Harvest Hosts Review: It’s Only Worth It For This Type of RVer

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There are SO many different RVing memberships these days that it can be a bit overwhelming trying to decide what makes sense for your style of camping. One of the most popular RVing memberships is called Harvest Hosts, which allows you to stay overnight at local breweries, wineries, farms and more, in exchange for patronizing the business. Sounds like a sweet deal? It definitely is—but the program may not be for every RVer. 

My husband, Justin, and I have stayed at dozens of Harvest Hosts over the last few years and are well-acquainted with the program’s benefits and drawbacks. Here’s an honest, non-sponsored Harvest Hosts review from someone who has personally used the program all over the country. 

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Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition trailer parked in a vineyard while camping at Harvest Hosts
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Table of contents

Before we dive into the Harvest Hosts review, you may be wondering why you should give a hoot about my opinion of the program. 

Well, Justin and I have been RVing for four years now and have camped in EVERY way that you can imagine—we’ve been weekend warriors, have taken our trailer out for month-long trips at a time, and, now, we actually do full-time RV life! Accordingly, we’ve been able to get a good feel for the Harvest Hosts program from a variety of different perspectives and have a solid grasp on who the program makes sense for—and who should skip it.

Couple sitting on top of a Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition by Big Bend National Park in Texas

What is the Harvest Hosts program?

Once you pay the annual membership fee, you’ll have full access to the Harvest Hosts app or the website, where you can view, search, and book an unlimited number of campsites with over 5,200 hosts, which range from maple shacks in Vermont and bourbon distilleries in Kentucky to potato museums in Idaho and a sustainable farm with mini-donkeys in Florida.

Beyond the membership fee, you do not have to pay any money to camp at these sites, although there is an expectation that you’ll patronize these businesses (e.g., you buy beer, wine, homemade jam, or whatever the business sells). For a long time, Harvest Hosts suggested spending at least $20 at host businesses, but recently upped their recommendation to $30 per stay. 

Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition at Bonair Winery with a vineyard and mountains in the background through the Harvest Hosts program

How much does a Harvest Hosts membership cost?

There’s three different tiers of annual Harvest Hosts membership:

Harvest Hosts Classic

This is the traditional Harvest Hosts program, described above, that provides you with access to book an unlimited number of stays at over 5,200 farms, wineries, breweries, museums, and other businesses across the United States and Canada. 

SUV pulling a Safari Condo Alto R1723 in front of the Route 66 Brewery in New Mexico through the Harvest Hosts program

The standard rate for this is $99 per year, but you can use this link to the Harvest Host site for a unique promo code discount! 

Harvest Hosts + Boondockers Welcome

In the last few years, Harvest Hosts bought a somewhat similar program called Boondockers Welcome, where over 3,600 private individuals allow RVers to stay in their driveways, backyards, or whatever open space they have available. 

We plan to write a whole separate Boondockers Welcome review article, but this is a REALLY handy program, especially if you RV in more urban areas or on the eastern side of the United States, and has a lot of benefits that the Harvest Hosts program lacks—specifically the ability to stay at a site for up to five days, as compared to just one night at Harvest Hosts, and to search for hosts that provide hookups.

Woman sitting outside of the Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition with trees in the background in La Pine, Oregon

The standard rate for accessing both Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome hosts is $169 per year, but again, you can almost always get 15% off by using the promo code at the top of the banner on the Harvest Host site. This is the Harvest Hosts membership that Justin and I have and we seriously use it ALL the time, especially when we’re camping on the eastern side of the United States. 

Pssst… if you’re only interested in getting a standalone Boondockers Welcome membership (and not a Harvest Hosts membership), use the promo code BWFRIENDS15 at this link for 15% off your membership.

Harvest Hosts All-Access

The highest tier membership that you can have is Harvest Hosts All-Access, which, in addition to the normal Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome sites we discussed above, will also provide you access to an additional 400+ golf courses, golf resorts, and country clubs. Given the relatively small amount of additional host sites you get with this program, I’d think this would really only make sense if you’re into golfing. 

Sand trap in a golf course with mountains in the background

This tier costs $179 per year. If you’re interested in getting this option, the discount codes offered on the Harvest Hosts website usually don’t work, but I have a secret workaround for our awesome readers! You can buy a Harvest Hosts Classic membership, using this link to their website for a unique promo code discount, and then upgrade to a Harvest Hosts All-Access membership within your membership dashboard. Woohoo—everybody likes saving money!

What kind of RVers can join the Harvest Hosts program?

First of all, it’s important to understand that your RV must meet certain specifications in order to qualify for the program. 

