In this article, we are going to explore destination trailers, what they are, who they are for, and an overview of several of the models available.
What is a destination trailer?
A destination trailer is a recreational vehicle larger that is more like a home than a traditional travel trailer. It is designed to be brought to your favorite location such as a campground, lake property and parked there throughout the season.
The features found in a destination trailer are typically much more home-like than you would find in your travel trailer. The living areas on average are much more open, finishes and appliances are more residential style. Slide-outs add more room and additional features such as patio doors, large bay windows make your destination trailer feel like a home.
Often time you will see a destination trailer named as a cabin, residential trailer, resort trailers and most frequently park models. Though park models and destination trailer share may of the same features there some unique distinction as well.
In 2012 the RVAA defined a park model rather vaguely. A park model cannot exceed 400 SF in size and the hitch assembly has to be removed and replaced with a skirt once it has made it to its destination. Like a standard trailer, a destination trailer is leveled and set-up at its destination and the hitch remains attached.
A park model needs to be hooked up to water and sewer since black water, grey water and fresh water holding tanks are not included in the standard park model package. A destination trailer like a bumper pulled travel trailer has those features and can use the campground hookup or remain self-sufficient.
Destination Trailers Detailed Definition!
First-off destination travel trailers are heavy on average about 10,000 lbs and in some cases even more. They are designed for long stays at your favorite location rather than designed for a long drive like a typical travel trailer or fifth wheel. Destination trailers are by no means aerodynamic which is a feature you would want in a travel trailer or fifth wheel but really not needed in a destination trailer.
Park models, unlike a destination trailer, can have attached decks, carports, patio covers. A destination trailer usually has a retractable awning.
Destination trailers are not as wide as some parks model which can have a width of up to 8-feet 6-inches. A park model that width will require a trip permit in order to be transported to its destination, whereas a destination trailer can be towed by a properly equipped 1-2 ton truck.
Though travel trailers and destination trailers have a lot of similarities on the outside there a several key differences that need to be recognized.
A destination trailer is going to have a bigger height since they are designed to offer more interior headroom. They also may include sliding doors to the outside, large bay windows, and even floor to ceiling windows and French doors.
It’s the Inside of a Destination Trailer That Counts!
The inside of a destination trailer is where you will find the major differences between it and a bumper-pulled travel trailer.
Besides the interior height, we mentioned you will find residential-grade, home-like quality materials, decor, and furnishing.
You can expect to find the following in a destination trailer:
- Heat-generating fireplaces
- Central vacuum systems
- High-end luxurious furnishing
- Deep kitchen sinks
- Residential size refrigerators (18-cubic feet or larger)
- Residential size stoves and pantries
- Solid surface countertops
- Solid wood cabinetry
- Larger residential style baths, including tubs
- Some floor plans have a second bedroom and a 1/2 bath
- Indoor and outdoor entertainment system
- Lots and lots of storage
Pros and Cons
Like any other recreational vehicle, destination trailers have both positive and negatives. These are important to know if you decide a destination trailer is in your future.
- Lots of living space. Rooms feel more like home
- The addition of slide-outs increases living space even more
- Ceiling heights are generally higher than found in traditional travel trailers which adds to the openness of the space
- Plenty go storage can be found on these recreational vehicle allowing for very long stays
- Manufactured to be parked at your destination
- Designed to be towed with a large truck. These trailers are very heavy and require someone with experience to tow and set properly
- They are not designed to be aerodynamic so towing is more difficult
- Due to their height, it may require height clearances when being transported
- Usually more expensive than towable travel trailers
- Due to their large size, it may be difficult to find adequate storage for one of them when not in use
Destination Trailers Manufacturers
Want to explore destination trailers some more? Compared to the number of travel trailer manufacturers there are only a handful of destination trailer builders. You will find that most destination trailers have similar specs and the difference between manufacturers is the features and option they offer on their various models and floor plan.
Here is a list of destination trailer manufactures, we have found so far.
Keystone RV Destination Trailers
Keystone makes two models of destination trailers. The Residence model and the Retreat model. Let’s take a look at each one in a bit more detail.
Keystone Residence Destination Trailer
The Residence is a 40-foot destination trailer available 14 floorplans. Their most popular floor plan is the 40LOFT and as the model number implies it comes with a loft.
Most of the floorplans have similar specifications. The shipping weight of the Keystone Residence is anywhere from 10,000 lbs to just over 12,000 lbs. The height is also the same on all 14 floorplans and comes in at 12-feet 7-inches.
The Keystone Residence is designed to sleep up to 4 people though there is plenty of floor space to add air-mattresses for a few more quests.
