There are so many organizations of so many types that I have listed some of them by type so you can get the idea of what you are getting into.
Most organizations of any type have monthly magazines, one-time contract fees, and annual dues. Magazines can overwhelm your mail drop. Annual dues can overwhelm your checking account.
In many of these systems, a referral from me gets you nothing but it gets me some brownie points or maybe even some money. Make sure you tell them my name and that I referred you and they should look me up in their directory as I do not publish my membership numbers -- but I do appreciate the recognition.
The following title contains links where I know them. Some are links to their home pages. Some are to my pages.
Clubs and service organizations have the same objective: they give you an outlet for your needs to contribute to the better welfare of our community and give you the opportunity to ‘belong’. Belonging is good, as you can feel totally disconnected and useless if you do not have a good sense of value.
SKP (Special Kind of People) is a faith-based organization of about 18,000 members. Many members register their vehicles in Texas with the Escapees home park as their legal home address. Like myself.
Texas is finding new taxes on RVs. So for trailers right now, registration here is not a good idea.
This is a great organization. Nice people. One of the best mail services you could ask for.
Escapees has 4 campgrounds in Arizona: Casa Grande, Benson, Yuma, and Wickenburg.
Their magazine lists groups as BOFs: Birds of Feather. These interest groups give you an opportunity to find people with similar interests, e.g. boondocking.
Good Sam Club is sort of like a poor man's Escapees. You get insignificant discounts at many parks. Good Sam’s is more politically active than Escapees.
Good Sam is good for getting junk mail. Discounts apply in other areas. You can get a good, low-rate loan on your RV. You can get the best-possible price on GMAC Insurance (if you like cheap insurance – I mean cheap as in quality, not price).
I have become a life member of Good Sam.
This is a group with similar features of Escapees. I know little about FMCA except I see their signs on motor homes. I have their literature and I may join because they have some good benefits. But then I already have joined too many of these organizations and I cannot do my part in contributing to them all. Their home page lists nothing about the reasons why you would want to be a member.
Nomads is a Methodist organization devoted to church building projects and other great charitable efforts
Sowers is a Christian group who travel performing benevolent projects.
There are many of these. I give the names of some of them. Mostly they are local to a geographic area. Some are large enough to have parks nationally. To make up the difference see the paragraph on Aggregates.
Watch the membership costs here. Some will waive the membership contract cost if you already belong to other park systems. Bring this up to the salesperson and you may save a couple thousand dollars over their best price.
The annual dues can be killers. The dues can be ‘frozen’ at the time of the contract and then stay constant for the life of the contract. Otherwise the dues go up each year. This increment can be a killer if you are on a fixed income. You can be sure they will increase the maximum amount permitted by the contract each year. The salesman has some leeway as to what benefits he wants to give up as part of his sale.
The concept of the general contract is that you can spend two weeks at a time in the park system at any one of the parks. You then must leave the system for a week. You can then reenter either the same park or another one in the system. Rver’s are used to the ‘week-out’ concept.
There are more expensive options. Some just require that after two weeks that you move to any other park. Some permit three weeks.
Extended stay contracts permit up to a six months stay. There are many options according to the various parks and your finances.
You must examine these systems to see if they meet your needs. Thousand Trails, for example, has a nice, park-like atmosphere with nice clubhouses and spacious sites. Western Horizons, CRA, and most others are really just large RV parking lots with electrical, water, and sewage connections.
As far as I know, Thousand Trails is the largest RV park system. Certainly it is one of the best. You need $3000-8000 cost in the membership contract and then $300-500 per year dues. My comments: Thousand Trails
Colorado Rivers Adventures is local to the Colorado River. The best park by far is the one in Mexico. For other parks, an interest in serious powerboats is an asset.
Shortly after joining I was told that I must drive to the home park, Emerald Cove. I was promised gifts and no sales spiel. I made the trip. I got a sales spiel and no gifts. Honesty goes a long way with me. My comments: Colorado Rivers Adventures
Resorts is a collection of about 10 parks spread across
California. They accept ROD,
Coast Resorts, and a few others.
I have only been to the Reynolds Resort just south of Yosemite on
highway 41. I like the park: Jesse and his wife as managers
are aggressively improving the park. This park has the best
location from which to visit Yosemite
National Park. The power is good and the sites are
clustered around the mountainside so that you can enjoy your time with
some good walks, sightseeing, and visiting neighbors. The
Chuckchansi Casino down the road 2 miles has a great buffet for $5.
Resorts of Distinction are also Coast to Coast so I have seen a couple of them. One on Brannon Island east of Sacramento and another near Vacaville. Both were nice parks but catered more to local people with trailers than full-time RV people. I really liked the one near Vacaville as there is a nice river flowing peacefully through it. Some people like pounding surf: I like the peaceful flow of a green river to calm my nerves and rest my soul.
Western Horizons is a fairly large group of RV parks. They belong to Coast-to-Coast so I have been to a couple of them. They are OK.
In Tennessee a little closer to the Interstate than the local Escapees RV park is this nice little private RV park, Volunteer Park. The manager dresses as Santa Claus year round and is a really nice guy. If you join his park, the cost is low and you get to join Coast-to-Coast.
These are not really park systems. They an organized aggregate of multiple park systems. The purpose is to keep spaces filled when members may be elsewhere. You pay a fee to join the aggregate and a renewal fee each year. You also pay for each stay at a seriously reduced fee from the standard park fee. I belong to Coast-to-Coast.
Coast-to-Coast: you have to be careful here. They have a deluxe option that costs a couple of thousand dollars. Many of the member park systems are requiring the deluxe option. The Deluxe option has an 800-reservation number and some parks no longer accept individual reservations. Coast-to-coast sells coupons that you can use for your fee. The coupon is supposed to cover the entire fee but many parks charge twice the cost of a coupon with the claim they are better or have excessive costs or something else. This is junk. If the costs are higher, raise the cost of the coupon and not try to embezzle, night-by-night, additional funds.
I find the eastern parks are more willing to accept Coast-to-Coast as equal members than the western parks. The little park on the California-Oregon border gives you one night even when their park is empty. You are supposed to get a week.
I have Coast-to-Coast through my CRA membership.
They have gone to a Internet
reservation system rather than just drop-in. Deluxe has had this
but regular has not. Those coupons were a pain in the neck for
all involved. Now they are gone and you can really get a week
instead of an excuse.
RPI is similar to Coast-to-Coast Deluxe. They have a single reservation number. Slightly higher rates per night but is constant and varying with no under-the-table fees.
I forget what the letters AOR stand for. It seems to be a good group. Check the Western Horizon in Casa Grande for a good sales spiel. AOR is from the same company as Western Horizons.
Passport America is a collective similar to Coast-to-Coast except you pay ½ the standard day rate of the park. The member parks like this better because there are no tickets and they get a reasonable amount as opposed to a token amount. There are about 800 parks in this collective and the number is growing. You do not have to be a member of anything to buy this. You get a 10% discount if you join through Camping World.
If I traveled more, I would renew my Passport America. I have two things against them:
The constraints differ form park to park. Mostly the constraints require off-season use or weekday-only use or 3-day maximum visits. In other words, if you are passing through, you might get a spot at a reasonable price.
The directory has space for a descriptive paragraph of the park highlights. Most parks waste their space by complaining about dog behavior and how mean they will be to you if they do not like your dog. Low class.