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Old 09-07-2010, 10:06 AM   #1
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free nights of camping

camp grounds that offer free camping nights for first time visitors.
Here are two that I found.

http://www.lakegastonresort.com/site/campinggear.php
You have to attend their membership presentation to receive free 2 nights

http://www.campnorthcarolina.com/
2 free nights

Anyone know of others of these?
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:16 AM   #2
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Although we haven't stayed at either, the second url is for a campground that is part of a reciprocal system nation wide that we are part of. The other one is near a cg in that same system. Camping at the resorts runs $10 a night nationwide, but are free for the resort you join. If you have not yet been to one these "weekends", go knowing it will be for info-seeking and gathering knowlege. Don't buy from a membership from the campground though! You will pay way more than you should. Don't believe them if they tell you that you can't buy used within a year of taking a tour. Learn everything you can about how RPI, Coast to Coast, etc etc works. Ebay is one of the places you can shop for used memberships.

The one nice thing about buying into a local resort camp ground, is you can camp there for (depends on contract) two weeks free, be out of the campground a week, then can come back for two weeks free etc. That's a typical contract, but you have to verify what is in the contract you are looking to buy. Your yearly dues may run $150-$400 depending on the resort, but your camping at that home resort is free. With 1000 trails, all cg's in the particular system in your contract is free for first 50 nites and $5 after that per year. Lotsa membership programs out there.

Some nice things about the resorts are that there are papertowels/clean bathrooms, sometime activities during summer/holidays/weekends, rules (both blessing and curse but for most part, the rules are just in place in case there are some idiots in the cg), clubhouse/adult lodges... each resort is different.

Another thing to do is review the resort you are considering by googling 'rv park reviews'.

Pretty much though, figure how much you will travel out of your area before you buy into the reciprocal program. Also, figure what you will spend per night at local cg's in a typical vacation year. Compare it with what you will spend each year to have the membership. Keep in mind, what you pay used, will probably go back into your pocket when you go to sell your membership (if you buy used to begin with that is). And, you must make sure your contract will allow you to sell your membership when you no longer need/want it.

There's a gabillion things to know about this topic, and the above just scratches the surface. We have been with a private resort and using RPI/C2C since 1992 (It paid itself off within two years). We just added 1000 trails last year because we travel a lot more now. Hope some of this helps
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Old 09-11-2010, 09:19 AM   #3
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Thanks for all the info! I may check more into that
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Old 09-11-2010, 11:01 AM   #4
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Interesting subject - I'm not sure about free, but in BC they have Forestry Campsites that are really basic, accessable by active logging roads and often on some pretty awesome lakes. They generally have flat sites, fire-pits and tables. Some have pit-toilets, none have water. In Ontario, Crown Land camping is a possibility, but finding a place to park is tough. Those that have found a favourite site keep it to themselves and access can be 4x4 only.

What's the rules in the States for public-land camping/true boondocking?
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Old 09-11-2010, 12:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McMonk View Post

What's the rules in the States for public-land camping/true boondocking?
Not for certain, but when we have tried to book sites at State Parks in California, we had to go through some fee based reservation system (it's been a few years since we last did so). Even the primitive campgrounds require some sort of fee. They usually don't have hookups although water is available. We've become spoiled and tend to camp where we have at electricity (mainly for a/c in hot weather) and water.
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Old 09-11-2010, 04:39 PM   #6
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http://freecampsites.net/

This site list free/low cost camping in the states and Canada.
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Old 09-11-2010, 06:13 PM   #7
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Here's our story about those members only type campgrounds.
We sat through one of those sale pitches up in Oak Glen. The Glen is a nice place-- we live just outside it and know it well. One day while having lunch up there we were approached by a salesman that offered us 3 nights camping and a free tv if we agreed to camp at the "park". Sounded like fun to haul the trailer up there for the long weekend. So we did. The part had a pool, spa, mini golf, lounge, ect. The camp sites were like most privately owned RV parks we've seen. Only there was no shade trees or even grass anywhere. But I was curious about the cost of one of these memberships so we stayed. We listened to the high pressure pitch but we didn't bite.
I was trying to be nice to the guy but he kept pushing me give him the reasons why I wouldn't buy in. I didn't want want to hurt his feelings but then he said something to make my blood pressure boil. He said "maybe I should just ask your wife" so I told the guy that like dry camping and boondocking-- Our idea of camping is swimming in the ocean or lake/ river-- not a indoor pool. If I wanted to go hot tubing I'd jump in the one I have in our back yard-- the one I know is clean and the chemicals are perfect-- the one I know nobody has pee'ed in. Our purpose of camping is to get out-- not stay in our trailer watching TV with our 30 amp service. The guy just looked at me and asked "why are you here then?", I told him they were so vague in the invite I didn't know this was a high pressure sales pitch. Then he asked why we took them up on the 3 days free camping if we had no intention of buying into their system. I explained that I was on the fence at the time about camping in developed private camp grounds. But thanks to this stay we decided to camp in the National Forest and state camp grounds exclusively. Or I'd buy my own property somewhere in the wilds and pour a slab there for us to camp on. I went on to say that listening to someone's surround sound Lord of the Rings marathon all night wasn't my idea of camping but more like the time when I lived in a fraternity.

He then went on to say that he thought we were just their to take advantage of their generosity. I just chuckled and told him if I were taking advantage of them I'd be taking that flat screen they were giving away at the end of the pitch. I refused the TV-- but the manager heard our conversation and the salesman belittling me for not being interested in their camp site (that was 3 miles away from my house) he ended up dropped it off at our site later that day.

The Thousand Trails deal sounds good though if you can get it second hand (no more high pressure sales pitches for me) and if you needed hook-ups.
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:16 PM   #8
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Joe, Yup, pretty much all those spiels are high pressure and we've also seen some rude salespersons at the point when it was time to say good-bye... The classic is when the manager sends the person away before that point and then tells us he'd like to know what the person said to turn us off and that he could knock off an extra few hundred dollars to seal the deal. We've been to a few presentations over the years (avoid them like the plague now *g*). Many folks swear by their memberships whether they are condo/camping/etc. It's either going to be for you or not, but it's important to learn as much as you can before you buy if you find it may be for you. Never buy new! It's great that there are forums like this where folks can ask questions about options like this for experience buying if you find any kind of membership situation is in your best interest
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mustang View Post
http://freecampsites.net/

This site list free/low cost camping in the states and Canada.
I remember this site! I'm copying this post and adding it to the BOONDOCKING Forum for ya! Thanks for the info Mustang
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:43 AM   #10
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Awesome site, Mustang ... thanks for sharing!
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