Vintage trailer park resorts deliver retro bliss
| April 20, 2020
Shortly after World War II and before the advent of modern motor homes, thousands of Americans hit the nation’s highways and byways towing compact travel trailers.
It was a better way to go camping — without having to pitch a tent and rolling out sleeping bags — and trailer park resorts popped up all across the country to accommodate these mobile vacationers.
Well, guess what? They’re back. Vintage trailer park resorts, brimming with brightly refurbished campers from makers such as Airstream, Alma, Boles, Kropf, Shasta, and Spartan are all the retro rage these days.
So, please join us as we take a step back in time for a look at seven retro-chic trailer park resorts ready to book your stay — once the coronavirus goes away.
Sou’wester Vintage Trailer Resort, Seaview, Washington
This coastal park, not far from the Oregon border, boasts a fleet of more than 30 renovated travel trailers from the 1950s and 60s. These impossibly cute campers vary in size from 16 to 40 feet with amenities ranging from simple/rustic to slick and fully equipped.
Each reflects its own unique aesthetic and vintage appeal. All trailers come with bedding, towels and kitchen dishes and utensils. The resort also offers lodge suites, cabins, a spa and sauna, campsites and fully serviced RV sites.
AutoCamp, Guerneville, California
This is the place for those wishing to get back to nature — in high style. Except for the towering redwoods that surround it, there’s nothing at all rustic about this upscale park situated just steps from the Russian River.
AutoCamp is home to 23 iconic Airstream trailers outfitted with plush pillowtop mattresses, flat-screen TVs, microwaves, mini-fridges, Main+Goetz bath amenities, luxurious bathrobes and outdoor BBQs with tables and chairs. The park is handy to Armstrong Redwoods State Nature Reserve and a number of top-rated wineries.
Dependent upon further mitigation of the coronavirus pandemic, the park is planning a “contactless” re-opening for May 3. AutoCamp operates a similar park in Santa Barbara, California.
Kate’s Lazy Desert Airstream Motel, California
Located in the Mojave Desert, just a stone’s throw from Joshua Tree National Park, this collection of six vintage Airstream trailers is the creation of former B-52s lead singer Kate Pierson and her wife/co-owner Monica Coleman.
As you might expect, there’s a zany aspect to it all, with each trailer featuring a different interior design drawn from the worlds of music and nature by the artist team of Maberry-Walker. Lazy Desert is an adults-only destination with a two-night minimum stay.
The Shady Dell, Bisbee, Arizona
The Shady Dell is the country’s oldest travel trailer resort. It was founded way back in 1927 to serve travelers along Highway 80, a popular transcontinental route linking Savannah, Georgia, and San Diego.
The Dell’s lineup of 11 vintage campers includes such classic examples as a 1950 Spartanette, a 1951 Royal Mansion, a 1955 Airstream and a 1959 Boles Aero — all decked out with period furnishings and accessories including vintage TVs and phonographs. For a different kind of retro experience, guests can book a bunk in a 1947 Chris Craft yacht or the resort’s 1947 Airporter that has been repurposed into a “tiki bus” complete with a hand-carved tiki bar out front.
Hotel Luna Mystica, Taos, New Mexico
“It’s hot, it’s hip, it’s cool, it’s you,” reads the promotional literature for this trendy vintage trailer resort spread over 12 acres of high desert mesa near Taos. In addition to its 20 meticulously restored trailers — each with luxury bedding and bath amenities, full kitchen facilities and outdoor patios — it offers “the sun, the moon and a gazillion stars.”
In fact, the setting couldn’t be more perfect for reveling in the stunning mountain views and fiery New Mexico sunsets. Each trailer has a name and personality of its own, ranging from “Spartacus,” a 1954 Spartan to “Sundance,” a silvery 1961 Airstream. And there’s a pair of ‘60s Avions named “Thelma” and “Louise.”
El Cosmico, Marfa, Texas
Here’s another delightfully offbeat campground sure to satisfy the sheltering needs of Bohemian spirits and intrepid travelers who find their way to the artsy West Texas town of Marfa. This 21-acre “nomadic hotel” and campground is dedicated to providing “temporary liberation from the built world.”
To that end, it features about a dozen pastel-colored vintage trailers, ranging from tiny (13 feet) to XL (42 feet) along with an assortment of Sioux-style tepees, safari tents and Mongolian yurts. The property also offers several communal spaces for guests — a hammock grove, outdoor kitchen and dining area, bathhouse, wood-fired hot tubs, community lounge and a store.
JuneBug Retro Resort, Weaverville, North Carolina
This five-star quality vintage trailer park, located 12 miles north of Asheville, sits on a lovely 50-acre wooded site on bubbling Flat Creek — with nary a modern structure in sight. It features 10 carefully restored campers from the 1950s. Each of the trailers is equipped with a/c and heat, a bathroom, refrigerator and hot/cold water.
One of the oldest organic farms in western North Carolina sits just across the creek from the campground, along with the JuneBug Event Center with space and facilities for weddings, family reunions and corporate retreats.
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