search for the most interesting and economical ways to enjoy the
wonders of this fantastic mobile lifestyle. Joining a Membership
Campground is one option that provides an affordable alternative to
seasonal camping. It also is beneficial if you are looking for
inexpensive travel during short or long trips. Parks are located
from east to west plus at numerous American locations – plus a
. Becoming a member is a super way to stretch travel camping dollars
over many future years.
Overnight rates depend
on a variety of factors such as the ‘Membership Club(s)’ that your
park belongs to - or associates with. Your membership may also include
a selection of ‘no-cost’ ‘home
RV parks’. All members also
have the opportunity to stay as a guest at additional ‘member
parks’ – those in your system as well as parks in other systems
that your ‘home park’ is associated with. Overnight visitor
camping fees range between $8-$12.
The ‘Membership Club’ that your ‘home park’ belongs to
usually offers stays of one to three weeks in one location –
followed by a one-week break (called an ‘out week’) before a
return is possible for another one to three weeks – time ‘in’
depends on the type of membership purchased.
In some parks stopovers translate as ‘time in’ equals ‘time out’.
visiting other ‘member parks’ within your ‘system’ – similar
stays may be available – followed with ‘time out’. Depending on
the terms of your membership – allowable stays are comparable at
‘visitor parks’ in associated ‘systems’ – a 7 to 30-day
‘time out’ separates stops. Each membership park usually allows
two such visitor stays at their park during peak season - some allow
extra stays in non-peak seasons. As a rule, reservations are required
– they can be booked through the Clubs Reservation Department from
30-90 days in advance – drive-ups without reservations may not be
The most popular
‘Membership Park Systems’ are listed below in alphabetical order.
There are numerous more groups – each with their own usage
regulations. Be sure to check out more than one. The majority of each
‘family’ of RV Resorts are part of similar clubs…
Adventure Outdoor Resorts (AOR) & (AOR Gold)
Coast-to-Coast (C2C) & Coast-to-Coast Deluxe (C2C
Resorts of Distinction (ROD) & (ROD) Plus
Resort Parks International (RPI Plus) & (RPI
Membership terms may be
limited to a ‘set number of years’, or a ‘one lifetime’ and in
some instances, even ‘transferable’ to children or future
generations. So although your purchase could appear costly in the
beginning – if you can use it for years and it can be passed on to
your children, the outlay becomes more affordable. Park location, plus
number and quality of parks within your ‘Club’ comes into the
equation when determining comparable dues and cost of your membership
purchase. ‘Home park’ annual dues range from under a hundred
dollars to much higher – amounts depend on amenities offered.
Of course each level of amenities or benefits raise the cost.
But many systems include a variety of tempting extras such as
additional ‘home parks’ – or resorts where you can stay for one
to three weeks at ‘no-cost’. Some
‘systems’ allow members to gravitate from one ‘member park’ or
‘home park’ to another without a 7-day break between.
Overnight rates at visiting
parks vary from this ‘no-cost’ feature to ‘$8-$10’. Although
the quality of ‘home parks’ fluctuate from a basic campground to
5-star resorts – with your ‘home park’ membership and your
‘club membership’ you can travel to and enjoy the facilities of a
5-star resort even though your ‘home park’ might be a very basic
place to camp.
‘membership park systems’ enhance member benefits by belonging to
more than one ‘Club’. For instance, your ‘home park’ may
associate with Coast-To-Coast (C2C) or Resort Parks International (RPI)
– the largest ‘systems’ – as well as with several of the
smaller ‘systems’ mentioned above, plus numerous others. This
provides members with access to a larger selection of stopping spots.
Overnights in each park may be limited to a one-week stay twice per
year at a cost of $8.00-$10.00 per night. Thousand Trails (TT) was the
first membership type park, but their system differs slightly.
Stopovers in TT parks are ‘no-cost’ for members, but dues vary
according to region and overnights used.
The more systems your ‘home park’ associates with; the more
benefits your ‘home park’ can offer. Each addition enhances your
overall package and helps to justify your ‘home park’ level of
dues and/or purchase price.
