historic route 66 motels

Where to Stay on Route 66: Recommended Motels and Hotels Along the Route

February 14, 2022 /

Warning: Due to COVID 19 some information in this article (e.g. operating hours) may not be up-to-date.

In this article, we would like to show you a selection of hotels and motels that you may encounter during your trip along the states crossed by the Route 66. We have chosen those facilities that out of them all can offer an atmosphere as close as possible to what you would expect from a road trip on the most famous road in the United States, in addition of course to their proximity to major attractions.

So… what are the best places to stay along Route 66? We selected the best historic Route 66 motels and hotels,  arranged in order of travel from East to West (from Chicago to Santa Monica, California for instance). To work out an itinerary, please take a look at our Route 66 Road Trip Planner.

Route 66 Motels Illinois

The start (or end) state of Route 66. Once you leave Chicago behind you will start to encounter a series of small towns where the old gas stations and the giant muffler men are the main features. You will also visit the places associated with Abraham Lincoln, one of the most famous American presidents. You can find all the detailed information in our article dedicated to the Route 66 through Illinois.

Route 66 Hotel And Conference Center – Springfield

If you started your trip from Chicago (have you already read our article on the best things to do in Chicago?), this might be a good place to consider as your first stop on your roadtrip. It’s a classic American motel, so don’t expect too much luxury. From the outside, it can risk being confused with a real Route 66 museum, a sensation that will return once you enter and discover a large amount of memorabilia, photographs and furnishings that refer to the history of the Mother Road.

Located in the city of Springfield, the main attractions in the immediate vicinity are those related to Abraham Lincoln, including the Presidential Library and Museum (212 N. Sixth St.) and the mausoleum located at Oak Ridge Cemetery. A short walk from the motel you will find the Cozy Dog Drive-In (2935 S 6th St.), known as the place where the famous local corn dogs were invented.

Address: 625 E St Joseph St, Springfield, IL

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If you want some advice about where to stay in Chicago you can read our dedicated article. Besides the already mentioned Springfield, other good solutions are the towns of Pontiac and Bloomington. For the former, given its characteristic atmosphere, you can read the section dedicated to where to sleep in our article entirely focused on the things to do in Pontiac.

With regard instead to Bloomington we’d like to point out:

  • Residence Inn by Marriott Bloomington: a modern hotel that has the advantage of being located on the city section of Route 66, thus meaning you don’t have to make any kind of detour from your route.

Route 66 Motels Missouri

Welcome to the state that hosts… the world’s largest rocking chair! In addition to the city of Saint Louis and many other curiosities that you can read about in our article dedicated to the route of Route 66 through Missouri.

Wagon Wheel Motel – Cuba

best places to stay along route 66

This motel is one of the best known and “oldest” of Route 66, since it has been operating continuously since the ’30s and has recently been restored. If you pass by here when the sun has set, you can’t help but notice its very recognizable neon sign. The main attractions near this facility are definitely the Cuban murals that are scattered throughout the small town, tracing the local community’s history, and, four miles away, the small community of Fanning that is home to the world’s known largest rocking chair.

Address: 901 E Washington Blvd, Cuba, MO

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Boots Motel – Carthage

where to stay along route 66
Photo by Stu Rapley

The fame of this motel, which began operations in 1939, is also due to the fact that the well-known actor Clark Gable stayed here for a short time. A small note of color: in perfect Route 66 style from the golden years, there are no televisions in the rooms but only radios (there is, however, wi-fi). Near Boots Motel, one attraction that is definitely worth a visit is Red Oak II. This is a very special ghost town that owes its uniqueness to the fact that it is practically a reproduction of the town that the artist Lowell Davis was responsible for rebuilding after seeing his childhood places gradually disappearing with the passing of the years.

Address: 107 S Garrison Ave, Carthage, MO

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In the city of Saint Louis we can mention:

  • Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark: If you love baseball, this is the hotel for you. Built next to Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, it has a nice view of the stadium itself and of the famous Gateway Arch.

