As a traveler, I've always been delighted by age-old traditions that take place here in…
I love the idea of camping. I love being out in nature and have become an avid hiker whenever my destination permits. But at the end of the day, I crave the comforts of home. For those wanting to just dip their toe into the camping end of the pool, might I suggest a trailer park? Hear me out. These accommodations have come a looooong way in recent years, with a few visionary hoteliers creating trailer park experiences that are as practical as they are delightful. It’s cleaner than camping, with access to electricity and a bathroom.
Here are the best glamping experiences in America.
The Vintages – Willamette, OR
There are lots of reasons to visit the Willamette Valley. It’s the heart of Oregon’s wine country, close to Portland, and offers lots of incredible hiking, biking, kayaking, and more. If you’re looking for something extra special, book a few nights at the Vintages Trailer Resort.
Centrally located in the heart of the Willamette Valley, the Vintages offers retro trailer accommodations on a 14-acre park. These trailers (some dating back to the 1940s) have been meticulously restored and outfitted with luxurious modern amenities, like pour-over Caravan Coffee, luxurious terrycloth robes, comfortable mattresses, and fine hotel-quality linens. Most trailers include a private toilet, and many include showers, too (if not, there’s a lovely clubhouse and fitness center, complete with showers and restrooms).
Other offerings include propane grills, a pool & hot tub, outdoor lawn games, and a nearby dog park. The Vintages also provide cruiser bikes you can pedal over the bridge to the neighboring town of Dayton, a gateway to many of the local vineyards.
Kate’s Lazy Desert – Landers, CA
If retro trailer parks had a soundtrack, it probably would have a few songs from the B52s. So I guess it’s really not that surprising that Kate Pierson of B52 fame actually owns and operates a campy trailer park. The Lazy Desert located in the Mojave High Desert in California (five miles from Joshua Tree National Park) offers six vintage airstreams, restored to wacky perfection by talented artists and designers. Experience incredible views, starry nights, and the magical experience of the desert. Note that the weather in the high desert can be extreme at times: cold at night, hot during the day, windy, etc. Bring layers!
Each airstream includes a double bed (read: great for couples, not so much for families), coffee maker and basic cooking utensils. The grounds include hammocks by the pool, grills and wi-fi. Small doggies are allowed in two of the trailers, but be sure to call ahead to let them know fido’s tagging along. Bonus: this desert oasis is right down the road from the Integratron, a resonant tabernacle located on a powerful geomagnetic vortex where you can book a soundbath. I’m not even going to bother to explain it, but it’s VERY cool—read up on it here.
El Cosmico – Marfa, Texas
Texas is known for its vastness. And this little town (population: 1,800) is a long way from a major city—nearly a three-hour drive to El Paso! Still, plenty of travelers flock to Marfa, and for good reason. It’s one of the most creative communities in the country.
For an out-of-the-ordinary stay, check out El Cosmico. This stylish accommodation rents out refurbished vintage trailers ranging from the 42’, 1956 Imperial Mansion, complete with a King and twin bed, full bath, kitchen, air conditioning, and heat; to the adorable Amigo—and 11′ trailer with a full bed, kitchenette, and shared bathroom. You can also sleep in one of their onsite teepees or yurts (just know you’ll have to use the very nice, but communal restrooms). The property boasts a supply shop with beer, wine, snacks, and wi-fi; a cute hammock grove; bikes for rent, and wood-fired hot tubs (must be reserved ahead of time, but worth it!). See, camping doesn’t have to be so dirty!
The Shady Dell – Bisbee, AZ
Located 90 miles southeast of Tucson, historic Bisbee, AZ has lots to offer. Founded in 1880, the once-booming mining town includes an extraordinarily well-preserved early-twentieth-century downtown. It’s a favorite spot for birders, hikers, wine-tasters, and those who just want to soak up the beautiful Mule Mountain and desert views.
For a fun place to stay, you can’t beat The Shady Dell. This vintage trailer court’s roots date back to 1927 when travelers looked for lodging as they drove historic Highway 80, which stretched from Savannah, Georgia to San Diego, California.
Today, the trailer court is a nice mix of practicality and vintage fun-seeking for travelers. All trailers (plus one vintage Chris Craft boat!) are outfitted in authentic vintage décor. Rest your head in the 1957 Airfloat trailer, decked out in a Las Vegas theme.
Another favorite? The 1947 Airporter tiki bus, which has been transformed into a Polynesian palace, complete with a hand-carved outrigger bar. The trailers all offer mini-fridges, coffee makers, and linens, but only a few offer private bathrooms. Not to worry, their onsite shared restrooms have everything you need. Please note the Shady Dell is for guests 15 and older, and isn’t open in the middle of summer or winter—check their calendar for availability.
Autocamp – Santa Barbara & Russian River, CA
If Dwell magazine opened a trailer park, it would be AutoCamp. Brand-spankin’-new Airstreams are outfitted with luxurious Casper mattresses, hotel bedding, linens, and towels; spa-like bathrooms with walk-in showers; Malin+Goetz bath products; and locally roasted coffee.
The Santa Barbara location includes two cruiser bikes and helmets—perfect for riding to and from Butterfly Beach or the town center.
Smack-dab in a native Redwood forest, the Russian River location is just steps from great canoeing and swimming, as well as lovely downtown Guerneville and its fabulous dining and shops (also, Russian River = great pinot noir!).
Unlike a few of the other trailer parks, AutoCamp is family- and pet-friendly. Great news if you’re planning that Griswold-esque road trip down the California coast!
Have you tried glamping? Would you like to? Share in the comments!