Couple sitting with their laptops on top of Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition trailer at a sugar plantation through the Harvest Hosts program

You must have a self-contained RV to participate, meaning you are required to have a toilet inside your RV that holds your waste, as well as some kind of holding tank that captures your gray water. Dumping of either black or gray water is prohibited at Harvest Hosts sites. 

You are also only allowed to use indoor cooking facilities while on a host’s property—so, if you have a campervan or teardrop trailer that has cooking facilities on its exterior, you won’t be able to use them while you’re staying at a Harvest Hosts site. Also, you’re going to have to keep that grill stowed away during your visit. 

Harvest Hosts does not allow the following to participate: 

  • campers with tents (either on the ground or rooftops)
  • campers that are sleeping in cars
  • overlanding vehicles (like Jeeps); or 
  • pop-up trailers (we, at Uprooted Traveler, are scratching our heads a bit at this last one, but we don’t set the rules!)
Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition parked in a forest in Savannah, Georgia

Most of these restrictions make sense to me—for example, it would be pretty gross if a bunch of campers were relieving themselves on a winery’s lawn or distracting for the business’s other non-Harvest Hosts guests if you were making a full-blown meal in your outdoor kitchen while staying on their property. However, these restrictions obviously will disqualify certain campers that surely would be interested in the program. 

Benefits of Harvest Hosts

You get to stay at unique campsites.

Of course, one of the biggest benefits of Harvest Hosts is getting to wake up in REALLY cool places. How often can you roll out of bed and literally open your door to a vineyard in Napa valley, a sugar plantation in Florida, or an alpaca sanctuary in West Virginia? 

Couple sitting with glasses of wine on top of the Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition trailer in Bonair Winery in Washington through the Harvest Hosts program

Harvest Hosts’ properties have been some of my favorite campsites that we’ve ever stayed and allows us to get a tiny glimpse into other people’s lives or industries that we almost certainly wouldn’t have otherwise (like, a peppermint farm in Oregon that’s used to flavor toothpaste—who knew?!). I especially think these experiences would be valuable for families with kiddos—there’s almost always some cute animals running around Harvest Hosts sites. 

It’s an affordable and safe way to camp.

Justin and I generally prefer to stay at dispersed camping areas—they’re usually the best way to feel immersed in nature, they’re much more private than typical campgrounds, and best of all, they’re FREE. 

Aerial shot of a Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition parked at a farm in Granite City, Illinois

But sometimes—like, when we’re camping on the eastern coast of the United States or in more urban areas—dispersed camping just isn’t an option. And, in those situations, it’s not unusual for campgrounds to be pretty expensive—upwards of $75 (or more!) a night. This can feel downright ridiculous, especially when we’re just passing through an area and essentially only using a campsite as a place to sleep for the night.

In these situations, Harvest Hosts has truly been a godsend—it provides us a cool place to camp for free, other than the nominal amount of money we spend to patronize our host (usually trying out some tasty wine, beer, or food that we enjoy anyway!).

SUV pulling a Safari Condo Alto R1723 in front of a Cracker Barrel

Plus, Harvest Hosts feel a LOT safer than the alternatives of where we might camp in these situations, such as a Walmart, Cracker Barrel, or a rest stop. We’ve never felt uncomfortable or unsafe at a Harvest Hosts’ property and I unfortunately can’t say the same about some Walmart parking lot. 

You get to support a local business.

Generally, Harvest Hosts properties are places that Justin and I would have likely driven right past, if not for their participation in the program. And this would be a HUGE loss on our part! 

For example, Justin and I wound up camping at the Jester King Brewery in Austin, Texas when we unexpectedly had to stay in the city longer than planned for Justin’s computer to get fixed (unfortunately, a colony of ants from Guatemala decided to take up residence in his laptop!). Not only does this brewery have a herd of adorable Nigerian dwarf goats that “mow” their lawn, but also seriously some of the best beer I’ve ever had. And the only reason we visited was Harvest Hosts!

Nigerian dwarf goats grazing at the Jester King Brewery in Austin, Texas through the Harvest Hosts program

We love supporting these small (and great!) local businesses. It’s estimated that Harvest Hosts members have spent over $100 million supporting host locations through the program—seems like a pretty big win-win for everyone involved!

They usually have a fun environment.

Whether you’re a full-time RVer or a weekend warrior, it’s always fun to meet others that share similar interests to you. And, at many of the Harvest Hosts that we’ve stayed at, we’ve not only gotten to meet the super kind owners of the businesses but also other campers, whether they’re hanging out at the business or outside of their RV.