For more tips, you can read the section on overnighting tips in the article on what to do in Saint Louis. In Missouri, there is another city called Springfield, a good solution if you want to visit the Fantastic Caverns. Being an hour’s drive from Carthage could also be a good solution if there is no room at the historic Boots Motel. In this city we recommend:

  • Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven: although part of a large chain, this hotel has a 50’s atmosphere. Despite the modernity of the structure, in fact, there are many references to Route 66 both in the furnishings of the rooms and in the exteriors, where you can see two gas pumps as you would find along the Route 66 itinerary.
  • The Mansion at Elfindale: this beautiful bed and breakfast with Victorian-style rooms and even a chapel that is used to celebrate weddings is definitely a recommended choice if you want to stay in a unique building of its kind.

Between the city of Cuba and Lebanon, there is a good choice of hotels, many of which stand along the route of Route 66, in Rolla in particular. Worth a mention:

  • Super 8 by Wyndham Rolla: a simple but well-kept structure that offers spacious rooms and the convenience of being able to use an indoor pool, something very useful if you pass by here in the summer in search of a little coolness.

Route 66 Motels Kansas

As you may know, the section of the Mother Road that crosses this state is very short, nevertheless it offers some characteristic attractions that are worth visiting. Find out everything there is to see by reading our in-depth article dedicated to the Route 66 through Kansas.

The Old Riverton Post B&B

Route 66 motelsIn Riverton between Galena and Baxter Springs, we find this lovely Bed & Breakfast that sits on a historic building dating back to 1898. It has recently been completely remodeled and now offers its guests a well-maintained facility with friendly staff willing to provide you with additional information about both Route 66 and the area’s attractions.

Address: 7378 SE 70th St, Riverton, KS

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Route 66 Motels Oklahoma

Blue whales, stores dedicated exclusively to soda pop, ghost towns and the Mother Road history museums. This and much more awaits you along the Route 66 through Oklahoma.

The Campbell Hotel – Tulsa

Route 66 accomodations

This hotel is a bit different from the ones we’ve covered so far because. While built in the late 1920s, it was completely restored in 2011 and became a luxury hotel with spa-like amenities inside. We decided to include it in the list anyway because the style is still tied to its tradition and it could be the right opportunity to treat yourself to a relaxing moment during your road trip. During your stay, if you are fond of folk music, you can’t miss a visit to the Woody Guthrie Center (02 East M.B. Brady St.), entirely dedicated to the artist’s life and his influence on American music.

Address: 2636 E 11th St, Tulsa, OK

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Right in the middle of the state lies the capital Oklahoma City which offers many alternatives for your sleeping arrangements. Some of these are:

  • Colcord Hotel A historic hotel in the city dating back to 1910, now renovated, which also houses the renowned restaurant Flint. Recommended therefore not only for sleeping but also if you are looking for a place to eat.
  • Residence Inn by Marriott Oklahoma City Located in the historic and lively district of Bricktown, this elegant and modern structure offers spacious and clean rooms with all amenities.

Other cities along Route 66 that offer good solutions are Clinton and Elk City both of which have interesting museums on the Mother Road.

Route 66 Motels Texas

The state of the famous Cadillac Ranch, perhaps one of Route 66’s most famous attractions and the unjustly lesser known… Barbed Wire Museum 🙂 . Also located here is the Midpoint: exact halfway along the Mother Road. Discover all the other attractions in our article dedicated to the route of Route 66 in Texas.

