Who doesn’t love an Airstream trailer? Not many. And over the last 85 years, there’s been plenty of them to love. With fondly bestowed nicknames like Silver Bullet, Silver Burrito, Silver Twinkie and Toaster-on-Wheels, the iconic silver streamlined Airstream trailer has always cut a distinct figure on America’s highways as it conveys its proud owners—in futuristic style—from one adventure to another …
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But in Ojai, Calif., a small cache of Airstream trailers with quirky names like “Diego” “Yeti” and, with a nod to Hollywood, “La-La,” are content to be “homebodies”—cheerfully accommodating a revolving door of urban escapees and other travelers looking for an altogether different kind of travel experience. Enter the Caravan Outpost Airstream hotel—an adventure in and of itself. This is not your grandma’s RV park, but it’s also not your “posh,” impersonal hotel. At Outpost, you’ll encounter something altogether different—a level of “handcrafted hoteling” built around community.
From the moment you check in to this eclectic-themed Airstream caravan park, you’ll be welcomed in a chill, small-town-California friendly way. As you stand in Outpost’s unique James-Dean-meets-Western-chic-meets-60s-rock “hotel” lobby (or melt into their oversized cracked leather couch), the sounds of Nat King Cole, African folk music, and David Bowie will likely pop up as part of someone’s “Best Of” shuffle.
After a laid-back check in, you’ll then be escorted to one of eleven Airstream “hotels”—you’re very own cozy “Silver Burrito,” nicely situated in a semicircle alongside its Airstream cousins. Privacy conscious? No worries: each space has just the right amount of foliage and private patio area to maintain healthy boundaries with relatives. Then it’s time to step inside your personalized caravan, where you’ll immediately feel at home. Granted, the 21- to 32-foot Airstream may be considerably smaller than your “real” home, but it’s cozy, comfortable and oh-so-stylin’ in a groovy kind of way.
But it’s not just the caravan itself that will wow you—it’s also the surroundings. Framed by towering palms trees and lush vegetation, the grounds are not so much a campground as an artsy botanical garden dotted with tin sheds, a brightly painted vintage water tower, and a HUGE wooden outdoor dining table just begging for your next family reunion. Nighttime emphasizes the underlying Miami “art deco glam” look with blue-and-pinkish LED lights strung through the camp. No tacky, bland “RV park” experience here; as befitting its millennial-friendly rebranded name, “Caravan Outpost,” this is true “early Airstream”—with an Ojai-styled facelift.
Here in this haven for artists and outdoor adventure lovers, Caravan Outpost invokes a strict “No Room and Bored Policy.” Leave your cell phone and your laptop with “Diego” or “Ruby,” as you’re about to closely interact with real people (what a concept!). To help facilitate this communal experience, Outpost hosts a nightly “campfire cookout” where you can sit around a fire pit, cook your own food on cast-iron skillets (if you so choose), roast s’mores, and enjoy a glass of wine or beer (BYOB), all while sharing stories and laughs with fellow guests. After a few nights at Outpost, William Butler Yeats’s adage becomes delightfully true: “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.”
In the daytime, you won’t be left high and dry without a clue what to do. Numerous outdoor activities abound, many of which Outpost will help facilitate, such as hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing and surfing. Biking on any one of the easily accessible bike paths is always encouraged, made all the more easy through the free use of Outpost’s retro-style PUBLIC brand bikes. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself inviting one of your “new best friends” you made around the campfire to join you in your morning bike ride—followed by a cup of java at any one of Ojai’s independent coffee houses.
Besides all that (which is a lot), there are also popular events like Outpost’s “Tone and Tonic” afternoons that combine a yoga class followed by a pop-up wet bar, food and music, or their yummy “Chili con Caravan” nights that just beg for a cold beer to help wash it all down. And music is always on the menu. Be it a live concert or the continual sounds of jazz, blues, folk or fifties rock wafting through the campground, Caravan Outpost is all about the music, the arts and the Great Outdoors—helping you enjoy one of the most unique “adventure hotel” experiences in one of the prettiest areas in all of Southern California.