Maybe you want the “roughing it” experience of camping, but your spouse prefers the convenience of a traditional hotel stay. A good compromise? A property that offers camping trailer rentals. From oh-so-hip Airstreams to cute-as-a-button vintage Shasta trailers, these kinds of rentals can put you in the heart of the great outdoors without having to give up things like Wi-Fi, running water, and a comfy bed. We’ve rounded up the best Airstream and camper rental resorts for families who want to give this kind of unique vacation experience a try.
1. AutoCamp Yosemite – Midpines, CA
AutoCamp offers hip Airstream rentals in three California locations—Santa Barbara, Russian River in Sonoma County, and Yosemite, its newest location and its most family-friendly. “We founded AutoCamp to make being in the outdoors a more comfortable experience for people,” says cofounder Ryan Miller. “Yosemite is an iconic outdoor destination, and those are the types of destinations that AutoCamp wants to be in.”
Located a three-hour drive from San Francisco in Midpines, California, AutoCamp Yosemite is the company’s largest property and offers 80 stylish and fully appointed Airstream trailer rentals, as well as 15 luxury tents and three cabin suites. Best for small families, the Airstreams include a queen-size bed and a full-size sofa bed. Families with older kids can consider the Base Camp option, which combines an Airstream and luxury tent to sleep five. Amenities include fire pits, a heated outdoor pool, lawn and board games, and a daily shuttle that takes guests to Yosemite National Park.
“Families are coming to AutoCamp as an alternative to both a traditional vacation and to actual camping, which is time-consuming, energy-consuming, and leaves some uncertainty for people sometimes,” says Miller. “Once you provide guests with the comfort and security of having freshly made beds, really nice bathrooms, and hot coffee in the morning, it creates this peak experience that families can have together.” Look for more AutoCamps to open up down the road in California and on the East Coast.
2. Paradise Shores RV Park – Bridgeport, CA
Situated on the banks of Bridgeport Reservoir in Bridgeport, California, Paradise Shores RV Park is surrounded on three sides by the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s conveniently located near lots of family-friendly area attractions, including Yosemite National Park, Mono Lake, and Bodie State Historic Park’s gold-mining ghost town.
Families with up to three kids can opt for the property’s larger camping trailer rentals like the Tatra, the site’s newest trailer with two separate bedrooms and a patio with a fireplace and grill, and the Sierra, with lots of fun sleeping options for the kiddos. The larger rentals come stocked with board games and children’s books when some indoor downtime is needed. Paradise Shores’ medium-sized campers, like the colorfully decorated Baja, can accommodate families with one or two kids.
There are hiking and mountain biking trails that depart right from the property. Paradise Shores also offers kayaks, standup paddleboards, and a pedal boat for use on Bridgeport Reservoir. Campfires take place most Saturday nights with complimentary S’mores. “There’s often a guitar or two playing, and everyone is welcome to join with their instruments for an impromptu jam session,” says co-owner Veronika Pottasch.
3. The Vintages Trailer Resort – Dayton, OR
Located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, The Vintages Trailer Resort is made up of a collection of retro camping trailers that sits within the 14-acre Willamette Wine Country RV Park. Many of the 33 trailers are well-suited for small families: Check out the 1957 Airstream Sovereign, done up in midcentury-modern style and offering a queen bed and sleeper sofa, or the 1969 Airstream Overlander with a beachy white interior, full-size bed, and bench that converts into a sleeping spot for one child.
Each trailer has a private bathroom with toilet (some also have showers, and there are additional bathroom facilities onsite with showers), refrigerator, microwave, and an outdoor area with Adirondack chairs, an umbrella, and grill. Families can add on the Little Campfire Kit package, which includes a S’mores kit from local company Nineteen27 S’mores and a bottle of the Vintages Pinot Noir for mom and dad. There’s also a pool at the resort (open during summer only), and each trailer comes with two cruiser bikes for riding around the property and into the neighboring town of Dayton.
4. JuneBug Retro Resort – Weaverville, NC
Open May through October, JuneBug Retro Resort, 12 minutes outside of Asheville, North Carolina, includes a collection of restored 1950s and ’60s campers situated on 50 acres of land. It has a steady wedding business, but is open for vacation rentals during the week and on weekends that aren’t booked by couples tying the knot.
The most popular rental for families is the Royal Spartanette, a gleaming silver, 35-foot trailer with retro wood paneling and bunk beds. Three colorful Shasta trailers each sleep four and have propane cooktops for making meals onsite. All trailers have at least a half bath, and the resort has transformed another Spartanette trailer into a high-end bathhouse with shower facilities for guests.
Little campers can often be found wading in the creek on the property or playing cornhole and other lawn games. There’s wood available for making bonfires, an old-school playground, hiking trails that start at the resort, and a new tree house, plus all of the attractions and restaurants in nearby Asheville. “Staying here gives families an avenue to get out of everyday life and just reconnect with each other,” says owner and manager Charlene Pagano.
