There are several factors to consider if you’re considering a Thousand Trails membership. Thousand Trails offers several membership options for everyone, from casual RVers to those who live full-time in their campers.
The correct RV club membership can save money and make camping more fun and convenient.
- 1 What Is a Thousand Trails Membership?
- 2 How Does Thousand Trails Membership Work?
- 3 How To Make a Reservation at Thousand Trails?
- 4 How Much Does Thousand Trails Membership Cost?
- 5 What Does Thousand Trails Membership Include?
- 6 How To Join Thousand Trails
- 7 Is Thousand Trails Membership Worth It?
- 8 How To Cancel Thousand Trails Membership
- 9 FAQs
What Is a Thousand Trails Membership?
Thousand Trails is an RV club that offers different membership levels, each with varying restrictions and benefits. RV clubs let members camp free without worrying about nightly, weekly, or monthly fees and the other costs generally associated with camping.
Instead, members pay for annual passes or upgraded lifetime memberships, usually with yearly dues as long as they remain active members.
Entrepreneur Milt Kuolt, who founded Seattle airline Horizon Air, started Thousand Trails in 1972 in Chehalis, Washington, with one campground.
As the company grew, it purchased other RV clubs and changed owner companies over the years. The current owner, Equity Lifestyle Properties, purchased Thousand Trails in 2008.
This RV club is one of North America’s biggest campground and RV park networks.
How Many Campgrounds Does Thousand Trails Have?
Thousand Trails lists over 200 campgrounds in North America. The parks stretch coast to coast in almost half of the states and one Canadian province, British Columbia.
These 24 states have Thousand Trails parks and campgrounds:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Each RV park and campground is different. Some RV resorts have hotels, swimming pools, and resort-like amenities, while other RV parks and camping resorts have fewer hotel-like offerings.
Some sites have sewer and water hookups, cable access, and other perks. Other, more rustic parks may offer some amenities or none.
How Does Thousand Trails Membership Work?
Thousand Trails memberships range from an annual Camping Pass to upgraded lifetime memberships, each with different costs, restrictions, and advantages. The base membership is the Camping Pass.
This pass costs $630 for a year of camping at Thousand Trails sites in one zone you choose. The zones are:
With an annual Camping Pass, you can stay at any Thousand Trails parks within the zone you purchase without paying fees. You can add additional zones for $70 each. If you buy the pass for all five zones, you can access over 80 campgrounds.
You can also upgrade to the Trails Collection for an additional $330 and access over 100 more campgrounds and RV sites through Encore Resorts and other companies in partnership with Thousand Trails. This upgrade allows pass-holders to enjoy over 190 available campgrounds across North America.
You can use the Equity CampUSA app to search for Thousand Trails, Encore Resorts, and locations from many top RV campground companies around the nation. Download it from Google Play for Android or the iTunes app store for the iPhone and iOS.
Can You Stay at Thousand Trails Without Membership?
You can’t stay at Thousand Trails unless you’re a member, the spouse of a member, or the dependent child of a member under age 23. Anyone else must be the member’s guest while the member is present at the site.
Guests don’t have to pay any extra to stay with members, and members don’t have to pay nightly fees. The exception is the premium sites in the Encore Resorts network, currently 18 resorts, that charge $20 a night. Other sites waive nightly fees as part of the membership perks.
Thousand Trails Camping Rules
The list of rules and restrictions for campers at Thousand Trails sites is long, but most rules are common sense.
Rules regarding RVs, sites and hookups include:
- RVs must be in working order and good condition while at the campsite.
- RVs must have RVIA certification for fire codes.
- Air conditioning units, wires, and hoses must be through the OEM port.
- Seasonal and annual campers cannot use their RV as a permanent residence.
- No alterations to campsite water, electric, or sewer connections.
- Campers must be able to move the RV quickly in an emergency.
- Campers must keep their campsites clean and clutter-free.
- Tents and similar structures can only remain up for seven days.
- Managers need to approve other shade structures.
- No carports.
- Furniture outside the RV must be specifically for outdoor use.
- Political banners and flags, including Confederate flags, are prohibited.
- Fencing must only be under the awning at a height limit of 24 inches.
- Campers are responsible for any damage or injuries they cause to the property or other campers during their stay.
Rules for pets:
- Dogs and cats are the only animals allowed.
- Owners must register these pets and show vaccination documentation on request.
- All pets must wear collars with the owner’s name and phone number.
- All pets must be on a leash at all times.
- Pets cannot be left alone or tied.
- Staff will ask customers to remove noisy, aggressive, or disruptive pets. In dangerous situations, they may call animal control.
- Owners are responsible for any damage or injuries caused by their pets.
- Owners must pick up all pet droppings.
- Pets cannot go into public buildings or areas like clubhouses, beaches, swimming pools, or bathrooms.
