The Difference Between Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome

Harvest Host vs Boondockers Welcome - Aeriel View Bowl of Cherry Tomatoes from Farmer to Guest

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If you’re looking for free overnight RV camping options, that don’t involve a crowded Walmart parking lot, you’ve come to the right place!

>> Considering becoming a Harvest Host location? Our guide on how to become a Harvest Host location details what it’s like and benefits to being a Harvest Host. Best part? It’s completely FREE!

While researching unique ways to camp for free in your RV, you may have come across or been invited to become a member of Harvest Hosts or Boondockers Welcome.

These two membership programs offer RVers the opportunity to camp overnight at a variety of locations, including farms, wineries, private land, and businesses not publicly available for RV stays.

In case you haven’t heard of either Harvest Hosts or Boondockers Welcome before, below is a quick explanation of the two RV membership programs.

You’ll also find free access to reviews of these unique RV camping memberships and a 15% discount code to join either membership (that’s the largest membership discount available!).

What is Harvest Hosts?

Harvest Hosts is a membership club for RVers and campers who enjoy staying overnight at farms, wineries, and other agritourism locations. RV stays are typically free with the understanding that Harvest Host Members are encouraged to spend at least $20 at each Host they camp at.

Check out our full review of Harvest Hosts here (For your discount code of 15% off your first year of membership to Harvest Hosts click here ).

**For 15% off a Harvest Hosts Membership – click here to sign up for Harvest Hosts**

What is Boondockers Welcome?

Boondockers Welcome is a membership club for RVers who enjoy camping off the beaten path. For an annual fee, members receive access to a directory of participating hosts who offer free overnight parking on their property. Check out our full review of Boondockers Welcome here

Hosts can offer anything from a dry spot to park your RV to full hookups with water and electricity. Boondockers Welcome is a great resource for finding free camping, whether you’re planning a cross-country trip or just looking for a place to stay for a night or five or more if you’re invited to stay.

**For 15% off a Boondockers Welcome Membership – click here to sign up for Boondockers Welcome (Then use the Discount Code: BWFRIENDS15)**

But first…

How are Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome Similar?

When you are on a road trip and need a stop or two between destinations, you’ll be happy to know that both RV memberships offer different options other than highway rest stops or “wallydocking” an RV slang term for camping overnight in a Walmart parking lot.

With unlimited stays at different locations across America and Canada, becoming a member of one of these RV memberships is like rolling into the last available pull-through spot on a three-day weekend.

I’ll tell you right now, these RV camping options aren’t exactly free. But they are pretty darn close! Either membership you choose to join will pay for itself in just one to three overnight stays.

That’s great! But how are Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome different and which is best for me?

Let’s get camping and find out!

Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome Differ in a Few Ways

Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome differ in their offerings to RVers. While both provide a place to stay overnight, often for free, their services and amenities vary.

Types of Locations Offering Free Unique RV Stays

Harvest Hosts is a network of farms, wineries, museums, golf courses, and other agritourism locations that welcome RVers overnight. This program is designed to promote awareness and support of farmers and the agricultural industry. RVers are encouraged to spend at least $20 at each location.

Boondockers Welcome is a network of private property owners who welcome RVers to stay overnight on their land. Boondockers Welcome locations can include small farms, etc. as well but without the fee.

Ability to Accommodate the Full Length of Your Rig

Harvest Hosts: Depending on the type of host and their location, you may not be able to access a Harvest Host location in your RV. If you have a small camper, you won’t have to worry about this so much.

Boondockers Welcome: Again, the location and size of your rig will determine how many locations you have access to. However, unless you are looking to camp in a driveway location (which is an option), there are fewer size restrictions.

Availability of Full Hook-Ups for Your RV

Harvest Hosts: There are generally no hook-ups offered by Harvest Hosts. Some may provide electrical or fresh water hook-ups but this is not common and shouldn’t be counted on. Though some locations do allow the use of a generator when you are RV camping.

Boondockers Welcome: Since Boondockers Welcome hosts are offering their private land for RV campers, they are usually able to provide partial hook-ups for a donation of $5-$10 per night. You can find locations offering sewer hook-ups but they are much less common.

Number of Nights You Can Stay Overnight

Harvest Hosts: Members are allowed to stay just one night (or no more than 24 hours from time of arrival). Members are not allowed to ask Hosts if they may stay longer but Hosts are welcome to invite Members to camp an additional night or two.

Boondockers Welcome: Members are able to request to stay up to five consecutive nights or more. (Which is quite a long time to camp in RV for free!)

How Much Time You’ll Spend With Your Host

Harvest Hosts: Business owners may not always be available to meet with you (even if they’ve met with lots of other guests). You may spend many hours with your Harvest Host or you may never even see them. It all depends on the business type, if it’s the busy season, and a Hosts hours of operation.

Boondockers Welcome: When they are available most hosts of Boondockers Welcome locations will want spend time with you and exchange RV travel stories. Your host is also a great source for getting insider information on the best places to eat and things to do in the nearby towns.

