As we move into summer after more than a year of lockdowns caused by COVID-19, people are eager to get around and get things done. International travel is still problematic because we are not done with the pandemic yet, but domestic travel is picking up and what could be more American than a road trip? It’s a great way to see the country and has inspired entire genres of literature and films.
You need two things for a road trip: a car and accommodation, preferably somewhere affordable and not far from the highway. With that in mind, 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of some classic American motels and inns, past and present.
Motels are literally made for road trips – motel is a contraction of engine and hotel, that is, a place designed for motorists. The world’s first was in San Luis Obispo, Calif., And it’s on our list.
Motels generally have certain characteristics in common: a single building of adjoining rooms with doors leading to a parking lot. They are often privately owned, although chains do exist. Motels peaked in popularity in the 1960s, when they faced competition from large hotel chains and interstate highways bypassed small towns.
Some of the older motels and inns on our list have not survived and have been converted to other uses or even demolished.
Fortunately, many classics still survive and can be visited. To discover other American treasures, here are the 30 most popular national monuments.
Click here to see classic images of motels and inns from the past and present