Glamping at the AutoCamp Santa Barbara: A Review
If you like a little adventure, but not roughing it, being outdoors, and plenty of time for fun in the sun, (and maybe with your pups) then you'll want to keep reading this post. You're in the right place!
I decided for my 2018 birthday to celebrate in sunny southern California and most notably I wanted to do it with my dogs. I spent my 2017 birthday alone in Hong Kong (which was so very special), but this time I wanted something a little more cozy, low-key and with my best fur babies. However, It can often be challenging to find an accommodation that feels a little more luxurious and is also willing to accommodate pets. I love camping but wasn't in the mood to pack up and carry all the gear, so the idea of staying in a hooked up Airstream trailer seemed very appealing. Since I've followed glamping sites and airstream accounts on social media for quite some time, it helped to make my choice of a weekend at the AutoCamp of Santa Barbara an easy one. (Note: they also have their original location in Russian River, CA)
TIP: Do you see places you really want to visit on Instagram and save them to your collections? If not, it's a great way to organize your bucket list travel adventures. If you do, good for you! Find the AutoCamp on Instagram and add your favorite photos of theirs to your collection after you finish reading this post!
Next, let me tell you about the reservation process and then I'll get to features.
If you are traveling to the AutoCamp with a dog (or two), you will need to call to make the reservation. They need to ensure the dates you want to book that they will have a pet-friendly Airstream available. After I spoke with the reservationist, I went ahead and booked the reservation online, but added the note of bringing a pet. It is a $50 charge they add to the reservation. It would have been much more efficient if they had the pet-friendly accommodations available right on the site, but the call was swift and the set-up on the website made check-in a breeze!
This was one of my favorite travel check-ins of all time. On the day of arrival, I received a very clean and clear email with instructions on how to check-in. There isn't a front desk of any kind on the property so everything is done digitally and through the phone. In the email, I was told which Airstream would be ours for the stay, the code to get in, and all the details you needed for things like parking and wifi, etc. But one of the biggest bonuses of this check-in process is that there is NO need for a key! I don't know about you, but being responsible for a key and the fees if you potentially lose a nice one, is sometimes a nuisance. This was a fun unexpected bonus. (I don't know... I guess I really do appreciate the small things in life.)
So this is the part that really counts, right?! I have three words to describe it:
IT. WAS. ADORABLE.
It was so aesthetically pleasing and cozy when we arrived after dark, I couldn't wait to pop on my sweats and enjoy the Hygge of it all. Everything felt thoughtfully designed and carefully worked out. From the outside patio area with the electric barbeque grill to the bathroom and its amenities to the lighting and bedding and television. I booked a standard size Airstream, which got me a decent sized bathroom and "living room" area, but the larger trailers can also include a tub and table.
The photos will do the job of showing how sweet this little luxurious Airstream was crafted.
But it wouldn't be a proper review if I didn't tell you what had room for improvement and some more tips on how to make it even more efficient for you, your needs and your stay.
- The wifi - it was extremely inconsistent. Sometimes there wasn't a signal, other times it was very weak. If you plan to incorporate any work in this trip, maybe consider bringing your own hot spot. OR maybe this is a pro for you, if you don't need or want to access technology much.
- No Campfire permissable - because of the location, city rules do not allow for a quintessential trailer-side campfire.
- No wine opener - they had a bottle opener and scissors provided, but there is a liquor store only a few feet away and I scored one for literally $1. It will stay in my camping gear!
- The noisy heater - if you're a light sleeper and staying in winter months, this could be a bit annoying to you.
- Water pressure - it seemed to be a common issue, because the guide left in the room gave instructions to ensure the water spigot is completely open, but I wasn't able to access ours. And since there isn't anyone on the property, it was more challenging to rectify in real time.
- Location - situated in downtown Santa Barbara, it is great walking distance from delicious restaurants, grocery stores and a bike ride to the beach!
- Bikes - they include cruisers with your Airstream and provide locks for them
- Complimentary HandleBar Coffee (yum), a french press, and sugars
- The Amenities:
- Malin and Goetz bath products
- comfy bedding
- Full-length mirror
- Hot water!
The good news is there are way more pros than cons! And if you bring the adventurist spirit, you're in great shape. Not deal breakers at all!
Some additional tips:
- If you plan to eat more meals in the Airstream, you may want to consider bringing amenities from home (if this is a manageable road-trip, of course). I packed a toaster and a mini blender for my smoothies and sandwiches. It was used plenty.
- Don't forget to pack all the cozy stuff your pups love for an easy and relaxing transition to their new temporary home.
- If you plan to spend time on the beach, you may want to also pack your beach gear (chairs, beach towels, cooler, etc.)
- Watch the sunset from Shoreline Park. One of the prettiest places I've witnessed a sunset.
- Eat dinner at Los Agaves, which is walking distance from the AutoCamp. It has an amazing salsa bar.
- If you don't bring groceries, there's Handlebar Coffee across the street and both a TJ's and Gelson's close to the camp for some shopping.
- Do make time to just kick it on your deck and in the designated grassy area. Pack your shades!
- Take time to wander around Santa Barbara. There is so much beauty around the city and several great parks that are great for the puppies to stretch their legs too.
- Browse the shops on State Street.
- Take an iconic photo of the Chromatic Installation across from the Santa Barbara waterfront.
All in all, I had an incredible time at the AutoCamp in Santa Barbara (Bear and Stormy did too!) and I will definitely go back. It's a great place for solo traveling, bringing your pups, heading out on the open road with friends, or indulging with your family. In fact, I will not only go back to the AutoCamp, but I have to stay at the Russian River location on my travel list too!
I hope you have an amazing time and please do let me know what you think!