What’s The Deal With Memberships at Gay Campgrounds?

Written by Benji

September 14, 2022

Have you ever noticed “members only” on the homepage of all LGBT campgrounds? What does that mean? How do you become a member?

Gay Campgrounds are Safe Spaces

The LGBT community has a long tradition of creating and maintaining safe spaces.

The most modern example of this is the classic gay bar. From hidden password-only access establishments in the early to mid 1900s, to the bars like Stonewall Inn in the West Village and the Castro, to the modern gay mega-clubs, cruises, and resorts.

Gay campgrounds are one of these safe spaces, and guests expect that once they step through the gates, they can be free to be themselves without risk of being exposed to the outside world.

Memberships Allow Gay Campgrounds To Control Access

Thanks to anti-discrimination and equal-access laws, a business like a public campground typically can not restrict access to only members of a protected class. However, private membership organizations can create restrictions on joining such as being a member of a specific community or shared interests.

Therefore, requiring memberships is the first step in making sure everyone within the gay campground is a member of their target community. Being a a member-only facility also allows campground management to revoke membership and remove or deny someone access

Because many (but not all) gay campgrounds are clothing-optional or have clothing-optional sections, this also allows for more controlled access to make sure everyone is on their best behavior and to kindly remove anyone acting inappropriately.

Of course, gay campgrounds are for-profit businesses, except TRC near Seattle, which is a non-profit. These modest memberships also help generate revenue to keep the campground in great shape and support facilities and programming.

Additionally, some municipalities require membership models, depending on local laws.

Anyone Can Become a Gay Campground Member

Typically, anyone of the minimum age and who meets all the other campground-specific criteria can become a member. Many LGBT campgrounds in the U.S. require all members to be above 21 years of age. Some have a minimum age of 18. In Canada, the minimum age is typically 19.

Some LGBT campgrounds are restricted to men only, some are women-only, and some allow families and friends.

Check on the campground’s website, or give them a call, to confirm their criteria.

How To Become A Member of a Gay Campround

Becoming a member of a gay campground is quick and easy. You typically either sign up in advance on the website, or fill out the paperwork upon arrival.

After you show your ID and fill out your forms, you will often be presented an option for a single-visit, per-day, or per-season/year membership. If you only plan to come to that campground one or two times, it might make sense financially to purchase the single-visit memberships each time. If you anticipate becoming a regular, you likely will want a full season. If the campground charges per-day, you’ll have to think ahead where the break-even cost is for you.

In the past, most campgrounds gave you an actual membership card. Now, the majority of campgrounds register your membership in their online reservation system.

Some Gay Campgrounds Offer Reciprocal Memberships

As the LGBT camping industry grows, some campgrounds have partnered together to honor each other’s memberships. Check the website or ask when you call to reserve.

Gay Camping USA offers their Friends with Benefits program, with many of the largest gay campgrounds participating.

Conclusion About Gay Campground Memberships

Memberships are an important part of gay campgrounds culture, that help create a safe space for guests, allow for access control, and generate revenue to support facilities and events. You should expect to purchase a membership at a modest cost in addition to your camping/lodging costs for your trip or for the season. You can find discounts on membership by asking each campground if they offer reciprocity for other memberships. Gay campground memberships are not an obstacle to visiting or enjoying your LGBT campground experience, and you don’t have to plan or worry in advance about it at all.

What do you think about memberships at gay campgrounds? Let us know in the comments below!

You May Also Like…


What do you think? Leave a comment now.

%d bloggers like this: