The lure of the open road runs deep in the American psyche   It’s in our blood to wander and discover   Whether you’re a tin can tourist, newly freed to explore, saving $ with family trips or cross-crossing the Midwest for work, consider an entertaining respite in Elkhart, Indiana

bright blue sky over a parking lot of hundreds of RVs in Indiana

Multiple manufacturers offer factory tours, sales and repairs in Elkhart County

Pathway along a river in Elkhart, Indiana with trees in spring bloom

Elkhart.s downtown Riverwalk

Yep, halfway between Detroit and Chicago sits the RV Museum & Hall of Fame in the world capital of recreational vehicles   Back at the advent of the automobile, a salesman named Milo Miller missed his family and started tinkering to make a mobile home which included old auto glass in wooden frames and a rubberized canvas roof for his family to join him on the road.     A buddy saw his creation at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair and all of a sudden orders started pouring in from industrialists and movie stars and the average Joe tapping into the roaring 20s version of glamping.

By the late 1930’s, demand for expanding campers, recreational vehicles and moveable homes was growing like gangbusters and most of it was based in Elkhart where Miller and his buddy Shult had set up factories.   Shortly after, a gent named Harold Platt answered a call from the inventor of the waffle ice cream cone who asked for a means to travel with his wares to sell at carnivals.   He wanted a swinging awning on the side to sell from with small living quarters in the front.   It was Platt who created the first “Tin Can Tourist” convention in 1937.

interior of a 1931 mobile trailer for Mae West with padded banquet seating and oak woodwork

The movies enticed Mae West off the lucrative vaudeville circuit by creating this tow-behind trailer for her excusive use.

The WWII era saw the conversion of the RV industry into mobile housing for military purposes and by the era after the war, folks were booming to try out President Eisenhower’s new road system and see America.

exterior of the smallest aluminum airstream trailer from 1958

The 1958 Little Prince was the smallest Airstream ever made exclusively for use by the corporation owner

The Museum showcases the entire history of both RVs and mobile homes from the first tow-behind-the-Model-T efforts to the snazziest of modern conveniences    By the 1980s, more than 80% of recreational vehicles were made in the Elkhart area and it still supports a huge industry of manufacturing, sales and repairs for most of the country.



Exterior of the six story, 1920s era Hotel Elkhart, Indiana

The classic Hotel Elkhart proudly stands on Main Street celebrating the art deco era of growth in Elkhart.





Elkhart has tons of interesting places to check out but we strongly suggest connecting with the restored Hotel Elkhart which celebrates the 1920s and 30s and the heritage of the region while offering special options for RVers!