When it comes to features this destination trailer does not disappoint. It is loaded with many residential quality features that make living in this trailer quite enjoyable. Here is a partial list of features found on the Keystone Residence.
Appliances and Equipment
- Solid surface countertops
- Leather furniture
- Bistro style faucets
- 16-gallon gas or electric water heater
- A rigid heating duct system
- Cable TV hookup
- 40,000 BTU Forced Air Furnace with Thermostat
- 18 Cu. Ft. Residential Refrigerator
- Three Burner, High Output Range with 22” Oven
- Glass shower enclosure
- Prepped for washer/dryer on select models only
- Bathroom Skylight
- Linen storage
- Raised panel upper cabinets
- Upgraded faucets
- Extra large pantry
- Water purification system
- Free standing table with 4 chairs
- Swivel rocker on some models
- Extra-large picture window in the slide
- 60-in dual pane sliding glass door
- Fireplace on select models
- King bed with pillow top
- Overhead cabinets in bedroom slide
- Ceiling fan (option on select models
- 16-inch radial tires
- Tinted safety glass windows
- Patio Awning
- Outside speakers
- Outside shower
- 12″ powder coated I-beam frame
- 2-inch by 3-inch floor joist 12-inch on center
- 2-inch by 2-inch sidewall studs
- 5/8-inch floor decking
- One piece crowned rubber roof
Option Available on the Keystone Residence
- Stainless steel appliances
- Bedroom ceiling fans
- A second 13,500 BTU A/C available as an option on some models only
- 4 stabilizer jacks
- A choice of 3 different interior decors
You can view a more detailed description, photo gallery and the complete list of features and options available on the Keystone Residence clicking here.
Keystone Retreat Destination Trailer
The second model of destination trailer made by Keystone is the Retreat destination trailer.
The Keystone Retreat is available in 7 different floor plans to include a floor plan with a loft. The Residence and the Retreat share many of the same specifications and options.
However, the Retreat has some additional features and options not available on the Residence model. For example, you can find the following features or option exclusive to just the Retreat.
- 8-foot tall ceilings
- 102-inch wide body construction
- Detachable Hitch
- Central Vacuum System
- Heated and enclosed underbelly (optional)
Overall the Keystone Retreat appears to be an excellent destination trailer with many of the creature comfort of home.
You can view a complete description of the Retreat by clicking here.
Forest River Destination Trailers
Forest River manufactures 6 models of destination trailers. They include the Cedar Creek Cottage, Cherokee Destination, Salem Villa, Sandpiper Destination, Sierra Destination, and the Wildwood Lodge.
Below is a photo of the Wildwood Lodge Destination Trailer.
Cedar Creek Cottage Destination Trailer
This destination trailer is available in 3 different floor plans. They range in length from 40-feet 4-inches to the longest one being 41-feet 6-inches.
The GVWR ranges from 13,565 pounds for the lightest floor plan to 13, 961 pounds for the heaviest.
The exterior width of all 3floor plans is the same at 102-inches as is the exterior height of 12-feet 10-inches.
Freshwater tank is 76-gallons and the gray water tank is 120 gallons on all 3-floor plans. The awning size for all three is 18-feet.
Features and Options
When it comes to features and option there are plenty in the Cedar Creek Cottage. Below is a partial list of features and options. To see all that is available on this destination trailer click here.
- European Beech cabinets with hidden hinges
- One piece fiberglass shower
- Jensen Home Theater System
- Residential pantry
- 19 cubic foot refrigerator
- 20-gallon electric water heater
- Stainless steel microwave
- Crown molding in the kitchen area
- Free standing table with 4 chairs
- King mattress with full-size headboard
- Solid wood dresser, and much more
Cherokee Destination Trailer
The Forest River Cherokee destination trailer is available in 5 different floor plans. Like the other models, it is designed to be parked and lived in rather than extensive towing to various destinations.
The exterior length of the Cherokee goes from 40-feet 2-inches to 42-feet 6-inches. The width on all models is 97-inches, and the exterior height is 12-feet 10-inches.
The GVWR goes from 11,543 lbs to the heaviest model weighing in at 11,808 lb.
Features of the Cherokee Destination Trailer
Below is a partial list of features found on this trailer.
- Mini blinds on all windows
- Radius windows
- Nightstands on each side of the bed
- Double door refrigerator
- Upgraded backsplash behind the cooktop
- 40-inch dinette on selected models
- Mocha stained shaker-styled cabinets
- Glass shower enclosure
- High output cooktop
- 13, 500 BTU A/C unit
- Patio Awning
- One-Piece Rubber Roof
In addition to the standard package, the Cherokee has several packages available as an option that adds additional features or upgrades existing features. You can view all features and specifications of this destination trailer right here.
