Thursday, November 30, 2023


Are you a member of Thousand Trails? What do you think?

thousand trails signThousand Trails was, until recently, a membership chain of RV parks. An individual membership was required. Today, most RVers who stay are, in fact, members, but others can stay on occasion for a nightly fee. Joining can cost hundreds of dollars or many thousands of dollars, depending on the benefits. If you’re a member, what do you think? Is a membership worth it? Read more and vote. Your comment is invited.

Take our poll, then please leave a comment.


Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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Dawn littlefield (@guest_125395)
2 years ago

Paid $8000 to get the membership plus 175+35 a month + yearly fee
Pull up to a tt resort to get told no space for you.

RV Staff
2 years ago

Wow! 😯 —Diane

Linda (@guest_125356)
2 years ago

TT is great going N/S on either coast but very few options going coast to coast. We’ve been members for a few years and have experienced really great well maintained locations. We’ve also left a few because impassable roads, tight sites and faultering utilities. We have a 36 foot diesel and 30amp in the summer not acceptable. Yes you have to plan 6 months in advance or 2 months ahead for Encore. We also included RPI on our plan but have rarely used it because reservations are very restrictive. Joined for 4 years and are full time. Not sure if we will renew because the initial cost is quite high compared to the lack of locations.

John (@guest_122718)
2 years ago

TT works if you work the system, it takes time and patience. I found the PNW to be my best experience with TT as others have mentioned. You need to be flexible, and not to concerned about the exact location.

Rick H (@guest_122516)
2 years ago

Was a member for 2 years – and loved it! Great value if used well. Highly recommended for those who plan to be traveling where there are a number of TT parks. Not only that – they have a number of really nice parks in great locations – so it is not just a “cheap” way to camp.

To be effective someone who joins TT needs to:

  • Learn how to use their reservation system & phone lines. Have gotten into a number of their parks because I kept trying and finally found a cancelation.
  • Be sure you are traveling where they have TT parks. Lots in the Pacific NW and CA. Mid-west virtually empty.
  • Add extra Zones as necessary to support your travel plans.
  • Add the Trails Collection if traveling to FL – as there are far more Encore parks there than TT.
  • In our last year of membership we spent 134 nites in TT & Encore parks, costing us an average of only $5.74/nite. Use it or lose it.

If and when our travels take us to areas with TT locations will gladly re-join.

wanderer (@guest_122677)
2 years ago
Reply to  Rick H

That $5.74. Does that include the cost of the membership spread across the nights used?

Sue westervelt (@guest_96184)
3 years ago

They wont return calls to me or my daughter

James (@guest_52206)
4 years ago

We’ve been members since around 2003, with a National membership, and I think we paid about $7,500 for it. I’m tired of seeing so many tents in large RV spaces during peak demand–when there are tent areas provided–then told by staff “they have just as much a right . . . ” Using that logic, I guess it means people with diesel pushers can pull into the tent areas and fire up their generators? I bought my membership just like they did, right? Other than that, I knew things had gone downhill when staff at Seaside told me to secure my tow dolly because of thefts. Unheard of until the last few years. This is what happened to our “private, members-only” purchase. Our last three attempts to stay at Thousand Trails campgrounds have resulted in our leaving and staying at parks where we had to pay. MUCH nicer and safer.

Andy (@guest_200096)
1 year ago
Reply to  James

I don’t think their price is any different than your first come first serve

John (@guest_49644)
4 years ago

Long time Alliance member. The system has gone downhill for many years. Bad electric poor maintenance overbooked. Few activities etc. bright spot was new 50 amp sites at Verde Valley. Wonder if it will be up for sale or high extra fee

Patrick (@guest_49640)
4 years ago

I bought a 1 year membership to evaluate the properties. In Northern California I was disappointed, and glad I only had it one year. I stayed at 4 parks, and attempted to stay at 2 others. What they all had in common was Water/30 AMP Electric in most sections and limited full hook-ups in one section. Electrical was questionable at best, with a sign posted at one park stating “caution low voltage” in section A. The parks are aged and need to be upgraded. I’m not judging anyone, but most of the full hook-up sites were occupied by residents living in the worst RV’s on the planet. Other discussion forums, folks praise TT in other regions….I’m not convinced from my experience.

