Try these trailer resorts on your next California road trip

By Rachel Schnalzer
Design and illustrations by Jade Cuevas

Good morning, Golden State adventurers. Fancy a trip back in time?

In this edition of Escapes, you’ll find ways to blast back to the past on your next weekend trip — including vacationing in a chic 1960s trailer or immersing yourself in Vincent Van Gogh’s artwork.

Read to the end for a chance to tour Hearst Castle from your sofa, complete with cameos from actors in period attire. Where have you traveled this summer? If you have recommendations, don’t hesitate to reach out for a chance to be included in an edition of Escapes.

🚙 Book a vintage trailer on your next trip

Instead of booking a hotel room for your next weekend trip, choose vintage digs at one of the retro trailer resorts popping up in Southern California.

“We’re a hotel, but a hotel with a difference,” Carey Jonker, co-operator of Waypoint Ventura vintage trailer hotel, told Times contributor Rosemary McClure. “Some people are interested in a unique overnight experience. Our retro trailers are a cool component that makes them happy.”

In addition to their nostalgic vibe, refurbished trailers often include creature comforts such as air conditioning, heating, kitchens, showers and Wi-Fi. Resorts also may have rental bikes, playgrounds and pools onsite too.

Here are a few of parks McClure recommends in her story:

  • Flying Flags RV Resort and Campground in Buellton: an ideal jumping-off point for a weekend in wine country (from $179 a night)
  • Caravan Outpost in downtown Ojai: more upscale, with guest chefs, wine tastings and movie screenings ($200 to $400 per night)
  • Launch Pointe in Lake Elsinore: If you love getting on the water, this is for you — the resort offers pontoon and fishing boat rentals ($130-$200 a night)
A woman relaxes on a lounge chair in front of a wagon.

The Hicksville Trailer Palace is a fenced compound in Joshua Tree with a saltwater lake, canned-ham style trailers, a caboose and a wagon.

(Rosemary McClure)

🌻 A melancholy step into Vincent Van Gogh’s art

Where can you find ultra-enlarged versions of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings, a sunflower bar and an AI version of the Post-Impressionist painter himself?

In the old Amoeba Music building on Sunset Boulevard, that’s where.

Tickets are on sale for the “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibition, which Times arts and culture writer Deborah Vankin recently toured, finding the experience novel yet melancholic.

“Maybe it was the bittersweetness of emerging from the worst of the pandemic, with the art world opening up and new exhibitions finally debuting; maybe it was being inside the former Amoeba Music building, a beacon of independent music that was now housing a traveling exhibition; or maybe it was the ginormous wall projections of Van Gogh’s deep-set, tortured-looking eyes, now staring down on a jumble of journalists snapping selfies. But the melancholy grew with the projections and music,” Vankin wrote.

In addition to the 40-minute looped video installation and sunflower bar, visitors will find touching homages to Van Gogh created by other artists and a gift shop offering everything from fine china to Van Gogh socks.

“Immersive Van Gogh” runs through January but may be extended. Tickets from $39.

Images of paintings by Vincent Van Gogh.

The “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibit, as it was being installed.

(Deborah Vankin / Los Angeles Times)

🌳 Find some travel inspiration in this San Diego garden

Visiting San Diego this summer? Take a quick detour to Harper’s Topiary Garden, where you’ll find dozens of sculpted shrubs dominating the front yard of a home in Mission Hills. The owners were inspired by their travels through North Africa, Europe, Asia and beyond when designing the shrubs, according to Hidden San Diego.

Harper’s Topiary Garden can be found at 3549 Union St. Though the owners are comfortable with visitors photographing the garden, be respectful and do not trespass on their property.

Visit the garden on your way to or from the San Diego Zoo, USS Midway Museum or another downtown attraction.

Animated illustration of shears trimming shrubs.

(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

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🏰 See Hearst Castle from your sofa

Wish you could stop at Hearst Castle on your California 1 road trip this summer? It’s still closed to in-person visitors, but there’s a new way to get an inside look at the glam Central Coast destination.

Airbnb Online Experiences now offers “Hearst & Hollywood” online tours of the castle, led by guides from the estate. The experience takes virtual visitors to fan-favorite spots such as Neptune Pool, Casa Grande and the gardens where William Randolph Hearst and guests Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo and Bette Davis once spent time.

Get ready for some theater too. “Along the way, you may encounter folks dressed in period attire as we re-create the guest experience from Mr. Hearst’s time,” the listing explains.

The 75-minute-long tour starts at $16 per person, with proceeds benefiting the Foundation at Hearst Castle. If there are no spots available when you click the link, check back later for future openings.

Courtyard of Casa del Mar at Hearst Castle.

Visit Hearst Castle via online tour led by guides from the estate.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

📰 What I’m reading

  • Flight attendants say airlines must do more to address unruly passengers, reports Times business reporter Hugo Martín.
  • Have you experienced a “missed connection” while traveling or on the trail? You’ll want to read this story from Times assistant travel editor Mary Forgione.
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park has been shrouded in smoke from the Dixie fire. That’s providing a valuable “lesson in climate change” for visitors, Ashley Harrell reports in SFGATE.
  • Hawaii residents are using social media to fight overtourism, Cassie Ordonio explains in the Honolulu Civil Beat.
  • What’s it like to surf every coastal state in the U.S.? Brent Rose describes his experience in Outside Online.
Photos of hands holding, a hiking couple and a bar of chocolate.

Finding your hiking buddy

(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

📸 Photo of the week

Visitors sit atop house foundations at Sunken City, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in San Pedro.

Visitors sit atop the remnants of house foundations at Sunken City, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean in San Pedro.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

🎸 Road song

Song: “Show Up” by Samia
Favorite lyric: “Driving with Gabe through stratified drylands, we all met in Brooklyn when we were still in bands”
Best place to listen: Driving through Red Rock Canyon State Park on California 14

Red Rock Canyon State Park, California

Red Rock Canyon State Park, California.

(David H. Carriere / Getty Images)

Karen J. Simmons

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