Editor’s Note: The information in this article was compiled solely through research and experience. At the time of publishing, Begin RV is not associated with, nor is it compensated by any RV clubs. Prices and other details are subject to change.
RV Clubs Reflect Changing Demographics
Driven by a younger generation looking to collect experiences rather than things, RV’ing is having a cultural “moment”. Where the lifestyle was once only the territory of the middle-to-upper class retiree, the affordability of modern RV’ing has made it accessible to younger and more diverse demographic – representing a welcomed shift in this century-old industry.
Whether you are the experience junkie or are looking to join a like-minded community, this Guide will help you identify the top RV membership clubs that reflect the evolving interests of YOU – the next generation road warrior.
You can jump straight to the recommendations HERE. We hand out superlatives for the following categories:
- Best for the Experience Seeker
- Best for the LGBTQ Community
- Best for Young Families
- Best for the Minimalist
- Best for the Non-Conformist
Looking Beyond Good Sam and Passport America
Boasting unbeatable discounts at thousands of campsites across the United States, Good Sam and Passport America are the two most recognizable rv clubs in the industry. Millions of members enjoy the convenience of these massive membership clubs that offer perks such as roadside assistance, travel insurance and savings on RV necessities.
Passport America and Good Sam are incredible money-saving options, but they lack something critical to the new generation of RVers …
*a sense of community*
Behind the wheel of the RV revolution is a diverse generation seeking to align their travel experience to their tightly-held values and beliefs. Affordability of travel remains critical, but just as important is a sense of community and belonging. The new generation of RVers are seeking out:
- Like-minded communites;
- Authentic experiences;
- Racially and economically diverse membership;
- Family-friendly activities;
- Off-the-beaten path campsites;
- Sustainable travel; and
- Connectivity on the road.
Simply put, it’s not just about dollars and cents anymore.
The Top Picks
Best for the Experience Seeker: HARVEST HOSTS
The Low Down: “Instead of a parking lot for your RV, think an alpaca farm run by nuns in a remote part of Kansas” – Good Morning America
Why Choose Harvest Hosts: If you are the experience-seeker looking for Instagram-worthy overnight sites, Harvest Hosts is club you’ve been waiting for. Harvest Hosts teams you up with “Hosts” to access alternative RV sites such as wineries, breweries, farms, museums and other unique and exotic locations across the United States and Canada. From an alligator farm in Mississippi to a bootlegging company in Florida, Harvest Hosts is a perfect way to escape the national park crowds and enjoy the great outdoors (with a glass of wine in hand!)
Membership Costs: $79 yearly annual Harvest Hosts Classic Membership. $119 for Harvest Hosts Classic + Golf Membership with access to over 350 golf courses. Overnight stays FREE with membership.
*Harvest Hosts strongly encourages RV guests to spend $20 a night on products to support the site “Host”. This can be wine, beer, produce, clothing or other materials sold at the host site.
What’s Included with Membership: Free camping at 1,200+ sites (and rapidly growing) with the classic Harvest Hosts membership
Membership Requirements: You must have a self-contained RV with a toilet, water tank and inside cooking facilities. No tents of any kind are allowed. Overnight stays are limited to one night unless Host agrees otherwise. RVers must carry liability insurance.
Consider This: $79 annual membership is bit pricier than other clubs, but with over 1,200 free Host sites for members you can quickly make it worth the price by 2-3 overnight stays.
Best for the LGBTQ Community: RAINBOW RV
The Low Down: “Whether it’s eating together, decorating our rigs, watching a doggy drag show, going four wheeling, or just sitting around talking over bagels and coffee in the morning it’s the best way ever of meeting people and making lifelong friends” – Rainbow RV Member
Why Choose Rainbow RV: A warm and active community of over 10,000 members, Rainbow RV is the choice for the LGBT community. While not providing as many campground discounts and perks as more traditional clubs, the highly curated events and trips are designed to promote fellowship and group activity. With a packed calendar of single-day events as well as multi-night trips, Rainbow RV is one of the most beloved clubs in the community.
Membership Costs: $39.95 for a one year website subscription.
What’s Included with Membership: Rainbow RV offers a member-only protected website. The website is the portal for the thousands of members to arrange social activities and meet-ups. Additionally, Rainbow RV keeps an updated calendar of LGBTQ-friendly events around the country.
Members are responsible for own camping and/or event fees – many of which are offered at discounted rates with Rainbow RV subscription.
Membership Requirements: Rainbow RV is aimed at the LGBTQ RV’ing community.
Consider This: More a tight-knit lifestyle community than a traditional discount membership club, the rewards from this membership are the lifelong relationships and companions you will meet while out on the road.
Best for the Non-Conformist: XSCAPERS
The Low Down: “I have found a whole tribe of full-time people that have similar interests as I do. It’s the best, I love the gatherings we have! Thank goodness for Xscapers, or I might be lonely on the road. I’m SO not lonely and have more friends in my life now than I have ever had!” – Xscapers Member Review
Why We Like Xscapers: A community within a community of the popular Escapees RV Club, Xscapers are an active group of full-time RVers dedicated to sharing life on the road. If you are looking to escape the traditional life pattern of a career, a house and accumulation of possessions in favor of a more minimalistic and nomadic lifestyle – Xscapers is a great place to start. Offering all the benefits of Escapees like the educational courses, mail forwarded services and campsite discounts, Xscapers has the added benefit of a members-only job board for those seeking work while out on the road.
