Best historic hotels and motels on Route 66: where to stay on the mother road

This post may contain affiliate links that give me a commission if you buy or book after clicking. This is at no further cost to you but keeps this site free - thanks!

If you’re planning a trip on Route 66 then it’s pretty likely that it’s history is one of the big draws for you.  We’re looking today at the historic hotels on Route 66 that you really cannot miss on your journey.  

These are the top, most popular and, some might say, best historic hotels and motels on Route 66 that you can still stay in. Of course, many have fell along the wayside over the years.

Many of them are locally owned – known as Mom and Pop motels – and not big names.  You might not get the swimming pool and gym as you would with the chains but I think they more than make up for it in style, character and quirkiness.

It’s worth bearing in mind that as these are small businesses sometimes they do change hands and the experiences of others can change.  I’d always recommend checking out recent reviews before you book.

This post was first written for my travel blog, Lost in Landmarks, in 2018 and was fully updated for this Route 66 specific site in 2022

quirky, retro hotel on Route 66

Should you book Route 66 hotels in advance?

Where possible I have linked to Booking.com which is my favourite booking site and one I use all the time – often you can book with no deposit and pay when you arrive.  Some motels you must book direct on their own website.  In all cases I recommend checking TripAdvisor for recent reviews.

Best historic hotels on Route 66 by state

I have ‘where to stay‘ guides with a list of the motels and hotels in each state along Route 66. This post is going to focus on some of the most iconic and best historic hotels on Route 66 that you can stay in but it won’t be comprehensive.

Historic Illinois Route 66 hotels

Historic Congress Plaza Hotel at night time
Historic Congress Plaza Hotel near Route 66 in Chicago

Chicago

Congress Plaza Hotel

Built – 1893

A historic hotel that has seen the beginning and end of Route 66 as it was built in 1893. Just a few blocks away from the start sign it’s in a perfect position for the beginning of a road trip. It has views over Lake Michigan and remains a good value option for the city.

Ready to book? – Check prices on Booking.com

Still planning? – Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Springfield

Route 66 Hotel and Conference Center

Built – 1950s

A good budget option if in the area this is actually on the site of the first Holiday Inn on Route 66.  It’s locally owned and has plenty of memorabilia to look at and enjoy and also a really nice swimming pool!

Ready to book? – Check prices on Booking.com

Still deciding?  – Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Read more about where to stay on Route 66 in Illinois


Missouri Route 66 hotels

Cuba

Wagon Wheel Motel

Built – 1935

Apparently the oldest, continuously run motel all along Route 66!  It’s been completely updated and renovated and provides a great stop over.

Ready to book? – check direct here

Want to learn more? Read reviews at TripAdvisor

Munger Moss Motel on Route 66 in Missouri
That’s the kind of historic sign we love on Route 66!

Lebanon

Munger Moss Motel

Built – 1946

Fun motel that fully embraces the Route 66 spirit!  Lots of the rooms have Route 66 photos adorning it and every room is unique.  A great place to stop by even if you don’t stay overnight as there’s a small gift shop on site too.

Ready to book? – check direct here

Interested in reviews? Read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Historic Motel on Route 66

Springfield

Best Western Rail Haven Motel

Built – 1938

A classic motel in the city of Springfield, MO with all you want -vintage neon, a cheap place to rest your head and right on Route 66.

Ready to book? Check prices on Booking.com

Still deciding? Read Tripadvisor Reviews here

Retro motel in Carthage Missouri on Route 66

Carthage

Boots Court Motel

Built – 1939

Stunning little art deco motel that really shouldn’t be missed.  It was originally built in 1939 and has been restored inside to how it looked in 1949.  Recently changed hands and looks like it’s starting to accept travelers again.

Ready to book? – check direct here

Want to read reviews? Read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Read more about where to stay on Route 66 in Missouri


Kansas Route 66 hotels

Kansas is just a small part of Route 66 (only 13 miles!) but you should definitely stop off in the towns there.

Baxter Springs

Rose Cottage

Something a little different in a trip filled with motels – Rose Cottage is a bed and breakfast in Baxter Springs in a historic old house.

