Thousand Trails Membership Levels & Cost Explained Completely for 2021

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Thousand Trails is an RV campground membership that allows members to camp for free at their locations all over the United States. They have several membership options with prices ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, and it can be difficult to know which is right for you. In this article we clearly break down the Thousand Trails Membership Levels by benefit and cost. We also detail all of the potential add-ons and ways to purchase. Start reading now to select the perfect Thousand Trails RV membership for your family. This article is updated regularly, so reported Thousand Trails membership levels and cost are current and accurate.

Thousand Trails Membership Overview

Thousand Trails Membership Levels
Campsite at Thousand Trails in California

Thousand Trails has 81 membership campgrounds across the country. All Thousand Trails membership levels offer RV camping with no nightly fee. All members pay annual dues and upgraded members also pay a larger, one time membership fee. Memberships levels differ based on length of stay allowed, booking windows, benefits at partner campgrounds and additional perks, such as free cabin rentals. Below we detail the benefits and cost of each Thousand Trail membership level. If you are considering Thousand Trails, also check out other great camping deals in our full guide to RV camping clubs and memberships.

Zone Camping Passes

The zone camping pass is the entry level Thousand Trails membership level. It is the base membership that all upgrades are based on, and the most affordable membership. However, it also has the most restrictions. Zone camping passes include free camping in a specific region of the country. The regions (or zones) are Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest and Midwest. The number of campgrounds varies by region with only 8 in Midwest and 23 in the Southeast.

Zone camping passes are the best option for weekend warrior RVers who are looking for a great deal on short-term RV camping trips. This basic Thousand Trails membership is also a good option for full time RVers who want to try Thousand Trails before committing to a more expensive elite membership.

Price: $615 annual fee for one zone; $65 for each additional zones

Pricing Note: For the Zone Camping passes and all of the upgraded memberships detailed below, there are often significant discounts available off the retail prices listed in this article. Email or call (804-366-0798) membership specialists Sharon and Warren Lewis and tell them Christina from Travels with Ted sent you to get the best price available on any Thousand Trails membership.

Zone Camping Pass Benefits and Rules:

  • Unlimited stays at Thousand Trails campgrounds in your zone(s) with no nightly fees
  • Stay up to 14 nights during each stay
  • If stay is longer than four days, members must have seven days out of the Thousand Trails system before their next stay
  • Only includes camping within the zones purchased
  • Book reservations 60 days in advance
  • Discounts at Encore RV Resorts and other partner campgrounds
  • Special pricing on service through their preferred dealer network
  • Member savings on popular brand, including Harvest Hosts, Hertz and DISH
  • Annual rates freeze at the age of 62
  • High use restrictions apply to 15 of he 81 parks during their peak season (for example: Florida parks in the winter); Only two Thousand Trails reservations are allowed on the books during high use parks peak season

Trails Collection Add-On

The Trails Collection is a popular add-on to any Thousand Trails membership level. Members who purchase the trails collection receive access to camping at 100+ Encore RV resorts across the country. The majority of Trails Collection RV parks offer free camping, but a few parks in prime destinations charge members up to $20 per night. Younger members should also note that some age-restricted Encore resorts in popular winter destinations (Florida, Texas and Arizona) only allow campers 55 years of age or older.

Regardless of the caveats, the Trails Collection is a great value for the money. This Thousand Trails membership add-on provides access to over double the number of campgrounds for a low cost. The below Trails Collection benefits are available with any Thousand Trails membership, except the Adventure membership, which already comes with the Trails Collection plus membership.

Price: $315 per year

Trails Collection Benefits and Rules:

  • Free or highly discounted camping at 100+ Encore RV Resorts
  • Stay up to 14 nights during each stay
  • Must be out of Trails Collection 7 days between stays (Elite members can go from a Thousand Trails park to a Trails Collection park and vice versa with no time in-between)
  • Book reservations 60 days in advance

Elite Basic Thousand Trails Membership Level

The Elite Basic Thousand Trails membership is the most popular and most affordable of the upgraded membership options. Elite members have access to all Thousand Trails campgrounds and are allowed to stay longer without time in between reservations. We are fulltime RVers and Elite Basic Members. In my opinion it is the best value for full timers and frequent travelers. Like all upgraded Thousand Trails memberships, Elite Basic members are charged a one-time membership fee in addition to annual dues.

Price: $6995 one time fee; annual dues of $615 (remember to contact the membership specialists for the best price)

Elite Basic Benefits and Rules:

  • All benefits included with the zone pass
  • Stay up to 21 nights at each campground
  • Can move from campground to campground with no time out of the system
  • Access to all Thousand Trails campgrounds nationwide
  • Book reservations 120 days in advance
  • Option to buy two extension weeks for $29 each at Thousand Trails parks
  • One week free standard cabin rental for first five years of membership
  • 50% off additional standard cabin rentals
  • One year free RPI RV campground membership (150 parks, members pay $10 per night)
  • Book one holiday at a time (i.e. cabin and camping reservations cannot overlap)
  • High use restrictions apply: Stays are limited to two weeks for high use parks during peak season, but members can still move park to park; Only two Thousand Trails reservations are allowed on the books at high use parks

Elite Connections Thousand Trails Membership Level

The Elite Connections membership is similar to the Elite Basic, but with several additional benefits including more free cabin rentals and a longer reservation window. The Elite Connections is great for full timers who are willing to spend more to ensure they have a longer booking window, so they can easily secure top spots during peak periods.

