5 reasons why living in a trailer park is awesome

Guest post by Jill Smith
Photo courtesy of Redfin.com
Photo courtesy of Redfin.com

The past few months my fiancé and I have spent a lot of time discussing our living arrangements for after the wedding day. We currently live in a trailer park and at first it never crossed our mind to stay here any longer than necessary.

We looked at buying a house, or moving into a condo; but both of those options left us with little cash to travel and so they were ruled out.

We looked into renting an apartment but the majority of places would not take in our furry babies, and so they were ruled out.

And after several discussions we made the intentional decision to stay in our trailer park, and we are SO STOKED.

The problem is that most people can’t get over the fact that we are “living in a trailer.” So I would like to, on behalf of all proud trailer park residents, set the record straight on this super-awesome alternative living space…

1. Love tiny houses?

A trailer is basically a tiny house that is pre-built. There’s no need to spend months planning and designing — it’s already done.

2. No shared walls

We did spend some time in an apartment in the past, and I’m not sure if I can handle sharing walls again. We can finally play our music a little bit louder, we can have a few more people over for our monopoly tournaments, and we don’t have to worry about disturbing our neighbors.

3. We have a yard

Our very own yard that allows us to plant our own veggies, gives us space to enjoy the outdoors, and a place for our dogs to have their own space.

4. Affordability

We are currently paying less than half of what we used to pay for our apartment, for twice the square footage! (Did I mention we also get a yard?)

5. Amenities?!

For two people just starting out in the world, there are not a whole lot of bonuses out there. But in our trailer we have skylights, hardwood floors, in-unit washer and dryer, dishwasher, tentacle bathtub (yes, we did steal the tentacle bathtub idea from Offbeat Home — actually most of our décor ideas) and a whole lot more that I never imagined we could afford.

Our trailer is exactly what I always wanted my home to be — it is cozy, comfortable, cost-efficient, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, with a kick-ass kitchen, and our neighbors are some of the nicest people I have ever met.

I love my trailer, and my trailer park life. So can we please move on from the stigma and start looking at all the awesome bonuses of this offbeat living space?

Who else rocks a trailer home? What are your favorite things about your trailer park life?

Comments on 5 reasons why living in a trailer park is awesome

  1. Can you please do a house tour!? I’ve never been in a trailer home (just the small travel-trailers like RVs), and I have no idea what it would be like, but it sounds wonderful from your description!

  2. Woot Woot for trailer park folk!!! We live in one now too! We are buying the trailer and paying a lot rent. The neighbors here are the best we’ve ever had.

  3. Do you live in a magical trailer park where none of your neighbors are trashy and disrupt your lifestyle?

    I’m just curious, really not trying to be snarky. This has always been my beef with trailers and apartments (although obviously apartments vary based on price/location).

    • This is exactly why I wrote this, mobile home parks (or trailer parks) are a great option that is often overlooked because people assume that the people who live there are “trashy” that is simply not the case. I personally have a bachelors degree in Marketing, I have a neighbor with a doctorate; we are well educated people who simple prefer a less expensive living arrangement.

      We don’t really have problems with our neighbors at all. Our neighbors are normal, quiet, working people. About half of the people who live in our “park” have been there for 10+ years and take a lot of pride in where they live.

      • I think it really depends on the place- I used to work at a company that was run out of a trailer, and from the people I met and the amount of petty/drug crime that went on there, it’s not a park I would’ve liked to live in.

      • I like to change the description to “manufactured home COMMUNITY”
        There is such a thing as a “trailer park” and trailer as opposed to “manufactured home”
        I think Jill is talking about living in a community rather than a park. There is a big difference. And mostly the homes are not MOBILE homes.
        In our manufactured home community we have rules that are enforced. A yard, a lovely pool and clubhouse plus more.
        I do not use the word trailer to refer to my home.
        One drawback is resale. If you own an older manufactured home, banks will not finance so you need a cash buyer.
        We are comfy and cozy in our home and trashy neighbors are not allowed here.

