Thousand Trails Campground: Is it Worth it?

Thousand Trails Campground
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Do you frequently spend extended amounts of time in your camper? If so, have you ever considered becoming a member of or buying an annual pass for Thousand Trails Campground? Have you even heard of it?

Find out if a Thousand Trails membership is for you. Below, you’ll find more information about it.  

Thousand Trails Campground

If you’re constantly faced with the dilemma of finding a good campground to settle in, look no further than Thousand Trails – one of the United States’ leading providers of membership campgrounds, RV parks, and RV resorts.

Thousand Trails has more than 190 locations scattered around 22 states, offering unique activities depending on the area. You can bathe under the sun in Florida, take a hike in Arizona, or spend time fishing in Texas. Likewise, if you’re looking for a change in scenery, you can cross over to Canada. They also have a campground in British Columbia.

Why should you consider Thousand Trails Campground? Think of it this way. Non-membership campgrounds have nightly rates. Even if you get a discount for weekly or monthly stays, these expenses can add up. For example, if you’re going to a campground in Port Austin, Michigan, monthly rates can reach up to $650.

Depending on the frequency and duration of time you spend camping, a Thousand Trails annual pass or membership can help you save some money.

Membership Tiers Explained

Apart from helping you reduce your expenses other benefits of having a membership is comfort and security. Thousand Trails member campgrounds are gated and safe, so you won’t have to worry too much about being exposed to the elements.

Currently, there are four membership options: Zone Camping Pass; Elite Basic; Elite Connections; and Ultimate Odyssey. These membership levels can get confusing but don’t worry, I’ll break it down for you.

Firstly, you need to know that Thousand Trails campgrounds are broken down into 5 zones:

  • Northeast – 14 campgrounds in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania
  • Southeast – 23 campgrounds in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia
  • Northwest – 18 campgrounds in British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington
  • Southwest – 18 campgrounds in Arizona, California, and Nevada
  • Midwest – 8 campgrounds in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio

Zone Camping Pass

A camping pass will give you year-long access to campgrounds without having to worry about nightly fees. To be clear, once you pay the fee in full, camping in any of the campgrounds is free.

For $585, you can choose one zone to explore. Pay $54 per additional zone. You can also choose to go for the Trails Collection, which would cost $214 more. On top of your initially selected zone, the Trails collection would give you access to more than a hundred campgrounds.

These campgrounds would be scattered across 18 states, including but not limited to California, Washington, Illinois, and New York. Going with the second option would give you an annual fee of $799. That sounds reasonable, right?

Basically, the camping pass is the first thing you purchase to be part of Thousand Trails. It’s the simplest and most affordable membership tier. If you’re unsure, the camping pass is a good way to get a feel for the system.

Elite Basic, Elite Connections, and Ultimate Odyssey

Now, the camping pass does come with limitations. This is where the other membership levels come in. If you find your camping lifestyle compatible with Thousand Trails Campground, then you can certainly upgrade your membership. Think of them as add-ons to your pass.

In general, upgrading your membership will have an effect on the number of campground choices, days in and days out, and advanced booking. An upgraded membership will give you access to all campgrounds nationwide.

Days in and Days out

Another thing to think consider, the camping pass only allows you 14 consecutive days at any single campground. After 14 days, you have to spend 7 days out of the system. This means you can’t just transfer to another Thousand Trails campground. If you want to be able to transfer to other RV parks in the system, then you can only stay up to 4 days in one park. Afterwards, you’d have to transfer to another.

With Elite Basic and Elite Connections, you’ll be able to stay a maximum of 21 days in a single RV park. If you choose to upgrade to Ultimate Odyssey, you’ll extend that to 28 days. The great thing about these upgrades is, after your maximum days are up, you can just transfer to another campground in the system instead of spending a week outside of it.

Advanced Booking

If you’re a part time or full time RVer, the ability to call a campground in advance and reserve a spot is really important. You don’t want to get caught unprepared in peak season without a place to hookup.

A basic camping pass will only let you call 60 days in advance. As prolonged camping increases in trend, a month’s notice usually isn’t enough to ensure you a place. With Elite Basic, you’ll have around 4 months (120 days) reservation time. Meanwhile, Elite Connections and Ultimate Odyssey will give you 180 days to reserve your spot.

Information about these membership upgrades are scarce on their websites. If you really want to know more about them, you can get in touch with them through their contact page.

Final Say

Finally, is a Thousand Trails Campground membership worth it? As with everything you spend your hard-earned cash on, there will be pros and cons. Think about them and make a decision based on what fits your situation best. Browse through their frequently asked questions.

Thousand Trails Campground offers you a myriad of choices when it comes to RV campgrounds or resorts. As the name suggests, they have paved the way for thousands of camping experiences. However, it also comes with what some may consider a hefty price tag.

Owing it to their 50-year experience in providing families with outdoor recreation and camping activities, they have quite good ratings. That’s not to say that everyone has had a good experience with them.

All that being said, the decision is in your hands. Take the information we’ve presented and determine if a Thousand Trails Campground membership is for you.

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