Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Wed April 06 2016

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  • Worldwide Scott | April 6, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    6 of the Best Motel Kicks on Route 66

    6 of the Best Motel Kicks on Route 66

    Photo by Worldwide Scott

    Driving Route 66 is the definition of bucket list material, drawing people from all over the world each year to this legendary weathered, worn, and character-filled stretch of concrete. The adventure of the wide-open road, the landscapes, the quintessentially American brand of kitsch, the ability to look in the rearview mirror and see a slice of the past — it all draws us to the “The Mother Road.”

    While cruising down Route 66 hunting down both historical and quirky pit stops will fill your days with great times, the nights can be just as fun. Each evening you'll get to pick lodging to stay in that can make your time traveling this iconic road even more special.

    READ MORE: Find What’s Lost on Route 66

    While chain brands with a numeral in their name are fine, you shouldn’t just stay at any old joint on Route 66. Nope, you want a place that exemplifies the mystique of this motorway, and the following are just a few of the best vintage and/or unique places to get your motel kicks on Route 66, listed from east to west.

    1. The Wagon Wheel Motel - Cuba, Missouri

    A collection of stone cottages just an hour or so past Saint Louis, The Wagon Wheel Motel is Route 66’s oldest continually operating accommodation. Built in the 1930s in a unique “Ozark stone meets Tudor” style, the motel spreads out over spacious green grounds, featuring newly refurbished rooms and patio space, the latter being perfect for travelers to relax on and swap travel stories each night. The motel is also home to one of the most iconic neon signs on Route 66, which has been buzzing since day one.

    2. The Big Texan Motel - Amarillo, Texas

    While this motel certainly makes a perfect Route 66 stay with its “Old Western Town” facade that stretches out over all the units, The Big Texan Steak Ranch, its brother property, makes for a memorable stay. Opened in the 1960s, the Steak Ranch quickly became a Route 66 legend with its Texas-sized hospitality and massive cowboy sign out front.

    In later years, it gained fame for being home to the “Free 72 oz. Steak.” This massive slab of beef is complimentary if eaten within one hour — with assorted side items, of course.

    3. Blue Swallow Motel - Tucumcari, New Mexico

    Tucumcari was a bustling stop along Route 66 in its heyday, known far and wide for its iconic billboard advertising campaign that plastered the phrase "Tucumcari Tonite!" all over the route. While Tucumcari certainly doesn't bustle as much as it used to, the buzz is still in the air with the many vintage motels that still line the main drag in town. The Blue Swallow Motel and its famous arched sign is hands-down the most legendary, and it has been recently re-furbished to boot.

    4. Silver Saddle Motel - Santa Fe, New Mexico

    Okay, Santa Fe may have only been on the original alignment of Route 66 from 1926 to 1938, and technically this hotel only opened in 1958, but what it lacks in hardcore Route 66 history, it more than makes up for with its Western decor and perfect level of kitsch. I can personally attest that the motel is meticulously looked after, and is the perfect base to explore the fascinating historical and culinary delights of Santa Fe.

    READ MORE: Blacktop Candy's Serves up Classic Cars for Classic Road Trips

    5. & 6. Wigwam Motel -  Holbrook, Arizona & San Bernardino, California

    Originally a nationwide chain of seven motels, there are only 3 Wigwam motels left in 2016, and two of them just happen to be on Route 66. They are independently owned and operated, but whether you stay in the location in Holbrook, Arizona or San Bernardino, California, you are sure to have a unique experience, which is exactly what you came on Route 66 for in the first place. 


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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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