Most Rvers want to save money on their nightly camping fees and other costs. One way to do this is to join some clubs or organizations that offer steep discounts. The trouble is, while they are advertised as different membership companies, they may be the same
Coast to Coast and Good Sam are all part of one big company. This larger company includes Camping World, Gander Outdoors, and Overton’s. They are all said to be part of the Good Sam family of companies.
To learn more about Coast to Coast and Good Sam and if they are the same, just continue to read our article. It provides the information you want to know about so you can know if this is a good discount organization to sign up with.
This is a unique company that uses the time share apartment or condo model as its foundation. How this membership works is first, you have to purchase a membership in one of the resorts in the overall network.
This is called your home resort and once you have this membership, you are eligible to pay $90 approx., to join the entire Coast to Coast network. This fee provides you with some great discounted rates at other resorts in the company’s network.
So you can recoup that fee by using it only a few times. But there is a catch. The resort you buy your membership and is labeled your home resort is the location where you will spend most of your RV time living.
That requirement applies to both seasonal camping and full-time camping. Once you have your membership, you can book time at other resorts if space is available. These other resorts range in amenities, etc., but what you get depends on where you want to stay and what activities you want available.
The facilities are good and the resorts are very family-friendly and secure. However, there is a downside to this membership. Since you have to join a ‘home’ resort the membership there can cost thousands of dollars. Then you may be subjected to maintenance fees or HOA style fees on top of the membership cost.
Then your stay at these other resorts is limited according to the tier you buy. These stays can be restricted to 7 days for the classic tier and 14 days for the other two tiers. Reservations are not guaranteed as those other resorts serve their members first.
How often you stay at the same resort is also restricted. Classic members can only stay at the same resort twice in a calendar year and have 30 days between visits. This membership is not as good as the advertising says.
The upside is that first-year Coast to Coast members are eligible for a complimentary Good Sam membership. This entitles you to a 10% discount at Good Sam campgrounds.
These parks are a part of the Coast to Coast network of campgrounds. These parks are also very high-quality parks but what makes them different from the other Coast to Coast RV parks in the network is that these parks are open to the public.
Regular Coast to Coast resorts are not open to the public. This means that there will be a different set of rules for the Good Neighbor parks to follow and they do not follow the rules for the Coast to Coast network.
According to the Good Sam website, once you join as a member, you have access to over 2000 RV parks in the US and Canada. Also, with the membership, you get a 10% discount on the nightly fees as well as have access to coupons that give you discounts for dining, entertainment, and so on.
What makes these parks so good to stay at is that the company sends out representatives to investigate each park. They have a rating system and several categories where the parks must be and excel.
The parks are held to a high standard and must meet those standards to maintain a top review. Out of 479 Amazon reviews, 85% of the people who have stayed at one of these parks have given it 4 or 5 stars.
One lower-rated reviewer complained about all the advertising so these parks are not perfect.
It is not completely the same. While it is stated on more than one website that Coast to Coast is part of the Good Sam family of companies, it is not directly stated who owns the company.
You have to go to the bottom of the website’s landing page to see that Coast to Coast is owned by Good Sam. It is a different concept from the Good Sam RV parks or campgrounds and you would not expect to see associated with this company.
However, the concept is not the same as the Coast to Coast branch of the company does not target the general public. You have to be able to afford the membership fees as well as other fees to be a member of the Coast to Coast program.
Also, the Coast to Coast system operates more like a time share condo and if space is available, then you can book your stay. The Good Sam campgrounds cannot be booked through Tripsetter but must be done with the different parks directly.
Other differences will be operational rules. Those can be found if you look up the Coast to Coast and Good Sam websites. It may take some exploring of those websites to find all the rules for the different membership programs and campgrounds.
As we mentioned in the previous section, Coast to Coast is owned by Good Sam and is partners with other companies under the Good Sam company umbrella.
While many people may love Good Sam they do not like Camping World which is part of the same family of companies. Once you see all the hidden fees that come with a Coast to Coast membership, you may not think highly of that discount membership company.
The negative aspects include the tier-based system. Depending on your tier level your benefits may be good or they may be limited. You are certainly restricted to the lower tier for resort stays.
Because you have to join a ‘home resort’, you are paying 2 membership fees. One for the home resort and one for the discount membership. Then there may be other fees that you have to pay as well since these resorts are more like an HOA than a time share program.
Also, in making your reservations, if you are on the lowest tier, you may only have 3 days to make your reservation. The higher tiers can take up to 120 days to book a campground in a different resort.
The one bright spot in all of this negative news is that it may be possible to buy a used membership from 3rd party resellers. The cost of these used memberships may be as expensive as buying a new one. They can run into the thousands of dollars.
It is not possible to list all 2000 Good Sam campgrounds at this time. There are just too many of them. One thing to remember is that the different websites do not use the Good Neighbor Park's name.
They seem to all be using Good Sam Campgrounds as the main name. This may be a change brought about by the movie of a similar name and hotels that use the Good Neighbor label and many other companies that do the same.
To find a specific park, you would have to use the campground locator on the Good Sam website. You can reach it through this link. Just fill the empty boxes with the information you have and let the locator find the parks for you.
The only mandatory piece of information will be the name of the state or province you are interested in visiting.
That will be up to you to decide. Some people say it is but we are not convinced. What hinders us from giving this membership program a thumbs up are the two membership fees you have to pay and the hidden fees that come with those memberships.
You can save money but you can also spend more than you want to. It just may be best to go with a Good Sam membership and truly save on camp fees.
Not all discount clubs and organizations are worth it. They like to hype the benefits while hiding the negative side of the membership plans. Do some good research into Coast to Coast before you make up your mind.
Sometimes you can do better than the exclusive membership clubs and save a lot more money.