Ready to book? – Check prices on Hotels.com

Need to know more? Read reviews at TripAdvisor

Read more about where to stay on Route 66 in Kansas


Oklahoma Route 66 hotels

Tulsa

The Campbell Hotel

Built – 1927

This hotel is a beautifully restored 1920s building with themed rooms.  You might get a route 66 room or maybe even an art deco themed one.  It’s a really nice and slightly different hotel to your classic motel.  A great stop in Tulsa.

Ready to book? – Check prices on Booking.com

Want to know more? Read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Lincoln Motel sign in Chandler on Route 66

Chandler

Lincoln Motel

A classic roadside motel with a great neon sign outside.  Nice and clean inside and comes highly recommended.

Ready to book? – Check prices on Booking.com

Interested to know more? Read reviews at TripAdvisor

Elk City

Flamingo Inn

A nice independently owned inn in the west end of Oklahoma.  This motel is a traditional style with lovely clean rooms with really nice and friendly owners.

Ready to book? – Check prices on Booking.com

Need more info? Check what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Read more about where to stay on Route 66 in Oklahoma


Texas Route 66 hotels

Shamrock

Western Motel

There are a number of options in Shamrock but the Western Motel is directly opposite the wonderful U-Drop Inn which lights up at night and is a really delight to see. It’s an inexpensive town to stay in as well.

Ready to book? – Check prices on Booking.com

Need more info? Read reviews at TripAdvisor

McLean

Cactus Inn

Another small, traditional motel and perfect if you want to stop the night in Texas. Right by the quirky Devil’s Rope Museum.

Ready to book? – Check prices on Booking.com

Need more info? Read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Big Texan Motel in Amarillo on Route 66

Amarillo

Big Texan Motel

Styled out front to look like an old wild west town, albeit a pretty bright one, this is a unique place to stay! Don’t miss the Big Texan Steak Ranch next door which is a must see on Route 66 where you can have a go at eating their 72oz steak!

Ready to book? – Check prices on Booking.com

Need to read reviews? Read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Read more about where to stay on Route 66 in Texas


New Mexico Route 66 hotels

New Mexico is home to the stunning Tucumcari which has a heap of old, vintage motels to choose from.  Even if you don’t stay there you can enjoy wandering round and seeing them all lit up.


Tucumcari

Motel Safari

Built – 1959

We’ve stayed here and can recommend it – very clean and retro.  Just across from the Blue Swallow Motel and perfect for wandering in the evening.

Ready to book? – Check direct here

Read more first – Read reviews at TripAdvisor

Blue swallow motel in daytime

Blue Swallow Motel

Built – 1939

Built in 1939, this is one of the most famous and most photographed motels on Route 66 – if you have your heart set on staying here then I recommend to book early!

Ready to book? – Check availability at Booking.com

Looking for reviews? See what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Santa Fe

El Rey Court

Built – 1936

A great option if you head on the original Route 66 alignment north to Santa Fe. Accommodations are a little more expensive on this part of the road but with options like El Rey Court it’s still worth it!

Ready to book? – check prices on Booking.com here

Still deciding? Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Albuquerque

Casas de Suenos Old Town Historic Inn

Built – 1938

In the Old Town of Albuquerque which is well worth a stop over and time to explore. This old Bed and Breakfast is a great place to relax and take some time out from more traditional motels on the road. It can book up so if you want to stay here it’s best to book early.

Ready to book? – check prices on Booking.com here

Still deciding? Read reviews on TripAdvisor

El Rancho Hotel New Mexico

Gallup

Hotel El Rancho

Built – 1936

Very famous hotel that has been frequented by many famous people over the years – lots of movie stars stayed here while filming westerns in the region.

Ready to book? – check prices on Booking.com

Need to know more? Read reviews at TripAdvisor

Read more about where to stay on Route 66 in New Mexico


Arizona Route 66 hotels

Arizona has so much to offer, from the small town of Holbrook with the wigwam motel (a must in my book!), to the Grand Canyon and then the small wild west town of Oatman.

