Campground Membership Clubs

There are several questions you may want to answer before making a decision on joining a campground membership club:

  1. Where do you want to go? Regionally or nationally?
  2. What is your annual membership budget?
  3. What benefits are most important to you; i.e. do you want discounted sites, or site fees included with membership?
  4. What amenities are important, or is boondocking more up your alley?
  5. How long do you want to stay in one place?
  6. Is a refund offered if dissatisfied with membership?
  7. What other discounts would you like included with a membership?
  8. What services do you require:
    1. RV insurance?
    2. Roadside assistance?
    3. Credit card services?
    4. Mail forwarding?
  9. Are camping guides/maps provided?
  10. Are there education workshops, RV information (newsletters, etc)?
  11. Is networking important to you?
  12. Have you weighed out what is important to you against the cost of the membership? Is it worth it?

 

I have compared three of the most popular memberships along with my comments below:

 download

Thousand Trails  (longest and most complicated)

Memberships were formerly open to lifetime members only.  Since 1970, Thousand Trails merged with two other companies:  NACO (21 resorts) and Leisure Time (7 resorts).  There are 86 resorts to choose from in 22 states and British Columbia, Canada. Gone are the sales presentations, expensive up-front fees, and long-term contracts. TT now offers a Camping Pass with a fee for each zone:

zones_map

Northwest Zone – 18 campgrounds in British Columbia, Oregon and Washington

Southwest Zone – 18 campgrounds in Arizona, California and Nevada

Midwest Zone – 13 campgrounds in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin

Northeast Zone – 14 campgrounds in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania

Southeast Zone – 23 campgrounds in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

The links are provided in case you want to dig deeper into further detail!

Note:  Resale options are available through private sellers, referrals and brokers. We have only listed new purchase information because of the obvious apples to oranges situation.

Standard Membership

  • Unlimited use (no limit to the total number of nights you may use your Camping Pass each year)
  • Structure includes a maximum of 14 consecutive days at any particular resort. If your stay exceeds four consecutive nights you must wait for seven nights before you stay again at any
  • No nightly fee
  • Yearly dues are $545 – can be paid in 12 monthly installments with a two-year agreement and automatic payments from a credit card or bank account.
  • TT frequently runs a special – two zones for $545. Each additional zone pass is $795 per year.

From the Thousand Trails website: “At each resort, we provide a secure, gated environment with park rangers who look out for our guests’ safety. Most of our campsites are fully equipped with electrical, water and sewer hookups, as well as barbeque pits and picnic tables. We can accommodate a wide variety of RVs from pop-up campers to Class A motorhomes. In addition to our spacious RV and tent sites, we also provide a full range of rental accommodations, from cabins & cottages to yurts, so you can leave your RV or tent at home and still enjoy our resorts in style.”

There seem to be a lot of amenities in each resort, but it would be best to look at each campground to see which ones are included in specific locations.

I would have to do a LOT more research to consider a membership. I am assuming there are no extra charges unless camping at an Encore Resort.  Per the TT Camping Pass FAQ, members using their RVs receive discounts that vary by resort.

Several things bother me, but it’s only my opinion – take it with a grain of salt, or you can also leave it if you like! 

  1. Resorts only exist in 22 states. If I wanted to purchase all five zones it would cost $545 for two and $795 per zone for the remaining 3 zones.  That is almost $3,000.
  2. The maximum stay per resort wouldn’t bother me without the seven day out rule.
  3. I would definitely read reviews before camping at any of the resorts.  Some are nice; some are not, according to the reviews I have read so far. I don’t really like spending money on a crap shoot!

 sunrise-resorts

Sunrise Resorts

Sunrise Resorts offers 12 resorts located in Alaska, Arizona and Washington only. RV sites and cabin rental accommodations are available.

Amenities include swimming pools, hot tubs, clubhouses, laundry facilities, showers, playgrounds, and game rooms.

RV Adventure Pass Benefits:

  • Discounted sites at all locations – currently $10.00 per night
  • Limited to 14 consecutive nights in and 7 nights out
  • Additional fees for wi-fi and cable TV
  • Rate includes one RV, one vehicle and 4 people

Annual Pass Fee: $299

Note:  Activation fees are $50.00, plus tax $38.74 – Total fee to join is $387.74

It was not clear if the discount was $10.00 off the nightly fee, or if the site was actually $10 per night with an annual membership.  Either way, this membership does not include very many locations, therefore would not be beneficial to us.

 

Western Horizon Resorts

Locations are “coast to coast”, but still only 12 (more in one state versus another and obviously not in every one) – I would say “coast to coast” is misleading…

There was no membership information on their website, and no online sign up capabilities, but instructions were given to call 970.641.5387. It wasn’t worth it for me to call a toll number for a membership like this. Members can make reservations online, but only two are allowed at one time. Members may stay at each resort for two weeks in and one week out. There is a toll free reservation phone number.

Contact information is as follows:

CONTACT WHR 
Western Horizon Resorts
103 West Tomichi Ave.
Gunnison, CO 81230

MEMBER SERVICES 
Telephone: (970) 641-5387
Fax: (970) 642-4592
Email: whrinfo@whrus.com
HOURS: Monday -Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. MST
Closed 12:00 p.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch
Website: http://www.westernhorizonresorts.com

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s