Not only are people turning to RV-ing for the freedom it provides, but for the stress-relieving effects of living a smaller, fuller life. “Getting in touch with nature can relax weary minds and souls and many people have longed for that, especially since the pandemic,” says Chris Coleman, owner of RV Talk. Indeed, research has found that being in nature reduces anxiety and depression and aids in positive social interactions.
That being said, move yours whole life in a small trailer is not for everyone. There are some oddities that take time to get used to—namely, living in a small space. I currently live in my Airstream Bambi, which comes in around 170 square feet, and I share the space with my partner and young child. It was a little crowded at times, but as part of the RV life, I spend a lot of time outside in nature even when I’m working. The freedom this lifestyle provides, along with the ability to see the most beautiful parts of the country, has reduced my stress levels and made me reevaluate life goals that align with prioritizing my mental health.
If you’re curious about the RV lifestyle, jumping right into it can prove to be a risky investment. Yes, you should research designs and models, and visit local showrooms to get a real feel for the space. But I also highly recommend booking a vacation at an RV hotel or trailer to test the waters. Cook your meals, work, and live in a trailer like you would at home to get a taste of what the lifestyle would be like all the time. Sure, some hotels can be more pleasant than the typical RV experience (sadly, not all places have nice pools or theaters). But it can give you a taste of that nomadic life to help you decide if you want to do it full time, not just on your PTO.
Are you curious? Here are some of the best RV resorts and hotels around the country to try:
AutoCamp (Multiple locations in CA, MA, and NY)
With properties all over the country—including Yosemite, Cape Cod, and Joshua Tree—AutoCamp is a great way to experience the coveted Airstream lifestyle in an all-natural setting. These beautifully renovated trailers feature a spa-inspired bathroom, luxurious patio, and fully equipped kitchen. Although the design deviates from what you’ll find from the factory, these 31-foot Airstreams are thrown into the middle of a spectacular landscape giving visitors the sense of isolation of everyday RVers. Additionally, the company plans to add more properties in 2023, so you can check places like Zion National Park and Asheville off your bucket list.
Backstage at The Verb (Boston, MA)
Finding an RV park in a big city is impossible, so enjoying a trailer park in the heart of a historic metropolis is a real treat. Opening this September, Backstage at The Verb in Boston is an addition to The Verb Hotel that includes a group of vintage trailers at Fenway Park. Although you won’t get the glory of being immersed in nature, the unique abode will offer a little insight into small space living.
Yonder Escalante (Escalante, UT)
Located in the heart of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, Yonder is probably the most luxurious place to experience the RV lifestyle. Personally, this is my favorite place to sit in my Airstream. For guests who are not interested in their homes, book one of the recently renovated vintage Airstreams for a few days. These smartly designed trailers do not have an ensuite bathroom like most RVs do; However, the property’s bathrooms are so luxurious that you won’t miss them. Expect amenities like luxurious outdoor showers, Dyson hair tools, a swimming pool and hot tub, and a theater. The weather outside is beautiful, so be sure to set out to watch the sunset.
Flying Flags Buellton (Buellton, CA)
Nestled in the heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country, Flying Flags Buellton is conveniently located off California Highway 101 and will give guests a taste of what it’s like to live in a campground for a few days. This is a great place to find trailers from 22 to 28 feet, which are on the small side. Although these lovely vintage trailers are being modified, the layout is very similar to what you’ll find in a regular RV. Plus, each accommodation comes with a private yard, patio, and grill so you’ll have plenty of outdoor space.
Luna Mystica Hotel (Taos, NM)
Wilderness areas are some of my favorite places to camp in the country when it’s not 100+ degrees outside. Hotel Luna Mystica combines the spiritual influence of the desert in each of their individually designed vintage trailer accommodations. New Mexico is known for its clear skies and spectacular stargazing, so be sure to put your deck to good use at night and get lost in the solitude of the sparkling night sky. You are also only a short drive from Taos (town center and ski area).
JuneBug Retro Resort (Weaverville, NC)
Asheville is a great place to camp because you get the best of city life with mountain country views. JuneBug Retro Resort is designed to feel like you’ve stepped back in time with each of their vintage trailers reflecting what they would have looked like when they were created. The 50-acre property offers guests ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with downtown Asheville just a short drive away. If RV remodeling is something you’re interested in, definitely give JuneBug a tour to experience what it’s like to live in a vintage trailer.
Kate’s Lazy Desert (Landing, CA)
B-52 guitarist Kate Pierson is no stranger to RV living after touring on the road for years. She decided to create a little piece of paradise outdoors in the form of Kate’s Lazy Desert in the Mojave Desert. The nearby property has six retired airplanes available for rent just a few miles from Joshua Tree National Park. Each RV has its own personality and beautiful painted graphics. Aside from the proposed artwork, these trailers show the layout you would expect to find from the current Air stream. With sizes ranging from 19 to 30 feet, this is a great way to get a real sense of how you can live in the space. It doesn’t hurt that you’re so close to all the hiking and adventure Joshua Tree has to offer too!
Marfa Yacht Club (Marfa, TX)
Airstream life has its own subculture and you don’t really understand society until you venture out yourself. At Marfa Yacht Club, you can rent a real Airstream as it comes when you buy it. The property is located just four minutes outside the small town of Marfa with sweeping views of the Chianti and Davis Mountains, and includes a heated pool, bocce court, and bedroom. When you decide you want your own Airstream, the property also has room for guests who prefer to BYO Airstream.
Vintages Trailer Hotel (Dayton, OR)
Just a short drive inland from the Oregon coast are the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley. The Vintages Trailer Hotel, located in the heart of this beautiful area, has all the amenities of a brick-and-mortar hotel without the eyesore. Each vintage trailer comes with bicycles, an outdoor grill, and a fireplace for nightly s’mores. Many of these RVs have been renovated, but still retain the same layout as you’ll find from the current model.
Ventura Trail (Ventura, CA)
What’s better than waking up in a beachfront hotel? Really wake up up coast in your own rig. Waypoint Ventura is a California glamping collection so close to Ventura Beach that you can taste the salt air. The property has many vintage trailers that will give you a glimpse of what it would be like to live that beach life—with convenient proximity to the best coffee shops, restaurants, and vintage shops of downtown Ventura.
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