The Best RVs for Exploring North America
Summertime is upon us, and after spending months under stay-at-home orders, you may be ready to get back out into the world. But you may also want to continue your social distancing by avoiding hotels and visiting national and state parks instead.
This is an excellent time to explore North America on the ultimate road trip, and what better way to do that than by taking the quintessential American RV getaway? Whether you are just testing the waters and considering an RV or an annual road tripper looking to upgrade, we review the different styles of RVs available and provide you with the experts' choices for the best RVs on the market.
First, which style is for you? There are five different types of RV types and classes, and we've listed them here from smallest to largest:
- Travel Trailers: These small campers are hitched to a truck, SUV or van and are typically made for two people.
- Class B: Often called "campervans," these conventional vans have raised roofs for standing room when parked.
- Class C: This is typically what you make think of when you think of an RV, as it provides a cab driving area and then offers an extended camper area with a separate entry.
- Fifth-Wheels: Another popular RV option provides full-sized living space that hitches to a truck and has its own "fifth wheels" for pulling. They often feature an overhang that covers a truck bed and provides sleeping or storage space.
- Class A: These are typically commercial vehicles (think rock star tour bus) made with all the bells and whistles. These can cost upwards of $2 million and offer the most amenities, as they are the most luxurious of RVs.
5 Best Travel Trailers
So, let's start with the smallest option first. Travel trailers may be as small as 12 feet and as large as 35 feet. The largest can sleep up to 10 people.
These are also great for long-distance travel, as you can leave the trailer at your campsite while you spend the day driving with better gas mileage to check out the sites. Because they can be smaller than other RVs, the prices start lower at about $8,000. However, they can also climb to $95,000 for larger vehicles.
For the best in travel trailers, we used suggestions from Trailer Life and Travel & Leisure to come up with the following.
Airstream Caravel 20FB
What's cooler than an Airstream? Not much! These retro-looking but modern trailers of the Caravel line come with a choice of four different floor plans and start at $67,000.
Weighing just 5,000 pounds for its 20-foot size, this compact trailer features all the must-haves: bedroom, bathroom, galley kitchen and air conditioning.
You can sleep up to four people when you convert the dinette into a bed with ease.
* For price range and class, we used information from RV Trader and Retirement Living, unless otherwise noted.
The Airstream may be fancy, but sometimes you just need practical. The Casita Spirit is just that, weighing less than 3,000 pounds.
With room for four to six people, these campers start at just over $18,000. You can select from two models, although the deluxe provides a bath and shower.
Add-ons include video entertainment packages, a furnace for heat and patio awning.
Coachmen Freedom Express Ultra Lite 259FKDS
This rugged trailer is just one of industry-leader Coachmen's lineup. Nearly 30,000 feet in size, the Freedom weighs 8,800 pounds and starts at just $28,300.
You can move the trailer's interior dinette outside for al fresco dining, or stay inside with light cabinetry and barn-style doors.
The trailer is also fitted with plenty of storage space, both outside and inside.
Happier Camper Traveler
You'll be a happy camper in this Happier Camper, which offers a throwback to yesteryear in its style. Light enough to be pulled by a car — less than 2,500 pounds — you won't need a truck to go camping with this 17-footer.
Inside are two living areas with both the bathroom and kitchen located in the center. Still, you'll have 8 feet of headroom, panoramic windows and all-season installation with a heater for cold nights in the mountains.
TAB Teardrop Camper
The epitome of a trailer sleeper, this teardrop-shaped camper is built for two, not to mention ease. These trailers won't exceed 3,000 pounds and can be pulled by a car or truck.
It may be small but there is a dinette that converts to your bed, a galley kitchen and a bathroom with a toilet, shower and sink.
These are more spacious than you think and cost around $30,000.
5 Best Class B 'Campervans'
Although small, campervans are popular because you can take everything with you and still get good gas mileage. Class B campervans will cost between $30,000 to $130,000. And you'll find they average between 16 to 22 feet and sleep up to four people.
Popular Mechanics reviewed their following favorite Campervans.
This camper fits into the bed of a flatbed truck, allowing you to remove it when not in use. (It weighs 1,000 pounds; it's meant to be stored for long periods versus leaving it at a campsite!)
Starting at $15,000, two sofas and a bed over the cab come standard with add-ons like a kitchen, propane fireplace and air-conditioning unit available.
Despite its size, the interior provides more than 6 feet of headroom.
Mercedes-Benz Metris Weekender
The name Weekender gives away the purpose of this campervan: Use it as a regular van during the week, then easily convert it into a sleeper on the weekends.
Rear fold-down seats become a bed in a van that can sleep four and seat five people. A pop-top adds height and more ventilation, yet when lowered fits this small van into a standard garage.
Starting at $65,000, as an everyday-use vehicle, air bags are included even in back seats, and the transmission can handle towing 5,000 pounds.
Roadtrek CS/RS Adventurous
Offering 21- or 24-foot all-wheel drive, the Roadtrek campervan can sleep four and seat seven in its RS model, or three and six, respectively, in the CS.
