Bodega Bay or Bust: Taking the Airstream Globetrotter to Northern California’s Coastal Gem

The Dwell team zips up the Pacific Coast to spend the night in an European-inspired Airstream, explore a rugged nature preserve, and soak in epic views.
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There’s a lot to love about the Bay Area, but one of the biggest draws is the ease with which cities give way to nature. You might live in a micro-apartment in San Francisco or a converted loft in Oakland, but a short drive in nearly any direction will take you to the mountains, forest, or sea. That’s why, when the Dwell team had the chance to spend the night in an Airstream Globetrotter in Bodega Bay, we jumped at the opportunity.

Just north of the fishing town of Bodega, Chanslor Ranch is a 380-acre nature preserve that offers camping, horseback riding, archery, kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, and more.

The Globetrotter, which starts at $99,900, combines the classic Airstream silhouette with modern design. 

About 40 miles northwest of San Francisco, Bodega Bay is an enchanting landscape where sweeping hills meet rocky bluffs and windswept surf. Originally home to the Coast Miwok Native Americans, it’s now a fishing village and adventure hub (you might also recognize it from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 thriller, The Birds). As we drove up the California 1 with the Pacific Ocean glinting to one side, the city felt worlds away.

Chanslor Ranch offers drive-in and walk-in campsites, glamping tents, and tipis.

Before long, we’d arrived at Chanslor Ranch, a 380-acre nature preserve and horse ranch that we’d discovered through Hipcamp, a booking platform that specializes in campsites. The golden, afternoon light deepened the folds in the surrounding hills, lengthened the shadows of trotting dogs, and gave our Globetrotter the alluring, aluminum glow we all know and love.

The office is an eclectic mix of plants, camp gear, and rental equipment.

Panoramic windows allow the lush hills to act as our headboard, while blackout curtains ensure a good night's sleep. Low-profile nightstands and overhead cabinets offer additional storage.

After we’d checked in with our gracious camp host, we piled into the 27-foot trailer to check out our digs. As the story goes, Airstream founder Wally Byam struck out for Europe with a friend in 1948, painting the words "Globe Trotters" on the side of their camper—and with the Globetrotter model, the company revives this pioneering spirit and appreciation of European design.

The dinette converts to a sleeping area at night. 

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The Globetrotter comes in a dark walnut or natural elm interior. Its award-winning, coated HITCH™  upholstery is a fine-woven fabric that's both durable and easy to clean. A capsule for adventure, the trailer also comes loaded with technological comforts like Samsung LED HD TVs, a Blu-Ray DVD player, and a Polk audio system with Bluetooth. 

The well-appointed kitchen features Corian surfaces, a Baraldi hood vent, and a glass cooktop. A slide-out pantry and a slide-out convection microwave make prepping meals a cinch.

Within the outline of the timeless Airstream are sleek lines, curved forms, and elegant finishes, all thoughtfully placed to maximize space and comfort. With room to sleep up to six people, it features a converting dinette, a galley kitchen with high-end appliances, a shower and bathroom, and a bedroom. Panoramic windows let in views of the ranch and nearby creek, allowing light to pour into the natural elm interior (the trailer also comes in dark walnut). We got the beds ready—the dinette table lowers down to become a platform for extra cushions—and set out to explore the ranch.

We climb the hills on horseback for a bird's eye view of the beach.

Luckily, we were just in time to go on the last horseback ride of the day through Chanslor Stables. We got acquainted with our horses: Elvis was eager; Coco had a mischievous streak; E.T. wore a "medicine hat," a marking over the crown and ears that’s believed to denote special powers; and Paulie preferred to bring up the rear. We climbed up the trail, passing tipi campsites, rugged boulders, low trees and shrubs, a herd of alpaca, and long-haired Scottish cattle. Below us, the ocean was a vast, silver carpet. With the wind in our hair, riding into the sunset, we couldn’t have planned it any better.

Take a peek at the rest of our weekend getaway below.

Kris and Katie, the hosts at Chanslor Ranch, give us a quick archery lesson.

Kathryn and Sam toast the view.

In the small town of Bodega, Casino Bar and Grill is a 135-year-old pool hall whose kitchen hosts local chefs. Recent menus have featured griddled asparagus with local duck egg, estero gold, and truffle oil; a wild gulf shrimp tostada; and boneless pork chops with plum chutney served over mashed sweet potatoes and greens.  

In the morning, we took another hike through the nature preserve.

Alpaca roam the grounds along with Scottish long-haired cattle.

The Globetrotter's aluminum shell catches the evening light. Power stabilizer jacks, an optional power awning, and a window awning package with Sunbrella fabrics help make it a true vehicle of leisure and adventure.  

Grass and mud—markers of a successful weekend trip.

The Airstream Globetrotter starts at $99,900. Learn more here. Chanslor Ranch is available to book through Hipcamp. Campsites are $50 a night, tipis are $80 a night, and glamping tents start at $140 a night. And don't forget to stock up on all your camping needs with Huckberry.


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