Salem Villa Destination Trailer
The Salem Villa series of destination trailers offer 13 different floor plans each containing a host of features typically found in fine homes. There are three individual styles of the Salem Villa. There is the Salem Villa Gran, Salem Villa Classic, and the Salem Villa Estate.
The exterior length of the Salem Villa goes from the shortest at 38-feet 6-inches to the longest coming in at 41-feet 0-inches. The exterior width is 102-inches, hover some models do not specify the width so check with the dealer.
The GVWR is not available on the Forest River website however the UVW or unloaded vehicle weight rating is available. The lightest Salem Villa comes in at 8,679 lbs, while on the other end of the spectrum the weight is 12,719 lbs.
Salem Villa Destination Trailer Features
The Salem Villa is a full-featured destination travel trailer with many excellent features. The list below is a partial list of features. You can see the entire list of features by following this link.
- 84-inch cathedral ceilings
- Powered slide rooms
- Modern roller shades with auto-stop
- 13,500 BTU A/C unit
- In-floor ducted heating
- Solid wood drawers
- 50-inch walk-in shower with seat
- Porcelain foot-flush toilet
- 16-cubic foot refrigerator (Villa Classic)
- 1.7 cubic foot microwave
There are plenty more features many of which are available only on specific models. Overall, if you are looking for a destination travel trailer with a touch of class but simplicity in design the Salem Villa might be for you.
Sandpiper Destination Trailer
The Forest River Sandpiper destination trailer is available in 7-floor plans including 1 with a loft. One of the heavier models of destination trailers we have seen from Forest River. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of the lightest is 13,180 lbs and the heaviest is just over 13,600 lbs.
The exterior height on all models is 12-feet 7-inches while the exterior width is 96-inches. The exterior length is where you will find some differences between the various floor plans of the Sandpiper.
The shortest is 40-feet 2-inches and the longest exterior length on the Forest River Sandpiper destination trailer is 42-feet 3-inches.
Features of the Sandpiper Destination Trailer
This Sandpiper is another Forest River destination trailer loaded with features. From the high-gloss gel coated exterior fiberglass to the radius barreled interior ceiling, you are sure to find a feature on this destination trailer not available on other models. Below we will list some of the more prominent features. To view the entire list of features as well as a photo gallery click here.
- High gloss gel coated color matched exterior fiberglass
- Large tinted windows with 80/20 UV prohibitor
- Dometic One-Touch electric awning with LED lights and adjustable arms
- 2 exterior speakers
- 60-inch patio door
- Residential stain resistant carpeting
- Solid surface counter-tops (optional)
- Swivel glider recliners
- Dula zone thermostat for the living room and bedroom A/C
- 20-cubic-foot refrigerator
- 10-gallon DSI water heater
- Water filter system and much more…
The Forest River Sandpiper is a roomy destination trailer that offers plenty in terms of features and available options.
Sierra Destination Trailer
The Sierra Destination trailer is available in 7-floor plans including a floor plan with a loft. On the Sierra, you are bound to find lots of windows to enjoy your panorama.
The Sierra destination trailer is available in 7-floor plans including the one plan that has a loft. The exterior width of the Sierra is consistent across all floor plans and measures 96-inches. The length varies from the shortest being 39-feet, and the longest being 43-feet.
The interior height is 12-feet 7-inches on all floor plans. The GVWR is like the Sandpiper above over 13,000 lbs on all floor plans.
The Sierra is loaded with features that make it a very comfortable destination trailer. The features included are very similar to the Sandpiper above. For a complete list of features and options available on the Forest River Sierra destination trailer, you can click here.
Wildwood Lodge Destination Trailer
The Forest River Wildwood Lodge comes in three models, The Wildwood Lodge, The WildwoodDLX, and the Wildwood Grand Lodge.
The Wildwood Grande Lodge comes in only one floorplan referred to as the 42DL. This model comes with a loft containing 3 bunk mats each measuring 62×74.
The Wildwood DLX comes is available in (6) floor plans, and the Wildwood Lodge is available in (7) floor plans. To view all the specification and features of the Wildwood Lodge you can visit the Forest River website.
Gulfstream Destination Trailers
Gulfstream Coach makes 3 models of destination travel trailers. There are the following:
- Conquest Lodge Series
- Innsbruck Lodge Series
- Kingsport Lodge Series
Below we will take a look at one of their models only.
**Unfortunately the Gulfstream website is unclear as to the specs of the other models. It seems the same photo, and specs are used on the other two models. They need to do a better job on their website to avoid confusion on their destination trailers**
Gulfstream Coach Conquest Lodge Destination Trailer
The Conquest Lodge destination trailer is designed to be very much home-like. It maximizes floor space with the addition of multiple slide-rooms. This series of destination trailers are available in 4 different floor plans.
