazing hospitality and beautiful scenery. You’ll also support a small business by purchasing a six-pack of beer or visiting the museum.
The benefits for small businesses also outweigh the cons. Even though it may be a hassle for hosts at times, it’s free marketing for them. Travelers take pictures, share on social media, and invite locals and other travelers to visit the location. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Pro Tip: We believe the only regret you’ll have about Harvest Hosts, is not signing up and taking full advantage of what it has to offer. Read more to find out How To Sign-Up For Harvest Hosts.
Where Will You Go Next?
Harvest Hosts is a great membership program if you have a self-contained RV and can live without hook-ups for a night. These locations offer beautiful sunrises, rolling hills, and spectacular mountain views. Families also love visiting the farms and museums.
Most locations allow pets as long as they remain on a leash. It will say otherwise on their information page. And many sites will also allow generators. Please just run them with courtesy.
You have many locations to choose from. You can find the perfect beautiful and comfortable place to stay overnight on your next trip. Where will you go?