Price: $9145 one time fee; annual dues of $615

Elite Connections Benefits and Rules:

  • All benefits included with the zone pass
  • Stay up to 21 nights at each campground
  • Can move from campground to campground with no time out of the system
  • Access to all Thousand Trails campgrounds nationwide
  • Book reservations 180 days in advance
  • Option to buy two extension weeks for $29 each at Thousand Trails parks
  • One week free standard cabin rental for first five years of membership
  • 50% off additional standard cabin rentals
  • One week free in a getaway cabin (upgraded, condo-like cabins) for the first ten years of membership
  • Two years free RPI RV campground membership
  • Book one holiday at a time (i.e. cabin and camping reservations cannot overlap)
  • High use restrictions apply: Stays are limited to two weeks for high use parks during peak season, but members can still move park to park; Only two Thousand Trails reservations are allowed on the books at high use parks

Adventure Thousand Trails Membership Level

The Adventure is Thousand Trails newest membership level, launched in January 2021. It cost the most of any Thousand Trails membership, but it also has significantly more perks. The biggest advantage of the Adventure membership over other Elite memberships is the included Trails Collection Plus, which offers extended stays and a longer booking window at Trails Collection campgrounds. This upgraded Trails Plus add-on is only available as part of the Adventure membership and cannot be purchased separately. With the introduction of the Adventure membership, the Ultimate Odyssey membership has been replaced and is no longer available.

Price: $15,595 one time fee; annual dues of $615

Adventure Membership Benefits and Rules:

  • All benefits included with the zone pass
  • Stay up to 21 nights at Thousand Trails and Trails Collection campgrounds
  • Can move from campground to campground with no time out of the system
  • Access to all Thousand Trails and Trails Collection campgrounds nationwide
  • Book Thousand Trails reservations 180 days in advance
  • Book Trails Collection reservations 90 days in advance
  • Option to buy four extension weeks during non-high use periods for $29 each at Thousand Trails parks
  • Option to buy two extension weeks during high use periods for $99 each at Thousand Trails parks
  • Book two holidays at a time
  • Five free weeks standard cabin rental
  • 10 free weeks in upgraded getaway cabins
  • Two years free RPI RV campground membership
  • Six $500 vacation credits to use with RPI
  • High use restrictions apply: Stays are limited to two weeks for high use parks during peak season, but members can still move park to park; Only two Thousand Trails reservations are allowed on the books at high use parks
Thousand Trails Membership Levels Explained
Relaxing at a Thousand Trails RV Park

Buying a New Thousand Trails Membership

Buying a new membership is the easiest and safest way to become a Thousand Trails member. For the latest membership information and current prices contact membership specialists, Sharon and Warren Lewis. Membership specialists have access to all current sales and deals, so you are guaranteed to get the best rate available.

Membership Specialists: Sharon and Warren Lewis

Email: Warren_Lewis@equitylifestyle.com

Phone: 804-366-0798

Referral: Christina from Travels with Ted

For campers who prefer to finance the upfront payments for Elite and Adventure memberships, the membership specialists can also set-up financing through Thousand Trails. For example, in a financed buy for the Elite Basic Membership, monthly payments are approximately $145 for 60 months after $625 down.

Buying a Used Thousand Trails Membership

It is also possible to buy used memberships as many upgraded memberships were sold with re-sale rights. Obtaining a Thousand Trails membership for a lower cost is the main advantage of purchasing a used membership. However, there are several downsides to consider when purchasing a used membership.

The most important consideration when buying a used membership is understanding exactly what you are buying. Over the years, there have been many different Thousand Trails membership levels and many of the used memberships available are no longer sold by Thousand Trails. Common retired membership levels available second-hand include Alliance, Gold, Platinum, Ultimate Odyssey and VIP. Each of these memberships has unique rules and benefits. Request documentation from the seller on exactly what their contract does and does not include.

The other point to keep in mind when buying a used membership is future re-sale. Most Thousand Trails contracts state that the membership can only be transferred once. By buying a used membership, you lose the possibility of getting any of your money back if you stop using the membership down the line.

If you decide a used membership is right for you, they can be purchased from online brokers, such as Campground Membership Outlet. While the brokers do not directly charge the buyer or seller a fee, Thousand Trails does have a mandatory transfer fee (typically $750 to $1000) on all re-sale memberships.

Potential Savings with Thousand Trails

The main benefit of a Thousand Trails membership is saving money on campground fees. Most resort-style parks that offer amenities similar to Thousand Trails parks charge at least $40 a night (and some charge $100 or more). Assuming you typically pay $40 per night, a zone camping pass at full price (and you are not going to pay full price if you contact our membership specialists), would pay for itself after just 15 nights camping.

We purchased an Elite Basic membership in early 2020, and we have already saved over $3000 in nightly fees by staying at Thousand Trails parks. Our biggest savings came during the 4 weeks we spent on the North Carolina coast. The RV park we stayed at on a previous trip to the area cost $340 per week. On our most recent trip, we stayed at two Thousand Trails collection parks for two weeks each and paid $0 for the entire month! We expect our membership to pay for itself within two years!


We have been Thousand Trails members for a few years and Elite members for just under a year. As full time RVers, the only regret we have is not purchasing a membership sooner. So, learn from our mistake and join Thousand Trails to start saving money on camping today!

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