(Insider Tip: Read through Member reviews of Hosts to find out how others experiences had been).

How Often You’ll Meet Fellow RVers

Harvest Hosts: Businesses are more likely to only have the space to accommodate one RV at a time. Again, this will vary from host to host. For examples, golf courses or a farms with more open space are usually able to accept multiple member requests to stay overnight on the same night.

Boondockers Welcome: Due to the large size of most Boondockers property, it’s not uncommon to find yourself camping with other RVers when staying overnight at Boondockers Welcome locations. Especially if those locations are near tourist attractions. (I mean, you can’t beat free RV parking!)

Cost Of Harvest Hosts vs Boondockers Welcome

A Harvest Hosts annual membership plans start at just $99 and includes nearly 4000 different host locations, with new businesses becoming Hosts regularly. (Click here to apply to become a Host).

The Boondockers Welcome annual membership costs $79 and their ever increasing directory currently includes over 3000 host locations.

You Can Combine Both Memberships and Save!

Check out the combination of Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. With this combo, you’ll have access to the best of both worlds when it comes to overnight stays.

Become a member of both programs for only $169. And you have the option of accessing over 400 golf courses and their new features (7000 dump station locations and maps for cell coverage and weather) with an All Access pass for just $10 more!

Members Compare Differences Between Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome

An excerpt from what a member says is the difference between the two memberships

“The main difference I have experienced is that the Boondockers hosts are RV people, interested in your stories and keen to assist you. They are happy to help and share with another RV traveler.

Harvest hosts, for the most part, are business people. Their main object is to makes some sales and increase the profile of their business.

While I have enjoyed my stays at HH [Harvest Hosts] locations, don’t expect long friendly RV chats, but sure you may have a dry site, for one night all for the cost of a bottle of wine.”

Difference Between Harvest Host and Boondockers Welcome as Reported by a Member
Member comment image obtained from Harvest Host’s website

Harvest Hosts vs. Boondockers Welcome: Our Experience After 1 Year of Full-Time RVing

After being members of both RV memberships during our first year full-time RVing, we have learned some of the key differences between Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome.

We second the sentiment shared by RV Travels’ comment (in the section above) that you are much more likely to be invited to become a part of the family when you stay with a host from Boondockers Welcome than one from Harvest Hosts.

For example, one Boondockers Welcome host invited us to stay with them over the Christmas holiday while their family came to visit. We politely declined their offer and they sent us on our way with some homemade peanut brittle. Yum!

That being said, there are exceptions to every rule

We have spent entire evenings with hosts of Harvest Hosts locations, learning about their families, their farms, and their businesses. While we have also had the experience of camping several consecutive nights at a Boondockers Welcome location where we never ever saw or spoke to the host.

Is Harvest Hosts or Boondockers Welcome Better?

There are many websites and apps that offer discounts for RVers, but two of the most popular are Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome.

Both memberships offer similar benefits to RVers looking for different places to camp overnight, but there are some key differences that may make one a better option for you.

So, which one is better?

The best membership for you will depend on your RV camping and travel style.

If you want to stay on gorgeous private properties (or even just a driveway near a tourist destination) for multiple nights at over 3000 locations, then Boondockers Welcome could be a great option.

If you’re looking for more diverse camping options (such as vineyards, breweries, museums, etc.) with one in night stays, then Harvest Hosts is the way to go.

Can’t decide?

You can have the best of both world’s by joining both and still enjoying 15% off your membership!

The Harvest Hosts vs Boondockers Welcome Review of Key Membership Differences

Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome Memberships are both great resources for finding “free” overnight camping spots. Depending on your RV traveling style, you may benefit more from one membership over the other or a combination of them both.

Harvest Hosts is a better option if you need a quiet place to stay for one night and want to sample local fare and attractions at the place you are staying without additional driving.

Boondockers Welcome is better RV membership for you if you are looking for a longer stay (possibly with partial or even full hook-ups) and new RV friends.

Are Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome Worth Joining?

If you are traveling full-time in an RV, the differences between Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome make it worth it to join both memberships as the combined annual membership pays for itself in just one or two stays.

Additionally, if you are looking for even more overnight locations for your RV travels, it’s worth it to upgrade your Harvest Hosts membership to include golf courses – yes, even if you don’t golf.

**For 15% off a Harvest Hosts Membership – click here to sign up for Harvest Hosts**

Whichever you choose, make sure to do your research ahead of time to ensure a safe and fun experience seeing new places and making new friends with fellow RVers and small business owners!

**For 15% off a Boondockers Welcome Membership – click here to sign up for Boondockers Welcome (Then use the Discount Code: BWFRIENDS15)**

In conclusion, both Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome are great membership clubs for RVers who like to dry camp or boondock for free overnight.

If you travel often and like to mix up your camping experiences, then these memberships are definitely worth joining!

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