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A Thousand Trails Camping Pass is a great complement to boondocking. Think about it for a moment, as great as boondocking is, at some point you’ll need to head back to civilization to dump your black & grey tanks, fill your fresh tank and just generally resupply.
Thousand Trails is perfect for this. You can choose a park near your boondocking location and stop in for a few nights (or more). While you are there, you can dump your grey and black tanks and refill your fresh tank. You’ll also be able to do your laundry at the campground and take a nice long shower. If you need to resupply, hit the local store and take care of all of your shopping.
Once you’ve taken care of everything, just head back out to your next peaceful boondocking location.
You can even get a day use pass to use the facilities at most of the Thousand Trails campgrounds. So, for example, if you just want to stop by and use the dump station, the pool or the laundry you can do that too!
About the Thousand Trails Camping Pass
A Camping Pass is the most basic Thousand Trails membership.
The membership allows you to stay in a Thousand Trails campground for up to 14 nights in a row with no additional fee. After a stay of 4 nights or more, you have to be out of the Thousand Trails network for 7 nights. (You can not go directly from park to park.)
The Thousand Trails campgrounds are grouped, by geographic location, into five zones. You select the zone(s) that you want and you get access to the campgrounds in that zone.
One zone is $630 and additional zones, if desired are $70 each. That makes it about $50 per month for one zone. It’s hard to find a campsite for more than a few nights for that price!
Pro tip: The Camping “Zone” Pass is $630 but keep an eye out for sales!
You can book campgrounds 60 days ahead of your stay. (It may be difficult to get reservations just 60 days ahead of time in high season in some areas. Florida in the winter for example.)
A few parks have additional nightly charges of $3 to $5 for an upgraded 50 amp site.
Tent sites are always limited to 7 night stays.
To join Thousand Trails reach out to Member Specialists, Brandy and Jim Reneau at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (770) 622-4188. They can help you get the best price. Tell them Towing Home sent you!
Trails Collection add-on with the Camping Pass
You can add the Trails Collection ($330) to your Camping Pass membership which gives you access to another 100 or so RV resorts nationwide.
Most Trails Collection park stays are free of charge but there are some prime parks that charge a fee of $20 per night. Also, some are 55 plus. Definitely take a look at which parks you are considering visiting before you add the Trails Collection.
Is Trails Collection a good option for boondockers?
It really depends on your style of RVing and whether or not you think you will use it enough to get your money’s worth out of it. If you are going to stay at a Trails Collection park for two weeks or more over the year then it may well be worth it. ($330 for 14 nights = $23.57 per night)
There are many Trails Collection Parks in Arizona that are close to boondocking locations. However, almost all of them are age qualified, so if you are younger or have kids you won’t be able to use them. You may be able to call the park directly for an exception but I would do it before you add Trails Collection to your membership. Trails Collection does not have a day use option either.
Check out our Thousand Trails Camping Pass Cost Calculator to find out if a membership is worth it for you.
Enter the options you are interested in and how many nights you expect to use your membership over a year. The calculator will tell you how much you can save and what your nightly cost will really be!
A few Thousand Trails Campgrounds near BLM or National Forest Boondocking
Palms Springs RV Resort
55 miles from Joshua Tree North BLM camping.
33 miles from Joshua Tree South BLM camping.
60 miles from various boondocking sites at Anzo Borrego State Park.
Verde Valley RV & Camping Resort
15 to 40 miles from a variety of Cocino National Forest dispersed camping areas.
Bend-Sunriver RV Campground
All W&E sites with dump station on site.
18 to 40 miles to various dispersed camping locations in Deschutes National Forest.
So, if you are looking for an inexpensive way to stop into campgrounds in between boondocking, Thousand Trails is a great option! The Thousand Trails Camping Pass is the most basic membership and probably the best one for someone who spends quite a bit of time boondocking. Upgraded memberships that provide more benefits like stays of 21 nights and traveling directly from park to park are available as well. If you’d like to spend more time in campgrounds with hookups and are looking for an economical way to do it, check out our Thousand Trails Membership – Year 6 Review (How we saved $28,992.19, traveled the country and camped with hookups for $5.01 per night!). It’s a game changer for full time RVers.
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We’ve been full-time RVers since 2012. Over 127,000 miles and 47 states later, we are still towing our home around the United States.
On TowingHome we share what we have learned along the way; what we love (and what we don’t) about the RV lifestyle, tips and tricks, our favorite campgrounds, places and gear.
We hope that it makes your journey a little bit easier.