The kids are back in school which equates to less pressure on RV parks and campgrounds as family vacations come to an end. Not only are the campgrounds less crowded, but many begin offering off-season discounts, especially to senior RVers. Let’s take a look at some of the options here in the Northwest.

Washington State Parks offers a sweet off-season deal to state residents 62 years of age and older. For $75, seniors who are Washington State residents can purchase an Off Season Senior Citizen Pass. The pass allows FREE camping during the off season period. Passes are honored seven days a week from October 1 through March 31 and Sundays through Thursday nights during the month of April. Pass holders using a campsite with an electrical hookup will pay a $10 per night surcharge for a utility site. Off Season Passes may be purchased after September 1st of each year at most state parks or complete and mail in the application found here with a check or money order for $75 to Washington State Parks Headquarters in Olympia. Note: Instructions and the mailing address are included on the application form.

Montana State Parks offers peak season and even larger off season discounts to state residents AND nonresidents of any age (see below chart).

For nonresidents to enjoy the discounts, they will need to purchase a Non-Resident Entrance Pass which allows free unlimited day use visits and discounted camping fees for a year. A pass costs $35 / vehicle. The State Park Entrance Pass is valid for one year from month of issue. Passes are available for purchase through the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) Online Licensing Service, or at many state parks and any FWP office. Off-season rates begin the third Monday in September and are valid through the third Thursday in May. Typical campground savings are $10 per night, so the pass will quickly pay for itself. Click here to view the entire fee schedule and the ability to perform an online search for a Montana State Park that meets your camping needs.

Unfortunately, other Northwest States like Oregon and Idaho don’t currently offer off-season camping discounts. Previously, Oregon offered off-season camping discounts via the “Discovery Season” but recently discontinued the program.

Off Season Forest Service Offers Discounts tooThe next place to look for off-season camping discounts are campgrounds (national park, forest service, etc.) operated by the US Federal Government. Click here for a list showing in-season and off-season camping rates for states across the country.

 

Off Season BCIf you are one of our senior readers north of the border in British Columbia, you too can enjoy off-season discount camping. Camping discounts for British Columbia residents that are 65 years of age and older are available from the day after Labour Day through June 14th of the following year. Details are as follows:

• The senior rate is the campsite's regular summer camping fee divided by two.• OR, if there is a winter camping fee in effect for that campsite that is LESS than the above, then the senior’s rate is equal to the winter camping fee.
For example: if a campsite is usually $30 per party, the senior rate will be $15 (half price). But, if the winter camping fee is $11 and in effect, then the senior fee will be $11.
• This discount does not apply if the camping party includes an adult who is not a senior or the spouse of a senior (up to four seniors/spouses are allowed, children under 16 are allowed up to a maximum of 8 people total).
• This discount does not apply to group camping, group picnicking, electrical hookups, backcountry, marine and day-use fees.
• This discount is for front country camping fees only.
• From June 15 through to Labour Day (first Monday in September), the full rate applies.
• A second vehicle (non-RV) may be allowed on site for an additional nightly charge of 1/2 the campsite fee paid by the senior (to a maximum of $12/night).
• Fee collectors may ask to see proof of age and British Columbia residency.

The above references are just the possibilities for off-season discounts in State and Federal campgrounds, many private RV parks offer off-season or “non- peak” rates too. A little research via the phone or internet can reveal significant off-season camping discounts in the private sector as well.

Finally, if discounts are not enough to motivate you to get out camping this fall, take a look at some of the fall activities that can be enjoyed via an RV in our previous article, 7 Favorite Fall Activities to Enjoy With Your RV.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave Helgeson
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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