Are you looking for a park model RV for long-term camping and wonder which manufacturers are best?
This guide will explain what a park model is, highlight all the best park model manufacturers, explain why they get great reviews, and detail what features and floorplans stand out.
What is a Park Model RV?
In the US, a park model RV is a type of recreational vehicle that is 399-square-feet or less in size (Florida allows up to 499 square feet) and resembles a small home or cabin. The size increases to 540-square-feet for park models sold in Canada.
Park model RV sizes fit into most RV park campsites, and their primary purpose is for recreational use.
Other main features of a park model RV include:
- Legally regulated as a temporary living space
- Is towable on public roads
- Needs tags, insurance, and registration like a standard RV
- You cannot secure a mortgage on one
- Made for RV parks or mobile home parks
Many RVers confuse park models with destination trailers, as they are similar in size and amenities. Still, not all destination trailers have the same features as park model brands, and their exterior resembles a large travel trailer.
Park model exteriors resemble a tiny home or cabin, with peaked rooflines, porches, and traditional entrance doors and windows.
Park model RVs allow owners to park their camper on a rented campsite or personal property and avoid all the hassles of constantly driving or towing your motorhome or travel trailer back and forth.
Park models are popular with snowbirds and other seasonal camping enthusiasts who would rather drive or fly to their vacation destination and have everything they need for camping already waiting for them.
Park models are brought to the campsite by a tow vehicle, as they are technically a type of travel trailer, but they are set up and secured to the ground to withstand severe storms better.
After set up, most owners add skirting around the base of the park model to hide the tires and utilities and make the unit look nice.
Another difference between a park model and an everyday recreational vehicle is how the utilities hook up.
Depending on the type and size of park model you own, the electricity source may be a 50-amp plug but most often will connect to the city power grid via a breaker box. Some models are all-electric, while some have gas appliances that hook to a 50 or 100-gallon propane tank.
Park models do not have holding tanks for fresh, black, or greywater and instead connect directly to city services for water intake and wastewater drainage.
The amenities inside a park model RV are much more like a residential home, with a standard flushing toilet, washers and dryers, and large water heaters, to name a few.
The appeal of a park model is the convenience of not having to haul it to your camping destination, the overall look, and residential-style features and appliances. In addition, you have the benefit of being able to quickly move the unit if you sell it or want to change camping locations.
Are Park Models More Expensive than Traditional RVs?
Most park model trailers are surprisingly affordable and range in price from $25,000-$150,00, which is similar in price to buying a motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel for camping trips.
The less-costly park models are fundamental in terms of amenities, with fewer appliances or designer touches that you’ll find in more expensive models. Instead, the interior may be as simple as a kitchenette area, a small bathroom, and open space for adding beds or a couch.
Depending on your camping needs, you can buy the perfect type of park model RV to fit your budget. However, some RV parks that allow park models may regulate what type of exterior style or interior amenities you can install on their property.
Expect to pay a monthly rent for your park model campsite, just as you would if parking a traditional recreational vehicle.
In the off-season, when you aren’t actively using your park model for vacations, you will still need to pay anywhere from the total monthly rent to a much smaller monthly maintenance fee, depending on where you park the trailer.
For example, in one RV park in south Florida, the “snowbirds” with park models pay $760 monthly plus electric for the high-season, and if they choose to leave for the summer months, they only need to pay a $50 maintenance fee.
The actual cost of owning a park model comes down to financing and insuring the trailer. Even though park models look and feel like small homes, they are not legally such, which means you cannot get a traditional mortgage on one.
You can get financing through most manufacturers but expect to pay a premium for your insurance coverage until you pay off the note.
Most traditional RV owners have insurance through their car insurance company, but park models are a hybrid that typically requires a special park model insurance policy because they are stationary most of the time.
These particular policies can cost anywhere from $750-$2500 a year, with most in the $1,200-$1,500 range.
Now that you understand what a park model is and what costs to expect for ownership, let’s dive into the best manufacturers of park model trailers so you can streamline your shopping experience.
5 Best Park Model RV Manufacturers
The best park model manufacturers combine superior design and construction with affordable prices and excellent customer service. A park model can last for decades if built well, which only increases its value the more years you get to enjoy it.
Florida-based Chariot Eagle has been a standout in the park model industry for over half a century. The company also has a factory in Phoenix, Arizona.
The craftsmanship and floorplans keep customers happy, and they return to these companies when it’s time for an upgrade or when family and friends ask for a park model recommendation.
The Chariot Eagle park model line includes an array of affordable yet high-quality and stylish trailer homes that they will custom-build in widths from 12-14 feet to fit the different county codes in Florida or other states.