Mike B (@guest_124635)
2 years ago
Reply to  Patrick

We’re getting ready to stay at Lake Minden for a week starting Monday as a trial run with our new camper. It’s only 10 minutes from my house, so we went and checked it out. The full hookup sites are very small, so no awning or opposing sides, and most looked like they’ve been there for a long time. The grounds haven’t been mowed or maintained. I’d rather pay a high fee for better conditions.

Daniel Pankiewicz (@guest_49615)
4 years ago

When I joined, here on the east, 30 years ago campgrounds were your 2-week summer vacation. No difficulties with reservations, power, sewer, etc. That was then and now the campgrounds are a year-round cottage for many. Complete with modular homes, above ground decks and fences around your site. With the advent of this “new camper” TT is no longer what it used to be but just a corporation that went for the money. No longer can you decide a week ahead to take the grandkids camping, you must decide months ahead. That is my biggest disappointment with TT.
BTW there are Facebook groups devoted to TT worth reading before joining.

WMSCV (@guest_49609)
4 years ago

Purchased our first NACO camping club membership in the 80’s. Overtime it was purchased by TT. We didn’t use it much until we got older and eventual purchased a travel trailer from our local Camping World. Are biggest concerns with most TT locations are the many long term folks living there, the lack of maintenance, run down facilities in need of total upgrades, bathroom/shower areas old and uninviting to use. The one upside they do have some nice friendly employees. I’m currently at TT Yosemite Lakes for 4 days. It’s beautiful here. This is a nice place to stay. I’m currently parked between two trailers that appear to be long term based on weeds and plants under and around them. I have noticed other sites too. There is little room between sites but no complaint the view is spectacular. During our trip will stay at TT Bend they too need upgrades in their bathroom/shower buildings and having no site sewer dumps is a bummer. I have to give KOA locations a higher rating since we use them as well as many private RV places.

Montgomery D Bonner (@guest_49598)
4 years ago

TT is not for everyone, and some park are way worse than others. Some are hard to get into and out of, but the good outweighs the bad for us. We don’t have kids, grandkids, or relatives who want to visit or travel with us, we don’t have pets who need lots of attention, those factors alone make our camping easier, our choices easier on which parks we use. And most parks are way off the beaten trail, so they are quiet. We don’t care about swimming pools, or a lot of activities, having the pool table and mini golf and a book exchange works for us. Hiking trails are a bonus. Good electric is almost required, not only good pedestals, but good delivery of that power. Having the Encore access is also something we are going to get. I have most of our experience out west and TX. Not so much on the East Coast, this will be our first year using those.

Jennie alanis (@guest_49595)
4 years ago

I don’t like that non members are allowed to stay in the parks. It’s getting much harder to get reservations because of it. I’d like others members to let TT know if you feel the same way.

Bob Godfrey (@guest_49586)
4 years ago

Since my wife’s mother is in a retirement home in Lancaster, PA and TT or Encore own all the campgrounds in the area you are at their mercy. The TT park we stay at has now raised their non-member nightly rate to $70/night plus a “resort” fee and I believe the rate is even higher on weekends, they have recently tacked on a $5/day charge for WIFI and another for cable TV. If it were not for the fact that we pretty much have to belong to TT in order to use that park we would not join again. Additionally, we tried staying in the TT park in Wells, ME and the side by side sites are so small that when you put out slides you get to know your neighbor more than you envisioned. There are far better memberships out there and TT will try to sell you the full package but when you look closely you will see that they actually have very few parks around the country particularly out west.

