Vintage Surfari Wagons Rents VW Buses in Cali

Surf, camp and hang out.

Those are words to live by, according to Bill and Diane Staggs, the owners of Vintage Surfari Wagons in Costa Mesa, California.

With a fleet of seven classic VW buses for rent, Vintage Surfari Wagons appeals to the independent-minded traveler looking to explore the Golden State’s surf beaches and coast line, and beyond.

Each of the buses comes fully stocked with all the necessary camping gear, and surf and bike racks are available on request.

And while Bill and Diane's small company is only four years old, it has already had some serious ink spilled about it: VSW was prominently featured in a travel article in the New York Times in March 2007. has not quite yet achieved the stature of the NYT, but Bill was nonetheless gracious enough to recently grant us an email interview:

When did you open for business?

My wife Diane and I started working on the idea back in the spring of 2003, when we made a trip to Hawaii and rented a '85 westy in Maui (Imua Campers). I had always owned a VW bus (or two!) for surfing trips and such, so we thought what a great way to make a little money and to support my "bus love" addiction. We purchased another bus and fixed both of them up, then built our website, officially opening for business in March of 2005.

What do you currently drive?

Aside from driving all our buses as much as possible when they are not out on a rental, which I find thoroughly enjoyable, I drive an '85 VW Vanagon Wolfsburg edition (a non-camper), which has become my "work truck". Diane loves to drive her 2001 Audi TT Roadster with the top down as often as she can.

What has been the longest/farthest trip someone has taken with one of your vans?

I believe the longest trip has been for 32 days to a group of 4 rather large Dutch fellows, but the farthest trip is probably a couple from Australia who went from L.A to Yellowstone and back, plus a bunch of places in between, about 2700 miles in all. My wife Diane and I also did a Christmas time journey of a similar length, from our home in Mission Viejo to Vancouver, B.C. and return, in 12 days in 2006.

How early do people need to book ahead for the summer season?

We already have bookings for the coming summer and if the past is any indication, we will be full for the June 1st thru Sept. 1st season by March or before. We do often have short trip slots available at the last minute though, so folks should drop us a line anyway 'cause there is still a chance we can accommodate you.

Just one aside: We feel absolute best time to visit our state is in the Fall, if you can. The weather is still great, with very little rain, and the campgrounds are far less crowded. It's just a lot more free.

Photos courtesy/copyright @ 2009 Vintage Surfari Wagons