In their Eagle series, there are six designs to choose from that feature 1-2 bedrooms, 1-2 bathrooms, full kitchens, and spacious living rooms. In addition, some plans offer a loft for extra storage and living space.
Chariot’s Seashore Cottages series has five designs but only offers a single bedroom and bathroom. However, the 12351C model provides a loft ideal for kids sleeping quarters.
Prices start around $50,000 and customers give the company high marks for:
- Quality construction and materials
- Good insulation
- Continual upgrades in technology and appliances
- Easy-flow floor plans
- Requiring little maintenance
- Attentive customer service from purchase to install
Chariot Eagle Park Model (Video)
Skyline Homes is another Florida-based park model manufacturer that delivers excellent service to its customers along with high-quality construction and innovative designs.
You can choose from nine designs in their Shore Park series, which all have 1-2 bedrooms and one bathroom but are 499-square-feet, making them a bit more spacious.
The available options are impressive, such as more cabinetry or closets, bay windows, a porch with end walls for more privacy or weather protection, alternate bathroom amenities, and more so you can create a home with a custom feel.
Prices start around $43,000 and customers give the company high marks for:
- Large windows and luxury-level trimwork
- Cathedral ceilings
- Full kitchens with top-of-the-line appliances
- Excellent heating and cooling systems
- Durable wall and floor treatments
- Excellent customer service
Skyline Shore Park- Park Model (Video)
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Nashua Builders is a little-known name to most RV shoppers, but their reputation is first-class when it comes to building park model trailers ideal for cold-weather climates.
The company manufactures its park models and other prefab structures in Idaho and offers two floorplans in their park model line with 1-2 bedrooms and a single bathroom.
While your model selection is limited, the amount of personalization the company allows you to put into the build through your choice of options, like a fireplace, log siding, or deep eaves, is what sets this company apart.
The exterior shape with a peaked roofline is a nice touch that customers love, but the inclusion of lofts and screened-in porches are the true highlights of the build.
Prices start around $70,000 and customers give the company high marks for:
- Customer input and customization options
- High ceilings
- Rustic wood-plank wall treatments
- Second floor loft space
- Rock-solid build
- Insulation and doors/windows rated for cold weather
The all-indoor building process keeps materials from moisture and pests, making the final product stronger and less prone to hidden damage. The company follows environmentally-friendly, green building practices as well.
The park models come in rustic, coastal, or traditional themes, with options to expand the living space with an extra front or back porch. The stunning interior cabinetry and finishes make it feel like you’re stepping into a modern, high-end home.
The roominess of the floor plan gives you the option for a king-size bed, while the metal roof will withstand all types of weather. Covered porches and stainless steel residential-size appliances make the Athens park models a true home away from home.
Prices start around $57,000 and customers give the company high marks for:
- Welcoming customer service through all phases
- High ceilings and spacious lofts
- Walk-in showers and roomy bathrooms
- Loft space with more headroom
- Tons of storage inside beautiful cabinets
- Efficient appliances and cooling and heating systems
Athens Park – Park Model Series (Video)
If a premium park model is on your bucket list, then you must take a look at the models by Kropf Industries.
The manufacturer has three lines; the Island with 23-floor plans, the Lakeside with 12-floor plans, and the Lakeside SE with nine-floor plans. You can even select from six-floor plans in the Canadian series.
Customization options include:
- Adding up to an 8-foot porch to the front of any Island Series model
- Making room for a washer and dryer
- Including a rear or double loft
- The ability to flip or roll the main layout to better suit the campsite access points or views
Attention to detail is the focus of the entire build and buying process, so customers feel royalty, and the craftsmanship speaks for itself. Enjoy 50-year vinyl siding, thermopane windows, and a fully-enclosed underbelly, among many other features not found in many park model brands.
Prices start around $72,000 and customers give the company high marks for:
- Incredible stylish interior design
- High ceilings and plenty of windows
- Functional layouts
- Cozy loft space with built-in storage units
- Large shower and plentiful bathroom cabinets
- Huge selection of floor plans and custom options
Kropf Industries Lakeside (Video)
Park model RVs are the best solution to creating a camping escape that doesn’t entail all the work of packing, hooking up, hauling, unhooking, and setting up at the campsite a traditional RV requires.
For long-term camping enjoyment, check out the designs by the best park model manufacturers above, and see what they have to offer.
Whether you plan to buy one to use as a tiny home on private property or install at a campground or RV park for family vacations or seasonal living, park model RVs are a great value!
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