Five Funky Fun Airstream Motels Worth Visiting
Airstream camping is a travel trend we’re 100% on board with here at 50ROOTS. Granted we might be a little bias, given Betsy Ross and all.
If you’re not familiar with Betsy Ross, she was the seamstress credited with making the first American flag. She’s also the name of our very own airstream, a 1974 Sovereign we are lovingly renovating.
Last month, we got Betsy all polished up. Do you know that airplane polish is what you use to clean up an airstream? Neither did we! It took 10 days, and around 150 hours. And that’s with two people and some power tools. Now, on the outside, she shines. On the inside? Well, she is a work in progress. She’s all cleaned out and gutted. We drilled out all of the old rivets. We just ordered a new back window, an HVAC unit and new LED lights. We’re excited to share more updates with you as she blossoms into the mobile retail space of our dreams.
So, yeah, we have a soft spot for all things airstream. Are you really surprised that summer vacation has us fantasizing about hitting the open American road and airstream camping?
No Tent Required
If you’re interested in airstream camping too, there are plenty of funky, fun places to rest your head.
Full-fledged airstream motels have popped up all over the place. Groups of individual airstreams huddled together – often in breathtaking locations – are a really fun way to travel. Here are five worth the trip.
1. The Shooting Star Resort in Escalante, Utah
The Shooting Star Resort in Escalante, Utah blends old school airstream tradition with modern glamping trends. A classic RV park near a national monument, the Shooting Star Resort captures the best of the original airstream lifestyle: taking your own camper on a road trip to experience the country, and all her treasures, from sea to shining sea. Hosts Troy and Michelle have 49 RV sites, so if you’re traveling in your very own Betsy you’ll have a place to park while you explore Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
The western part of the park is adjacent to Bryce Canyon National Park. In the center is Fifty-Mile Mountain. To the east are the Canyons of the Escalante. Originally 1,880,461 acres, the monument was reduced by presidential proclamation in December of 2017. There are still 1,003,863 acres to explore, so you’ll have plenty to keep you busy.
The Shooting Star Resort has eight custom designed airstreams, all themed around Hollywood stars and the dressing trailers they used for particular movies. Cary Grant, Lauren Bacall, Bogie, Ann-Margret, Holly Golightly … each airstream recreates a space the biggest stars – and the characters they played – used to unwind on the set.
If you want to really immerse yourself in vintage movie nostalgia, you can rent a classic car and watch a movie at the drive-in.
2. Caravan Outpost, Ojai, California
Ojai, in Ventura County, California, is about two hours northwest of L.A. and a little over an hour east of Santa Barbara. Roughly 10 miles long and 3 miles wide, this valley has long been a destination spot. It draws people from all over the world to its galleries, boutiques and retreat centers. Its name comes from the Native American word meaning nest, which seems especially apropos when you visit the cozy airstreams at Caravan Outpost.
Caravan Outpost, named “the cutest place to stay in Ojai” by Forbes Magazine features 11 airstreams. Tricked out with record players, a vinyl collection and stylish southwest decor, each airstream has everything you need for a comfortable travel adventure. Anything you don’t find in your trailer you’ll likely find in the General Store. Want to skip the kitchenette and cook over an open fire? Just borrow one of the cast iron pans they have on loan and make dinner outside. There’s a community fire every night. One of the best things about airstream camping is that you can get a dose of roughing it and still go back to the comfort of your AC.
3. Tin Valley Retro Rentals, Terlingua, Texas
Airstream camping in West Texas gets a lot of attention. El Cosmico, nestled in the art oasis of Marfa, makes nearly every “Best of Airstream Glamping” list. And rightfully so. This hip haven located in one of America’s most unique – and most remote – art hubs makes for a fantastic airstream travel experience. If you’re interested in exploring something even a little more off the beaten track, visit Tin Valley Retro Rentals.
Located in Terlingua, an old mining-turned-ghost town 100 miles south of Marfa, Tin Valley has three different Airstreams to choose from along with other campers, a few tipis and even a boat. Every campsite has a set of paints, and owner Ronda Haberer encourages everyone to get artistic and paint some of the rocks around their camp.
Ronda is no stranger to the airstream lifestyle. While her home is technically an old tour bus – painted with a picture of Willie Nelson – she’s created a magical village of quirky camping.
Big Bend National Park is 17 miles away. Made up of the largest protected portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, the largest desert in North America, Big Bend’s southern border is also an international one. Just on the other side of the Rio Grande is Mexico. Rugged and spectacular, this park will take your breath away.
4. Kate’s Lazy Desert, Landers, California
Kate’s Lazy Desert has six vintage airstreams, all painstakingly restored (twice). Kitschy, kooky and perfect for a fun-filled getaway, these beauties were decorated by different artists around the country. The funky little ‘streams are the brainchild of owner Kate Pierson, a founding member of the B-52’s. Rolling Stone Magazine named the B-52’s first record one of the 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time, saying “nobody could resist the band’s campy, arty funk, or the eccentric squeals.” That pretty much describes Kate’s Lazy Desert, too. The website does note that “a $100 fee applies for cleaning as per our discretion.” So don’t leave any glitter on the mattress.
Located in the Mojave High Desert, Kate’s Lazy Desert is about 16 miles from Joshua Tree State Park. Here the Mojave desert and the Colorado desert meet, creating a unique ecosystem that includes the Dr. Seuss like Yucca brevifolia, or the Joshua Tree. Really looking to unplug? This is the place for you – there is no cell service in the park.
5. The Original Kate’s
Okay, number 5 isn’t really an airstream park anymore, but it is the original home of the Lazy Desert beauties. Kate’s Lazy Meadow is nestled in 50ROOT’s home turf of the Hudson Valley, NY. The award-winning Mount Tremper, NY cabin compound sits on the outskirts of Woodstock and overlooks the Esopus creek. That’s where the airstreams sat until 2004, when the creek flooded and filled the airstreams with mud.
These airstream motels are just a tiny sampling of what’s out there. There are countless others to go discover for yourself. Where will your summer road trip adventure take you? Do you already have a favorite airstream hideaway? Or a route mapped out to explore? Happy travels, and don’t forget to write. Visit us on Facebook or tag us on Instagram with your travel stories. We love hearing all your American tales.