Elkhart Indiana is definitely worth a stop for RVers traveling in Indiana. Often called the RV Capital of the World, the Elkhart area is filled with RV manufacturers, dealers, service centers, and sellers of RV-related after-market products.
We took several RV factory tours and would definitely recommend this free and interesting activity. It is great way to learn more about the various RV manufacturers and construction processes -- whether you are in the market for a new RV or just want to expand your overall knowledge.
Plan on spending at least an hour and a half on each tour. Most tours will take you through the plant to see the various stages of construction, with perhaps some time outdoors. You will likely see a number of the manufacturers' different models at various stages of completion, and usually can take a look inside completed RVs. You will certainly be able to pick up brochures, floor plans and price sheets.
Wear comfortable shoes. At Newmar, we found they prohibited open-toed shoes for safety reasons, and this may be true in some of the other plants. So, it might be best to forego the sandals and don your sneakers instead. By the way, Newmar employees a large number of Mennonite/Amish employees - a fact they make note of in their tour.
Here is a list of RV factory tours in the Elkhart area , with the times and days they are offered. Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early. Many plants close down for a week or two around the fourth of July (and perhaps at other times of the year), so call ahead to confirm the schedule.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame, Museum and Library showcase the history and growth of the RV industry. The museum houses a variety of vintage RVs, photos and memorabilia dating back to the 1920's
It is fascinating to see how much things have changed, as well as how much they have stayed the same. We spotted an old issue of an RVing magazine with an article about farmhouses that welcome "trailerites" - it seems the quest for stopping places is longstanding.
The RVMH Hall of Fame's new facility is at 21565 Executive Parkway in Elkhart. See the museum's vintage units, including the “oldest RV in America” a travel trailer built in 1913 and displayed behind a 1913 Model T Ford, and the classic 1973 GMC Motorhome.
The display shows the evolution of technology as the primitive early units evolved into the luxury travel vehicles of today. Features in addition to the 1913 trailer include a 1931 housecar and a 1932 folding tent trailer as well as early examples of the work of modern RV companies. The units are displayed amidst huge photographic banners of various points of national interest.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame honors industry leaders with plaques and biographies. Over 300 leaders of the industry from its early days in the 1930s right up to the current time are honored with induction into the Hall of Fame.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame Library is available to all visitors and holds the world’s largest collection of RV and manufactured housing related literature and photos. The library’s resources are used by university scholars, museum researchers, and international travel writers as well as owners of vintage RVs or RV history buffs.
You will find Amish and Mennonite communities scattered throughout 22 states and in Ontario Canada. It is a fascinating and enjoyable experience to learn about these people and visit countryside dotted with Amish farms and families traveling by horse and buggy.