    • Not that magical or unusual. We live in a trailer park, and we have great neighbors. It’s a quiet, pleasant place to live. Some of our neighbors live lives very different from ours, but there’s no judgment or disruption about it. (Well, there’s a barky dog or two in the neighborhood… but that happens in any neighborhood. And it’s not really a problem.)

    • I grew up in a neighborhood right next to a trailer park, delivered newspapers to the trailer park for years, and had several friends who lived there. Compared to the dumpy apartments I’ve lived in, the trailer park seemed pretty nice. There seemed to be in general the same ratio of friendly people to quiet people to people you’re just gonna avoid now kthx as the standard single-family home neighborhoods around. My aunt has also lived in a very nice trailer in a very nice trailer park for most of my life (I always loved the playground next to her place). Some trailer parks can be trashy and not well maintained, some can be really nice. It’s really the same as any neighborhood.

      When we rented, we couldn’t afford a trailer home and ended up in really bad apartments due to our budget, and when we bought our house, the only reason we ruled out trailer parks is because I was done with renting anything from anyone (also we needed more space than a trailer could give us).

      • It’s true, and it varies by location. For instance, here in rural VA, there are some parks where you really do not want to live (not all, but I’ve seen some nasty ones), but if you look in somewhere like San Diego, some parks are quite nice.

        I wonder if it’s a regional thing?

        • I too live in VA, and have seen some plain awful places. . . . Around my area the government is trying hard to get rid of the trailer parks through legal actions because of the crime and large scale cases of elder and child abuse/neglect. Not to mention many of them have been labeled as ‘blight’.

          I’m with you that maybe the reputations are a regional thing! I would love to see some home/community tours of trailors that are as awesome as folks say they are!

    • Nothing magical about my neighborhood. I say “neighborhood” instead of “trailer park” because it’s a beautiful plot of land laid out in cul-de-sacs and meticulously-groomed landscaping, owned by a self-made farmer who rents these homes he’s been installing and maintaining since the late 60’s. I live in a college town and most of the occupants of my neighborhood are professors who live there during the week and then commute home to their families when they are not working on research grants, etc. The loudest thing I have ever heard my neighborhood are the cows on the adjacent farm. I have never heard a person yelling or seen anyone outdoors after dark unless they were on their way to their car. I’ve never not seen a neighbor wave or at least smile at me in passing. It is affordable housing but not subsidized. My neighbors and I are hardworking individuals and families living a peaceful, rural, private, spacious lifestyle, wondering why there are chumps in town paying $1200 for a one bedroom apartment next to loud college students.

      • Hi April! This is a great article and I love your response! I’m so curious about this as an alternative cost effective lifestyle… what college town are you near? I’d love to learn more… thanks! Lynn

  4. My grandparents lived in one of these mobile-home communities for the entirety of my childhood until they passed away. The community was lovely, and because my grandfather was an interior designer by trade their home was beautiful. I feel like this could be a great option but the only not-sketchy communities in my city are for seniors only.

  5. I grew up in a trailer park and it was awesome. It was like a subdivision. All the neighbors looked out for each others kids. We could play, skate, ride bikes in the streets without fear of speeding traffic. I have not experienced a better sense of community anywhere else in my life.

  6. My boyfriend & I keep kicking this idea around, largely for the same fur-baby related reasons the OP talked about. The main thing stopping us isn’t the stigma of living in a trailer, so much as the realities of living in a *trailer park*. Increased crime, unsavory characters, and general safety/security are all concerns for me. While I know this would be greatly dependent on location, does anyone have any tips for finding a (relatively) safer trailer park? I’ve done the usual scouring of police records for various areas, but we’re also new to the area, so we don’t have a network of friends to ask for recommendations/parts of town to avoid. (We live in northern Delaware, if that helps.)

    Also, are there any security measures that the OP (or any other trailer-living contributors) have taken to alleviate these concerns? Skylights & hardwood floors sound pretty fancy compared to some of the trailers I’ve seen lately. I would hate to come home to a burglary because you had the nicest trailer on the block.