The Big Texan Motel – Amarillo

where to stay on route 66

You may have heard of the famous Big Texan Steak Ranch, the iconic restaurant of Amarillo and of all Route 66 where you can test your stomach trying to eat a two-kilo steak in one hour and enter the history books by carving your name in the Hall of Fame. As you may have guessed, the Big Texan Motel on Route 66 is an extension of the restaurant and is definitely the ideal place to recover from a long trip and rest after giving your best at the table. Everything is in western style and looking at it from the outside you will feel like you are on a movie set, so if you do not like too much kitsch it might not be for you. However, if you think a road trip cannot be defined as such without having experienced this kind of unique atmosphere, a stop here will be a must. Once in Amarillo, you must visit the famous Cadillac Ranch (essential for anyone wanting to visit Texas) obviously with Bruce Springsteen as your soundtrack and maybe armed with a spray can to use as a testimony of your passing through this place.

Address: 7701 East Interstate 40, Amarillo, TX

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One of the first towns you encounter upon entering Texas is Shamrock, home to the quaint art deco building U Drop Inn, which is worth a photo especially at night when it is colored by its neon lights.

  • Shamrock Country Inn: This is a nice Motel that rather than being Route 66-themed, we can define as being entirely Texas-themed! Murals and items are in fact completely dedicated to the Lone Star State.

Once you’ve passed Amarillo, little more than an hour’s drive will separate you from the New Mexico border, and there won’t be many opportunities to stay somewhere overnight apart from the small town of Vega.

  • Station 66-Vega: If you are a group traveling in the United States, this vacation home decorated with a Route 66 theme may be a choice that suits you.

Route 66 Motels New Mexico

Old Native American Pueblos, a miraculous staircase, the city of Breaking Bad. Not enough for you? Then discover all the other attractions by reading our article dedicated to the Route 66 in New Mexico.

Blue Swallow Motel – Tucumcari

best motels along route 66

This Motel has one of the most famous neon signs along Route 66, reproduced in many guides and postcards. Also, the quality of the facilities, despite being a simple motel, is excellent, which is another reason to choose it. Immerse yourself in the evening filled with multicolored neon lights and you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time. Once in Tucumcari you can’t miss one of the most unique stores in the area, the Tee Pee Curios. How can you recognize it? Simple: as soon as you see an Indian tent next to what used to be an old service station you’ve come to the right place.

Address: 815 E. Route 66, Tucumcari, NM

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El Rey Court – Santa Fe

best hotels along route 66

This hotel offers an atmosphere that best reflects the adobe-style buildings of this area of the United States. Most of the rooms overlook a large, well-kept garden, as does the rest of the property, which also features a swimming pool and gym. El Rey Court is not located in the city center, which is a couple of kilometers away but still easily accessible by car in just under five minutes.

Definitely worth visiting in the city of Santa Fe are the characteristic religious buildings such as the Loretto Chapel (207 Old Santa Fe Trail) with the famous Miraculous Staircase inside and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum housed in the premises of what was a former mission (we talked about both attractions in our article on the route of Route 66 in New Mexico).

Address: 1862 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM

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La Fonda on the Plaza Hotel – Santa Fe

Route 66 best places to stay
Photo by Kent Kanouse

This is also an adobe-style hotel located in the center of New Mexico‘s former capital city, and is also a bit more expensive than the Rey Inn, though it offers the same atmosphere. If you prefer an overnight stay closer to the attractions and stores of Santa Fe or you couldn’t find room at the previous hotel, La Fonda is definitely a good alternative to consider, especially if you want to park your car for a day and stretch your legs walking around the city.

Address: 100 E San Francisco St., Santa Fe, NM

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Monterey Non-Smokers Motel – Albuquerque

Route 66 historic motels
Photo by Paul Gorbould

If you want to stay in the city of Albuquerque we recommend this motel with swimming pool known among frequenters of Route 66 for its excellent value for money, and just a short walk from the charming Old Town with its quaint stores. Obviously, as you can guess from the name, smoking is not allowed! If you are fans of the TV series, we recommend our itinerary dedicated to the Albuquerque locations of Breaking Bad.

