Like California's majestic Highway One, the Airstream is an icon of the great American road trip. A gleaming throwback to the Golden Age of Travel, the aluminum-clad trailer debuted in 1936 and has inspired roadside envy ever since. You could splurge on one of your own—a new one will set you back $44,000—and wind your way down the coast. But if you're wary of Lucy-style misadventures on a twisting cliffside road, ditch the hitch and replicate the experience with the following 7 stops:
Santa Cruz/ Monterey Bay KOA, Watsonville
Founded in 1963, Kampgrounds of America's (KOA) roadside campsites (pictured above) are the Airstream's mid-century soul mates. You'll find 6 contemporary Airstreams at this hillside KOA near Manresa State Beach, 20 minutes south of Santa Cruz. The fully-equipped trailers include 3 beds (1 queen, 2 singles), bathroom with shower, linens, dinette, and small kitchen. // From $134/night
Wellspring Ranch, Cayucos
This pastoral retreat set on 160 acres in the Cayucos hills hides a lux 2012 International Airstream. The 28-foot trailer is fully-stocked, but guests also have access to an outdoor kitchen and cool Oborain outdoor showers. Just don't count on cell service. Instead, wander the working ranch populated with avocado and olive trees, five miles of trails, a spring-fed pond, and yoga studio. Each morning, an organic breakfast is served in a landscaped garden. // $250/night, 2-night minimum
Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground, Buellton
Go Sideways in Santa Barbara wine country with 1- vintage Airstreams newly-renovated with a mirror-like luster, modern interiors, and tasteful themes (think Mod Squad or vintage western). Perks include a wine refrigerator, desk with mounted iPad, flat screen TV, Keurig coffee maker, and free WiFi. Feeling more Porter than Pinot? Hit the two fantastic breweries in the area: Firestone Walker and Figueroa Mountain Brewing. // $89-$179/night
Silver Safari, Santa Barbara/ Ventura
This SoCal outfit will deliver a fully-stocked vintage Airstream to the campsite of your choice in the Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, or Ventura area (Hint: reserve El Capitan or Refugio State Beach now). Audrey, their 1967 22-ft. Safari trailer, is set with everything you'll need including fresh linens, cooking and dining necessities, and outdoor furniture. // $175.00/night plus $150.00 delivery + cleaning fee. 2-night minimum.
Autocamp, Santa Barbara
This stylish "camp" consists of five vintage Airstreams customized by a local architect and situated in a chic landscaped setting. Expect hotel-worthy amenities like flat screen TVs, pillow-top mattresses with down comforters, bathrobes, soaking tubs, and upscale bath products. Crack open a beer on your redwood deck with electric grill or hop on a beach cruiser and head into town. The best news? There's an Autocamp headed to LA, Vegas, and San Francisco soon. // From $144/night
The Alumilodge // Malibu
Perched on a remote hilltop with a panoramic view of the Pacific and Santa Monica Mountains, the Alumilodge is a restored 1957 Flying Cloud with full facilities and extras like a Bose Acoustimass sound system. During the day, you'll have access to a seasonal pool. At night, you can stargaze the black-as-pitch skies (a novelty being so close to Los Angeles). There's also a family-oriented Airstream in the meadow and a third, surf-themed trailer on the way. // $140/night
The Venice Airstream, Venice
This brand new 2014 Airstream is a mini sanctuary in the center of boho Venice. The modern interior is stocked with a queen bed sheathed in organic bedding, bathroom with shower, AC, and full kitchen with coffee maker and— because it's LA—juicer. Located on up-and-coming Rose Ave., it's within walking distance of Venice Beach and hip Abbot Kinney Blvd. // $155/night, 3 night minimum.