    • Our park has on site management, and once the office is closed they have private security so there is always someone looking out for the homes, I don’t really worry about being broken into. (Having two large dogs doesnt hurt either)

      Our park is mixed with older and newer homes, mine is a 2007 but its the standard model from that year, we didnt pay for any upgrades or anything.

    • Woah hi! I’m in northern Delaware too! It is tricky to know which ones are OK and which aren’t, Waterford in the bear area seemed nice and I’ve known some people who lived there. There’s a little park on limestone road near Stanton that looks nice too. We got a little rancher off Kirkwood highway that when considering lot rent was about the same price. The new castle county crime maps are definitely a good resource to get an idea of what’s going on.

      • Thank you for the tips! We’re currently renting a house in Port Penn (soooooo small & soooooooo isolated). We LOVE the house, but the location isn’t going to work for us long-term. Our lease is up in June, so we’re looking around the Trolley Square area. We need to be somewhere we can meet people & walk our dog! Did you find your place through a website or just feet on the ground?

        • We used trulia and a Realtor, both of us grew up in Delaware so we were already familiar with approximately where we wanted a place. Trolley square is great but can be expensive. Once you get above the canal it gets less isolating and more accessible/socially active

    • If your area has an online crime map, that might help you see the frequency and types of crimes that have occurred in different trailer parks recently.

      Our city has a crime map showing all crimes within the last week, month, and year by location and crime type. We don’t live in a trailer park but we live quite near one, and when we moved in we noticed that the trailer park had slightly more burglaries but our block had slightly more car theft. It was a trade-off.

  7. Yay! It’s definitely just like good neighborhood/bad neighborhood but with parks. We ended up with a house similar in size to a trailer instead, but some of the trailer options were high on our list.

  8. I live in a trailer park and I think there’s two big things to add in for my experience.
    1. Equity: we own our house and pay a lot rent, so the half of the money we pay towards mortgage goes into our pocket instead of someone else’s, as well as any upgrades we make, within reason, we’ll get back the equity on.

    2. Our mobile home park has two pools and a basketball court and parks, just like a nice apartment complex would have. In Northern Colorado, people don’t typicallt bave private pools, so this is an awesome perk for us, that we’d loss with a private home, or have to pay membership fees for.

    • How much is your lot rent in N CO? I saw one east of Longmont that had a pool and a comm bldg and the rent was $750 per month [perhaps less for a smaller lot] plus having to pay for sewer and trash and of course utilities/internet. Plus having to mow the grass and shovel the 2-3 car driveway. So with the house payment it would be probably $1600 per month at least. That’s a lot on FIXED INCOME.

  9. I love this! I grew up in the country where a lot of people live in trailers and a trailer is what you make it, just like a house. I’d rather live in a nice taken care of trailer than a really messed up house any day!

  10. You must live somewhere with much nicer trailer parks than where I live. If there was something even half as nice as what’s in that photo where I live, I’d be all over it.

    • Oh, that photo was one I found for the purposes of that article. Although interesting tidbit: That’s what the trailer parks look like where I’m from — in the Los Angeles area they’re located by the ocean!

  11. I had a summer job at a trailer park a couple years ago. It was a really family-friendly park, in general. Hot tubs and pools available, too.

    It wasn’t zoned for permanent residence, though, so it was closed for two months of the year. Most of the permanent trailers (there were also overnight camping sites) were rented by families who used them on the weekends or elderly folks who went to Florida in the winter.

    There was this one area at the park that we called “Beverly Hills” because it had the nicest trailers I had ever seen in my life. Double-wide, hardwood floors, one even had a small hot tub on the deck. Those ones went for upwards of $80 000, easily.

    We’d still get characters in the park, but to be honest most of them were the overnight campers, not the residents. If the overnight campers were too much of a problem, we’d call the police. I think that only happened once while I worked there, but like I said, it’s a family park, so we had to enforce noise control and think about the safety of the other campers.

    If it was zoned for permanent residence, it would be a great place to live.

