Four out of five people have U.S. National Parks on their travel bucket list. But many timeshare owners express frustration that it doesn’t seem like they can use their ownership to see them. Timeshare travel is beautiful, yet complicated, and there is a steep learning curve. If you’re one of the 9 million American timeshare owners or 22 million global ones, you absolutely can use yours to see these stunning sites. In fact, you can go to almost 3 out of 4 United States National Parks by exchanging your week or points with the largest timeshare exchange company.
See 70% of America’s National Parks by Exchanging Your Timeshare with RCI
I thought to myself there must be a guide like this out there to help the millions of owners plan bucket list vacations at RCI Resorts. It turns out that it didn’t exist! So I set out to search RCI resorts and match them with the National Parks in America This guide represents all the travel you dream of when you buy timeshare properties and get an RCI Membership.
If you happened to find this piece and are just joining me, this article is one of a series of posts designed by a happy timeshare owner for owners to get all the benefits out of their vacation ownership! Browse my other Timeshare Dollars and Sense articles here.
What is a Timeshare Anyway?
Timeshares are partial ownerships of condo-like units in vacation resorts. They are owned, operated, and maintained by independent resorts, small chains, and large timeshare companies like Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Club Wyndham Vacations, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Marriott Vacation Club, and Disney Vacation Club. You might have stayed in a timeshare rental before without realizing it!
If you’ve never heard of timeshare exchanges before, one of the most exciting things about owning a timeshare (besides the fact that I have no chores to do at my home resort) is that you can trade for other timeshare vacations at 4,000+ affiliated resorts across more than 100 countries. This magic happens via timeshare exchange companies. It’s like picking up your vacation home or ski condo and moving it around the world for every holiday!
RCI: A Timeshare Exchange Company
RCI (Resort Condominiums International) is the world’s largest timeshare exchange company and part of the timeshare industry conglomerate Wyndham Destinations. Say you’re looking to exchange your week at Hilton Grand Vacations Waikiki beach for a week at an Australian vacation club.
RCI is one of many timeshare exchange companies that facilitate trading your week somewhere other than your home resort. Check out the below RCI introductory videos explaining their RCI points and RCI weeks Program, RCI resorts, and their trading power system.
If you’ve just gotten an RCI membership and you’re looking to learn tips, hacks from experienced timeshare owners, start with my RCI 101 article. Want to search RCI resorts for your next vacation? Make sure you’re planning against their Resort Directory and not the inventory the second you’re searching. Want to stay at top RCI resorts? Learn how to get yourself on the waiting list!
How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Timeshares?
There are a variety of factors in buying timeshare properties or vacation clubs, but if you’re focused on cost as the decision driver, the path to a savvy purchase starts by getting a timeshare affiliated with RCI, resale from an existing owner. You can save 75 to 99% of the purchase price when you buy affliated RCI resorts in the resale market.
Yes, you can buy affliated RCI resorts for free, $1 from another owner but is that really the best buy? Check out my article “What is the Best Timeshare to Buy Under $3,000.” if you’re going to be shopping. The article outlines how you can turn a $650 Hawaii vacation club ownership into an entire winter of snowbirding in Orlando – with RCI resorts via their exchange program!
THE Exclusive List: RCI Resorts near U.S. National Parks
Are you ready to travel our country and see our great National Parks? Download the guide by a timeshare owner for other timeshare owners HERE!
Guide Key: RCI Resort Categories
You’ll see in the guide initials to indicate how close RCI Resorts are from National Parks. There are some National Parks that can only be reached by ferry or seaplane whether you’re staying at a timeshare or a hotel!
- If you’re looking for RCI resorts that are under an hour from a park, look for the CB initials, for close-by.
- If you’re looking to travel to these parks in the most economical fashion, look for the LC initials for RCI resorts that are regulars in the Last Call Program. If you’re saying Last Call Program, HUH? check out my post on this RCI timeshare program that makes a Frugal Fannie sing.
- National Parks that are a bit of a drive (1-2 hours) from RCI resorts and/or require a ferry are marked as TR for Travel Required.
Also, I organized the guide in the same regions as the RCI Timeshare Resort Directory for easy comparison of the two. That’s why some sections are US Regions, while other Sections are certain states. I want you to take my guide and go right into RCI to start planning your Timeshare Vacations!
A Taste of the RCI Resorts in the Guide
It was really fun to learn more about United States National Parks as well as RCI Timeshare resorts I’ve never heard of! If you are looking for some planning inspiration check out Our Escape Clause’s 25 of the Best National Parks in the USA. As I am an RCI Weeks Program Member those are the resorts that are included in the guide. If you are an RCI Points Program member and have some RCI Timeshare Properties to add, please email me! Here’s a sneak peek of the guide and some idea of how you can exchange your timeshare week into many different trips!
Rocky Mountain National Park
Worldmark Estes Park in Colorado is only 8 miles away from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park has two other RCI timeshare properties as well! Colorado has such amazing National Monuments that it would make for an epic travel experience.
Shenandoah National Park
Massanutten, one of the largest timeshare resorts, is right next to the Swift Run Gap entrance of Shenandoah National Park. This resort also has an RCI Gold Crown rating. Many owners agree it’s an amazing resort with tons of kid’s activities. And for the grown-ups, there’s a bunch of beautiful wineries nearby. It’s a regular in the RCI Last Call program making the optional activity resort fees easier to swallow since you don’t have to use any RCI points or pay an exchange fee. It’s a great way to travel on a budget to a premium resort.
The Mighty Five National Parks
WorldMark by Wyndham Vacation is building a new RCI affiliated resort in Moab, UT. This hotel opening in 2021 will provide a National Park experience for RCI Timeshare members that didn’t exist in this region before. Canyonlands is one of my personal favorites in this region!
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park in Arizona is surprisingly close to the metropolitan area. This would be a perfect trip for a long weekend or shorter school holiday. There are 6 affiliated RCI Timeshare resorts that are super close to Tucson, the national park, and the airport.
Florida National Parks
You can see 2 out of 3 Florida National Parks from Weston – a town with regularly available RCI resorts. Even better, they are regulars in the RCI Last Call Vacations Program where you can score $300 a week offers within 45 days of check-in. If you love to travel without breaking the bank, these offers are perfect for you!
I hope this guide inspires you to plan an adventure experience in our beautiful United States National Parks with your RCI Membership. Check out this great planning article with a visual that matches the month of the year with ideal parks to visit. Over here, we are planning some epic National Park trips for 2023. That’s when my oldest is in 4th grade and will qualify for the Government FREE National Parks Family Passes program “Every Kid Outdoors”
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