- Some rental units like cabins may allow pets but require a fee.
Service animals can go with owners into any public building or area and stay in rentals without a fee.
Rules regarding camper behavior:
- No smoking is allowed in public buildings or areas like bathrooms, rental units, or pool areas.
- Alcohol must be in a sealed container where permitted, and consumption is discouraged in public spaces.
- Loud music or equipment, indecent language, shouting, rule-breaking, drunken behavior, abusive behavior, refusing to follow the instructions of the staff, illegal activities, and other nuisance and disorderly conduct can result in the cancellation of the reservation and removal from the park.
How To Make a Reservation at Thousand Trails?
You can make a reservation by calling (800) 388-7788 Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm CT. A representative can help you make the reservation on the phone.
You can also log into your member portal on the site. On the left-hand side, under “Reservations,” choose “Make a Reservation.”
From there, you can search through the campgrounds and check the availability of the one you want. Choose “Explore Campgrounds” from the strip at the top if you want to see what’s available in an area. Or select “Map Search” for a visual map of the locations in that region.
You can also choose “Book Now” next to the appropriate campground if you know where you want to stay.
You need to click through the reservation process for each campground to see its availability. The site doesn’t show available dates until you’ve chosen “Book Now” and selected your stay dates.
Once you’ve chosen the campground and clicked through to enter the dates and information, you can book the reservation in the system. You’ll get a confirmation email that contains all the relevant information within a few moments.
How Much Does Thousand Trails Membership Cost?
The cost of Thousand Trails membership depends on the level you choose. You can select four different levels of membership.
- Annual Camping Pass, which is the entry-level membership
- Elite Basic, the basic upgraded lifetime membership
- Elite Connections, which offers longer stays and free getaway cabins
- Adventure, which includes the Trails Collections Plus and all other benefits
The Camping Pass costs $630 for one year in one of the five regional zones. Other zones cost $70 each. An upgrade to the Trails Collection costs another $330 per year for over 100 more camping sites.
All upgraded lifetime memberships require an up-front one-time fee with annual dues of $630.
- Elite Basic membership costs $7,995 plus dues.
- Elite Connections membership costs $10,345 plus dues.
- Adventure membership costs $16.595 plus dues.
What Does Thousand Trails Membership Include?
Each membership level has different lengths of stay, reservation times, in-advance booking times, and other advantages. Comparing the membership benefits can help you decide which one is right for the way you camp.
|Camping Pass||Elite Basic||Elite Connections||Adventure|
|$630 per year||$7,995 + $630 annual dues||$10,345 $630 annual dues||$16,595 + $630 annual dues|
|All Thousand Trails campsites in one zone
$70 each for other zones for a total of 81 campsites for $280
$330 to upgrade and add 100+ Trails Collection sites
|All 80+ Thousand Trails campgrounds||All 80+ Thousand Trails campgrounds||All Thousand Trails and Trails Collection sites|
|For stays over 4 days, members must be out of Thousand Trails basic network sites for 7 days between stays||No time needed out of the system||No time needed out of the system||No time needed out of the system|
|Up to 14 nights at each site||Up to 21 nights at each site||Up to 21 nights at each site||Up to 21 nights at each site|
|No extension options||Can get 2 extra weeks for $29 each||Can get 2 extra weeks for $29 each||Can get 4 extra weeks at $29 each during off-peak or 2 weeks at $99 each during high use times|
|Book 60 days in advance||Book 120 days in advance||Book 180 days in advance||Book 180 days in advance or 90 days in advance for Trails Collection sites|
|Not included||1 year free RPI membership||2 years free RPI membership||2 years free RPI membership|
|15 Thousand Trails Parks have reservation restrictions during peak season||Reserve for one holiday at a time||Reserve for one holiday at a time||Reserve for two holidays at a time|
|Service discounts and member savings on some popular brands like Hertz and Harvest Hosts.
|1 week free cabin rental for the first 5 years||1 week free cabin rental for the first 5 years and 1 free week in a getaway cabin in the first 10 years of membership.
|5 weeks of free cabin rental and 10 weeks free in an upgraded cabin
|Members age 62 and older get an annual rate freeze||50% off standard rentals||50% off standard rentals||6 vacation credits for use with RPI sites worth $500 each
Are There Any Additional Costs?
Some premium resorts charge $20 nightly fees, but most sites are free for members. Extension weeks, beyond the 21-day limit, at each campground for the lifetime membership cost between $29 and $99 per week. Those are optional perks and not required.
Some sites have optional amenities with small fees, but most costs are part of the membership fee and annual dues.
How To Join Thousand Trails
To join Thousand Trails, you can register online for a membership as long as you don’t live in Minnesota, Mississippi, or South Dakota. Residents of those states cannot purchase a membership.