Lin Shaub (@guest_122506)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob Godfrey

I’m from York and dread returning home because the campground prices are REDICULOUS!! I did find a nice reasonable one up near Dover, but not in my longterm budget. The northeast in general is too expensive, has questionable longterm residents, and the last time I was there, there was a murder at Pinchot State Park. Its a shame there aren’t more options.

Brenda G (@guest_122637)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob Godfrey

TT only has 3 parks in the entire State of Florida and all 3 are near Orlando. With the additional membership in their “Trails Collection” (Encore), there are more options throughout Florida.
I prefer saying: I purchased a membership TWICE….my first and last… 2019.

Lee (@guest_49582)
4 years ago

We have a dual zone pass for California/Nevada and Oregon/Washington and use it for weekend getaways here in CA and trips to the Oregon Coast. So far, it’s a good value for the number of days we use it. It looks like Corporate is beginning to put more money into some of the more neglected campgrounds, and that’s a good thing.

Aly T (@guest_49578)
4 years ago

I grew up camping in TTN grounds because my parents had a membership since I was born. Then I bought a membership for a while on my own with my partner and we loved it. It is true that some of the permanent campers (members?) have not upheld the appearance, conduct, nor membership rules and policies, and one park we stayed at for a while, the staff were involved in some illegal activities. There’s so much more that went on both bad and good, but overall, the membership was definitely worth it at the time.

Colin (@guest_49573)
4 years ago

TT was great until the RV was 10 years old, then the inspections and photographing every time.

PodBarb (@guest_49571)
4 years ago

1000T was free with purchase of travel trailer for first year. Perfect for me as a solo older women in terms of safety and availability, No, all are not perfect in amenities or staff, but all have responded to basic needs and local information. Not travelling out of California, but able to get out 7 to 9 two week times a year with the basic Camper Pass to different campgrounds of varying weather, sights to see and trails to walk. Finishing second year and uping again for 3rd.

Pennie M Hahn (@guest_49562)
4 years ago

We are members and have been for 3 or 4 years. It is well worth the cost, if you plan to live full-time in your RV and travel. We did so for about 2 years, and couldn’t have afforded to do so, without the membership. Our dues are frozen, since I am over 62 (or 63 – I forget what the criteria is) years of age. We have been to several of the Thousand Trails Parks, in Pennsylvania, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Arizona, and did not have any negative experiences to speak of. We don’t care so much about amenities or activities, but I know a lot of people do. We also are self-contained, so we don’t actually “need” the bathhouses, either. Some campgrounds charge extra for 50-amp electrical service, and some don’t allow mail/packages to be sent there, some want you to pay to have your packages delivered. Whatever. With most everything else in life, we take the bad with the good, and make the best of it.

Jomama (@guest_49556)
4 years ago

Member since the 1990’s. Was great when it was membership only. Safe, and people were friendly as we knew they were also members. The parks were nice and the people running them had pride in their parks.
Now over booked, no one greets each other (especially the younger people) and the parks really need work. We are currently on a 2 month northwestern states trip and half the places we stayed at were free to us as members, but all had just water and elect. The last we stayed at, Sunflower in CA, we had booked a space in April. We arrived there and there were no spots for us! Highly upset we had to stay overnight in the parking lot until someone vacated a spot! We were told that they had 30 spots opening up, but 48 coming in! How can you get a spot like that? It would be better if they assigned spots, but they don’t. Really unhappy with 1000 Trails now, and would rather pay for a camp spot that I know what we are getting.

MrDisaster (@guest_49546)
4 years ago

We have been members for over 20 years. We couldn’t afford to be full time without it. These are campgrounds not resorts. Yes many parks have issues with uneven sites, odd power issues and even water issues. The next generation has heightened expectations. They want (or need) 50 amp and sewer. They want activities for their kids. They want WiFi (nooo.. you really want better cell service for more options). Over the years we have seen the parks improve and deteriorate some. This year they are adding sites at several parks (Orlando, Hidden Cove (AL), Verde Valley (AZ). We might be on an improvement cycle. Still the best all around value for camping.

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