Couple creating a camping oasis called Flamingo Springs on former farmland near Prairie Grove

Photo: Kevin Kinder

The sunny paradise of California palm trees is a thousand miles from Prairie Grove.

So Laura and Zack Kraus are building their own resort with flamingos and palm trees and carefully restored trailers.

Flamingo Springs Trailer Resort is part RV park, part camping destination and part boutique hotel.

“We really don’t fit into a category,” Zack said.

Which made deciding how to regulate their business a tricky one for Washington County. After many months of meetings and negotiations, the final procedural hurdles have been cleared and work on the property resumes. The couple hope to shelter their first guests in April. On that timeline, guests would start making reservations as soon as February.

The park is modeled after one the couple visited in California for one of Zack’s birthdays. They decided to create the park while pondering their next career move during their honeymoon three years ago. “We wanted to do something together as a family,” Laura said. “We wondered what we could create that will bring us joy, and others joy.”

Photo: Kevin Kinder

When the family decided to leave California and forge a life in the open spaces of the American South, they had almost settled on Nashville as their home base. But Laura was hired to work as a designer on the set of the film “Parker’s Anchor,” which was filmed in Northwest Arkansas. Zack, with free time on his hands, started exploring Northwest Arkansas and fell in love. Laura, an Arkansas native, bought in to the idea, too.

They started working on the idea more than a year ago and are making a renewed push to open this year. Six of the trailers are complete and ready for occupancy, but work on the common areas and landscaping elements continues.

Exactly what guests will be staying in is straight out the past. Flamingo Springs is a series of six vintage camping trailers, refurbished by the couple and decorated by Laura, who has a background in interior design. Two additional campers have been purchased and will undergo a restoration in the near future.

Photo: Kevin Kinder

Each of the trailers has a theme. One harkens back to the days of hair metal with a countertop infused with guitar picks and a cassette player and a copy of a Ratt tape. Another is a homage to the television show “Friends,” complete with a photo from Monica and Chandler’s wedding and Joey’s stuffed penguin, Huggsy. One of the larger trailers features antique Americana and is modeled after the Burbank, California, bar and grill called Tinhorn Flats, where the couple met while working as bartenders. Like the “Friends”-inspired trailer, which gives a nod to the nights the couple stayed up plotting their future during late-night reruns, each of the themes tells a little about the couple.

“They ended up being a little bit autobiographical,” Laura said.

The trailers circle a spot of fake grass in the center of the property. In the middle of this oasis is a pool. Guests of Flamingo Springs share a bathhouse and a recreation room complete with a classic jukebox full of standards, a pool table and a television center ready equipped with a VHS player and an Atari video game console. Inside their rec room is a commercial refrigerator where guests will store cold supplies, although the larger trailers have their own miniature fridges. Outdoor grills will be the primary method for cooking, not unlike campsites at area state parks.

The nightly rate for the smallest, two-person trailer starts at about $100 (the couple is still working on the exact pricing structure) and increases depending on the size of the trailer.

Photo: Kevin Kinder

“We want them to be affordable. We also don’t want them to stay for 30 days,” Zack said of the price structure.

The couple hopes to attract those visiting the area for Razorback football games or Bikes, Blues & BBQ. They also believe it will turn into a retreat space for people looking to get away from Fayetteville, but not too far away. At maximum capacity, there is room for 19 guests at Flamingo Springs.

“We want to have this idealistic place where people come and collaborate,” Zack said.

Just like Zack and Lauren have done in their quest to build a bit of nostalgia and a career in rural Washington County.

This article is sponsored by First Security Bank. For more great stories of Arkansas food, travel, sports, music and more, visit