SUV pulling a Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition in front of a canyon wall in Colorado

I have a particularly fond memory of chilling on the patio of a winery in Buhl, Idaho, where we were camping for the night. Literally, all of the other patrons there happened to be Harvest Hosts guests, too, and we spent the evening together, drinking some delicious wine and swapping travel tales. You just don’t have that same experience at a campground—and DEFINITELY don’t have that when you’re camping at a Cracker Barrel.

The Harvest Hosts app is user-friendly.

I’ve been a member of Harvest Hosts for a long time and its app used to, frankly, be terrible. But it’s clear that, in recent years, the program has taken user feedback to make improvements—and it’s become really user-friendly these days, from booking sites to route planning. 

Screenshot of Harvest Hosts app

For example, within the website or app, you can search around a specific location or along a route for host locations; you can check hosts’ availability and request to reserve directly through the app (whereas you used to have to call a host to check availability and request booking, which was kind of a pain); and their map has cool filters and overlays, so you can more easily locate what kind of host you’re looking for, find dump stations on your route, and even see what kind of cell service is available where you’d be camping. 

Screenshot of Harvest Hosts app

All in all, it’s a really intuitive user experience, which is a lot more than I can say for a lot of other apps!

Drawbacks of Harvest Hosts

Okay, now, for this Harvest Host review, let’s delve into the not so great aspects of it. 

You can only stay one night.

The single biggest drawback of the Harvest Hosts program, if you ask me, is that you can only stay one night at a property at a time. 

As most RVers know, it can take a while to set up your rig at a new campsite, so it’s a bit annoying that you can only stay at these sites overnight. It also makes Harvest Hosts a pretty impractical solution for a lot of campers (like us, who have a trailer) if you primarily want to have a homebase to leave your RV behind while you explore a certain area. 

Couple sitting outside their Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition trailer parked in Bonair Winery in Washington with the Harvest Hosts program

Accordingly, we mainly use Harvest Hosts as pit stops to break up longer road trips, if we’re only planning on being in an area for the day, or if we’re waiting for a reservation at a nearby campground.

For example, we recently visited Savannah, Georgia for about a week, but the campground we were staying at was completely booked up the weekend that we arrived. So we wound up staying at two different breweries in Savannah through the Harvest Host program as we waited for our campground reservation—and, of course, got to try some killer beer in the meantime!

It’s worth noting here that many hosts allow you to stay for more than one night, sometimes for free or something for a nominal fee (generally, between $10-$25 a night). This is often noted in the host’s profile or will be sent in a private message to you once you book a stay. 

Woman cooking a meal in her Safari Condo Alto F2114 trailer

So we definitely have used Harvest Hosts as a home base as we explored a specific area. For example, we stayed at a church in Islamorada, Florida Keys for two nights, where campgrounds in this area easily run up to $150 a night—that two-night stay alone made our annual membership fee worth it. And we’ve actually stayed as long as four nights at certain hosts! 

However, these hosts are definitely the exception, not the rule. 

You have to arrive during the host’s business hours.

One of the aspects that we struggled with the Harvest Host program when we were weekend warriors is that you are expected to arrive during a host’s business hours, so that they can direct you where to park and you can patronize their business. 

If you’re anything like us, we crammed as much adventuring as we possibly could into our weekends, so we found that arriving during certain types of hosts’ operating hours pretty limiting. For example, many of the farms and wineries, which are usually the most picturesque kind of Harvest Hosts campsites, are only open until 5 PM—so it often wasn’t practical for us to wrap up whatever activity we were doing by the early afternoon and drive to a host before they closed for the day. 

Couple kissing in front of their Safari Condo Alto R1723 in a winery in Sonoma, California through the Harvest Hosts program

There’s definitely an array of other hosts, whose hours aren’t so limited—for example, breweries tend to be open until late in the evening and churches often let you arrive whenever. 

And many hosts are okay with you arriving after hours—there’s been a number of times when we’re accidentally running behind schedule and a host has been happy to work with you over the phone so you know where to set up (we’ve even bought bottles of wine from hosts over the phone and had them waiting for us at our campsite, because we’ve arrived after their closing!). 

Goats grazing at a winery in Sonoma, California with mountains in the background

Again, this is definitely an important limitation to consider, especially if you’re usually RVing during a short timeframe. 

Most hosts don’t have hook-ups.

Hosts do not usually provide any kind of hook-ups, so beyond being self-contained, you’ll also need to have sufficient water tanks and batteries to power your rig during your stay. 