Conquest Lodge Features and Options
Like many of the destination travel trailers, the Conquest Lodge comes loaded with residential quality features. The list below is a partial list of what you can find on this model of destination trailer. To see the entire list of features and options, as well as the floor plans you can visit their site.
- Maple Cabinetry w/Solid Wood Doors & Drawers
- Hi-Performance Wood Grain Vinyl Flooring
- Scald and Stain-Resistant Laminated Countertops
- Ducted 13,500 BTU Roof Air Conditioner
- 35,000 BTU Gas Furnace w/Insulated In-Floor Heat Ducts
- 35,000 BTU Gas Furnace w/Insulated In-Floor Heat Ducts
- Smoke Detector, Combo CO/LP Detector
- Residential 4-Burner Range with Oven
- Residential Double Door Refrigerator/Freezer
- Glass Door for Neo-Angle/Corner Shower
- Radius Safety Glass Windows
- Color-Coordinated Pull-Down Awning
- One-Piece Seamless Roof w/12 year Warranty
- Powder-coated Steel I-Beam Frame w/welded Outrigger
- (2) Recliners in place of Barrel Chairs (Optional)
- Sun Room w/Dinette Table & 4 Chairs (Optional)
Coachmen RV makes the Catalina destination trailers which feature 6 different floor plans designed for maximum room size, storage, and comfort. Like all destination trailers the floor plans where designed to offer home-like comforts for those that plan on an extended stay at their favorite destination.
The Coachmen Catalina destination trailer has an assortment of features that make it a very desirable trailer for extended stays. Below is a partial list of features. For a complete list of the standard features available on the Catalina destination trailer visit their website here.
- Cambered structural steel I-beam frame
- 3/8” Fully decked walk-on roof
- Residential in-floor ducted heat
- One-piece, seamless, rubber roof material with a 12-year warranty
- Wall studs on 16” centers
- R-7 fiberglass insulation in the sidewall, roof &floor
- 5/8” Tongue & groove plywood floor decking
- Grace Cherry interior wood
- La-Z-Boy® Recliners (per floorplan)
- Residential furniture
- Solid doors throughout all units
- Full-sized residential refrigerator
- 3-Burner Range w/ 9,000 BTU superburner™
- Under-bed storage, bed lifts easily on gas struts
- Washer/dryer prep (39MKTS, 39RLTS, 40FKDS)
- 35K BTU Auto-ignition furnace with wall thermostat
- Heated-enclosed underbelly (N/A non-self contained option)
- Remote operated power electric awning w/ LED light (option)
Palomino Puma Destination Trailer
Puma a division of Forest River also has a destination trailer model. The Puma Destination is available in 7 different floor plans. Some of the floor plans include a 2-bedroom option, and/or a den option to easily accommodate what your family needs. All come with residential style furnishing and large master bedroom with either a queen or king size bed.
The Puma Destination comes with many standard features and several options. Below is just a partial list of the features included in the Puma. For a complete list of features, options, and floor plans you can visit the Palomino Puma Destination website.
- Radius Entry Doors
- Powder Coated Frames
- Tinted Safety Glass
- Colored Front Fiberglass Cap with Diamond Plate (FW)
- Rubber Roof – 12 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty
- Rain Gutters with Large Drop Spouts
- Automotive Style Fender Skirts
- Darco Wrapped Underbelly
- One-piece, 24′ Sheet, 5/8″ Floor Decking (25 Year manufacturer’s limited warranty)
- Rack & Pinion Electric Slide System with Manual Override (Standard on all slide-out models)
- 80″ Interior Height
- Floor Ducted Heat
- 14″ Deep Overhead Cabinets in Super-Slide Models
- Push-back Recliner(s) (Available on Select Models)
- Solid Surface Countertops (Optional)
- Theater Seating (Available on Select Models) (Optional)
Destination Trailer Summary
It’s quite obvious that a destination trailer is not for everyone. If you enjoy going from one location to another frequently, or if the trip to your destination is a long distance than a destination trailer is not for you. However, if your favorite campsite or lake is within a reasonable distance from your home, and if you intend to stay at your destination for week or months then a destination trailer is definitely the type of RV you should consider.
The price tag is going to be much higher than a typical pull-behind travel trailer but you do get residential quality furnishing, multiple bedrooms, lofts, or bunk beds, and much more living space and storage.
If a destination trailer is not for you check out our article on the Airstream Nest which basically is the other end of the spectrum when it comes to size.