Saturday, May 27, 2023


Airstream Ranch – a Florida Roadside Attraction – see it before it disappears in 2017

Since 2008, travelers along I-4 between Tampa and Plant City in Florida have been getting an eyeful of the “Airstream Ranch,” an unusual display of eight aluminum travel trailers buried nose down in the ground near Bates RV.

(Updated 2/18/2017: However, according to, “Florida’s Airstream Ranch,
a Stonehenge-like display of the classic trailers, will soon vanish to
the realm of memory. The display of half-planted-on-end trailers will
soon give way to the construction of – what else – an Airstream
dealership. Inside the dealership, the new owner promises visitors an
Airstream museum.”)

RV dealer Frank Bates had long had the reputation for “other visual stunts such as hanging a trailer from a construction crane near the entrance of his dealership,” wrote Ken Storey of Roadside

He “created what he says is a tribute to roadside architecture, and what his critics claim is his most audacious advertising stunt yet.

Bates considered it art, adding that “the easily-identifiable Airstream design is ‘truly an American art form,’ and that an Airstream is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Frank says that he is a huge fan of roadside attractions, and that on a recent cross-country flight (in his personal helicopter) he landed at Cadillac Ranch, the attraction that inspired his work,” said Storey.

It is said that the “whole idea of art is to convey ideas and promote communication, and Airstream Ranch has certainly accomplished that.”

Bates’s Stonehendge-ish art tribute resulted in a two-year legal battle with the local code enforcement board.

“The county cited Bates in January 2008 for several code violations, including misuse of agricultural land and unauthorized outside storage,” stated an article in The Ledger in Lakeland, Fl. “A three-judge panel overturned the code-enforcement board’s ruling” in early 2010.

All of which means the “Airstream Ranch” remains as another unique roadside attraction and photo opportunity.

If you go:

Airstream Ranch
Address: 4656 Mcintosh Rd, Dover, FL
Directions: Bates RV Exchange. I-4 exit 14, southwest corner. Park in the Bates RV lot.

Hours: Daylight hours. (Call to verify)
Phone: 888.228-3778

Photo: Bates RV

Julianne G. Crane
Julianne G. Crane
Julianne G. Crane writes about the RVing and camping lifestyles for print and online sites. She was been hooked on RVing from her first rig in the mid-1980s. Between 2000-2008, she was a writer for The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash. One of her popular columns was Wheel Life about RVing in the Pacific Northwest. In 2008, Crane started publishing RV Wheel She and her husband, Jimmy Smith, keep a homebase in southern Oregon, while they continue to explore North America in their 21-foot 2021 Escape travel trailer. Over the years they have owned every type of RV except a big class A. “Our needs change and thankfully, there’s an RV out there that fits every lifestyle.”


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Holly Young
11 years ago

I see this every time I drive out there,,the first time I about crashed into the car in front of me LOL

12 years ago

Wow; we've driven that stretch quite a few times, and have never heard of this place! It's definitely going to be a stop for us next time for our blog about visiting big roadside attractions.

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