Road tripping across Texas is a tradition treasured by many residents. There is so much to see in this great state of ours that flying over it all just isn’t an option. While you’re traveling the highways and byways of Texas, you should stay in one of these seven vintage Texas motels. Just like what you stayed in as a kid on family vacations, these motels are steeped in history and retro charm.
7. Hotel San José – Austin
Located in the fashionable South Congress neighborhood, the Hotel San José has a storied history in the Capital City. Originally built in the 1930’s, the hotel was purchased by Liz Lambert in the mid-90’s and eventually renovated to its current state of chicness.
6. Stone Village Tourist Camp – Fort Davis
The Stone Village Tourist Camp in Fort Davis started out life in 1935 as a tourist motel that sprang up just as FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps was put to work building the nearby Davis Mountain State Park and Indian Lodge complex. The motel changed hands a few times over the decades but it has been well-preserved and is a popular west Texas destination.
5. Belmont Hotel – Dallas
The Belmont Motor Hotel was first built in 1946 in the Art Moderne style. The motel was cut into a cliffside to allow for beautiful views of the downtown Dallas skyline. It was first restored in 2005 and is currently undergoing more renovations.
4. Maverick Inn – Alpine
Located in the small town of Alpine you’ll find the Maverick Inn, previously the Siesta Inn. Newly renovated in 2011, the Maverick Inn is a little slice of motel Americana. So the next time you’re in Alpine, stop and take a rest.
3. Big Texan Motel – Amarillo
Part of the legendary Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, the Big Texan Motel looks like something out of a cartoon western on the outside with its brightly colored facade. The inside is also very western, featuring bare plywood walls and lots of unfinished wooden furniture. Staying at the Big Texan is a little like stepping back in time.
2. Marathon Motel – Marathon
Located in Marathon, Texas, the Marathon Motel is a step back in time except you get to bring modern conveniences with you. First built in 1940, the Marathon Motel was in such poor shape by the late 1980’s that the city almost had it condemned. It was rescued from this fate, however, by the Hoover family of San Angelo, who repaired and upgraded it and got it back into a livable condition. The current owner purchased the property in the early 2000’s and made even more improvements, which is why it is now a fantastic vintage Texas motel.
1. Austin Motel – Austin
Operating since 1938, the Austin Motel is a recognizable sight in the Live Music Capital of the World for its blazing red sign and clever motto, “so close, yet so far out.” The hotel was renovated in 1993 and, with its uniquely decorated rooms and kidney-bean shaped pool, is a local favorite.