Tin Can Tourists pioneered RV travel in the Bradenton area

Here’s a look back 100 years

Published in the Bradenton Herald

America’s first RV camper club, the Tin Can Tourists, which formed in Ybor City in 1919, marked the beginning of a new kind of tourism across the United States. It was tourism that stressed friendship and shared experiences, pulling travel trailers and camping around the country. It also introduced many from the Midwest and Northeast to Florida sunshine during winter months.

Tin Can Tourists hit their peak of popularity during the Great Depression of the 1930s. When Ybor City’s DeSoto Park, where the club was born, closed in 1924, many of the club members relocated to Braden Castle in Bradenton, said Forrest Bone, who ran the club from 1998 to 2019. “In 1924, a committee was formed and the property now known as ‘Braden Castle Park’ was purchased. The property today consists of 200 lots, of which 198 are built on with small houses, a trailer park that has 94 mobile home sites and 10 spots for recreational vehicles. The location of the Park is on a point where the Braden River empties into the Manatee River,” according to the Braden Castle website.

The name Tin Can Tourists is thought to have come from the Model T Fords, nicknamed Tin Lizzies, which many members drove, and from the tins of canned food that many ate while on America’s rough and still developing road system of more than a century ago.

Avion Travel Trailer owner demonstrates how to transport two bicycles along with his trailer. Manatee County Public Library historical digital collection

Read more at: https://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article275654421.html


  1. That’s not an Airstream trailer in that picture. In the 1950’s 3 companies broke away from Airstream noting quality issues. Silver Streak, Streamline and Avion, the one pictured. They were larger with heavier frames and overall better quality parts and build and surprisingly similar to each other. This also led to the sale of Airstream in 1968 to Beatrice foods.

  2. You are right about the picture – that caption came from the linked article. They were wrong and we didn’t catch. Avion was never part of Airstream. You are correct that competitors saw the issues and knew there was market to capture. The Cayo’s who started Avion did claim they could build a better Airstream. Many Avion owners believe they did! It was 1967 when Airstream was sold to Beatrice Foods and then Thor bought is in 1978,

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