If you want to get away with the family, one of the best options is to hit the road in an RV. Not only can you explore the great outdoors and save money on travel costs, but you can connect as a family and build stronger memories together.
That said, if you have a relatively large family of five people or more, buying an RV is a bit more involved. Because you need enough space for everyone, you have to be more selective in the types of RVs you look at and what they provide.
Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of the top six family RVs for a family of five or more. Here’s what we discovered.
A Breakdown of the Types of RVs That Work for a Family of 5
Before you can start looking at specific models, it helps to know which kind of RV would work (or wouldn’t). Because space is a crucial commodity for five people, here’s a rundown of the different RV types that work best for this situation.
Class A RV
Class A rigs are massive, often reaching lengths of about 30 feet or more. As motorhomes, you can drive your house from one place to the next, but you have to worry about obstacles and other logistical hurdles.
For example, the longer the motorhome, the harder it is to make tight turns or back into an RV parking spot. Also, because class A RVs are generally taller, so you have to worry about clearance obstacles like low bridges.
That said, class A motorhomes come with the best amenities, so you and your family can camp and travel in style.
Class C RV
If you’re on more of a budget, a class C motorhome works well for family travel. While these rigs are not as massive or accommodating as class As, they still have plenty of room for everyone. Also, as we’ll discuss later, you can find models with slide out sections to increase the amount of interior space.
Almost all class C RVs come with a bed over the truck cab, giving them a distinct look. This extra bed is also practical so everyone can have their own sleeping space. You can also find class C motorhomes with bunk beds for even more room.
Although motorhomes are highly popular for family travel, trailers can be just as accommodating and give you the flexibility of driving without bringing your RV along.
Travel trailers run the gamut from modest to massive, so you can find one that fits you and your family pretty easily. However, the larger they are, the harder it is to tow and maneuver them, so keep that in mind.
One type of travel trailer is a toy hauler, which is designed to bring dirt bikes, ATVs, and other toys. While toy haulers have quite a bit of space, the garage takes up most of the interior room. So, it’s probably not best to buy one of these models.
If you’re looking for an ultra-deluxe RV trailer, fifth wheels are the best option. That said, you need a tow vehicle with a flatbed. Fifth-wheel trailers have a distinct front section that hangs over the bed of a pickup truck. Unfortunately, even if you have an SUV or other vehicle with sufficient towing capacity, it won’t work.
Inside, fifth wheels are massive and come with many luxury features. Examples include home theaters, fireplaces, kitchen islands, and enclosed bedrooms. These rigs can feel like you’re towing a four-star hotel room to each destination.
As with a class A RV, the massive size of a fifth wheel means it’s harder to tow. If you’re planning on taking side streets and shortcuts, you might have to worry about getting stuck on tight turns.
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Which RV Types Don’t Work for a Family of 5?
Overall, we highly recommend avoiding class B campervans, teardrop trailers, toy haulers, smaller travel trailers, and converted RV vans. Because each of these models are geared toward one or two travelers, they will feel extra cramped with a family of five. Even larger models won’t be as accommodating as a class C or A motorhome.
Top Six Family RVs for a Family of 5
Because there are so many options out there, it can feel a bit overwhelming to narrow your search down to one or two models. Fortunately, we’ve done the homework for you, and here are our top six picks.
Also, keep in mind that each model has multiple floor plans available, so don’t feel like you have to choose the one we recommend.
Thor Quantum KW29
- Dimensions: 31′ L, 11.2′ T
- Tank Sizes: 40G Fresh, 34G Black, 37G Gray
- Class: C
- Features: King bed, skylight, flip-up countertop, privacy curtain for master bedroom, exterior TV, optional theater seating
Thor Motorcoach is a high-quality brand that makes mostly class C and class A motorhomes. The KW29 is a C model, but it has more than enough space for everyone to feel comfortable during your travels.
We like that the master bedroom comes with a privacy curtain, meaning you and your partner can have some quiet moments away from the kids. With a king-size bed, you can move around at night without worrying about falling off and hurting yourself.
Because we’re talking about the best family RV for five people, the fifth person can sleep on the jack knife sofa bed. Alternatively, you can get theater seating, meaning that you can only accommodate four full-size people and one small child.
Airstream Classic 33FB
- Dimensions: 33.3′ L, 9.5 ‘ H
- Tank Sizes: 54G Fresh, 39G Black, 37G Gray
- Class: Travel Trailer
- Features: Convertible dinette, reclining sofa bed, enclosed master bedroom, under-bed storage space
When it comes to travel trailers, Airstream is one of the most recognizable models. Not only is the name well-known, but the classic dome shape and stainless steel coloration are impossible to ignore.
This trailer comes with everything you and your family need, from a fully equipped galley to an enclosed master bedroom. A convertible dinette allows you to sleep more people with ease. All you have to do is lower the table and add cushions, and voila, you have a twin bed ready to go.