Those who don’t plan to
travel extensively after joining their ‘home park’, may be able to
eliminate benefits they can’t use, thus reducing initial cost. Most
buyers also have a choice of what different ‘systems’ they wish to
belong to. Members can join as many or as few associated ‘systems’
as they wish. Your ‘home
park’ may be a member – or it may be an associate – of different
‘membership clubs’. Members and associates enjoy different
privileges. Each ‘associate club’ does charge a low annual member
fee for reciprocal use of the parks in their ‘system’. But for
those who might not be able to use that benefit, there is no need to
join that ‘system’.
wonders of Membership Camping opens an alternative to lower camping
costs. If travelling as snowbirds or fulltimers, RVers have an
opportunity to reap the benefit of many ‘no-cost’ home park’
. Although up front costs may be higher, this form of travel
definitely decreases day-to-day cash spent on overnight accommodations
during present or future years. You can very quickly recover the
original cost of the membership, if you are a frequent camper.
your work commitments limit time away – joining a ‘membership
park’ makes sense in another way. If your new park is close to where
you live, you have the opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of your
home park for one-three weeks (weekends) before you put your rig in
storage for your ‘time out’. You can return to the park for
another one-three weeks or you can visit a different park in your
‘system for your ‘time out’.
All this camping is at ‘no-cost except for your annual
‘home park dues’ for ‘home park’ members.
One bonus of ‘home
park systems’ – several offer quality discounted rental cabins,
villas, etc. are available for yourselves, your family and/or friends
at 50% discount savings. Those who don’t wish to buy a cottage at
the lake, or for various reasons choose not to buy can join
‘membership parks’ to enjoy affordable cottage style get-a-ways.
Most membership parks offer numerous benefits to keep campers of any
age happy. The entire family can have a ball for many years to come.
As the kids grow up, Mom and Dad can use their ‘membership club’
to travel inexpensively into retirement. As an added plus - many
‘systems’ are also affiliated with a chain of deep discounted
non-membership parks, club magazines, travel benefits and more.
buying into a membership park, you basically pre-purchase campground
discounts for now and into the future. Purchase prices range between
$3,000–$10,000+. The average is $6000 – but low cost financing is
generally available. After your initial purchase – annual ‘home
park’ dues, along with annual ‘club fees’ for each ‘system’
you subscribe to are the only recurring cost. This may be an incentive
to find a park with low ‘home park’ dues. With this type of
purchase you basically pay up front for the privilege of many years of
economical camping. Membership parks offer a superior alternative to
paying individual overnight fees or annual seasonal rates at a local
camping spot. It’s easy to buy a program tailored to your needs.
a long-term contract may or may not be your best move. Overtime your
camping needs can change – there is no guarantee that your kids will
want to use your membership. Consider
buying to enjoy your ‘home park(s)’ for today – and future
camping at ‘no-cost/low cost’ parks will be a bonus.
needs develop, you can simply add appealing extras from those your
‘home park’ offers. The enhanced programs feature several
equivalent ‘no-cost/low-cost parks’ in various places throughout
, plus a few in
. If you become extensive travellers between A-B several years down
the road – being a member will definitely extend your camping
parks offer free/low-cost ‘introduction-style’ stopovers so you
can get-to-know what a park is like. By all means enjoy the gift, but
take time to think about what is being offered in the sale process. Is
the package for you? One alternative is to check out ‘resale
memberships’ advertised in numerous International RV Magazines. Be
aware that the location of that discounted ‘home park’ most likely
will not encourage frequent camping near where you spend the majority
of your time. To reap the benefits a ‘resale home park’ offers,
you may need to visit numerous parks in a variety of locations.
‘Home park’ choices can range from very high to inexpensive –
with dues at various levels. Some might only offer minimum benefits
and/or limited ‘no-cost’ ‘home parks’ – that type may or may
not suit your needs. Bottom line is to ‘Shop Around’ and if a sale
does not seem right, keep looking for the ‘home park’ geared to
your needs – take time to think about the offer, as it will affect
you now and down the road as well. Buying smart will make your
experience a positive experience.
I realize you’re not
buying into a new ‘membership park’ with plans to sell what you
just bought, but it is best you are aware of all details. Members who
reach a point where they don’t wish to continue usage of their
‘membership park systems’, may be able to pay a small cancellation
fee to their ‘home park’. Also inquire if your ‘home park’
will buy your membership back and at what cost? Is there is an option
to sell your membership to another person? If so it may be wise to
advertise yours in International RV magazines for a price that
includes a small transfer fee.
In closing I highlight
that RVing via the ‘membership park system’ offers such a
wonderful opportunity to camp at great parks while staying put or
travelling east, west, north and south.
When a good majority of the time your stay will be ’free’
or a low ‘$8-$10 per night’ it’s an added plus. Before long
you’ll relish the many benefits of your purchase.
Membership parks are well worth checking out, but keep your
eyes open so you know the details offered.
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