The CS loss of space is to provide a larger fridge and freezer. Otherwise, the models are similar to give you a king-sized bed in the back and a shower.
A small dinette, galley and bathroom lead to the back's daytime lounge, with the entire van outfitted with air conditioning and radiant heat flooring. The Roadtrek starts at $151,510.
Storyteller Overland Mode
It may have a '70s vibe from the outside, but this 19-foot van camper comes equipped with some really cool modern features.
The rooftop on this all-wheel-drive van features solar panels for energy that converts into 3,600 watts that can manage the air-conditioning unit, also on the roof.
Inside, there is a shower; galley kitchen with fridge, stove and microwave; and stash-away beds that can sleep four people comfortably. All the features come at a price, however, costing you $150,000 and up.
The Winnebago name alone lets you know this is a campervan you can trust. When the roof is popped up, there is more than 6 feet standing room, but at just 19 feet, the van is easy to drive.
Features include a galley with a two-burner stove and sink, a cassette toilet that can be easily emptied and a rear sofa bed that provides sitting space for six people.
The van, starting at just over $100,000, also offers Truma heating, meaning you can stay warm even when traveling to snowy, winter destinations.
5 Best Class C RVs
If this is what you think of when you think of RVs, that's because the Class C is the middle-of-the-road option, providing ample space in a manageable vehicle. Gas mileage for these is not great, but the cost of a Class C is far less than the larger motor homes.
The average price of a traditional Class C ranges between $43,000 to $200,000. These RVs average 21 to 35 feet in size and sleep up to eight people.
RV Know How gave their thumbs up to the following Class Cs.
Coach House Platinum III
This isn't the largest Class C you'll find, but for a small family of three, its 11,000 pounds makes it easier to maneuver.
You'll have a back-up video camera with a color monitor, a GPS system located in the dashboard and a WiFi booster to give you more power in the middle of nowhere.
There are two diffferent floor plans with prices beginning around $175,000. Both are 25.5-feet long.
Coachmen Freelander Class C RV
Coachmen's good name carries into the Class C offerings. This lightweight motorhome varies between 12,500 to 14,500 feet, yet has enough space to sleep eight people.
Choose from a Chevy or Ford chassis, and then select from more than a dozen floor plans — with the Freelander placing the toilet in back of the bedroom.
As a family-friendly RV, the Freelander offers child safety nets, fans in the sleeping areas and upgraded mattresses in its family package. But you'll be happy to have the double-door fridge, a pantry, microwave, oven and three-burner cooktop. The Freelander starts at just under $100,000.
Dynamax Isata 3 Series Class C Motorhome
Starting at $156,000, this Class C is both an accessible RV with the comforts of a luxury liner.
Enjoy a dinette, Shaker-style cabinets, gas cooking, a convection microwave, LED lighting under the cabinets and a countertop expansion to help prepare meals.
Its 11,030 pounds is spread just under 25 feet in length with two different floor plans from which to choose.
Tiffin Wayfarer Class C Diesel Motorhome
Lightweight and stylish, the Wayfarer is around 11,000 pounds and sleeps four people comfortably.
The company is mostly known for its Class A stylings, but this new Class C brings luxury offerings to a smaller space — and a smaller budget. It starts at just over $142,000.
In the living area, you'll find premium furnishings and custom hardwoods with the kitchen outfitted with stainless steel appliances. Special touches include LED reading lights and USB ports in the bedroom.
Winnebago View Class C Motorhome
Winnebago appears yet again with its trusted name carrying into the motorhome category.
This four-sleeper starts at $161,000 and is touted for functionality rather than luxury. This means you'll get conveniences such as USB chargers and a full galley kitchen.
Weighing just over 15,000 pounds, the View Class stretches more than 25.5 feet and presents three different floor plans — you can customize items such as a Murphy bed versus a queen bed.
5 Best Fifth-Wheels
Fifth-wheels can be a great option for people wanting to travel to national parks. You can leave your RV at a campsite while you drive around the parks or nearby cities in your truck, providing you with better gas mileage as well as comfort.
The average price of a Fifth-Wheel ranges between $18,000 to $160,000. They are typically between 21 to 40 feet in size and sleep up to six people.
We found the best Fifth-Wheels money can buy with help from critics at TripSavvy.
Dutchmen Endurance Series
There are 7,000-pound axles keeping the Dutchmen's Endurance Series on a smooth ride. Tinted windows, an electric awning and outdoor storage space are standard.
Inside, hardwood cabinets, a four-door fridge, king master suite with closets and a dresser, and a four-seat reclining sofa provide all the comforts of home. There is even a rotating TV that can have cable or satellite hookups, along with a remote and touchpad control system.
The base price begins above $70,000.
Forest River Wildcat Series
One of the most affordable yet large Fifth-Wheels is the Wildcat series by Forest River. The interior is complete with hardwood cabinets, a living area with picture windows and swivel-glide recliners as well as a queen sleeper sofa. Of course, a 40-foot HDTV helps entertain when relaxing at the end of the day. You can also add on an outdoor TV setup.