Although this trailer doesn’t come with too many bells and whistles, the interior is ultra-modern and chic. The muted gray tones work well with any decor, and you’ll feel like you’re in a private resort wherever you go.
Winnebago Vista 33K
- Dimensions: 34.3′ L, 12.4′ H
- Tank Sizes: 93G Fresh, 75G Black, 102G Gray
- Class: A
- Features: Slide-out king bed, optional studio loft bed available, swivel cab chairs, removable pedestal table, expanding driver’s side wall, exterior storage space
If you’re looking for a class A motorhome, you can’t go wrong with a Winnebago. This brand is practically synonymous with RVing, and the Vista is one of the most accommodating rigs we’ve seen. This particular model can comfortably accommodate six people, especially with the optional studio loft bed.
One major selling point of this RV is that the entire driver’s side wall slides out. This way, you get more space inside to move around and feel comfortable. The master bedroom has a walk-around bed with two nightstands on either side. The entertainment center will be the highlight of the rig, and your kids will likely spend most of their time there.
You can also watch TV from the king-size bed, meaning you and your partner don’t have to squeeze in on the sofa to get some R&R. Overall, this RV doesn’t have a ton of unique bells and whistles, but it has a spacious floor plan and plenty of sleeping space for the entire family.
Grand Design Reflection 311BHS
- Dimensions: 36.8′ L, 12.3′ H
- Tank Sizes: 74G Fresh, 87G Black, 87G Gray
- Class: Fifth Wheel Trailer
- Features: Two bunk beds, tri-fold sofa bed, two bathrooms, rotating TV, enclosed bedroom, theater seating, kitchen island, shower skylight, pass-through storage
Just because you’re a family of five doesn’t mean everyone needs to cram inside an RV together. If you’re looking for the ultimate luxury features and accommodations, the Grand Design Reflection is the trailer for you.
Here are some of our favorite amenities:
- Extra-Large Bunk Beds – Everyone gets a place to sleep, even if your kids are bringing friends along.
- Massive Living Space – There’s enough room for the entire family to stretch out, and no one will get in each other’s way.
- Two Bathrooms – The master bedroom has a bathroom with a separate shower (complete with skylight). The kids have their own bathroom next to the bunk beds.
- Kitchen Island – You get more storage space and prep areas to make world-class meals inside your RV.
- Outdoor Kitchen – When the weather’s nice, you can cook outside and enjoy the sunshine.
Overall, this fifth-wheel RV is so nice that you may never want to come home again. Also, it’s more than accommodating for a family of five, so feel free to bring other guests along if you like.
Keystone Passport 252RDWE
- Dimensions: 29.8′ L, 10.7′ H
- Tank Sizes: 54G Fresh, 38G Black, 76G Gray
- Class: Travel Trailer
- Features: Slide-out living space, pass-through storage, flip-up countertops, U-shaped dinette, 21-foot awning, tri-fold sleeper sofa, queen bed
Although this travel trailer is not as massive or as luxurious as the Grand Design Reflection, it’s still pretty impressive inside. The Keystone Passport comes with a variety of floor plan options, but we prefer this version because it fits five people comfortably.
The secret to this RV is the tri-fold sofa and the convertible dinette section. While everyone may need a double bed, no one should feel too cramped or crowded at night. Also, the interior space is pretty nice, especially because the RV comes with slide-outs.
The Passport also has an awning to help shield you from the summer sun. While the awning isn’t wide enough to hang out underneath all day, it does help keep the interior cool by blocking most sunlight.
Finally, this rig comes with pass-through storage next to the master bedroom. This way, it’s much easier to load in and out, especially if you’re setting up camp for a few days at a time.
Thor Chateau 28A
- Dimensions: 29.8′ L, 11′ H
- Tank Sizes: 40G Fresh, 25G Black, 22G Gray
- Class: C
- Features: Queen size bed, optional TV in the master bedroom, convertible sofa sleeping space, TV within the cabover portion, separate shower and toilet
As a class C motorhome, the Thor Chateau has the iconic bunk over the cab. This is one of the smaller RVs on this list, but it’s still large enough to ensure everyone feels as comfortable as possible during the trip.
One unique feature we like about the Chateau is that it has the shower and toilet separate. This way, one person can be getting clean while another does their business. With multiple kids in tow, this feature could be a lifesaver.
Since this RV doesn’t have slide outs, the interior can feel a bit cramped when everyone is inside. However, with the dinette and sofa next to each other, it’s easy to stay entertained without sitting on top of each other. Overall, the Chateau has a sleeping capacity of five, but we recommend it for families with smaller children if possible.
How to Choose an RV for a Family of 5
Although we’ve seen some incredible RV models, there are still so many options available. So, when comparing the best family RV for your needs, consider these factors.