Honda generator plugged into Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition with a couple sitting in front

However, you generally are allowed to use generators, but you’ll, of course, have to abide by the host’s rules to ensure you’re not bothering other guests (pssst… we have this generator, which we specifically bought because it’s so whisper quiet!). 

Our trailer is designed for boondocking, with lots of solar and a big battery bank, and it’s our preferred way to camp, so this isn’t a big deal for us. However, if you don’t have a rig that’s set up for dry camping or just prefer to use hookups, this might be a pain point for you. 

As with all of the other drawbacks, there are definitely exceptions to this—we’ve stayed at quite a few Harvest Hosts who have, unprompted, offered us water to fill up and a handful that have offered electricity—but these are usually pretty few and far between. 

Hosts in more popular locations tend to book up. 

Most hosts allow anywhere from one to ten campers to stay on their property at a time, depending on how much space they have. This is, of course, usually a bit more limited than what a typical campground might have.

Woman cooking in her Safari Condo Alto F2114 trailer in Deception Pass State Park in Washington

There are some SUPER cool Harvest Hosts on the platform. For example, you can stay at a cranberry bog in Bandon, one of the cutest Oregon Coast towns and the official cranberry capital of the state, or at a beautiful date farm near Death Valley, which is famed for their date shakes. We’ve heard great things from other RVers about these sites and tried to book them while we were exploring the nearby area—only to see they were booked out for weeks in advance. 

On the bright side, hosts clearly list how far in advance they start taking reservations so, if there’s some place that you really want to stay, you can set an alert to sign up as soon as the booking window opens. For example, when we stayed in Florida for the winter, I did exactly that to nab up as many sites on Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome as I could, given how competitive (and expensive!) camping there is. 

Couple standing on top of the Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition in Key West, Florida

It’s also worth mentioning there are THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of hosts who have tons of availability on the platform—you’re just more likely to run into Harvest Hosts that are booked up when you’re visiting really popular tourist destinations (think maple syrup shacks in Vermont in the fall or sites that are really close to U.S. National Parks). 

Communication can occasionally be bumpy.

Given that the hosts are small business owners and primarily concerned with, well, running their business, as opposed to running a campground, we’ve had a handful of incidents where communication hasn’t been the smoothest with hosts. For example, there are still a few hosts who ask that you call them instead of booking through the app or, even, occasionally, workers at a host’s property who are unaware of its participation in the program and are therefore unsure of where to direct you where to park. 

Safari Condo Alto F1743 Expedition parked in a garage through the Boondockers Welcome program

None of these have been a big deal at all, but, if you’ve had a long day of driving or just don’t like inconveniencing other customers with your rig in a host’s parking lot, it isn’t our favorite aspect of the program. 

What kind of RVer is right for the Harvest Hosts program?

So, to sum up this Harvest Hosts review, what kind of RVer is right for the Harvest Host program? Here’s who I would absolutely recommend signing up for the program:

  • You are a full-time RVer who moves frequently
  • You don’t mind staying just one night at a campsite, like if you regularly go on road trips or take pit stops to break up longer driving days
  • You are equipped to camp without hookups for the day, like having a decent-sized battery and holding tanks. 
  • You like quirky campsites with a social atmosphere. 
Woman cooking in her Safari Condo Alto F2114 trailer parked in a forest

On the other hand, I’m not sure that Harvest Hosts would be right for you if:

  • Your rig doesn’t meet the basic requirements for membership (read above). 
  • You prefer to stay in campsites longer than one night. 
  • You’re primarily looking for a homebase to leave your RV behind and explore the surrounding area.
  • You usually are running on a tight timeline and getting to a host’s property during their business hours may impact your adventuring. 

I hope this Harvest Hosts review is helpful for you in deciding whether this membership is right for you or not. Do you have any questions about this quirky program? Let us know in the comments below!

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4 thoughts on “Harvest Hosts Review: It’s Only Worth It For This Type of RVer”

  1. I am not an RVer. But I thought this was a very good review, pros and cons. I did check the price to join Harvest Hosts (just curious) and was surprised that it was a good price and also checked the map to see there were plenty of places to stay throughout the country.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for your comment!

      I do think Harvest Hosts can be an awesome tool for non-fulltime RVers, but I don’t think it’s very well-suited for MOST RVers who primarily camp on weekends or who have limited flexibility. I think there are some exceptions to that (for example, Boondockers Welcome is SO handy for camping in more urban environments, so if you happen to like to use your RV to explore cities, it might be a great option for you!), but you’d probably know if one of those niche scenarios applied to you.

      Thanks again for reading and happy camping!

      Jess

      Reply

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