Membership Camping - Outdoor Adventures in MI and Coast to Coast

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jefster

New member
Joined
Jul 11, 2018
Posts
4
Does anybody have experience with Outdoor Adventures in Michigan, or with Coast to Coast network?
I'm HIGHLY skeptical of anything that resembles a high pressure sale, but the Outdoor Adventures group bought the campsite where we had our seasonal in Grand Haven (effectively kicking us out) a few years ago.  The kids always ask if we can camp there again, but we aren't members so we can't even go in.  So when we bought a new trailer and were offered a free 21 nights pass, I went ahead and listened to their sales pitch.  I can see why people might buy into it based on their pitch, but I highly doubt all the information is accurate and/or as simple as they say it is.  I feel like there's a lot of half truth to the whole thing.

ANYWAY, the reviews online are horrible, but it's got me wondering if there are people out there who have had good experiences and really value the membership and maintenance dues that they pay for it?

I also didn't know about Coast to Coast, which supposedly links all these local networks together nationwide and you can camp for $10 per night in any affiliate campground.  I'm wondering if anyone has experience using that?  Is it really $10?  Are there extra fees?  Pay extra for extra people and/or pets with something like that?

Membership prices are extremely high, and the chances of me buying a membership to something like this is extremely low, but I can also see the value in having something where you can book in advance or spur of the moment and you have camping options that are already largely paid for. 

I'd love to hear your experiences, particularly if you have it and love it and use it all the time.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,948
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At my Silver Springs FL home
Coast-to-Coast (and the very similar RPI) really are what they say. They basically add time-sharing to your campground membership, so the $10 fee is essentially just a in-processing charge for access to the other campground.  You have to comply with the rules of the campground you go to, so if there is a limit on people per site or fees for extras, you would pay them. They are supposed to be the same as a member of that park would pay, i.e. no extra charges just because you are a C2C or RPI guest.  I guested at sme C2C parks many years ago and RPI more recently and thought them to be good add-ons to a park membership if you travel around much. The annual fee for C2C needs to be evaluated vs the number of times you would use it.


Did you use the free 21 nights pass?  Staying there a few times is the best way to find if the place meets your standards or not.  Poor reviews are a caution-warning, but sometimes the things that make others rant are insignificant to me. I scanned several reviews of Outdoor Adventures and see quite a mix, Great, Average, and Terrible. Makes it hard to draw conclusions, but the gist seemed to be that the sites are just average for a campground, activities and such are decent/good,  and maintenance is going downhill (maybe a long term concern).

The fundamental question with any membership camping is whether you are confident you would stay there enough each & every year to make the cost worthwhile.  Consider both the upfront cost (amortized over x years) and annual fees.  "Worthwhile" is both a financial and an enjoyment measure - you might pay more if its where your friends go or maybe the only or best place available within your reach.

What is the contract term for membership?  Does it have a fixed end or renewal point, or are you committed forever?  Odds are your camping needs will change, e.g. as kids grown up, health changes, or retirement opens up travel opportunities.  Often these memberships are difficult to re-sell or transfer, and some contracts don't even allow it. Don't get trapped long term even if the short term benefits are good.
 

John From Detroit

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Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
25,379
Location
Davison Michigan
YOu might check with OAI. since you WERE members before they bought it they may be willing to make you a very very reasonable deal (Basically dues only) on continuing as a member.

This has been done in the past when a company bought out an older camp ground.  Mr King generally buys properties that are either in danger of shutting down and soon. or already abandoned.  Just so you know.. Your membership might have "Expired" a month or two down the road had he not bought the place up.

I understand they have done some serious improvements on the Grand Haven property.. but  have not visited..  Been to Lakeshore (The corporate Jewell) Saginaw Bay (Standish) and Rifle River (Do not really want to deal with the manager there).

If you like membership camping the only NEGATIVE I can say about OAI is that they are a Northern company only..  Basically closed in the winter (Well you can do seasonal camp over the winter).

I also belong to Thousand Trails.. They are all over Much (not all) of the country.. Both north and south of the "Worry about freezing" line..  But many of their campgrounds are in need of a bit of TLC.. Where I am now for example.. Anemic 30 amps. and the swimming pool is under reconstrution.

OAI. well Lakeshore has lots and lots of 50 amp and even pull throughs.. Last time I was at Saginaw Bay not so many 50's.

If you'd like to check Either Lakeshore or Saginaw Bay out I can give you my reservation list in a PM and see if I can get you in for a couple nights as a guest.

But you really need to visit the Bay City office to talk to them about converting your old membership.. not the park sales staff.
 

glen54737

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2007
Posts
1,433
Location
Chesterfield Mi
I went to one of those sales pitches a few years ago at the one in Davidson it was a nice park but they wanted too much for the membership and it doesn't really fit with my current style.
The memberships are transferable and a resale one can be had on CL for about 2500 not sure if they have a transfer fee.

My parents bought a coast to coast resale for a few hundred and used it a lot sometimes they would stay 2 weeks for the $10 a day and pay retail for 1 week then check back in as coast to coast.
Some parks charge extra for 50A.
 

stripit

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Posts
51
Location
Prescott, Az
I bought a OutDoor Adventure membership years ago for somewhere around $3600 and kept it for about  8 years. Ended up putting a listing for sale on Craig's list and got $750 for it. We didn't use it enough to pay for itself and did stay at the other parks in that system. Some of the parks were nice, some ok and others we were unimpressed by. If you have children the parks are fantastic for kids. Overall we can say we did it and now would not think of ever buying in again. The park in Davison we went to the most. Sold to a fellow who lived a few miles away and had kids and they said they were going to really get the use out of it every weekend. 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,948
Location
At my Silver Springs FL home
stripit's experience is a fairly common one.  The sales pitch about savings sounds great, but you only save if you use it fairly often. 

Buying a membership is a large, multi-year commitment. Jefter's kids want to go there now, but how long will that last?  In a couple years they may not want to go camping at all.  Friends, school activities, etc. often take priority. Or the family horizons will broaden and other venues will seem more attractive.

Clearly buying a re-sale would be more to Jefters advantage, substantially reducing the financial risk, but I recollect a previous thread that said this company had serious restrictions on that.
 
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