Wide-Open Spaces

In Do, November 2022 by Lindsey HydeLeave a Comment

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RVers are shifting gears on where to park it.

Looks like life is about the journey and the destination—and that destination is a host of dreamy spots to slumber. Say, the grounds of a gorge golf course in South Dakota, a serene farm in Iowa or a scenic winery in California. 

Enter Harvest Hosts, a company capitalizing on—and upgrading—the RV rage by giving members access to nearly 7,400 atypical “camp” sites in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. 

Exploding during the pandemic (hey, safe way to travel), home became where the van is in record numbers, with the RV Industry Association reporting the industry produced a record 600,240 wholesale shipments in 2021 (up nearly 20% from its last record set in 2017). 

While the pandemic clearly drove up interest and hip factor in RVing, Harvest Hosts CEO Joel Holland says it’s a way of life that, beyond being long popular with the older demographic, was already gaining traction. “National parks and state parks were becoming really popular even before the pandemic—going to small towns, buying local…” he says. “So I think trying to find these authentic experiences—that is what drove the initial interest in RVing by the younger demographic.”  

Adventuring Triangle couple Mark and Beth Haskell joined Harvest Hosts back in 2015, just eight months after they started RVing. Since then, they’ve stayed at 40 host sites.

Locales include the likes of golf courses, farms, churches, wineries, breweries, distilleries and museums. So, essentially, you can cruise without a care in the world with the bonus of, say, a few rounds of golf or glasses of red—and no need for a DD.

“They’re an alternative to crowded campgrounds, introduce you to new experiences and can be great fun,” says Mark, noting that one of Beth’s favorite experiences has been meeting a 12-day-old alpaca on a Colorado farm. “Financially, we often spend as much as we would for a campground, but go away with [things like] a jug of maple syrup, full bellies, a good bottle of wine and often a little bit of new knowledge.”

While host sites don’t charge overnight fees like campgrounds, Mark explains those stops are still an essential part of the ride, as host sites don’t provide water, electricity or disposal facilities. Still, Harvest Hosts gets rave reviews, and its membership has jumped from 6,000 to 244,000 since Holland took over as CEO in May 2018.

“I think the really big growth is coming from the younger end,” says Holland—“and we’re not seeing that slow down. We survey our members a lot… and our net promoter (NPS) scores are in the mid to high 70s.” Translation: members dig Harvest Hosts more than Apple, Starbucks and the like. Looks like it’s time to roll out… Annual plans from $99, harvesthosts.com

Park Locally

RVing doesn’t mean you have to travel far from home. Explore these six Harvest Host locations (for members!) in and around Raleigh. 

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