Book your next vacation in a resort with vintage-chic trailers and enjoy a blast from the past.
These parks are a retro trend that is gaining popularity across the country. A few of them are located in Southern California. These parks feature campers that have been refurbished from the ’50s to the 1970s and new but vintage trailers. Many of them were built by Airstream, the maker of the “silver bullet” travel trailers.
What is the benefit for vacationers? You don’t have to stay in a hotel room. Instead, you can rent a trailer that is too cute for words in the great outdoors.
Carey Jonker, the Waypoint Ventura vintage caravan hotel, said, “We’re not a hotel but a hotel with an extra special touch.” She also owns Waypoint Ventura campground, which rents 20 vintage RVs within walking distance from Ventura’s shoreline.
“Some people are interested in having an overnight experience like this. Jonker and his twin sister Kelsey co-own the park. “Our retro trailers are a cool part that makes them happy,” he said.
Retro trailers are often built from the ground up and have quirky but cute decor. They also come with heat, air conditioning, heat, fully functional kitchens, and decks. Many come with showers, flat-screen TVs, and Wi-Fi. Many parks have multi-functional spaces that can accommodate RV owners. They also offer amenities like pools, playgrounds, bikes for rent, and outdoor games.
The company’s 90th anniversary is this year, and it has found a new audience who admires its nostalgia. Its fans include Sean Penn, Sandra Bullock, and Matthew McConaughey. Airstream’s latest vehicles are so popular that it could take up to a year for current orders to be filled.
Airstreams are the most common type of trailers found in vintage-chic parks. However, some parks like AutoCamp with campgrounds near Yosemite, the Russian River and Caravan Outpost in Ojai use Airstreams only.
Other brands have their fans, too. There are dozens of organizations that cater to trailer owners, such as the Forest River Owners Assn. And Sunliners Owners Club.
Some owners, like Chryss Terry, dote on their trailers. Her trailer is called the “Hollywood Glamper,” and she has good reason to. It was featured in Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” as well as roles in Ryan Murphy’s TV series “Feud” (with Angelina Jolie) and a Vanity fair feature.
Terry, who partly restored the Glamper, lives in it at Waypoint Ventura, where it’s the Golden Girl of the campground. It features porthole windows, a mahogany interior that looks like a yacht, and a gold-anodized exterior.
“I wasn’t sure why I needed to repair this vintage trailer, but for some reason, I was never so certain.” She added that Waypoint was not for everyone but that something magical happened when she moved in.
Here are some quick photos of the area parks:
Starry Nights in Ojai
If you like Airstreams, you’ll like Caravan Outpost in downtown Ojai. The park is well-kept and has eleven of them. It was opened in 2016.
Brad Steward, the owner, describes it as “more up-scale than down-home” and says that it is unique in its decor and various activities.
He said that the formula was popular with celebrities, including Pink, Natalie Portman, and Bradley Cooper. Josh Groban also mentioned Pink and Bradley Cooper as he claimed they played guitar at the firepit. He said that one of his guests had told him that he was an extraordinary musician and should be doing it as a profession.
Info: 317 Bryant St., Ojai; (805) 836-4891, caravanoutpostojai.com
You can float your boat in Lake Elsinore
Lake Elsinore is known for its many attractions, including fishing, boating, and waterskiing. It also boasts skydiving, motocross, and other extreme sports.
You can now stay in a vintage trailer park at the foot of this body of water, which is the largest freshwater lake in Southern California. Riverside County’s new RV campground Launch Pointe features various RV sites, yurts, and a Vintage Village, with eight trailers parked in a pleasant green glen.
There are many Airstream and non-Airstream trailers in the village. The majority of the vehicles were built in the ’40s or ’50s. However, all of them have been restored and modernized with air conditioning, a must in Elsinore, where temperatures exceed 100 degrees.
You can rent a pontoon or fishing boat at the park. The park also has a playground, pool, and restaurant for children.
Information: 32040 Riverside Drive Lake Elsinore, (855) 471-1212 launch-pointe.com. $130 to $200 per night.
Lose yourself in Joshua Tree
The folks at the Hicksville Trailer Palace want to make sure their vintage campground doesn’t draw lookie-loos. They won’t give out the address until you reserve a trailer.
That was not what I did. I searched online for an address and spent two hours searching the desert. Locals gave me more wrong addresses. Finally, I dialed the number on the website and admitted I was wrong. I got complicated directions that took me along nonpaved desert roads.
It’s worth it? Yes. Hicksville Trailer Palace is unique. An L.A. director and writer set up the compound in 2010 to allow him to film films. It includes eight vintage trailers, a boat, and a caboose. He eventually opened it as a hotel.
After visiting the trailer as guests, Rebecca Slivka, and Erica Beers (30somethings), purchased it last year. Slivka stated that the trailers are “funky” and transport you to a different era.
The trailers are fully air-conditioned and have been recently renovated. The playground is also suitable for adults.
Because of the privacy feature — the secret location –, no one will be able to see you while you’re playing.
Info: (442) 999-7273, hicksvillepalace.com. From $215 to $400 per night
Sip wine in Buellton
If hiking or wine tasting is on your wish list this summer or fall, combine them with a stay in a vintage Airstream or other trailers at Flying Flags RV Resort and Campground in Santa Barbara County’s wine country.
This park is a 30-acre attraction that offers campers a range of themed accommodation options. It includes 54 cottages and nine safari tents, five tents for tiki, and eight Airstreams.
You can also stay with large groups in a compound for canned ham. This is named after the metal trailers made in the 1950s and shaped like a large tin of meat.
I met Mattie Montes, a Whittier resident, and 13 of their family and friends when I visited the park. The compound is fenced off and contains three can ham trailers, one Airstream, an outdoor kitchen, and a bathroom. Montes stated, “It’s great for all of us to be able to get together like this.” “The kids love the play areas.”
Flying Flags has a swimming pool, spa, activity center, and playgrounds. There is also a lounge, restaurant, and bocce ball courts.
Info: 180 Avenue of the Flags, Buellton; (877) 783-5247, highwaywestvacations.com/properties/flyingflags.
Carey Jonker started renovating trailers back in 2014. Now there are 20 at Waypoint Ventura, making it one of the largest collections of refurbished vintage trailers in the state.
“We have gathered, restored, and renovated an amazing selection of over nine manufacturers. He said that the search for rescuers continues.
These units can be found in various sizes, from trailers from the 1940s to more modern Airstreams. Each unit has its own deck, Frette linens, and refrigerator. You can use the complimentary bikes, lawn games, and barbecues for your guests.
Information: 398 S. Ash St. Ventura. (805) 888-5750. waypointventura.com. Starting at $175 per night