After several months of sheltering in place, it’s a huge understatement to say that I miss traveling. And I’m sure many of you feel the same way. When September rolled around and restrictions finally seemed to lighten up a bit, I was determined to find a way to #TravelResponsibly.
When I started researching, I knew I didn’t want to stay in a hotel where there were lots of shared spaces. And as much as I love the cottagecore aesthetic, I knew I’d get restless staying in an isolated cabin out in the woods. After looking at tons of standalone suites and small villas, I finally stumbled upon AutoCamp. A glamping escape that was less than two hours away from San Francisco and filled with the promise of endless s’mores.
So we set off on our short drive to Russian River. When it was time to check in, we were notified via text and also given the gate code to enter the lot, airstream suite number, and airstream door code. Since our parking pass was left inside our suite, the whole check-in process was basically contactless. But if you prefer to chat with a real person, there are front desk attendants at the Clubhouse. AutoCamp also texts a link to a digital map so you can easily find the location of your airstream. The airstreams sit about 12 feet apart from each other, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but the layout prevents you from encountering any shared spaces with your neighbors aside from the gravel walkways. Noticing that our airstream was on the further end of the lot, I definitely didn’t pass up the opportunity to use the iconic Radio Flyer Red Wagons.
Before dinner, we decided to quickly take a look around the AutoCamp site. It was smaller than I expected, but never felt crowded. In the center was a small grass field with a huge communal fire pit. And next to the firepit were some picnic tables led up to the clubhouse. The clubhouse houses the communal bathrooms, front desk attendants, a small sundries and souvenir shop, and a small open flame fireplace. The communal bathrooms are spacious and modern and if we weren’t still in a pandemic, I would’ve enjoyed the private shower rooms. And the shop conveniently stocks “heat and eat” meals, s’mores kits, and souvenirs. All of which could be ordered by text!
So now that we’ve gotten through some of the basics of AutoCamp, let’s answer some of your questions!
What’s the difference between the tents and airstreams?
The main differences between the tents and airstreams are that the airstreams are equipped with private bathrooms and a small kitchenette that includes a sink and minifridge. Guests that stay in luxury tents must use the communal bathrooms in the Clubhouse and have an icebox and basic cookware like a pan, cutting board, and cooking utensils. Airstreams also have a fan and heater system while the tents are equipped with an electric blanket. For hotter days, guests staying in tents can request a fan. However, all tents and airstreams are given their own private fire pit area, which includes two chairs. This is great for people looking to lounge outside their rooms, but not have to use shared spaces.
What does the airstream look like inside?
The design of the airstreams is super modern and minimalist. And the efficient use of small space reminds me of an Ikea store. On one end of the airstream is the bedroom, which includes a wall mounted TV with lots of cable channels. Right outside the room is the kitchenette and some storage cabinets. And on the other side of the airstream is a full bathroom — sink, toilet, and shower. The airstream also includes a small futon if you happen to need more than one bed. I’m sure the dogs that visit AutoCamp probably love the futon. It’s a vacation for them too afterall!
Is it clean? How’s the bug situation?
Yes! Our airstream was clean and tidy. However, if you plan on using the futon, bring a fitted sheet since futons are tough to clean in general. There were no bugs in our airstream unless we left the door open and food out on the counter, which attracted some fruit flies. We also bought a huge citronella candle and I kept that candle lit throughout the evening to also help ward off unwanted bugs.
Did you bring your own food or do you have to buy it from AutoCamp?
We bought our own food from the Safeway that was less than five minutes away from us. However, you can also buy food from the front desk shop, like eggs and heat and eat foods. We also bought our own supplies for s’mores, but AutoCamp was gracious enough to provide us roasting sticks when we failed at finding our own s’more worthy tree branches. We also bought our own fire logs and coal, but AutoCamp sells these items as well.
I read some reviews saying they are providing single use plates and utensils. Is that still the case?
Yes! To minimize the amount of shared tools, AutoCamp is providing prepackaged recyclable plates and utensils to guests. They leave four sets of plates and utensils in your suite, but if you require more, simply send them a text or pop by their front desk to pick it up.
Are you in the middle of nowhere? I watch too many horror movies to be alone in the woods.
For the Russian River location, you are definitely near civilization! In fact, the Russian River location is actually located within a residential area. So right outside our gate were peoples’ houses and cabins. We were also less than five minutes away from Guernville’s main street which had lots of cute shops and restaurants. We definitely felt safe, yet still felt like we were camping.
Is there security? Am I going to get murdered?
It feels very secure. There’s a gate to enter the AutoCamp lot that requires a code and for the Russian River location specifically, you are in a populated area that is not super secluded. We even heard the neighbors walking their dogs across the street from the back of our airstream. Additionally, the airstreams each have keypads and after using the initial code to check in, guests can change it to a number they’re familiar with.
What kind of stuff can you do at AutoCamp?
Aside from the private fire pits, which I enjoyed for hours, you can also rent out AutoCamp bikes! These adorable cruiser bikes aren’t anything fancy, but it’s a fun way to get around the neighborhood. AutoCamp also currently provides access to pre-recorded activities like yoga classes, meditations, and “fireside chats.” Borrow a yoga mat from the Clubhouse or bring your own to use on your airstream deck or out in the communal areas!
If you’re looking to #TravelResponsibly, AutoCamp is definitely one of the best options out there. And not gonna lie, it’s definitely a little pricey, but for me it was worth it to have a minimal contact, socially distant, and unique traveling experience. I was never in the Girls Scouts, but if I were, I definitely would’ve been part of Troop Beverly Hills. I’m no wilderness girl, so AutoCamp was a great compromise between the comfort of a hotel and the grit of camping. However, we’re definitely hoping to experience the Yosemite site if we ever head back to AutoCamp. After doing a little research, it definitely seems like that site is further out in nature. And this glamper is ready to rough it! With a side of s’mores of course. 😉