  12. No offense meant to anyone here, but in the area I wish to move to there are no trailer parks where crime isn’t hugely different than in neighborhoods. You’re safer living in the city in a duplex than living in a trailer park in the suburbs. Which upsets me because I love the idea of them.

    But what do you do when tornado weather hits? My friends in trailers in my current town all come to my house so I assume they’re not very safe…

    • I haven’t seen many trailer parks in my current area, but they do seem appealing/interesting. I wouldn’t want the responsibility of a large house, but I’m starting to hate the shared walls and upstairs neighbors that come with renting apartments. I would really only be afraid of severe weather.

    • I’m an RV’er and we have stayed in many a trailer park. Murst of the ones in the Midwest have had a club house/recreation building/laundry with a concrete basement as a shelter. Some were just empty basements but a few have actually had couches, games, and water stored in case of need during tornadoes.

      Also, there really are a lot of nice trailer parks around the country with a great community in them.

  13. I never really understood the stigma against trailer parks. Why would people who live in their own trailers be any “trashier” than the average apartment dweller?

    • Unfortunately, like most stereotypes, you can find a lot of people who fit that mold while there are plenty of people who don’t. I suspect this is largely dependent on the socio-economic climate of your area. When I lived in the Midwest (northern Ohio), most people I knew lived in houses. Apartments were generally the habitat of newly separated/single parents and college students. Trailer parks had a reputation for transience, shady/illegal dealings, much lower income levels, etc. While there were exceptions (like seniors-only communities, or seasonal parks), the stereotypes endured because they represented the majority of trailer park residents.

      This is/was due in part to the isolated locations of the parks themselves, crammed between run-down shopping centers and busy intersections or trailing off the side of a desolate (but noisy) stretch of highway. However, the relatively lower cost of renting a trailer or lot (in comparison to an apartment or house) appeals to those without the money or time for things like lawn care, home repairs, etc. Again, these are sweeping generalities based on my cursory knowledge of one small area of the country. It’s not so much that trailer is what makes people “trashy” as that you tend to find a lot of “trashy” people living in trailer parks. But for the record, I’ve known my share of trashy people who just happen to live in houses. The “trash” aspect is just slightly less on display than it would be in the closer quarters of a trailer park.

      • As someone who studies planning, I find it really frustrating how housing types are treated -really- unequally on a local level. In the United States we segregate our housing on a pretty strict hierarchy: single-family (the presumptive best option), then multi-family, then as a distant third mobile homes (often given its own zoning classification). Planners have been complaining about this since the 1960s…not too much has changed since then.

        There has been a movement to make multi-family more attractive (usually in the “city mixed use, apartments on top, shops on the bottom building that takes up an entire block” vein), but mobile-homes have not gotten the same love. So, they are zoned in undesirable places (next to the train tracks, by the airport, abutting the highway) and often are the housing choice for people who don’t have many choices (in general not attracting people who can afford to, or desire to put much investment in the property). Which is a shame because the type is family-friendly in a way that say apodments aren’t.

  14. I live in a double wide with a huge backyard. I don’t like the park as I don’t feel particularly safe. We talked about moving the home to a better and more convenient location. The mortgage will be paid in 6 years. I still dream of a nicer home, but wouldn’t be devastated if we stayed and renovated to my liking!

  15. I lived in a trailer for a few years while growing up. Ours was on a plot of land we already owned, so I didn’t get the trailer-park experience. Our trailer was nicer than most of my friends’ houses – we had a dishwasher, three pretty big bedrooms, two big bathrooms, a nice jetted tub in the master bathroom. I never really understood why a house on wheels that was a quarter to a sixth the price of a house on a concrete slab was such a bad thing! I learned early on not to tell anyone that I lived in a house-trailer, because trailer-park jokes would follow soon behind. It’s like any other close-spaced housing – you’re going to have some people that are great neighbors, and others who aren’t.

