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Best Roadside Motel (2022)

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During the early years of the 20th century, Americans took to the nation’s brand new highways, and roadside motels (a portmanteau of “motor hotel”) popped up to accommodate these travelers. Many of these historic properties have gotten retro-chic makeovers, blending their vintage charm with modern amenities.

  • The Local - St. Augustine

    The Local - St. Augustine
    St. Augustine, Florida

    Owners Leila and Adam have restored the former Island Shores motel in St. Augustine to its heydey in the 1950s, added app-based self-check-in/check-out and keyless entry, and rechristened it The Local - St. Augustine. The twenty non-smoking and air-conditioned rooms have a retro feel with lots of coral and tropical themes. Each room includes a refrigerator, microwave, safe, and cable TV. 10Best Travel Expert Rob Taylor of 2TravelDads remarks, “A nearly forgotten roadside motel on the way to the beach, the Local is freshly updated and perfect for a vintage, PINK Florida vacation between historical St Augustine and beautiful beaches.”
    Photo courtesy of Lily Larson Photography

  • The Sunset Motel

    The Sunset Motel
    Brevard, North Carolina

    The Sunset Motel celebrates the allure of the open road by providing clean, comfortable rooms and friendly service to visiting guests. Amenities include free wifi and cable, plus chairs outside each door so guests can visit with their neighbors.
    Photo courtesy of The Sunset Motel

  • Roadrunner Lodge

    Roadrunner Lodge
    Tucumcari, New Mexico

    This restored motel on Route 66 blends mid-century style with modern conveniences, like premium mattresses, plush towels, free wifi and HD TVs with more than 120 channels. The historic property is truly a mom-and-pop operation.
    Photo courtesy of KC Keefer

  • The Thunderbird Inn

    The Thunderbird Inn
    Savannah, Georgia

    As you pull into the parking lot under the massive neon “Thunderbird” sign, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back to 1964 when this roadside motel first opened. However, you’ll find this pet-friendly two-story classic is cutting-edge modern, with solar energy, recycling, water conservation, and an EV charging station. The 42 smoke-free guestrooms boast flat-screen televisions, pillowtop beds with premium bedding, designer toiletries, and free Internet. Free Moon Pies and sodas are left in the rooms and free donuts and popcorn are offered in the morning.
    Photo courtesy of Adam Kuehl

  • Stonewall Motor Lodge

    Stonewall Motor Lodge
    Stonewall, Texas

    Built in 1964 to accommodate reporters, Secret Service agents, and celebrities flocking to the nearby LBJ Ranch, the Stonewall has been recently revived with modern technology and luxury amenities. With twelve remodeled ground-level rooms, four private cabins, and five RV sites on the three-acre site, guests can plan their trips to more than 75 wineries, breweries, restaurants, and other area attractions. To finish your day, catch a breeze on the rooftop observation deck or relax under the trees with a cold one near the television-equipped barn.
    Photo courtesy of Ben Yanto

  • The Vagabond Hotel

    The Vagabond Hotel
    Miami, Florida

    This newly renovated Miami hotel features a retro lobby and 42 retro-chic guest rooms, with in-room amenities like free wifi, terrazzo and wood floors, flatscreen TVs, 1950s-inspired furniture and oversized walk-in showers. The property also has a swimming pool with restored tile mosaics and a cocktail bar.
    Photo courtesy of The Vagabond Hotel

  • Blue Swallow Motel

    Blue Swallow Motel
    Tucumcari, New Mexico

    The Blue Swallow in Tucumcari, New Mexico, has been welcoming travelers along Historic Route 66 since 1939. The family-owned and operated motel boasts restored rooms equipped with a desk, seating area, vintage lamps and rotary dial phones. A classic neon sign still illuminates the historic courtyard each night.
    Photo courtesy of Blue Swallow Motel

  • Wigwam Motel

    Wigwam Motel
    Holbrook, Arizona

    Wigwam Village #6 has long been one of the most recognizable landmarks along Historic Route 66. The motel opened in 1950 but has since been renovated with a host of modern amenities.
    Photo courtesy of Wigwam Motel

  • Dog Bark Park Inn

    Dog Bark Park Inn
    Cottonwood, Idaho

    Guests at the Dog Bark Park Inn get to stay inside the World’s Biggest Beagle. Stays include free self-serve breakfast and wifi. The owners, Dennis and Frances, double as chainsaw artists; they made many of the hotel furnishings.
    Photo courtesy of Dog Bark Park

  • Skyview

    Skyview
    Los Alamos, California

    This 1959-era roadside motel on five hilltop acres has been reborn with modern amenities and furnishings. The 33 air-conditioned guest rooms boast pillowtop beds with down comforters and Frette Italian sheets, flat-screen televisions, Nespresso machines, and high-speed Internet; some rooms have an indoor fireplace and private patios. The Norman restaurant provides food throughout the day, and the bar is well stocked. Surrounded by ranches, farms, and vineyards in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, this is an excellent base for visiting local tasting rooms, antique stores, art galleries, and restaurants.
    Photo courtesy of Sydney Brown

  1. The Local - St. Augustine - St. Augustine, Florida
  2. The Sunset Motel - Brevard, North Carolina
  3. Roadrunner Lodge - Tucumcari, New Mexico
  4. The Thunderbird Inn - Savannah, Georgia
  5. Stonewall Motor Lodge - Stonewall, Texas
  6. The Vagabond Hotel - Miami, Florida
  7. Blue Swallow Motel - Tucumcari, New Mexico
  8. Wigwam Motel - Holbrook, Arizona
  9. Dog Bark Park Inn - Cottonwood, Idaho
  10. Skyview - Los Alamos, California

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning motels!

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10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Chez Chesak

Chez Chesak

Chez Chesak

Rob Taylor

Rob Taylor

Rob Taylor

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

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