Auto Vacation

Auto Vacation

"Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road." – Jack Kerouac

By the 1920s, “car-” or “auto-camping” became a popular form of lodging. In response to the newly motorized tourist, free or inexpensive auto-camps and tourist-courts sprang up outside of towns and along freeways in California.

Beginning as simply a place to park and pitch a tent, camps added amenities such as restrooms, showers, kitchens and even laundry services. Tourists could enjoy the great outdoors and many of the comforts of home while on the road – a freedom that appealed to people from all walks of life.

During the depression of the 1930s, auto-camping continued to thrive as a way to vacation inexpensively. After WWII, however, the changing economy and the development of the interstate highway system spelled its decline and paved the way for the more modern, franchised motel.

auto vacation

California State Capitol Museum – The Road Ahead Exhibit

This is a website specifically for the “The Road Ahead: The Automobile’s Impact on California” Exhibit. Dates: May 23, 2018 – April 29, 2019 at the California State Capitol Museum.

For Museum-related information such as contacts, hours and location: Visit