- With international and interstate travel restrictions still in place, Americans are looking for creative staycation ideas close to home.
- Enter Harvest Hosts, a membership-based network offering RV owners free overnight access to more than 1,500 wineries, farms, museums, and other attractions across the US, Canada, and Baja California.
- Harvest Hosts Member Services Manager Lisa Manning told Business Insider that the company has seen an influx of new RVers this summer.
- Membership starts start at $US79 per year, the equivalent cost of two to three nights at a typical campground.
- From a working alpaca farm to a moonshine distillery, here are nine scenic and off-the-beaten path locations Harvest Hosts members can visit.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The coronavirus pandemic has decimated many parts of the industry, but RV travel is not one of them.
Harvest Hosts, a membership-based network offering RV owners free overnight access to more than 1,500 wineries, breweries, farms, museums, and attractions across the US, Canada, and Baja California, has seen an unprecedented surge in membership and bookings this summer as Americans eye socially distant vacations close to home.
“Many state parks and campgrounds are either closed or have limited their parking spots. Also, RV sales are at record highs so there are more people competing for the parking spots that are available,” Harvest Hosts Member Services Manager Lisa Manning told Business Insider, adding that her team is recruiting an average of 100 hosts and locations per month to make sure their members have plenty of options.
Harvest Hosts doesn’t just offer an alternative to run-of-the-mill campgrounds; the annual membership is also extremely affordable. It costs $US79, which is equivalent to the price of two to three nights at a budget-friendly RV park, according to RV rental firm Cruise America. For an additional $US40 per year, members can access over 350 golf courses and country clubs.
While Harvest Hosts members are free to book any location through the Harvest Hosts mobile app, they must abide by a few rules: They need to own self-contained RVs – no tents or sleeping in the car allowed – and they’re encouraged to spend money at each location in order to give back to hosts.
From a working alpaca farm to a moonshine distillery, here are nine scenic and off-the-beaten path locations in Harvest Hosts’ network.
Heritage Farm Suri Alpacas
Location: Flora, Indiana
Highlights: This working alpaca farm set on 120 acres is home to 70 alpacas you can interact with, plus three resident dogs and other barn animals. Guests can help feed the animals and purchase farm fresh eggs, honey, and alpaca products like sweaters and scarves. There’s even a 400-foot zip line for kids.
Porter Sculpture Park
Location: Montrose, South Dakota
Highlights: This sculpture field set on 18 acres in the South Dakota prairie consists of 50 larger-than-life sculptures, including fish swimming through seaweed, a giant potted rose, and 60-foot-tall Bull’s Head.
Golden Spike Tower & Visitor Centre
Location: North Platte, Nebraska
Highlights: Visitors can spend the night and wake up to climb the Golden Spike Tower, which overlooks the world’s largest rail yard.
Chateau Le Coeur Winery & Lavender Farm
Location: Cornelius, Oregon
Highlights: At Chateau Le Coeur, guests can wake up to views of snow-capped mountains framed by lavender fields, then head to the gift shop to purchase wine, chocolate truffles, and lavender gifts.
Mid-America Windmill Museum
Location: Kendallville, Indiana
Highlights: Located both indoors and outdoors, the Mid-America Windmill Museum is home to 52 windmills that span American history, including a replica of one used in Jamestown back in the 1620s.
Casey Jones Distillery
Location: Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Highlights: This small-batch bourbon and moonshine distillery dates back to Prohibition and is located in Kentucky’s Golden Pond, an area Al Capone used to frequent in search of the potent drink.
Chicagoland Sky Diving Centre
Location: Rochelle, Illinois
Highlights: Guests can watch skydivers fall from the sky on the 20,000-square-foot campus that includes a full service restaurant with a beer garden, a competition sand volleyball court, and tent pavilion. Regular RV spots cost $US10 per night outside of a Harvest Hosts membership.
Lane Tree Golf Course
Location: Goldsboro, North Carolina
Highlights: Guests can wake up to views of North Carolina’s Little River and start an 18-hole round as soon as the coffee kicks in.
Red Apple Farm
Location: Phillipston, Massachusetts
Highlights: This fourth-generation family farm with an 18th-century barn grows over 50 varieties of apples as well as berries, pumpkins, and other produce. It offers seasonal “pick-your-own” experiences and sells baked goods like apple dumplings in its gift shop.
Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum
Location: Wheeling, West Virginia
Highlights: Housed in a restored Victorian school, the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum displays tens of thousands of toys and model trains.
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