What is the Difference Between a Travel Trailer, Park Model, and a Destination Trailer?

What is a destination trailer?

A destination trailer is a high-end trailer that is designed to be in one location for an extended period of time instead of being used for continuous traveling. They are extremely heavy and more difficult to move than a travel trailer. Even though they are difficult to move, it can be done. However, most destination trailers are required to use a special towing service or a one-ton truck, i.e. a dually truck, to be moved. This type of trailer is perfect for a person or family who wants to stay in one area for several weeks to even months. It can also be used as a permanent or seasonal home. Destination trailers are great if you have some land and want to use it for a cabin or even while you are building a house.

Destination trailers have more upgrades and high-end features that make them similar to a traditional house. One feature that people enjoy is the living room and kitchen combination. It is a large open space with at least two sofas, some have the option of dual reclining chairs instead of a second sofa, a fireplace, and two large slide-outs that create a large space. These features would make anyone feel like they are at home. The kitchens come equipped with full-sized appliances; including a four-burner stove, a full-size oven, a full-size refrigerator, and most have center islands. They also come with two or more private bedrooms and some include a loft sleeping area that is accessible by a staircase. The private bedrooms can come with their own private bathrooms and there can be an additional half bath for guests.

Other features include taller ceilings (especially if there is a loft), ceiling fans, large bay windows, and a sliding glass door. They also have more slide-outs than travel trailers. These slide outs make for a spacious interior by extending the width of the trailer by two to four feet. The last upgrade that people love is that destination trailers typically come with a washer and dryer. This is a huge selling point for these trailers. Since they are used for more permanent use, a washer and dryer are a must.

Destination Trailer vs Park Model

Many of the destination trailer’s “home” features get some confused between this trailer and a park model. There is a difference, even though they look very similar. Park models stay in one place permanently unlike destination trailers. As soon as a park model is towed to its destination, the hitch and wheels are removed. But with a destination trailer, the hitch stays attached, since it can be used for travel. The park model has to be hooked up to residential water and sewer, whereas, a destination trailer can be self-sufficient. A destination trailer has fresh, grey and black water holding tanks. This allows the trailer to either be hookup to the campground or it can be used off the grid-like travel trailers.  

What is a travel trailer?

A travel trailer is meant to be used for on the go people and families who like to camp, travel, and be adventurous. They can be pulled behind any sized pick-up truck with enough towing compacity. Travel trailers usualy weigh anywhere from 3,000 – 7,000 lbs but can be upwards of 10,000 lbs. They do not need to be towed behind a special towing service or dually truck-like destination trailers. Since these trailers are easier to haul, they can go and be parked anywhere. They can be parked in a campground or off the grid. Travel trailers can be self-sufficient for some time, just like the destination trailers. They too have fresh, grey and black water holding tanks that make them self-sufficient.

Travel trailers are smaller than destination trailers but they do have wonderful features. They have several slide-outs that create a spacious interior. They can also come with two bedrooms but most only come with one bedroom with additional sleeping areas like a pull-out sofa and bunk beds. They have nice, open kitchen and living concept like a destination trailer. Travel trailers usually come with one sofa, a TV, a dinette, and either a galley or “L” shaped kitchen depending on the size and floorplan. The kitchen is smaller in a travel trailer and comes with a 2-3 burner stovetop, instead of the traditional 4-burner stove, a smaller sized oven (some do not come with ovens), a microwave, and a refrigerator/freezer. These trailers do not come with a washer and dryer like destination trailers. However, one thing they do not lack is storage space. These trailers come with several wall to ceiling cabinets that surround the interior of the trailer. Additional features to a travel trailer include a retractable awning, aerodynamic shape to the front of the trailer for easy towing, storage underneath the length of the trailer, and one or more entries.

Travel trailers have the comforts of home but in a tinier package than a destination trailer. These trailers are made for on the go people who like to explore the city or countryside.

What is a Park Model?

A park model trailer is another type of trailer you can have. They are considered a RV, but are designed to stay in one spot for extended periods of time.

Park models typically are not self sufficient like a destination trailer and need to be connected to a sewer system or septic as well as a freshwater source and electricity.

Most of the time when a park model is delivered at a location, the hitch and wheels are removed and it is placed on a foundation of blocks or even concrete and skirting is built around to prevent critters from entering and doing damage.

The skirting also helps with comfort by keeping the heat in and the cold out in the winter.

These models are often tied down to the ground via anchors to keep them from moving during a tornado, wind, or other disaster.

By law, park models must be under 400 square feet and must be manufactured by a certified RV factory to be considered a recreational vehicle.

Qualities of a destination trailer:

  • Length:
    • Destination trailers range from 39’ to 43’ in length. This allows enough space for multiple bedrooms. Those bedrooms are large enough for a king-sized bed.
  • Height
    • The height of destination trailers can range from 13’-14’. These types of trailers are taller than others since they are made to be lived in for an extended period of time. They can also offer a loft since the ceilings are so tall.
  • Width
    • The width of a destination trailer is about 8’ before the slide outs are extended out. When the slide outs are extended out, it increases the width of the trailer by two to four feet.  
  • Weight
    • Most destination trailers weigh 10,000 lbs+. These are the heaviest of trailers and require special vehicles to tow them.


Destination trailers do cost more than travel trailers. Destination trailers cost around $50,000, give or take. They can always cost more depending on upgrades. However, for this amount of money, you are getting so many home features and a larger square footage trailer. Whereas, travel trailers cost about $20,000 and can go up, depending on their upgrades and features. Used trailers can be found in excellent condition for both which will help lower the cost.

What are the benefits of a destination trailer?     

  • It feels like home.
  • Two or more bedrooms with an optional loft.
    • Bedrooms can include a king-sized bed.
  • Sleeps up to 10 people.
  • Two or more bathrooms with an optional half bath.
  • It comes with a washer and dryer space.
  • Full-sized kitchen appliances that include a 4-burner stovetop, oven, microwave, deep sink, residential-sized faucet, and residential-sized refrigerator. 
  • Several windows including a large bay window on the front of the trailer.
  • A long sliding glass door that brings in an abundance of sunlight into the living room and kitchen.

What are the drawbacks of a destination trailer?

  • A bit more difficult to move.
    • Need a dually truck or a special towing service.
  • Larger than a travel trailer.
    • This can be a negative for those who want to move around quickly and with ease.
  • Unable to use it for constant travel.
    • This trailer is designed to be in one location for an extended period of time.

Why would you buy a destination trailer over a travel trailer?

As humans, we are creatures of habit even on vacation. We like going on vacation to the same spot. It becomes familiar, like a second home. Don’t get me wrong, we like new adventures but there are certain spots we like going back to every year or so.

For example, our favorite beach spot, or the lake or even the mountains. When you go to these places, I bet you generally rent the same condo or house. But why, when you can take your own home with you? A destination trailer is perfect for this. This would be your home away from home and only you have lived in it.

Also, there is plenty of extra space and multiple bedrooms for guests or family who want to visit while you are on vacation. A destination trailer is perfect for these long, repetitive vacations that we all like to go on.

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