The first step is selecting the zones you want. The Trails Collection upgrade will also be available on sign-up for $330. Select one or more zones and the upgrade if you want it, then scroll down to see the total.
The first zone you choose will show on top for $630. Any other zones appear below that for $70. If you select the Trails Collection upgrade, it will show a charge of $330 below your first zone.
Any promotions appear after that and subtract from the total. Below the invoice, you can opt to pay the amount in full or with monthly payments as long as you sign up for a two-year membership.
Beneath that, you’ll fill in your name, address, and payment information. Then you can click “Buy Now” at the bottom to pay and become a Thousand Trails member.
How To Renew Thousand Trails Membership?
Your membership will renew each year automatically, charged to your original payment method. Do nothing if you want to continue camping with Thousand Trails.
To upgrade from the Camping Pass to one of the lifetime memberships, call member services at (800) 388-7788 or purchase it through your member portal.
Is Thousand Trails Membership Worth It?
Whether membership is worth it depends on your situation and what you want from an RV club. The reviews online range from people who love Thousand Trails to those who didn’t find it worth the cost.
Hitch from Trail and Hitch says you can save money with a membership. But some drawbacks include confusing terms and occasional difficulty booking reservations. RVLove enjoys the membership and the $21,000 they’ve saved over six years of camping with Thousand Trails.
Most complaints say the worst thing about membership is the locations of the campsites, which often sit close together rather than spread across a state. The best thing for most members is the cost savings and the convenience of being able to book far in advance and not pay nightly fees.
A Thousand Trails membership is something to consider if you plan on camping enough nights each year to see savings over what you’d pay to camp without an RV club.
Occasional RVers probably won’t be able to take advantage of all the membership perks. But regular campers should look into each membership level’s benefits.
How To Cancel Thousand Trails Membership
You can cancel your Thousand Trails Camping Pass membership and get a full refund under certain circumstances.
You must cancel in writing with a letter postmarked within 30 days of signing the purchase contract or before you’ve stayed for more than two nights in a row at any campground, whichever comes first.
This cancellation policy doesn’t apply to upgraded memberships. And you can’t cancel through the phone or the website.
You can send the notice of cancellation through regular mail. But recommend that you send certified mail with a return receipt to:
MHC Thousand Trails Limited Partnership
Attention: Contract Processing
6500 Pinecrest Drive
Plano, Texas 75024
Can You Resell Your Thousand Trails Membership?
Yes, if you no longer plan to camp for any reason, you can resell your Thousand Trails membership.
Any site online where buyers and sellers meet will work for reselling your membership. Popular places for selling pre-owned memberships include general marketplace and auction sites like:
RV-specific sites where you can sell your Thousand Trails membership include websites like:
- Campground Membership Outlet
- Facebook groups designed for RV membership and equipment sales and swaps
- RV and camping websites with forums and classified ad postings
You may only resell a Thousand Trails Elite membership once, so the person purchasing it will be the end user. Buyers will factor that into the price they’re willing to pay.
If you haven’t used your membership for very long, you might not recoup as much of the membership fee as you’d like. Half the cost of a new membership, up to about 60% of the original price, is the average for used memberships.
For example, a used Elite Basic membership sells for $3500 to $4500. Thousand Trails requires a membership transfer fee of up to $1,000, so factor that into your price.
Older, retired memberships like the Odyssey, Platinum, and VIP memberships with different perks and restrictions than newer levels often sell for less than half-price.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Thousand Trails memberships and campgrounds.
Does Thousand Trails have a lifetime membership?
Upgraded Elite Thousand Trails memberships are lifetime memberships but require an annual fee to keep the membership in good standing. There are three Elite level memberships, each with a different one-time membership fee, annual dues, and benefits.
Can you live full-time at Thousand Trails?
You can’t live full-time at Thousand Trails campgrounds with an annual Camping Pass. But you can stay full-time in the network with one of the upgraded Elite Thousand Trails memberships.
Does Thousand Trails have full hookups?
Many Thousand Trails campgrounds have full RV hookups, but the accommodations vary from place to place. You need to check with each campground to see which amenities they offer. Some offer electric and sewer hookups, access to cable TV, and graveled sites with pull-through access, while others only provide a parking slot.
Is Thousand Trails affiliated with RPI?
Yes, Thousand Trails partners with Resort Parks International (RPI). Elite Thousand Trails memberships come with a one or two-year RPI membership. After that ends, Thousand Trails members can pay an annual renewal fee to continue with RPI.
How do I file a complaint with Thousand Trails?
Members can log into the website to file a complaint anytime or call the member services at (800) 388-7788 Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm CT.
Can family members use Thousand Trails membership?
Members’ spouses and dependent children under 23 can use their Thousand Trails membership. Other family and friends can stay with the member as guests.