The Holidays: A Retro Camp Community On Southern California's Scenic Coastline

The Holidays: A Retro Camp Community On Southern California's Scenic Coastline

Classic camp vibes meet modern perks at this beachside camper trailer getaway
Text by
Published by

Washed in sunshine and the nostalgic glow of yesteryear, The Holidays camp community offers a throwback camping experience along Southern California’s scenic coastline. 

Inspired by a 2012 Sunset Magazine article about vintage campers, local entrepreneurs Andrew Bryan Jones and Kellen Van Ausdal wanted to recapture the classic #campvibes of the 1960s. In order to make this dream a reality, they found a surprisingly accommodating partner in California's chronically underfunded State Park system. 

Eager to find an additional source of revenue, San Clemente State Beach welcomed Andrew and Kellen’s proposal and offered to lease out four of their campsites. This hybrid business model – a cross between an AirBnB and a camping reservation – allows the Holidays to offer an elevated outdoor experience within a traditional campground setting. 

Located on a picturesque ocean bluff, the retro Shasta trailers look completely in their element. Other guests from surrounding campsites often drift by to look, take pictures, and attempt to guess what year they were made. Everyone remarks on how well restored they look, but the truth is: they’re actually brand new. 

Shasta originally began producing travelers in 1941 for the military. But, as the US interstate highway system expanded in the 1950s, more and more Americans were struck by a desire to travel the country. Shasta helped fuel this wanderlust by producing a line of distinctive looking travels trailers, commonly referred to as " toasters on wheels." 

Their most popular model, the AirFlyte, came with decorative wings to symbolize the freedom of flight and quickly became an icon of the American road trip. 

So for 2016, to commemorate their 75th year anniversary, Shasta decided to reproduce a limited number of their much-beloved 1961 Airflyte travel trailers. They only made 1,941, in homage to the company’s first year of production. And Andrew and Kellen were lucky enough to snag three of them for The Holidays.

While the aesthetic of these re-release trailers are exactly the same as the originals, a few select updates have been made. A new three-burner stove, convection microwave, propane-powered refrigerator, water pump sink, floor mounted heater/air conditioner, USB cell phone charging ports, bluetooth speakers, and energy efficient LED lighting have all been seamlessly incorporated into the 1960s decor. Solar panels mounted on the roof provide off the grid electricity without needing a generator. This combination of vintage style and modern appliances makes these trailers perfectly suited for today’s new generation of campers. 

The Holidays has also made a couple of modifications of their own. With the campground bathrooms and showers less than a stone’s throw away, they decided to remove the trailer’s bathroom and convert the space into a closet for luggage. Not only does this eliminate the need to empty black water tanks, but it also gives guests plenty of room to store all their gear without cluttering up the trailer.

While the Shasta trailers are cool enough that you could spend all day hanging out inside them, the real allure of the Holidays is what’s on the outside. The trailers are circled around a central communal fire pit to create a community environment. While each trailer does comes with its own picnic table, shade awning, and fire pit, there is a definite draw towards co-mingling with your neighbors.

A small shed off to the side houses an assortment of outdoor activities like bocce ball, corn hole, horseshoes, and washers. For cloudier days, there are a variety of cards and board games – including the camping classic Uno. S’more skewers are on hand, as well as a tripod for hanging a cast-iron pot over the fire. There’s also a bucket of sand toys for kids. Did we mention The Holidays is walking distance to the beach?

In less than five minutes, a short but steep paths will lead you down the bluff, under the train tracks, and onto the beach. Down by the water, you can stretch out and let the waves of relaxation roll over you. Having the beach within such close proximity offers the chance to change your scenery without having to really go anywhere – which can be a real advantage for anyone looking to achieve a deep, thorough unwind without feeling restless.

A blend of vintage camping experience and the beachside surf vibe, the Holidays exists in a golden state between past and present, a place that feels like a living memory. In terms of coastal camping, it doesn’t get much better than this. [H

Originally published on

Written by Michael van Vliet, one half of the team at Fresh Off the Grid, a camp cooking blog. They feature recipes specifically designed for cooking in the outdoors, written on the road as he and his girlfriend travel the United States.

To learn more about The Holidays, visit their website. To make a reservation, click over to Reserve America



Get the Dwell Newsletter

Be the first to see our latest home tours, design news, and more.