5. Caravan Outpost – Ojai, CA
The founders of Caravan Outpost all have big families. So they know the kinds of things parents are looking for when they take their brood on vacation. This boutique-style property in Ojai, California, about 90 minutes from Los Angeles, offers amenities like free bikes (with kids’ sizes and pull-behind trailers available in addition to adult-sized bikes) and free S’mores around the campfire each night. Families can also arrange for surf lessons through Caravan Outpost and buy a day pass to use the pools and workout facilities at a nearby health club (which also offers childcare if parents need a break from the kids).
The property’s collection of new Airstream trailer accommodations includes the Diego, which can sleep up to five in air-conditioned comfort. There’s also a tiny house called the Julian that’s good for families. When the group’s ready to explore, there are hiking trails for all skill levels within a few minutes, and Ojai’s shops and restaurants are about a 10-minute walk away. Caravan Outpost is open year-round, but weekends tend to book up well in advance.
“They don’t really make towns like Ojai anymore in California,” says Brad Steward, one of Caravan Outpost’s founders. “Our guests can usually afford to go anywhere, and they choose us because they want to do something different and have a memory that the family can talk about. Unique vacations deliver unique connections and experiences with your children.”
6. The Holidays Camp Community – San Clemente, CA
Located within San Clemente State Beach about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, The Holidays Camp Community offers accommodations in a collection of vintage 1960s camping trailers. Inside, guests find three-burner stovetops, fridges, linens, and a USB hookup, while outside each trailer is a fire pit, picnic table, and grill. You’ll be roughing it a little more here than other spots: The campers don’t have working bathrooms (shared restroom and shower facilities are close to each trailer), and if you want air-conditioning you’ll need to rent a generator.
All of the trailers can accommodate up to five guests, but kids especially love the three Shasta trailers and their overhead bunks. The trailers are set up in a circular shape with a large central area where kids can ride bikes and play games like horseshoes and ladder golf. “During the daytime guests typically spend the day at the beach—located 350 steps from the trailers—and at night it’s usually S’mores around our large communal campfire,” says co-owner Andy Jones.
7. Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes – Friday Harbor, WA
The 82-acre Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes on Washington’s San Juan Islands includes a 10-room hotel, log cabins, glamping tents, and a fully renovated 1978 Excella Airstream trailer that’s available for rent from May 1 through September 30. Located on one of the property’s lakes, the Airstream features a double bed, full-sized sofa bed, private full bathroom, kitchenette, and heat and air-conditioning.
Airstream guests can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast in the resort’s Mess Tent that includes options like cereal, pancakes, bagels, muffins, fresh fruit, and freshly brewed coffee. Organized, family-friendly activities at the resort during the summer include paddleboard lessons and arts and crafts like tie-dye T-shirt making. Families can rent paddle boats, rowboats, kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards to explore the three spring-water lakes, which also offer calm swimming areas ideal for kids.
8. Waypoint Ventura Vintage Trailer Hotel & RV Park – Ventura, CA
Situated one block from Southern California’s Ventura Pier and a short walk from the downtown area, Waypoint Ventura offers a collection of restored aluminum-skinned travel trailers, including several Airstreams plus trailers made by other manufacturers. Complimentary bikes make it easy for guests to head to the beach, and the property’s grounds include fire pits (with nightly S’mores), lawn games, and other options for group gatherings. “Our goal was to create a unique atmosphere with an emphasis on community,” says co-managing partner, Kelsey Jonker.
Many of the trailers sleep two to four people. But larger options for families include the Tour Bus, with one queen bed plus six twin bed compartments, two bathrooms, an outdoor shower, and a deck, and the Mansion, which has a queen bed, twin bed, and pullout sofa. Barbecue grills are available for families who want to skip the restaurant scene and make meals on property.
9. Sou’wester Historic Lodge and Vintage Travel Trailer Resort – Seaview, WA
At this property on the Long Beach Peninsula in Seaview, Washington, accommodations include suites in the circa-1892 lodge building, 1950s-era beach cabins, and more than 20 vintage travel trailers from the 1950s and ’60s. Good travel trailer options for families include the Royal Mansion, the Imperial Spartan Mansion, and the Vagabond, all of which have full beds in the back and bunk beds in the front, plus kitchenettes and full bathrooms.
The Sou’wester’s three-acre grounds include an honor store for supplies, an art trailer gallery, and an outdoor kitchen that’s open to all guests. There are complimentary bikes for guest use and live music performances on Saturday nights, which are open to kids. The resort is just a few blocks from the beach, and the 8-mile, paved Discovery Trail makes for an easy jumping off point for exploring nearby shops, restaurants, parks, and museums.
Beth Luberecki is a Florida-based freelance writer who writes about travel, business, and lifestyle topics for a variety of publications and websites. She enjoys exploring destinations close to home and farther afield with her husband and tween-age daughter. Visit her website at bethluberecki.com or find her on Instagram at @bethluberecki