  16. In my county (in Florida), the only way to get into a nice park without drug addicts, meth cookers, sex offenders, and irresponsible individuals is to be over age 55 – the senior parks are secure, newer, and liveable. Friends here who have had to live in parks stay on average about two months – either the condemned state of the pre-1970’s trailer or the aforementioned character-types force them to abandon their lease and move into someone’s living room until they could get enough together for the first-last-security for their own apartment or shared house.

    It’s really not fair for those of us who do want to live in small homes with a good community around us, because the idea of a trailer park looks good on paper. I just have not seen one around here that (minus the senior parks) is not a morass of despair.

  17. The hubs and I have talked about getting a trailer when we find some land we want – we currently own our first home, but are planning ahead to the day we want to get out of city/suburb life. Frankly, you can often buy a used (but newish) trailer for WAY cheaper than building, and with many more amenities than cheap houses have. For instance, our house does not have a dishwasher, only has one bathroom (which is totally fine until you realize how much worse the litter box is when you have to share that bathroom with your cats!), has a tiny kitchen and tiny bedrooms. My grandparents moved into a 1970s single-wide trailer about 10 years ago (they’ve since built a bigger house on the same land) that, although small, has 2 bathrooms, plus all the amenities our house has. Newer trailers (and double-wides) have even more awesome stuff (jet-tub? yes!).
    Regarding the tornado issue, this is really only an issue if you live in the middle states. The Northwest is pretty trailer-friendly (just make sure you have a snow-bearing roof!) and I’m sure there are plenty of places around the country with low to no tornado risk :).

    To be fair, trailer parks are hit and miss (just like any neighborhood). In our part of town (lower-income), the trailer parks are kind of notorious and usually feature burnt-out trailer shells sitting along the edge of the park. However, in other parts of town there are really nice trailer parks that put our little neighborhood to shame.

    Ditto on the request for a home tour!!!

  18. We consider trailer living at one point, but with living in midwest and my intense fear of tornados, it just wasn’t meant to be 😉 (We also passed up a perfectly nice house without a basement for the same reason, haha.)

    I still think it would be amazing to acquire a big piece of property and have all our friends plop a trailer/tiny house/yurt/whatever on it- like a commune, but less…communal.

  19. I grew up in a trailer (in the country, on family land). A friend of mine currently lives in a trailer park in a lovely mountain city that is absolutely awesome. The trailers are older, but each lot has its own yard space and there are trees/bushes in between and everything is really quiet and peaceful for the most part, just like any other suburban neighborhood. Her lot rent/financing on the trailer is a fraction of what I was paying for my crappy apartment when I lived in the same city. And, my husband and I lived for three years in a doublewide trailer that was really nice, with big bedrooms and a fenced backyard. The ONLY reason we aren’t still living there is my absolute paralyzing terror of tornadoes, and the fact that where we live they are relatively common. I believe it comes from living in a trailer as a child and having to go to grandma’s to get in the basement in the middle of the night whenever there was a tornado warning.

    But if I were somewhere that tornadoes weren’t a common thing…absolutely, I could do a trailer all the way. Even if you’re not talking about a trailer park with nice neighbors, the possibilities of a trailer are endless. You can totally afford more land if you are willing to put a trailer on it, for instance, which might make your homesteading/small farming dreams come true faster. Sometimes, around here, you can even find FREE trailers, that someone is willing to give away for the cost of you having it towed from their land to yours. Which, if you were a handy sort that wouldn’t mind doing some home improvement, and could find some land to rent…free fucking house. (Well, having a trailer moved costs about 5 grand, but still…5 grand for a house!)

    • For people who have tornado-phobia and no basement/live in a mobile home: when we were still in the doublewide I contemplated getting one of these shelters. They deliver anywhere, though you have to pay after a certain amount of miles. The shelter is small, not good for big families but fits a couple and pets or small kids fine. They get hilti bolted into a concrete slab (that factors into the cost, too, the installation) and seem legit. They’re not cheap, but cheaper than other shelters, and the owner claims he’ll go out of his way to help someone who lives in a mobile home get one.

