Park Models Open the Door to a Dual Home Lifestyle That Many Retirees Could Not Otherwise Afford

The Units Will Be on Display Sept. 14-18 at the 37th Annual Pennsylvania RV & Camping Show in Hershey, the Largest Park Model Show in the Country

HERSHEY, Pa., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ — Doug and Beverly Dahlquist are the envy of many retirees.

They enjoy their summers in the leafy environs of central Minnesota and their winters under the clear, temperate skies of Casa Grande, Ariz. and they spend a fraction of what most retirees would pay to enjoy this kind of lifestyle.

Their secret?

They own two 400-square foot recreational park trailers or “park models,” a little known but increasingly popular type of RV product that will be featured Sept. 14th to 18th at the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Show in Hershey, which features the largest number of park models of any RV show in the country.

Unlike mobile homes, which are a form of low-cost, permanent housing, recreational park trailers or “park models” are 400-square foot movable resort cottages that are designed exclusively for part-time recreational use. Typically upscale in appearance, they often include bay windows and lofts as well as walnut, oak or maple cabinetry. And they can be left on a permanent campsite for an entire season.

Park models typically retail in the mid-$30,000-range and provide comfortable part-time living quarters for a fraction of the cost of a site built home or condo.

“This is a lifestyle we couldn’t otherwise afford,” said Doug Dahlquist, who keeps one park model at Lakeside Acres RV Park in Brainerd, Minn., and the other at Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort in Casa Grande, Ariz. All that’s really required, he said, is a good marriage and a willingness to live part time in a 400-square foot space.

But record numbers of retirees are giving park models a chance. This year, in fact, the park trailer industry has recorded its highest shipment levels in history, with shipments up 11 percent over last year’s figures, which had been the highest in the history of the park model business.

Demand is being fueled by rising real estate costs, which are prompting retirees and working professionals and families to seek out more affordable options in vacation homes. Many are finding park trailers suit the bill because they enable them to live part time in resort settings they couldn’t otherwise afford.

Dahlquist has seen the transformation take place in his own park, as retirees trade in their travel trailers for park models, which generally provide more living space.

The park trailer industry, meanwhile, is likely to get another boost as consumers from throughout the Northeast flock to the 37th Annual Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show to see these units up close.

The Hershey show will feature nearly 50 park models from 13 manufacturers, including:

* Breckenridge Div. of Damon Corp., a Thor company in Nappanee, Ind.
* Chariot Eagle Inc. of Ocala, Fla.
* DNA Enterprises Inc. of Goshen, Ind.
* Dutch Park Homes Inc. of Goshen, Ind.
* Fairmont Homes of Nappanee, Ind.
* General Coach of Hensall, Ontario
* Heritage Park Models of Elkhart, Ind.
* Hy-Line Enterprises of Elkhart, Ind.
* Kropf Industries Inc. of Goshen, Ind.
* Skyline Corp. of Elkhart, Ind.
* Stewart Park Homes of Thomasville, Ga.
* Trophy Homes of Elkhart, Ind.
* Woodland Park Inc. of Middlebury, Ind.

For more information about the Pennsylvania RV & Camping Show, visit the show website at or call (888) 303-2887.

For more information about park models, contact the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association, which represents 41 recreational park trailer manufacturers. RPTIA member manufacturers have pledged to the association that they will adhere to the American National Standards Institute ANSI A119.5 standard, which mandates more than 500 separate safety requirements for recreational park trailers. RPTIA assists its members in complying with the ANSI standard by providing unannounced inspections of the units being produced at the members’ manufacturing facilities by accredited third party engineering firms. Members of the association who are in compliance with the standards program have earned the right to proudly display RPTIA’s gold, blue and green oval seal, which is typically placed adjacent to the primary entrance to the recreational park trailer.

To obtain photos, statistics, consumer and campground contacts or other information regarding the growth of the recreational park trailer industry, please contract William Garpow at (770) 251-2672 or visit the association’s website at

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