Although you’re traveling with a family of five, not everyone needs their own sleeping space. For example, you and your spouse can share a bed, and if you have small children, they may prefer to sleep next to you too.
For teens and older kids, bunk beds work well because they take up less space and allow everyone to have some privacy. For an added benefit, look for bunks that come with screens or curtains.
Many RVs have convertible sleeping areas, such as the dinette or sofa. While these options are suitable for most situations, keep in mind that the beds often fit two people. So, if you have three kids who all want to sleep alone, you may need something more accommodating.
Class C RVs can often work well because of the bed over the cab. Not only is it large enough for two, but it’s usually a third sleeping space, meaning you have more options when deciding where everyone will go at night.
Traveling with five people means everyone has their own gear. Overall, you have to consider suitcases, travel bags, toiletry bags, and more. Also, everyone may bring multiple types of shoes, swimming gear, toys, books, and other forms of entertainment. Finally, if you’re planning to cook during your trip, you need to bring plates, utensils, and various cooking equipment.
Overall, you need an RV with lots of space all around the interior. You should also find a model with exterior storage so you can bring extra gear that might not fit inside, such as fishing rods or swimming inflatables.
You should also consider the amount of food you’ll need to bring on the journey. While you can restock your supplies on the way, you don’t want to have to go grocery shopping every night. Look for RVs with pantries and full-size refrigerators. If there’s an exterior kitchen and fridge, they can help out immensely.
Trailer vs. Motorhome
As we discussed above, there are several types of RVs that work well for families of five or more. However, you need to decide whether you’ll buy a motorhome or a trailer. There are pros and cons to each option, and your final decision may depend on your current situation.
For example, if you don’t have a suitable tow vehicle, you can’t buy a travel trailer or fifth wheel. However, trailers can often be more affordable than a motorhome because they don’t come with an engine. So, if you’re on a tighter budget, a trailer may make more sense.
Another advantage of using a trailer is that you can park it and use your tow vehicle to get around. If you’re planning to visit different cities and RV parks, this option works well so you don’t have to pack up your rig every time you want to go sightseeing.
As you know, bathrooms are a hot commodity with larger families, especially if there’s a mix of girls and boys. Most RVs only have one bathroom, but some bigger models may have two. Alternatively, some RVs separate the shower and toilet so two people can use both simultaneously.
Another point to consider is the amount of storage space in the bathroom. Since everyone will have their own hygiene products, you want to make sure there’s enough room for everything. While you can use toiletry bags for storage, it’s often better to keep everything handy in the bathroom.
Finally, you may want a family RV that offers extra privacy by connecting the bathroom to the master bedroom. This way, it’s easier for everyone to get out and change instead of having to do it all inside the bathroom.
All full-service RVs have three tanks – one for fresh water, another for waste (black) water, and a final one for used gray water.
The sizes of these tanks matter for a few reasons. First, if you’re camping in an area where you can’t connect to a stable water supply, you might run out of fresh water sooner than you expect. Second, with five family members using showers and sinks regularly, it’s easy for the wastewater tanks to fill.
Overall, you should consider how much water you need to use regularly and buy an RV with sufficiently-sized tanks. As we saw, the Grand Design RV has a 105-gallon freshwater tank, meaning you don’t have to refill for a couple of days.
Slide Out Sections
Because storage and sleeping spaces are so crucial for your RV, you need as much interior room as possible. One way to increase your space without buying a bigger rig is to get one with slide-out sections. These features work by sliding out from the main chassis so the interior is larger.
Typically, slide-outs are used for kitchens, bedrooms, and entertainment centers. Some RVs may just have one section, while others might have two or three. However, keep in mind that these moving parts can break down over time, and they can be pretty expensive to fix.
Each RV is different, complete with unique floor plans and amenities. Here are a few other elements that can make your family vacation even more comfortable.
- Outdoor Kitchen – Cooking is an essential part of the RV lifestyle, but having to prepare and cook everything inside can be annoying. An outdoor kitchen allows you to make more dishes in less time, and it’s far more convenient. Also, these kitchens often have a mini-fridge, allowing you to bring more perishable goods.
- Enclosed Bedrooms – Privacy is a hot commodity when sharing an RV with four other people. so, having an enclosed master bedroom ensures that you and your partner can get extra privacy when necessary. Also, privacy screens can help kids feel more secure, even if they’re sharing bunk beds.
- Pass-Through Storage – One relatively recent feature you can find on modern RVs is pass-through storage sections. Rather than carrying everything in and out of the main door, you can use these pieces to pass items through either side of the RV. If you’re looking for extra convenience and efficiency, this feature is a must.
- Washer and Dryer Prep – One way to save time and money while you’re on the road is to do laundry inside your RV. Typically, only high-end motorhomes come with a washer and dryer prep area, but this section can be worth the extra investment. Plus, with five family members, laundry will be a constant need, so it helps to be able to do it on your own.
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