In the bedroom, you'll find about 6.5-foot heights for standing, and you can add an electric fireplace for heat and ambiance.
The price starts above $68,000.
Grand Design Reflection Series
Another affordable option is the Reflection series by Grand Design, which can be found just over $35,000. Much cheaper than others, you'll find the savings in the details and small touches. But another plus is this laminate, aluminum-framed camper weighs less than 15,000 pounds.
Amenities are still here: The kitchen in this Fifth-Wheel includes a microwave and double sink, and the living area with a panoramic window provides a leather sleeper sofa.
In the bedroom, a pillow-top mattress is above storage, but you'll also have a king-sized wardrobe to keep your clothes.
Keystone Montana Series
Keystone is known for being a good, reliable brand for RVs, and its Montana series is no different. For around $35,000, you'll receive a sturdy fiberglass exterior while inside is filled with plenty of things you'll want to keep safe.
Within the living room, a 50-inch flatscreen TV has a soundbar that provides a quality movie-night experience. A comfy memory foam mattress ensures a good night's sleep, with integrated nightstands beside it.
The unit includes a four-door, 18-cubic-foot fridge, a central vacuum system and plenty of storage.
The Redwood model by Redwood (yes, they named their best RV after the company) is a top-of-the-line Fifth-Wheel that comes with more bells and whistles than most. And you'll pay for it — rates start above $123,000.
But what you'll get will make this camper feel like hotel living at campsites.
In the living area, there are sofas and recliners with options for various sizes of satellite-ready TVs. In the kitchen, there's a three-burner stove, baker's oven and a 12-foot refrigerator. You'll even have a large bathroom, with air conditioning and a furnace that will keep you comfortable no matter the season.
5 Best Class A Motorcoaches
Yup, this is your standard RV where you take your gear with you. The biggest downside is the gas mileage, which could be as low as 9 miles per gallon — yikes!
The average price of Class A luxury motor coaches fall between $60,000 to $500,000. Class As average 21 to 40 feet in size and sleep up to six people.
Outdoorsy and Camping World know sometimes the cold, hard ground won't do. They took a look at the best glamping vehicles in the form of these luxury RVs that follow.
Make them wonder who's inside your motorcoach when cruising down the road with tinted-glass windows. The Entegra Anthem, which can hover near $500,000 in price, stretches 40 feet.
When you get to Class A, you'll find numerous floor plans in which to choose for various styles, and this line provides you with six different options.
Sleeping up to seven people based on your selection, all passengers will enjoy the luxury of stainless steel appliances, high-tech entertainment systems and four slide outs to expand the space. It even has a stacked washer and dryer for those super dirty days on the road.
Forest River FR3 25DS
Although it's a Class A, this Forest River model is smaller and easier to manage compared to the other tour-bus types on this list. And its small size is still larger than other RV classes.
Four different floor plans feature a number of bedding options, although each one includes a master suite with a king bed, wardrobe and LED TV. The galley offers a cooktop oven with three burners, a microwave and a 12-cubic-foot refrigerator.
Other options include theater seating in place of a sleeper sofa and a washer/dryer combo, which adds to the near $300,000 starting price.
Marchi Mobile eleMMent Palazzo
If you have $2 million, you could own what is considered the most luxurious of mobile homes. Forget about its space-shuttle look, this top-of-the-line home is even sleeker inside.
The master bedroom features a king bed made by the same company that outfits the bedrooms of the British royal family as well as a lounge chair, closets and dressing table. Inside the bathroom? A rainfall showerhead and light therapy!
A huge couch and a large-screen TV highlight the living area, where a bar, ice maker and wine cabinet can also be accessed. But you don't need to relax indoors. Instead, head up to the rooftop deck with lounge furnishings as well as radiant floor heating.
Driving this machine is also fun. It can handle off-road terrains while sitting in a cockpit with helicopter-style windows that can darken with the sunlight.
Another $2 million, and you can have this Marathon machine that will have everyone wondering who is inside. You can have it custom made, but you'll find Marathon motorcoaches typically have fireplaces, ground effects lighting and other cool amenities.
Consider a rainfall showerhead with a liquid crystal privacy glass door; a kitchen with a Miele Coffee Center, oven and wine cooler; and an Apple TV System.
Even if you want to watch TV from the comfort of your bed, the king-sizer is adjustable in its recline.
Newmar Dutch Star
There are 15 different floor plans available for the Dutch Star, considered one of the best RV models out there. No matter which one you pick, you'll find kitchens with tile backsplashes, stainless steel appliances, leather furnishings and three slide outs to make your space that much more.
The side awning can be controlled by remote and includes LED lights and a wind sensor. You can even have an outdoor entertainment center, although inside you'll have a 50-foot LED TV with Blu-ray player and a soundbar to serve the same purpose.
The motorcoach's length varies from 37 to 43 feet and can sleep four to six, with as many upgrades as there are features. Oh, and the Dutch Star comes with cathedral ceilings for plenty of headroom will cost upwards of $250,000.