Last Night & Morning at the Santa Barbara Auto Camp

I think it’s worth mentioning that the Airstreams are comfortable, but not particularly spacious– not surprising considering they are mobile homes.  They are best if used as a fun home base to explore the area, and the Auto Camp’s location makes that easy to do. After feeding Scarlet, we drove down to Sterns Wharf to watch the sunset. It’s a quick drive and with State Street so close, it’s easy to to get the lay of the land here in Santa Barbara.


Then I headed to The Lark, a restaurant I had been hearing about, to meet a friend for dinner. The Valet parked the car in the lot so that he could keep an eye on Scarlet for me. After catching up with my friend over dinner, Scarlet and I headed back to the Camp. Between the day’s beach exploration and the groomer’s Scarlet was exhausted and made it clear she was ready for bed. I had wanted to check out the Uptown Lounge on State Street, which has an open mic night on Tuesdays, but I couldn’t bear to leave Scarlet. We sleep soundly.


I woke up to beautiful pink skies the next morning, and even saw a rainbow over the Auto Camp. I ate the vegan Santa Barbara protein bar out of the goodie box for breakfast. With a big rain storm expected, I decided to pack up the car so Scarlet and I hit the road early to head back to L.A.. We had a great time at the Auto Camp and very much enjoyed our Southern California glamping adventure.

photo 3

I was impressed with how well everything worked at the Santa Barbara Auto Camp and the value for money. It’s a fun and funky change of pace and worth checking out for a a couple of days.

Day 2 at Santa Barbara Auto Camp

Scarlet and I woke up after a good night’s sleep and headed to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf up the street for coffee. Then we drove to nearby Burro Beach, which is one of the many pet friendly beaches in Santa Barbara for a stroll. Next, we headed to a restaurant called Scarlett Begonia for breakfast, which is just off State Street downtown and has a patio where Scarlet and I could chill and enjoy breakfast.


While getting the lay of the land, I had noticed several pet groomers in the area and popped in to For Paws salon see if they could fit in a bath for Scarlet. I dropped her off for a doggy spa day and returned to the Auto Camp to give try out the claw foot tub in my Airstream.


A 30 gallon water heater ensured there was ample hot water to fill the deep tub. I took a bath and got ready to explore Santa Barbara. The old Santa Barbara Mission is only about a mile away and was fun to wander around. Then I headed to the Terrace at El Encanto for some lunch before picking up Scarlet.


Once back at camp, I noticed a couple of bunnies hopping around the property. Scarlet, a lab, has a very strong game drive and chased after them and that caused a bit of excitement! I put her on a leash after that.


After the housekeeper came to clean the Airstreams, I got a chance to peak inside of a few units. Suite 3 is a 1962 26′ Airstream Overlander and features a great striped awning and outdoor area. It also had single beds and a redone shower with glass tiles and modern styling. This unit is a great choice for friends who don’t want to share a bed. Technically, you can sleep 4 in all the units (as the sofa converts into a bed) but that in my opinion that would be a bit too cozy assuming all four are adults.


Suite 5 is a 31′ 1964 Airstream Sovereign and is the prototype for future units (There are plans for future Autocamps in San Francisco, Ventura Beach, and Los Angeles). Of all the units I saw, this was my favorite. The modern interior was streamlined and even had fun air. This is the Airstream I’d like to stay in most if I weren’t with my dog.  Plus, it’s a few spaces in from the street so it’s quieter than the first two suites.

First Night at the Santa Barbara Auto Camp

Since I had my dog, Scarlet, with me during my stay at the Santa Barbara Auto Camp, riding one of the beach cruisers that came with my Airstream to the beach wasn’t an option for me during my stay, but it would be an easy ride 3 1/2 mile ride and the area is very bicycle friendly. Instead we drove to the Santa Barbara Yacht Club to to watch the sunset on the beach. It was lovely, and so many of the public lots in the area have free parking for an hour or 90 minutes, which is a refreshing change from Los Angeles.


When we returned to the Auto Camp, I fed Scarlet dinner and we wandered down the street towards the delicious BBQ aroma that was wafting towards our Airstream. It was coming from the Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch, which I had read about in the Auto Camp Neighborhood Favorites guide. It said that the BBQ chicken and Tri-tip with Mexican flair were a favorite among the locals, so I decided to give it go. The 1/2 chicken plate had 4 pieces of BBQ chicken and was served with rice, beans and tortillas and was under $10. I ate on the patio, so Scarlet could be with me.


Afterwards we took a walk through the funky neighborhood and peaked into the windows at some of the nearby shops on De La Vina street. Jedlicka’s Western Wear looked particularly interesting. When we got back to camp, Scarlet and I cuddled on the fluffy bed while I tried using the Satellite TV, and found it  to be user friendly. Since the compact kitchen had all the basic necessities like glasses and a bottle opener, I was able to enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir I had bought at a local bottle shop.


I had been concerned that the Airstream would get cold at night when the temperatures dipped, but the two wall heating units kept us nice and toasty. The sheets were soft and the duvet cover was simple and luxurious and we got a good night’s sleep.