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Thread: Camping Clubs

  1. Default Camping Clubs

    As I mentioned on another thread, my boyfriend and I are planning a 4 month road trip around the USA. We've budgeted to camp 2 out of every 3 nights, and had costed the camping at $15 per night. However, I'm now thinking we may have budgeted too low, so I was thinking about taking out membership of one or maybe two camping clubs. Would this be a good idea, and which would be the best? I've seen Happy Camper mentioned here. Which other one would be good? We'll need as wide a distribution of campsites as possible, so that we can always be aiming for a discounted place to stay.

    And, do all campsites have tent or car spaces; or are some for RVs only?
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-19-2008 at 07:37 PM. Reason: linked to previous thread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Never use them

    There are a few options, I believe, but to be honest with you, I've never used one.

    I do a ton of camping, but I do the vast majority of it at state and national parks, or other public lands that generally offer pretty low cost camping. I've found for me that it is a better value and a more pleasant experience than private campgrounds - although there are certainly some nice private ones there and if you are looking for amentities, you'll find more in a private facility.

    A few private RV parks are only for RVs, but most places have at least a few places to set up a tent.

  3. Default

    I'm still wondering whether to join one of these camping clubs or not. Having looked again at Happy Camper and Passport America, I'm worried that they seem to focus on RV camping rather than tent/car camping. Has anyone any experience of using these clubs for tent camping?

    Michael, in response to your post, I think we'll do a fair bit of camping at national/state parks, but a lot of the time I think we'll need to use private campsites as well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I wouldn't bother

    We joined Happy Camper once and we just didn't see the benefit. Of course, we weren't camping for four months straight either. But I don't think you'll save enough on campground fees to justify the expense of joining the club. We also often found that there weren't any member campgrounds near where we wanted to be that night anyway so we often couldn't even use our discount.

    At the time, we had a truck/camper. I don't think I'd join with a tent as we noticed that many of the ones we stayed in did cater to RVs. Their tent camping sites were often negligible and not much better than camping in a parking lot. Just my opinion.

    I did just check the Happy Camper site and they do list a few campgrounds I'm familiar with that have nice tent camping areas. But they also list others I'm familiar with that really don't have tent camping at all or those awful "like camping in a parking lot" type of spots.

    If you have time before you're coming here, I'd check out the locations and see if they mesh with where you want to stay. And then check out the campgrounds you're thinking of staying at to see if they have decent, dedicated tent areas.

    I guess it just worries me because, when I look at the listings, most of them are ____name____ RV Park. When they're named as an RV park, this usually means they don't cater to tents.

  5. Default

    Thanks for you reply, Judy - that's really useful. We had been nearing that conclusion ourselves after noticing that often even campgrounds that didn't define themselves as RV grounds sometimes didn't accept tents. I think at the start of our research we didn't quite grasp that in the US when you say camping quite often it assumes RV camping, whereas in the UK it assumes tent camping.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default A change over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by Brits in America View Post
    I think at the start of our research we didn't quite grasp that in the US when you say camping quite often it assumes RV camping, whereas in the UK it assumes tent camping.
    This is becoming more and more prevalent as time goes on, too. We have been tent and cabin camping for many years, and it is becoming quite clear that more and more campgrounds are primarily catering to RVs. A favorite tent site of mine at a favorite campground in Virginia became an RV-only site, though it didn't change in size.

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy
    ...or those awful "like camping in a parking lot" type of spots.
    Those are definitely on the list of "stay aways" for me, too. I've been using Google maps satellite view to get a better feel for potential campsites. It's not very scientific, but if the aerial view shows absolutely no trees, I'll stay away. For a place we are going in June, I looked at the aerial views and couldn't find any indication of any campsites due to the abundance of trees.

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