In recent years, a new type of RV has come along known as a “destination trailer.” However, destination trailers are also sometimes referred to as “park models.” To add to the confusion, park models are often lumped in with – or are referred to as – mobile homes. The good news is that these really are three different things with three different purposes.
If you think of destination trailers, park models and mobile homes as being along a spectrum, the destination trailer would be at the end closest to a regular travel trailer or RV. Destination trailers tend to be around 40 feet long but a few options are available up to 42 feet. These types of RV have several advantages including a much lower price point than comparable travel trailers. Destination trailers are self-contained and usually have much bigger kitchens than regular RVs. Additionally, destination trailers feel much more like a home than an RV. While destination trailers can be towed, they require a one-ton truck to do so. Destination trailers are intended for long term use and stays in one place for months at time.
A park model is still technically considered an RV because it can be moved. However, many park models are much closer to what people think of as mobile homes. Park models are popular with “snow birds” and other folks who like to spend several months out of the year in one particular location. Park models have appliances such as washers, dryers and dishwashers, as well as homey accents including hardwood flooring, patios and bay windows. State laws do place size restrictions on park models (usually 400 square feet), which often include lofts to maximize space without adding to the square footage. As the name implies, park models are often used at campgrounds as an option for guests desiring long term stays.
Once a park model is larger than 400 square feet, it has graduated into mobile home status. Mobile homes are all the way at the end of the spectrum next to manufactured and modular homes. While mobile homes are towed to their destination, they usually don’t go anywhere after that and are intended as permanent living accommodation.
The best way to determine which option is right for you is to decide how long you want to be in one spot and how mobile you’d like to be. Destination trailers and park models are both great long term camping options.