Harvest Hosts is a legitimate way to camp overnight on private property while escaping the confines of Walmarts and rest areas. It is very expensive, however. It could cost you between $20.00 to $100.00 a night just from buying from the host, and that’s in an addition to the $99.00 per year membership fee.
Is Harvest Hosts Legitimate?
Harvest Hosts is legitimate in that no one has ever claimed to have been ripped off by them. And, it’s legitimate in that no one has ever gotten into trouble with the law while staying at a Harvest Hosts location. There are other RV membership programs that seem to fetch worse reviews from customers. So far, Harvest Hosts seem to remain as the most popular one of all.
But, Harvest Hosts is not economical. It’s very expensive to use simply because you are expected to buy from the host. If the host is a restaurant, you are expected to buy dinner there. If the host is a winery, you are expect to buy tastings and a bottle of wine. Depending on what the host is, you could end up spending $100.00 between yourself and your significant other.
What Do You Get for Spending $20.00 to $100.00 Overnight?
You Can Only Stay for One Night – Because Harvest Hosts sites are businesses like restaurants, hotels, golf courses, wineries, etc., you are not allowed to stay for more than one night. However, many hosts have welcomed RVers to stay an extra night. On the other hand, being welcomed to stay an extra night usually comes after you have spent a fair amount of money on the host, and it only comes if that host has a vacancy for that extra night.
Harvest Hosts Usually Have No Hookups – Most hosts do not offer electrical or water hookups. They don’t offer sewage dumps either. Wi-Fi may or may not be available. You’re basically camping overnight on their parking lot, or some vacant space on their property.
You May Not Be Able to Run Your Generator – Remember, you’re camping at a business’ location where they have other paying customers. Restaurants, wineries, hotels, et al, don’t want their other customers to hear your generator running.
Do Not Set Up Your Outdoor Camping Equipment – Hosts don’t want your space to look ugly. They don’t want your RV or vehicle to look like its camped there, but instead just parked there. They don’t want to see chairs, rugs, grills, televisions, or even worse, dog fences.
Peace and Quiet is Not Guaranteed – Just because you’re parking on a business’ property, does not mean you’re going to have peace and quiet. Many hosts will have spaces for several RVs. Many hosts are located on a busy highway, or have train tracks nearby. Most of these hosts have customers that drive in and out of their parking lots. It’s a fallacy to believe that you’re going to get more peace and quiet than compared to a Walmart or rest area.
OK, So What Do You Get For Spending $20.00 to $100.00 Overnight, Plus a $99.00 Annual Membership Fee?
Well, all you get is a place to sleep in your RV for one night, and some sense of security that you will not be kicked out by the police. You could look at it as a way to dine at a fancy restaurant or winery, and then sleep on their property. But otherwise, that’s it. You get the experience of parking your RV at a business and spending your money there.
So, How Is That Any Different Than Walmart?
It’s not any different. Walmart offers a similar experience, but for free. That is, you get to overnight on the parking lot of another business, and you get to go into that business and spend money there. The difference is that with Walmart, you have your choice of any restaurant nearby, and you don’t have to pay Walmart a $99.00 membership fee to overnight at their stores. However, you do run the risk of a police officer knocking on your door.
Harvest Hosts Escapes Many Local Code Violations
Harvest Hosts doesn’t have the problem with cops kicking you out of Walmart. Most Harvest Host locations are situated away from shopping centers and neighborhoods. On the other hand, you can easily read online reviews of Walmarts to find which ones are safe to park overnight.
Most all cities and counties have ordinances that restrict where RVs and campers can park. Most do not allow people to sleep overnight in their vehicles, particularly when parked along streets or in shopping centers. You generally don’t have this problem with Harvest Hosts.
By contrast, Boondockers Welcome, which is owned by Harvest Hosts, relies on residences as their hosts. Most cities and counties have laws against parking on residential streets, and most Home Owners Associations have rules against parking RVs in their neighborhoods. This is why many people are lead to believe that Boondockers Welcome is illegal.
Is Harvest Hosts Worth the Money?
Yes and no. Yes, it’s worth it if you love to travel to various wineries and restaurants and enjoy what they have to offer. It can be expensive, ranging from $20.00 to $100.00 per night, and that’s in addition to the $99.00 annual membership fee.
But on the other hand, no. If you’re a dedicated boondocker, and you’re more concerned about finding a place to park overnight, then you’re better off sticking with Walmart. You can still walk to a nearby restaurant, and you can still go into Walmart and get your necessary supplies. At least with Walmart, you don’t have an annual membership to pay, and you can still rely on online reviews to find which Walmarts are safe to park at.