  20. I also have a fear of tornados (and hurricanes, and earthquakes), and I have become obsessed with monolithic domes. You can get them delivered to your property as a cabin: http://www.monolithic.org/cabins/model24
    The cabins are smaller than a double-wide and probably more expensive, and to make them properly tornado safe you have to pay a little extra on top of that for extra-thick concrete walls, but it might be useful for an emergency shelter or a tiny home. Not sure how many trailer parks would be OK with this instead of a traditional trailer, though.

  21. Husband and I kicked around this idea for awhile. Even checked some out. The newer ones are really really nice. Nicer than a lot of homes for a fraction of the price. We ran into some sketchy communities and some very nice communities. The only reason we did not go this route is because yes-you have a yard but no- the land is not yours (here atleast). So essentially we’d own home but still rent the land (lot rent).

  22. I’ve seen some really nice parks, but again, mostly for senior citizens. The concern in Florida is that trailers aren’t as sturdy or stable as other types of housing, and you’re much more likely to get severe damage, or lose your home entirely, during our all too common hurricanes and severe thunderstorms. If I lived elsewhere, I might have considered living in a mobile home park, but in FL it’s a big safety issue.

    • It’s an issue here in Maryland, too. Recently, we’ve had a very low-grade tornado that managed to do a lot of damage *to SFHs*, so living in a trailer/mobile unit may really be a risk. A few years ago, there was even a small but noticeable earthquake. There’ve been a number of storms over the past few years that have been severe; tree branches that are broken off and become airborne can, of course, cause substantial damage. Better to be safe….

  23. Where I grew up trailers were really not a cheaper option because you had your trailer mortgage plus lot rental (which was ridiculously high) AND utilities on top of the lot rental, so renting an apartment or often even renting a house was still cheaper, and it was “one of those trailer parks” even with the high cost of living – it defied all logic. That being said, I had a friend whose first home was a trailer in a trailer park in another city and it was nice, affordable, and the community was very reasonable. I guess the main thing to do would be to research the potential place before you move in and don’t just assume that it will be cheaper, because some times they are not – check for hidden costs. Also, just like apartments, houses, and pretty much any other kind of dwelling, trailer parks are not all created equal, so make sure you are getting into a good one that you will feel happy and safe in 🙂

  24. This very subject has been on my mind for awhile! I’ve been trying to research it online but finding frustratingly little information. Does anyone know…?

    1. What the average lot rent is in the Los Angeles area? I live in South Los Angeles and can’t get anyone to answer the phone at these communities. How likely is lot rent to go up? I’ve heard of it jumping from $300 to $1500 in one year, but that could be a rumor.

    2. Do you purchase a mobile home with a mortgage or a car loan? Someone was telling me you need to get a car loan, so the monthly amount is much higher. Another told me its a mortgage, but with only 15 years of repayment.

    3. Do you qualify for things like down payment assistance or First Time Homebuyers stuff when buying a mobile home? I’ve heard contradictory things.

    4. How is the noise inside a mobile home? My current home is a converted garage and we hear EVERYTHING outside. I know this farm girl can’t get blissful silence, but I’m hoping for at least a little bit of sound dampening.

    5. How sturdy are the materials? My goal is to turn one room to a full library for our book and comic collection, but I don’t want the whole thing falling through the floor one day.

    Sorry to ask here but my research online has turned up contradictory info and a lot of it seems to depend on the state. I really want to present this option to my boyfriend for us to buy together, so any information is GREATLY appreciated! 😀


    • The materials for mobile homes are cheap; particle board and 2x2s for wall studs. I lived in a 1971 holly park for a year, and while I loved being able to change things, the lot rent irked me at every month. It didn’t help that the lot manager was awful…. Would fine you for not mowing the grass “on time,” but would ignore noise complaints. There is generally no funding for used mobile homes, you might be able to get a loan for a new one if you have great credit. I just wouldn’t want to if I had to rent the land again. I sold the trailer for about what I paid (mobile homes don’t hold their value,) after putting in some costly repairs. I just wanted to let you know these things if you hadn’t been informed yet. It is a powerful thing, owning your own place. Renting the land is NOT for me.

Read more comments

Join the Conversation