I first heard about Harvest Hosts from some of my favourite travellers to watch and learn from on YouTube. Kara and Nate are an adventurous couple who set and tackle tough goals and somehow always make them look fun. During the pandemic, they pivoted from international adventures and moved into a campervan. Throughout their 2-year van journey they kept mentioning this thing called Harvest Hosts that they used to find safe and interesting places to sleep at. Not only did each destination look beautiful and delicious, but my curiosity was piqued about each of the businesses and the people who run them. I’m always keen to support local and so I put Harvest Hosts on the list of things I wanted to include in my own vanlife adventures someday.
Well, that someday is here and I can already say I love using Harvest Hosts! My first weekend ever camping in the van I stayed at a Christmas tree farm in Ontario, Canada that had so many hidden gems around its property. I can’t wait to stay at more Harvest Host locations. I wish I could stay at all of them, however there are thousands to choose from and that would be an adventure in and of itself! It’s early days for me still but I have a feeling that Harvest Hosts is going to be the best vanlife camping option in North America that I can find.
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What is Harvest Hosts?
Harvest Hosts is a unique way to camp and expands what it means to go on a road trip. It provides RVers and vanlifers unlimited access to stay over at thousands of wineries, breweries, farms, golf courses, and other unique attractions. When you sign up for an annual membership it allows you to camp at any of the businesses in exchange for a small purchase to support the local business who’s hosting you. The purchase can be anything from a wine tasting or farm tour, to ordering a flight of craft beer, or purchasing a fresh made bottle of maple syrup to bring with you on the road! By signing up for Harvest Hosts with this link and the code “HHFRIENDS20”, you will receive 20% off your annual membership until the end of August.
What is Boondockers Welcome?
Boondockers Welcome opens up another whole world of camping possibilities. Instead of staying at a potentially noisy and crowded campground, you can park on a private spot on someone’s property. Think of it as the AirBnB for camping with your own rig. It’s a great way to meet locals in the areas you’re exploring and to have a safe and peaceful sleep. Almost 70% of Boondockers Welcome hosts also offer hookups, which is quite handy if you need to charge your rig as well. By signing up for Boondockers Welcome with this link and using the code BWFRIENDS15, you’ll receive 15% off of your annual membership.
Where are Harvest Host and Boondocker Welcome Sites?
Harvest Host and Boondocker Welcome sites can be found at almost 7,000 locations all over Canada and the United States. That is a LOT of safe and unique campsites to choose from! Personally, I really enjoy cider, wine, and unique places so I’ll be scouting out those kinds of Harvest Host locations whenever possible. You could stick to just golf courses or breweries if that’s more your style. The adventure is what you make it, wherever you go with the annual membership.
What’s the Cost?
Annual Memberships are tiered depending on where you prefer to camp. There are three options which include:
- Harvest Hosts Classic
- Harvest Hosts + Boondockers Welcome
- All Access
Harvest Hosts is so confident in their service that they have a 100% money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied within the first 3 months of your membership. My guess is you’re going to love it though!
What Kinds of Rigs Can Camp with Harvest Hosts?
Any RV class may use Harvest Hosts (Class, A, B, or C), which includes motorhomes, fifth wheel trailers, travel trailers, toy haulers, camper vans, truck campers, and schoolies. If you’re towing a vehicle behind an RV, that is allowed as well.
On the other hand, tents on the ground or ontop of cars are not allowed, nor is sleeping in a car, truck, minivan, or people overlanding in Jeeps, on bikes or ATVs. Pop-up campers or folding camping trailers that pop up or out are also prohibited from using the service.
It is important to note that all participants’ vehicles must be fully self-contained (have a kitchen and bathroom). See the FAQ section on the Harvest Host website for a more detailed explanation of what this entails.
Do Harvest Hosts Provide Ammenities?
Harvest Hosts do not provide water, electricity, or sewer hookups that campgrounds might offer. Some hosts might offer electricity and water but it’s best to check the profile of the location you’re considering.
Are Harvest Hosts Open All the Time Like a Hotel?
Most Harvest Hosts are open year-round, but again, it’s best to check each individual site for seasonal information. Another important detail to note is that you must book your stay in advance by at least 24 hours and that you need to arrive during business hours unless you and the host make other arrangements.
What Parking Surfaces are Available?
Surfaces to park on can vary from concrete to asphalt to gravel, grass, or even dirt. This information will be available on the host’s profile and you can always check when you send them a message to reserve a spot too.
Levelling devices are permitted, but please be mindful of your equipment and if it may leave damage behind. Always take care of the host’s property like it’s your own.
Don’t Drink But Looking for a Place to Stay?
When staying at a cidery, winery, or brewery, don’t worry about purchasing alcohol if you don’t drink but still need a place to stay. Many of the businesses have food and gift shops as well, or you can buy a gift for someone else. At the end of the day you need to be comfortable wherever you’re staying.
Are Pets Welcome?
Each host will provide more information on their profile about this, but in general hosts will allow pets to stay on a leash at your vehicle. There are some instances where pets are not allowed due to working farm animals or for other reasons. Always clean up after your pet and respect the property you’re staying at.
How Long Can I Stay at One Location?
The intent behind Harvest Hosts is that campers stay for 1 night, or 24 hours, at a time. In some cases a host may offer for you to stay longer, however it’s strongly encouraged that you don’t become the houseguest who lingers past their welcome.
In Conclusion: Is Harvest Hosts the Best Vanlife Camping Choice?
As I write this in July of 2022, based on concept, price, safety, number of options, and unique places to stay, Harvest Hosts is most definitely the best vanlife camping choice (for places that require payment). If you’re not sure about getting a membership, send me an email with any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them quickly. I’m on this journey with you!