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America’s Most Classic Hotels Are Motorhomes

Make your throwback Thursday dreams come true. Stay at an Airstream hotel.

Stay in one of these vintage RVs on your next road trip, and they bet you'll be back to do it again. (Courtesy of Kate's Lazy Desert)
vintage

Make your throwback Thursday dreams come true. Stay at an Airstream hotel.

Airstreams and other such reflective trailers are glimmering flashback machines. While they look cool in a yard or hitched to the back of a truck, they’re at their best restored to their original glory (and then some) and parked in idyllic settings. That’s where these vintage RV hotels got everything oh-so-perfectly right. 

Best for: Drive-In Nostalgia 

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(Shooting Star RV Resort)

Shooting Star RV Resort, Escalante, Utah

Each of the eight custom-designed Airstreams references a different movie, such as Viva Las Vegas and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights, the resort transforms into an old-school drive-in theater showing classsics. You can watch from one of the resort’s 1960s convertibles ($20). Other nights? Cook dinner on the propane grill, then watch the sunset over the Grand Staircase from an Adirondack chair on your deck.

RV to Book
The Duke is a 31-foot Airstream inspired by the John Wayne flick The Searchers. Think lots of hand-tooled leather furniture. (From $139 per night.)

Out and About
You’re a two-minute drive to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, an hour drive to Bryce Canyon National Park, and a 90-minute ride to Capitol Reef National Park

Best for: Midcentury Minimalists 

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(Courtesy of Autocamp)

Autocamp, Santa Barbara, California

The five Airstreams here are bright, airy, and filled with sleek furniture. Outside, lounge in Adirondack chairs under the shade of plum and avocado trees.

Airstream to Book
The 1964 Airstream Sovereign (known as Airstream No. 5) comes with an integrated speaker system, flat-screen TV, and walnut finishes. (From $200 per night.) 

Out and About
Santa Barbara’s coast is lined with surf breaks like Leadbetter, Mesa Lane, and Campus Point. Famed surf spot Rincon is just a 25-minute drive away. Or explore Santa Barbara’s urban wineries using Autocamp’s complimentary bikes. 

Best for: The Vintage

the
(Courtesy of The Vintages Trailer Resort)

The Vintages Trailer Resort, Willamette Valley, Oregon

The Vintages Trailer Resort in Oregon’s wine country has 12 retro trailers, all with vineyard views. Each includes its own driveway, lawn chairs, and propane grill. Inside, you’ll find hotel-worthy perks such as terry-cloth robes, comfy beds, and pour-over coffee from local roaster Caravan Coffee

Airstream to Book
The 1947 Spartan Manor has cowhide rugs, western-themed furniture, and faux taxidermy hanging on the wall. (From $120 per night.)

Out and About
You’re ten miles to the put-in spots along the Willamette River Water Trail. Also, you’re within five miles of some of the Willamette Valley’s top wineries, including Stoller, Archery Summit, Domaine Drouhin, and Sokol Blosser. Ride complimentary cruiser bikes from winery to winery. 

Best for: Psychedelica 

kate's
(Courtesy of Kate's Lazy Desert)

Kate’s Lazy Desert, Landers, California

Lazy Desert features six vintage Airstream trailers, each decorated by different artists, including Maberry + Walker, the designers who created the original Love Shack featured in the eponymous 1989 music video. (The B-52s’ Kate Pierson owns the hotel.) All Airstreams have a hammock, grill, and air conditioning. 

Airstream to Book
The 28-foot North to Alaska puts a groovy twist on the Last Frontier State. (From $175 per night.)

Out and About 
Landers is scorching in the summer, so plan to visit from late fall to spring, when this becomes the perfect base for exploring Joshua Tree National Park, just a 25-minute drive away. One mile from the resort, check out the Integraton, an acoustically designed dome that provides 60-minute quartz-crystal sound baths. We did say psychedelica.

Best for: ’50s Throwbacks

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(Shady Dell RV Park)

Shady Dell RV Park, Bisbee, Arizona

Each of these ten Airstreams feels like a time warp, with vintage radios that play era-appropriate tunes, black-and-white TVs, period books, and retro Life magazines. Outside, each trailer has a grassy yard with lounge chairs. Some, like the 1957 El Rey trailer, even come with a white picket fence. 

RV to Book
The pale blue and red 1947 Airporter bus could easily double as a tiki bar with beds. Expect to be the life of the park when word gets out your bus has a hand-carved outrigger bar. (From $117 per night.)

Out and About 
Drive Route 80, a lesser-known car touring road that’s similar to Route 66. It passes through Bisbee’s historic Old Town, which is worth a half a day of noodling around—especially if you’re into vintage ephemera. Plan a day of hiking, biking, or rock climbing the nearby Chiricahua Mountains in Coronado National Forest.

Filed To: Travel
Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

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(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.

Plaza2Peak

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(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.

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