Address: 2402 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque, NM

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El Rancho Hotel & Motel – Gallup

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One of the most iconic hotels, not only in Gallup but also on Route 66. This is the famous El Rancho Hotel, where many Hollywood stars have stayed, including John Wayne and Clark Gable, when the town of New Mexico was used as an ideal base for filming westerns that were shot in the area.

Address: 1000 E. Hwy 66, Gallup, New Mexico

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In addition to all the solutions proposed so far, the city of Santa Rosa located between Tucumcari and the detour to Santa Fe, is worth a mention. Ideal if you want to break up your itinerary and have time for an extra stop.

  • La Quinta Inn & Suites Santa Rosa A classic motel located on the well-maintained city section of Route 66 with indoor and outdoor swimming pool that is located a short distance from the famous Route 66 Auto Museum.

Route 66 Motels Arizona 

The state famous for being home to natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend is also crisscrossed by a beautiful stretch of the Mother Road. Find out all the attractions worth visiting by reading our article on Route 66 in Arizona.

The Red Garter Inn – Williams

Route 66 Motels Arizona 
Photo by Kent Kanouse

A lovely Bed & Breakfast housed in a former saloon and brothel in the heart of Williams and very close to the station from where you can take the train to Williams and the many shops all obviously Grand Canyon-themed and to the many stores all obviously Route 66-themed. As there are only four rooms available to guests, we recommend you book well in advance if you want to stay here, especially during the summer season, to avoid it being sold out!

Address: 137 W Railroad Ave, Williams, AZ

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The Canyon Motel & RV Park – Williams

 Motels Arizona route 66

This is a unique motel because it will give you the opportunity to sleep inside a locomotive or a train car specially modified to accommodate a suite inside. Located less than 5 minutes from Williams and surrounded by nature, its strength is the presence of an area used for campers and is therefore also recommended for those who have chosen this means of transport for their road trip. In addition to everything you might need for camping, the facility also hosts an indoor swimming pool, which could be the ideal solution to cool down after a day spent walking along the Grand Canyon.

Address: 1900 Historic Rte 66, Williams, AZ

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The Lodge on Route 66 – Williams

Route 66 motels williams
Photo by Scottb211

A classic motel where you park your car in front of your room, this one, like all of Williams, is also Route 66-themed. Although recently remodeled and well-finished, most of the rooms are not very spacious, so it may be your best bet to plan to stay for one night.

Address: 200 E Rte 66, Williams, AZ

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Grand Canyon Hotel – Williams

Grand Canyon Hotel - Williams

If you’re looking for a hotel that has history behind it, this could be your choice, as it boasts of being the oldest working hotel in all of Arizona. It has 25 rooms, each decorated with a different theme, and also a Carriage House, a sort of mini apartment for four people located behind the hotel; the ideal choice if you are traveling with friends.

Address: 145 W Route 66, Williams, AZ

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El Trovatore Motel – Kingman

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Photo by Birgit

Kingman is the last town in Arizona before the California border. Here you will be able to find numerous motels but one of the most characteristic is definitely El Trovatore Motel. From a distance, it is easily identifiable thanks to the neon sign that stands out on a high tower. As soon as you arrive, you can’t help but notice the beautiful murals that run throughout the motel, depicting the map of Route 66. Even the rooms are characterized by many references to the history and characters related to the myth of the Mother Road. To learn more about this small town, read our article on what to do in Kingman.

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One of the iconic cities of Route 66 is definitely Winslow, made immortal by the Eagles’ song Take it Easy.

  • La Posada Hotel and Gardens Located near the railroad and with characteristic architecture, more than a simple hotel, it is a real institution in the city. It also houses a museum and the whole structure is set in a green area where you can relax before your next stop. It is said that the famous Albert Einstein stayed in this hotel.

Another important city in Arizona is definitely Flagstaff. If you want to stay in a particular hotel rather than a nondescript one, the suggestion is to choose between the hotels in the center, such as:

  • Weatherford Hotel: This is one of the historical hotels with immediately recognizable architecture of undeniable charm.
  • Little America Hotel Flagstaff: The hotel is located in the middle of a forest just a short distance from the city. Impossible not to notice (and appreciate) – the huge outdoor swimming pool.

