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.


First Afternoon at Santa Barbara Auto Camp

First of all, let me say I was very excited and more than a little anxious about staying at the Santa Barbara Auto Camp. The rates are reasonable and with the mild February weather here in Santa Barbara, I was kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop… it somehow seemed too good to be true. I’ve stayed in a rehabbed vintage trailer before, but never one that had a nicer bathtub than I have at my house! So far I’m blown away by what a great job they’ve done here. They have really thought of everything and made this a fun “something different” option for lodging… in an actual trailer park. Even better– all the Airstreams have been custom renovated here in Santa Barbara by local architect Matthew Hoffman’s firm, HofArc, using sustainable methods and materials.


A few days prior to my arrival, Hillary at the Auto Camp sent me a confirmation email with a passcode to get into my trailer. Since I have my lab, Scarlet, with me, I got assigned to Suite 1, a 1973 Vintage Airstream Sovereign that is both pet-friendly and has a killer clawfoot tub.


I got into my trailer without a problem and the wifi works well. There are is a great Guest Book and Neighborhood Favorites guide to tell you about all Santa Barbara’s “Funk Zone.” The 31 foot Airstream is described in the guest book as “This isn’t your Grandma’s trailer, but if it were she’d have been the talk of the neighborhood, especially if it was an RV Park.”  It has Brazilian koa wood flooring and Direct TV. There is attractive landscaping (complete with bamboo) and an outdoor barbeque area. There is a small mini-fridge and a well edited minibar featuring many artisanal items made here in Santa Barbara.  There are two beach cruiser bikes with lights and helmets. The location is ideal to explore by foot. There is a bar next door, a yoga studio across the street, a Ralph’s and a Trader Joe’s all within a block.


It was still a bit warm when I checked in at 4pm, but the Airstream has climate control and it wasn’t stuffy at all. Scarlet enjoyed sniffing around and chilling out with me near the BBQ area. The Santa Barbara Auto Camp is so charming two passersby even stopped by to ask about it while I was sitting outside.


My first thoughts are that this would be an excellent place for a group event like a bachlorette party or girls trip. It’s funky and fun, but comfy (hello– the bathroom amenities are Malin + Goetz) and I can’t wait to explore the neighborhood and try out the bathtub! My mother would die if she knew how excited I was to spend a few days glamping in a trailer park. It’s even lit by fairy lights at night.

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