Membership Costs: $39.95 for annual year membership or $850 lifetime membership for residents of the United States. $49.95 for annual membership or $905 lifetime membership for residents of all other countries.
What’s Included with Membership: Xscapers, through the Escapees RV Club, is renowned for it’s incredible membership benefits that go above and beyond their competitors. The Club offers:
- Annual rally with family activities and live entertainment;
- Smaller group “hangouts” at various locations around the country;
- In-person “RV Boot Camp” course for beginners (additional charge);
- RVers Online University – with 20+ courses (additional charge);
- Interest Groups called “Birds of a Feather” that connect members with common interests;
- Mail forwarding service (additional charge);
- Roadside assistance (additional charge);
- Discounted Parking at designated camp site;
- Bi-monthly magazine; and more …
Membership Requirements: Just your fine RV’ing self.
Consider This: While annual membership fees are low, additional costs for educational courses, mail forwarding, roadside assistance and other add-on services can add up fast. These costs should be factored in as they are essential to full enjoyment of the club.
Best for the Minimalist: BOONDOCKERS WELCOME
The Low Down: “I have had such a wonderful time with the hosts. They are warm, inviting and welcoming individuals with big hearts. This is a wonderful experience. It is like visiting family along the way – a safe haven with knowledgeable folks who know their area well. Every stop you take something with you from these hosts – they give of themselves and their homes.” – Boondockers Welcome Member
Why We Like Boondockers Welcome: For the price two nights in a National Park, an annual Boondockers Welcome membership opens up over 2,500 “hosts” for overnight stays at private properties around the country. Host locations range from driveways to a wide-open field with beautiful views. The term “Boondocking” technically means parking an RV overnight without any hookups – however, Boondockers Welcome notes that 80% of all Hosts offer an electrical hookup.
While the minimalist, no-frills properties will appeal to RVers on a budget, the “secret” to Boondockers Welcome success is warm and inviting property “Hosts”. Members glow about the “warm” and “inviting” hosts who often go out of their way to make guests feel at home on the road. Whether you want to make a quick one-night stopover or are looking to meet new and interesting folks on the road, Boondockers Welcome is an affordable and safe option for your next trip.
Membership Costs: $50.00 for a one year membership ($25.00 if you are a Boondockers Welcome Host)
What’s Included with Membership: Boondockers Welcome membership includes unlimited stays with Hosts. Members received discounted memberships with other membership clubs such as Harvests Hosts and Full Time Families.
Membership Requirements: You must have a self-contained RV with a toilet, water tank and inside cooking facilities to stay with a Host.
Consider This: Boondockers Welcome plans to launch a mobile app in the next few months to make requesting and accepting stays even easier.
Best for Families On the Road: FULLTIME FAMILIES
The Low Down: “If you are going to live Fulltime in your RV seeing this amazing country with your kiddos, Fulltime Families has the best community of families doing life together as we all travel different directions, meeting up, hanging out or rallying as we come together in different places around the country.” – FullTime Familes Member
Why We Like FullTime Families: The buzz word with FtF is “community”. Living on the road full-time can be isolating, but through their active Facebook group, one-day field trips, holiday parties and weeklong rallies FtF has created a “family” atmosphere on the road. With four recurring events each year and smaller speciality “branches” broken down into smaller groups, the team behind FtF has successfully connected thousands of full time RVers over the years.
Maybe the best part of FtF is the wide-range activities for the children. The FtF Explorers program is aimed at children 5-9 years of age and awards kids for completing educational tasks. The Book Club program tasks kids with reading an age-appropriate book each month then joining a conference call to discuss. The incredible offerings aim to keep children engaged in their education and connected to their peers while out on the road.
Membership Costs: $65.00 for a one year membership; $345 for lifetime membership
What’s Included with Membership: Members gain access to the members-only FtF Facebook groups, over 15 annual organized events, kids clubs, and specialized communities called “branches”. Members also receive discounted memberships with other membership clubs such as Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, Thousand Trails as well as discounted RV rentals with Outdoorsy. Members are responsible for own camping fees – many of which are offered at discounted rates with FullTime Families membership.
Membership Requirements: FtF provides community, information, tips, support, and discounts for full-time RV living and traveling families.
Consider This: If you really love the community of FtF, you may consider the lifetime membership the most economical option after Year 1.
Pick One, Two … or None. It’s Your Choice
Picking an RV membership club is like choosing an ice cream flavor: you really can’t go wrong (but we all know that mint chocolate chip is the best). Each RV club has its merits, but ultimately you will want to align with the group that best suits your individual tastes and needs. If you can’t decide on just one club, feel free to mix and match – why limit yourself when you can get the best of all flavors?
Whatever decision you make, know that we are behind you 100%.