by Flip Putthoff
The vintage camping trailers parked near a forest south of Prairie Grove are done ‘a roaming. Now, the wheels have come off and the antiques have a new lease on life much to the delight of travelers and locals.
Eight classic trailers have been restored to new condition and offer fun and funky lodging in the scenic countryside at Flamingo Springs Trailer Resort. Owners Zack and Laura Kraus offer guests a getaway in the trailers made from the 1950s through the 1970s.
Inside, there’s no sign of their age thanks to Zack’s talent with tools and a flair for decorating. Each refurbished camping trailer has a different theme, from old time Christmas to old time rock and roll. All have comfortable beds and air conditioning.
The travel trailers are arranged in a semi circle around a cool, inviting swimming pool. There’s a campfire ring and lawn chairs close to the water. Guests can shoot pool, play table tennis or relax in a large air-conditioned game room. Outdoors, there’s a bag-toss game and horseshoe pits. Campers can try their shooting skills at a BB gun range. Two large charcoal grills get steaks or burgers sizzling to perfection.
There’s a common bathroom and shower building guests share. Plastic flamingos stationed about give a Palm Springs feel to the unique resort, a resort that almost didn’t happen.
Zack and Laura searched far and wide for property after relocating here from east Arkansas when Laura landed a job here working on an independent film. They liked Northwest Arkansas.
“We must have looked at 50 places,” Zack said. “On the day we decided we were going to give up, we found this property.” The 60 acres is situated south of Prairie Grove along a meandering paved road. Views of the surrounding hill country are worthy of an artist’s canvas.
The Krauses had already decided to build their vintage trailer resort somewhere. That was decided on their honeymoon. Both like old-time things, and they’d seen a similar resort in California.
Zack traded an old Ford Bronco for 1952 camping trailer that was one of his first restoration projects. The couple found the eight trailers for their resort by searching classified ads. They’d go look at a trailer, prepared to pull it home. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t.
All were built from the 1950s through the 1970s.
“Once the 80s hit, they stopped being so cool,” Zack said.
Eight restorations and lots of construction later, the Krauses opened their resort about a year ago.
Most of their business comes from the four-state region. Nightly rentals are available, but a lot of visitors are groups that rent the whole resort for a friends’ get-together or family reunion.
“University students like to come here just to have a different experience,” Zack noted.
Summer is the busy time, but spring and fall are excellent seasons to visit, he said. Campers can even bring their own flamingos, as long as they’re plastic.
Tin Can Tourists
Tin Can Tourists is an all make and model vintage trailer and motor coach club. The group holds rallies and events around the nation for classic camping trailer and motor home enthusiasts. A mission is to promote the restoration and enjoyment of vintage trailers and motor coaches through gatherings and information.