Shopping for an RV can be just about as overwhelming as shopping for a car. You have to narrow it down by make and model, determine what size is right for you, and try to work within a budget. Luckily there are a few easy ways to help you figure out which RV type is right for your needs. For lightweight towing and easy set-up at your campsite, a travel trailer is a great way to go. If you’re looking for high-end, comfortable amenities that’ll make longer trips easier, check out a fifth wheel. Adrenaline junkies who seek thrills and spills love toy haulers for their cargo carrying capabilities. And park model RVs, also called destination trailers, are designed to deliver spacious, residential living for lengthy stays. Park model RVs are like a second home—your very own cottage on wheels. While you won’t see as many of these going down the road as you do travel trailers or fifth wheels, park models offer loads of features that the other guys don’t. Let’s take a look at the benefits of owning a park model RV to see if it might be a good fit for your RVing needs.
A Heavy Hitter
Since park model RVs are not meant to be hitched up every weekend and dragged all over to different campgrounds, they’re usually heavier than the other types of RVs. While travel trailers and fifth wheels are built with lightweight materials for easier towing, park models outweigh them—and outshine them with residential-sized appliances, furniture, countertops, and other furnishings. This 40’ 4”-long Forest River Cedar Creek Cottage 40CCK model has a large, recessed stainless steel oven with sealed burners and a glass cover, and an optional 20 cu. ft. French door refrigerator with ice maker! Our Forest River Salem Villa Estate 4102BFK has two outlets so you can run multiple kitchen appliances at one time, extra-large cabinets for great storage, a skylight, brushed nickle hardware, and a Whirlpool 1.6 cu. ft. oversized microwave. Park models make sure that once you’re settled in at your favorite spot by the lake, in the mountains, or on your private piece of property in the woods, you can still enjoy the comforts of home-cooked meals, warm brownies right out of the oven, and enough room to move with ease while working your culinary magic. Most park model kitchens either have center islands or are stretched across the front or rear of the unit, giving you more countertop space for food prep and clean up. The frustration that some RVers feel because of non-existent pot/pan storage or a complete lack of food prep space won’t be a worry for you with a park model RV! Pack your recipe box and bring all your favorite kitchen gadgets so you can enjoy stress-free cooking in your home-away-from-home.
Living It Up!
Living rooms in park model RVs typically feature a large sliding patio door that lets in loads of natural light, a cool breeze off the lake, or mountain-fresh air. The living areas generally have slide-out rooms for more square footage, abundant residential seating, and great entertainment systems. It’s not uncommon to find large TVs above lovely electric fireplaces, like in this Jayco Jay Flight Bungalow 40BHQS. Since park models aren’t just brought out of storage for summer travel and then put away again when the leaves start to change color, they are most often built with ducted heat and A/C for comfortable, year-round camping. Between the cozy fireplace and the ducted heat, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a good reason to hang up your keys come Labor Day! Park models make it easy to enjoy the peace and quiet that comes once the rowdy summer camping crowds head back home to return to school and work. Fall camping, with its warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights is some of the best to be had, and with a four-season park model, you can flip on the fireplace, put on a good DVD, and snuggle in with your better half until you feel the itch to return to civilization.
In park model RV bedrooms, you will not find the thin, flimsy mattresses that smaller RVs are equipped with. You also won’t find two tiny bedside shirt closets for storage. Park model RVs offer upgraded mattresses, queen and king beds, multiple dressers and wardrobes, soft carpeting, and even washer/dryer hook-ups for onsite laundry capabilities. With the bedrooms typically being located down a hallway from the living area and kitchen, they feel more private than in other types of RVs.
Let There Be Light!
You can usually pick a park model RV out of a line-up by the large amount of windows it has all around the unit. You definitely won’t feel like you’re living in a closet when you vacation in a park model RV! Many have bay windows across the front, like this Forest River Salem Villa Classic 39FDEN, and side walls that are covered with windows. This makes them the perfect RV type to enjoy that great lakeside view or those towering mountains off in the distance right from the comfort of your dinette or reclining chairs.
Let's Get Moving!
In the wake of the recent hurricanes that have devastated Houston and Florida, I can't finish this post without mentioning that park models offer a benefit that a stationary home or cottage does not—portability. A stick-and-brick-home, while obviously more durable and solid than an RV, is immobile. If you're under orders to evacuate your area because of an impending storm, all you can take with you is what will fit in your car. Having to choose what to take and what to leave can be heartbreaking. However, if you're vacationing in a park model RV, you can hitch it up and hightail it out of there. While an RV won't fare well in hurricane-force winds, it doesn't need to. Those wheels are meant for moving, so you'll have the added advantage of leaving the coming storm behind you and heading for calmer, dryer land.
Cottages and cabins are great, but they undoubtedly come with tons of upkeep and can feel like a money pit. Enjoy all the benefits a cottage or cabin has to offer but with fewer headaches with a great park model RV! Park it at your favorite destination or on your little slice of paradise and enjoy long-term living that’s just right for you!
Do you go vacation in a park model RV? If so, what are some features you love about it! Tell us in the comments below!