Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

Families Are Discovering the Merits of Park Model Rentals

Campgrounds and RV resorts across the country are increasingly marketing the 400-square foot cottage-like units to accommodate people who don’t have an RV as well as travelers who need more space for visiting family and friends



“We don’t need our motorhome there,” Mike O’Connell said. “They have park models we can rent. It’s a step up from camping. It’s like having our own little house on island. It’s our daughters’ favorite place to camp.”

Recreational park trailers or “park models” are 400-square foot cottages on wheels. These units are too big to tow, however. They have to be professionally moved. But because they are technically classified as recreational vehicles, they can be set up on campsites and used as a vacation cottage.

And because park models come equipped with bay windows, lofts, full-size appliances and other creature comforts, campground and RV resort operators across the country are increasingly using them to accommodate people who don’t have an RV or who simply want a little more space and the comforts of home.

Private parks that now offer park models for rent include many campgrounds in the Kampgrounds of America (KOA) and Yogi Bear chains as well as RV resorts affiliated with Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties and Morgan RV Resorts of Queensbury, N.Y. Numerous independent campgrounds are also purchasing park models, partly to accommodate travelers who don’t have an RV and partly to diversify their business base so that they are not solely dependent on renting sites to RV and tent campers.

“We have a people who stay in our park models for a week at a time,” said Dave Kozy, a regional vice president of Equity LifeStyle Properties, citing the company’s Tranquil Timbers Resort in Door County, Wis. as a case in point.

Some travelers also prefer renting a park model in a campground or RV resort to staying in a hotel. “People like a park model over a hotel room because it’s more like renting a home,” said Jeff Dixon, sales manager for Sun-N-Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, Fla. “It’s your own little place. You don’t have anybody above you or below you. It’s very appealing.”

“With a park model, everything’s right there,” said Tammy Gomez, manager of Beach Comber Camping Resort in Cape May, N.J. “You have the full kitchen, the full bath. It’s bigger than a motel room. You have a private room for the kids and a private room for the parents or a loft. Everything’s right there. You can cook if you need to so you don’t have to go out to dinner as much. Yet you have the feel of camping because you’re in a wooded area. We have outdoor grills that come with our units, so you can smell the wood burning and the hot dogs and it gives you that back to nature feel.”

Craig Sherman and his wife, Sandy, of Newcastle, Ind., have a 32-foot travel trailer. But when they visit Tropical Palms FunResort in Kissimmee, Fla. in the wintertime, they rent park models for their daughter and her children and have family reunions there. “Our RV is too small for all of us, so we rent two park models and there’s plenty of room for everybody,” Sandy Sherman said.

Many parks, in fact, have found that demand for park models is so strong that they can sell them to consumers who want to use them as affordable weekend retreats or seasonal vacation cottages. Most park models are in the high $30,000 range, while annual campsite leases vary between $1,500 and $8,000 per year, depending on location. Sun-N- Fun, Snug Harbor, Tropical Palms and many other parks affiliated with the national campground and RV resort chains offer park models both for sale and for rent.

And parks that offer these units say they have no trouble renting them out, including Rustic Inn, a new resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo. with 75 park model cabins that just opened in May. “They’re starting to fill up fast,” said Karleigh Sullivan, the resort’s front office manager.

Other resorts that already have park models are adding more, including Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville, Texas, which is adding 46 park models this summer and fall. “We call them cottages in the hills,” said park owner Don Temple, adding, “We had 150 inquiries as soon as we put them on our website.”



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