Holbrook

Wigwam motel

Built – 1950

Stunning little motel – very atmospheric, if a little sparse inside. It’s worth booking well in advance, but probably one of the cheapest historic Route 66 motels we booked on our trip.

Ready to book? – check direct here

Want to read reviews? Read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Winslow

La Posada Hotel

Built – 1929

Built in 1929 this is a gorgeous hotel with a bit more features than your regular motels so good if you want a break from that.  

Ready to book? – Check prices on Booking.com

Ready to read reviews? Read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Williams

Grand Canyon Railway Hotel

Williams is a great little town with lots to see including the Grand Canyon which is very close by. The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is actually not a historic hotel at all, although it’s on the site of one that was built in 1908. It has all the feel of a historic, luxury hotel though and worth staying especially if you want to take the train to the Grand Canyon.

Ready to book? – Booking.com

Need to know more? Read reviews at TripAdvisor

Seligman

Supai Motel

Don’t miss Seligman – it’s a classic Route 66 town.  Many pass through but if you want to stay the Supai Motel is a great, clean choice with an excellent neon sign.

Ready to book? – check prices at Booking.com

Still deciding? See reviews at TripAdvisor

El Trovatore Motel in Kingman Arizona on Route 66

Kingman

El Trovatore Motel

Built – 1939

Quirky but classic motel.  This is a fun motel with lots of classic Hollywood themed rooms and the world’s longest map!

Ready to book? – Check prices on Booking.com

Not to know more? Read reviews on TripAdvisor

Oatman

Oatman Hotel

No overnight stays any more but definitely worth checking out if you make the drive to Oatman!

Read more about where to stay on Route 66 in Arizona


California Route 66 hotels

The end of the road!  Don’t miss these amazing stop offs before you head in to busy Los Angeles!

Barstow Route 66 Motel in California

Barstow

Route 66 Motel 

A gorgeous historic motel which has the added quirkiness or having lots of historic cars parked outside too – lots of photo opportunities!  Great neon signs out front too – just what you want from a route 66 motel!

Ready to book? – Check prices on Booking.com

Not decided? Check out latest reviews on TripAdvisor

San Bernadino

WigWam Motel

A similar set up to the wigwam hotel in Arizona but this one also has a swimming pool, of course, it’s California!  It’s just a must see and stay isn’t it?

Ready to book? – check prices on Booking.com

Need to learn more? Read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Art Deco Hotel in Santa Monica on Route 66

Santa Monica

The Georgian Hotel

Built – 1933

There’s a lot of choice in Santa Monica but if you’re looking for historic then this 1930s Art deco hotel should fit the bill.  A luxury option which will be well deserved after the long road trip!

Ready to book? – check prices on Booking.com

Need to learn more? – Check reviews on TripAdvisor

I hope you’ve found this list helpful – obviously it’s not an exhaustive list but is made up from personal experience and recommendations.  If I’ve missed anywhere special do let me know!

Links For Your Route 66 trip

Get your Route 66 guidebook on Amazon

Get your car rental quote at Discover Cars

Book Motels at Booking.com or Hotels.com

Check Flights at Skyscanner

Photo of author

Kirsty

Kirsty became obsessed with Route 66 after taking her kids to see Cars at the cinema way back in 2006. She first visited in 2014 and it didn't help the obsession at all. She now writes about the road, the history and hopes to encourage others to visit and keep it alive.

2 thoughts on “Best historic hotels and motels on Route 66: where to stay on the mother road”

  1. My husband and I are looking to travel Route 66 this June , my question is the towns along that route are they welcoming to people of color

    Reply
    • Hi Elva, thanks so much for your comment. How I wish that you didn’t have to ask this question in 2022 but I can see why you are.

      I don’t feel like I can comment on it since, of course, my experience could never be the same and I don’t want to say it’s perfectly fine without really knowing.

      I’m going to see if I can compile some links that might be helpful research to people of color thinking of traveling the road but in the meantime I’m going to suggest perhaps contacting Route History who have a small museum and souvenir shop in Springfield IL. I’m not sure if they could shed any light on how the road is currently, but maybe they’ll have some ideas for you. https://www.facebook.com/VisitRouteHistory

      Reply

Leave a Comment