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10 Reasons Why We Love Harvest Hosts

    Everyone loves a free campsite. We’ve stayed at Cracker Barrels, casinos, and even a free city park. So I was immediately drawn to the idea of Harvest Hosts, because you can spend money on your ‘play’ instead of your stay. But is Harvest Hosts worth it? We certainly think so!

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    How Does Harvest Hosts Work:

    Harvest Hosts has a yearly membership and then you can book a free night’s stay at one of their 3000+ host locations across the US and Canada. These locations are farms, wineries, breweries, museums, or other businesses with space to host an RV or two for the night. In exchange for a free place to park (with no hookups), Harvest Hosts asks their members to patronize the host business and spend at least $20.

    After signing up for a membership, you can view all of the Harvest Host locations on a map and even chart out a road trip and find locations along your route. Host pages contain all sorts of information you would want to know about a stay with them, and members are great about leaving reviews and pictures to help others know what to expect.

    We signed up for our Harvest Hosts membership after only 6 months of owning our RV, because we knew we’d use it on a road trip to New England we were planning. Turns out we started using it right away!

    Ten Things We Love About Staying at Harvest Hosts:

    1. We can book convenient stopping points on a larger road trip.

    While there are some Harvest Host locations that might be a little bit out of the way, many of them are just a few miles off your route (and you can set this in the search criteria). We’re part time RVers, so we have to do a lot of driving to get to and from the area of the country we want to see, and we use Harvest Hosts for those big driving weeks.

    2. Harvest Hosts are a more convenient overnight stop than a campground.

    The check in and parking process at a Harvest Host is typically must faster than a campground. Many Harvest Hosts only take 1-3 RVs each night, so you won’t find a line to check in. Often we don’t have to back in at all, or if we do, we’re backing into a general open space, so we can park more easily. And we often stay hitched up so we’re ready to go again the next day.

    3. They put the fun in the journey, not just the destination.

    If you’ve got a string of 1-night campground stays as you drive across the country, you’re going to feel a little run down after all that time on the road. It’s all driving and no fun. But if you’re staying at Harvest Hosts, you might find yourself enjoying dinner and drinks one night and feeding some farm animals or going on a walk around a lake the next. These little experiences make the road trip enjoyable and make it a memorable part of your trip.

    4. We can drive mid-day.

    Because we’re often traveling on a workday, we like to drive to our next campsite during our lunch break. We usually book Harvest Hosts that aren’t too far away, ideally a 1-2 hour drive. We can get parked and get back to work and our toddler can take a nap. When you stay at a Cracker Barrel, you want to pull in close to bedtime and leave pretty early the next morning, which makes it difficult to get any work time in. But at Harvest Hosts, you’re invited to stay for 24 hours, so we often arrive around 1 or 2 in the afternoon and leave between 11 and 12 the next day (see tip #4 below).

    5. You get something for the value of your campsite.

    Now granted, usually your campsite fee pays for your hookups or at least your access to water, a dump station, a trash can, and a bathhouse, none of which you have at a Harvest Hosts. But we’ve also spent $20-30 on a night of camping when we didn’t need or use any of those things. With a Harvest Hosts membership, you camp for free with the understanding that you’ll patronize the business and spend at least $20-30. Here are some ways you could spend your ‘campsite money’:

    • Blueberry pie or soft serve ice cream
    • Museum tickets
    • Brick-oven pizza or burgers & fries
    • Jars of jam or honey
    • Wine tasting or a few bottles for the road
    • Fresh produce, eggs, or meat (or cheese! Give me all the Harvest Hosts with cheese!)
    • Handmade gifts like candles, alpaca socks, or goat milk soap.

    6. Harvest Hosts members leave great reviews and photos.

    Researching places to stop on our trips is so easy with Harvest Hosts, because so many members leave detailed reviews. These reviews can be especially helpful for those with bigger rigs, who will want to know about any low tree branches, narrow roads, or low clearance bridges leading in or out of a host location.

    7. We get to meet locals.

    We’re introverts with two wiggly kids, so we don’t always take advantage of this, but the employees and owners of these businesses can give great recommendations for their local community.

    8. Harvest Hosts can fill gaps between reservations.

    If you find yourself with a day in between reservations or decide on a last minute trip and can’t find a campground with open sites on the weekends, look for a Harvest Host nearby.

    9. A Harvest Hosts Membership can help when you need to pivot and change your plan.

    There are a lot of logistics to RVing and a Harvest Host membership is worth it for the peace of mind it gives as a backup option. For example, earlier this year, we got 5+ inches of snow at our house just days before we planned to leave for a 5 week winter route through Texas. We decided to delay leaving 1 day to help with the roads clearing, so we had to change our original camping plans. What we intended to be a 3 night stay at a campground in Mississippi became 2 single night stays with some drive time in between. We had 1 less day to drive a total of 22 hours and stopping at Harvest Hosts kept our week of driving from being a drag.

    10. Harvest Hosts are an experience all on their own.

    If you spend enough time poking around the Harvest Hosts website, you’ll find yourself with a list of Harvest Hosts that you want to plan a trip around because they look like so much fun to visit! Whether it’s a winery tour in California, a maple syrup tour in Vermont, a cheese tour in Wisconsin, or something completely different, you could plan an entire route of just Harvest Host stays and have an amazing time! (But don’t forget to schedule a day to dump & refill and maybe do laundry!)

    Those are the top 10 reasons why we love our Harvest Hosts membership. If you’ve been wondering if a Harvest Host membership is worth it, we think it is! Use our referral link to save 15% off of your yearly membership and start booking free stays today!

    A Few Quick Tips:

    1. Check in when you arrive. Not everyone will have a sign in sheet, but it’s always good to say hello and double check where you should park.

    2. It’s not always appropriate to ‘set up camp.’ If you’re parked in the grass by a lake, it’s probably fine to set out your camping chairs. But if you’re in a parking lot or in close view of other customers during business hours, it would be best not to set anything up outside your camper. Harvest Hosts also specifically states that you shouldn’t use any outdoor forms of cooking as part of being completely ‘self-contained.’

    3. Don’t use their dumpsters unless you’re invited to do so.

    4. While Harvest Host stays are 24 hours, we feel it’s assumed that you will leave by a regular campsite check out time of 12 or 1 pm. If you arrived at 8 pm on a Tuesday night and planned to stay until 8 pm on Wednesday night, you would probably be taking up a parking space that the host intended for another guest on Wednesday.

    Some of Our Favorite Harvest Host Stops:

    Winery in Camp Hill, Alabama – full hookups!
    Historic home in Richmond Place, Louisiana
    Ski resort in Auburn, Maine
    Winery in Fredericksburg, Texas – they sell the most delicious raspberry chipotle sauce!
    Maple farm in Montpelier, Vermont
    Alpaca farm in Cottageville, SC
    Restaurant in Ovando, MT
    Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast in Blackwater, MO
    Orchard in Fort Valley, GA

    If you’d like to become a Harvest Hosts member, use our referral link to save 15% on your yearly membership. And check out this post on how to plan overnight stops at Harvest Hosts as part of a longer RV road trip.

    When you buy something using the links in our posts, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.