Route 66 Motels California

We have reached the end of the route. Before reaching the coveted goal of the Santa Monica pier, you will cross a long stretch of desert with a few ghost towns and old gas pumps. Once past Barstow and its characteristic murals, you will enter Greater Los Angeles and the landscape will change dramatically. Discover everything there is to see on this stretch by reading our article dedicated to Route 66 in California.

Route 66 Motel – Barstow

Route 66 lodging

Given its location, in the heart of Barstow, it may be your best choice before traveling the last few miles that separate you from the finishing line in Santa Monica. A strictly Route 66-themed structure (how could it be otherwise), with the reception practically covered with memorabilia and some historic cars parked near the motel. Some rooms have a curious feature, round beds! If Barstow is not just a quick stop-off point on your itinerary and you have some time to spend in the area, our suggestion is to walk down the main street and admire the many murals that tell both the local history and that of the Mother Road.

Address: 195 Main St, Barstow, CA

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Wigwam Motel – San Bernardino

lodging along route 66
Photo by Wayne Hsieh

This motel is also a true icon of Route 66, and if you’ve always wondered what it’s like to sleep inside an Indian tent, you’ll have one more reason to consider spending a night here. Every single room in the motel is in fact built in the typical shape of the Native American tepee but with some extra comforts, considering the fact that the whole motel has recently been completely renovated.

Once in the area why not also visit the first McDonald’s restaurant in the world with a museum (1398 N E St)? If you are not close to San Bernardino but you are still traveling on Route 66 in Arizona do not despair, because in Holbrook you will find another Wigwam Motel.

Address: 2728 W Foothill Blvd, Historic Route 66, San Bernardino, CA

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Other accommodations close to Route 66 attractions in California

Before reaching a long stretch of Route 66 that, at least as far as Barstow, doesn’t have much to offer (even in terms of hotels) we find the town of Needles. It, doesn’t have many attractions to offer either, but can be a good resting place before continuing on your road trip.

  • Rio Del Sol Inn Needles In summer at these latitudes, it is almost impossible not to choose a motel with a swimming pool. Here you will find a large outdoor one and a smaller indoor hot tub. Otherwise, it is a classic American motel, well kept with large and clean rooms.

Located in the area known as Greater Los Angeles, Pasadena is a consideration for a stop before entering the City of Angels. Given the importance of the city, we have dedicated an entire article to what to do in Pasadena, where you can also find valuable advice on overnight stays.

When to book and other useful tips for staying along Route 66

Now that you have an idea of the possibilities for finding places to sleep along Route 66, you might be wondering if and when it is worth booking hotels or motels that you will encounter on your road trip. Generally speaking, I would recommend that you book your hotel as soon as you have sketched out your route, for several reasons including:

  • Booking online in advance will allow you to save on the price of the room
  • You won’t have the nasty surprise of finding the room sold out. Do not underestimate this problem because in the high season in small towns along Route 66, it is not uncommon to find the no-vacancy sign on.
  • Even in big cities, the more distinctive a hotel/motel is, the more you run the risk that all the rooms will be booked before your arrival. If a location appeals to you, book it.
  • Driving for most of the day is tiring in the long run and, believe me, doing so with the certainty of having a place to sleep is much more reassuring than arriving at the end of the day and having to search for a hotel.

Our Tip:
Looking for accommodations for your trip from California to other parts of the Southwest? Read our guide that contains reviews of hotels and strategic tips for finding accommodations near major attractions: Where to Stay: Our Tips for the SouthWest Area

Warning: Operating hours can change and closures for extraordinary events can occur, so we strongly suggest to check the venues official websites.

filippo nardelli
Filippo Nardelli

I have a degree in History of North America and have always been fascinated by the United States.

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