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10 Cheap Fall Beaches You'll Love

By Robert Firpo-Cappiello
July 30, 2019
Sunset on the beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Courtesy <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/leeco/4298730098/" target="_blank"> Lee Coursey/Flickr</a>
From the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, from New England to Southern California, America’s beaches stay open long after Labor Day. It’s the same sun and surf—oh, except the crowds are gone and hotel rates have come back down to earth.

To tell the truth, here at Budget Travel we've never signed off on the notion that beach season ends on Labor Day. Balmy beach breezes, warm sun, and lobster rolls remain available well into October. And one of the benefits of hitting the shore in autumn is affordable hotel rates, putting dream destinations like Hilton Head, Montauk, Laguna Beach, and even Nantucket within your reach. Here, 10 of our favorite American beach towns with fall rates that say, "Welcome!"

1. HILTON HEAD

South Carolina

Warm beaches, warm welcome—plus pirates!

With fall temperatures in the 70s and 80s, miles of pristine lowcountry beaches, and the utterly unique Gullah culture, Hilton Head is truly like no other beach town in America. Learn more about what makes the island special at the Coastal Discovery Museum, or discover it for yourself on a quiet beach. If you're traveling with kids, don't miss Pirates of Hilton Head Island, with its ride aboard the Black Dagger ship. Or take a deep breath and explore the island on ZipLine Hilton Head's two-hour sky-high tour!

2. SAUGATUCK

Michigan

Step back in time in this sleepy Lake Michigan town

Picket fences, a 19th-century vibe, and not a chain restaurant in sight. Saugatuck is one of the places savvy Chicagoans go to get away from the big city. Before you can plant yourself on Oval Beach, you've got to hop a hand-cranked ferry across the Kalamazoo River.

3.LAGUNA BEACH

California

Live the SoCal beach dream

No, you don't have to surf just because you're on an iconic seven-mile stretch of Southern California sea and sand, but you can take a group surfing lesson for $75 with a guarantee that you'll "get up" on your board. Nearby Laguna Village offers excellent art galleries and shops, a nod to this gorgeous beach town's roots as an artists' colony.

4. BAY ST. LOUIS

Mississippi

Gulf beaches, fresh seafood, and art galleries

One of Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in America 2013, Bay St. Louis was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but has done more than recover since then. Explore Historic Old Town, go fishing, and take a walking tour of 19th-century homes, Creole cottages, and galleries, or just take Main Street straight down to the beach.

5. POINT PLEASANT BEACH

New Jersey

The lines for the roller coaster and zeppoli are way shorter in September!

One of Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in America 2018, Point Pleasant Beach is, well, pleasant enough in summer if you enjoy being part of a major scene, rubbing elbows with in-the-know New Yorkers, Philadelphians, and Jersey girls and boys who love Jenkinson's Boardwalk and the lovely stretch of beach here. But come September, the rides stay open, the cotton candy is just as sweet, but rates for hotel rooms just a block from the beach can be literally a third of the summer price.

6. PORT TOWNSEND

Washington

Old-timey seaport in the Pacific Northwest

We love the harbor and the foodie scene in this Victorian-era Olympic coast seaport, which was one of our Coolest Small Towns last year. A sea kayaker's dream town, Port Townsend also boasts nearby mountains for hiking and biking, and is an especially great place to cast for fish.

7. KEY WEST

Florida

You can't go any farther—or ask for a more beautiful location—down the East Coast

Well-known as one of Ernest Hemingway's favorite locales—with a party reputation to match—this gorgeous spot at the waaaaaaaaaay bottom of the U.S.'s East Coast boasts a much wider variety of activities, including tours of Victorian homes, nature kayaking, and unique art galleries. Sunset-watching here is not mandatory, but thoroughly recommended. No matter how cliché, it never gets old.

8. MONTAUK

New York

Parkland and board shorts at the very end of Long Island's East End

Sure, this dreamy beach town at the tip of New York's Long Island has gone a bit more upscale over the years, with some classic motels closing and serious eateries moving in. But with only 17 square miles bounded by water and 40 percent of the land devoted to state and county parkland, this place is still pretty wild, and one stop at the Ditch Plains beach and its surfing scene will make you feel as if you've traveled back to the days when trekking the 100+ miles from NYC kept most folks away.

9. LAHAINA

Hawaii

A hoppin' main street in paradise

For some people, the words "beautiful beach" and Maui are synonymous, and it's difficult to argue. But you'll also find a beautiful town—Hawaii's former capital, Lahaina—on the unparalleled island, with one of the U.S.'s most thriving main streets, the result, in part, of the 19th century whaling industry, for which Lahaina served as something of an unofficial capital as well. Nearby Kaanapali Beach, mountains you can almost reach out and touch, and a tranquil harbor make Lahaina a perfect town for kicking back.

10. NANTUCKET

Massachusetts

Eighteenth-century architecture meets 21st-century style

"See what a real corner of the world it occupies; how it stands there, away off shore, more lonely than the Eddystone lighthouse," wrote Herman Melville about Nantucket in Moby-Dick. This charmingly whale-shaped island still holds its lonely position off the coast of Cape Cod, but of course these days the whaling captains, sailors, and harpooners who made the island home two centuries ago have been replaced by captains of industry who can meet the sky-high summer rates. But things cool down literally and figuratively come September, when you can have perfect beaches, 18th-century cobblestone streets lined with contemporary galleries—and a table with a view—to yourself. (And don't miss the Nantucket Historical Association, with its beautifully designed whaling exhibits and exceptional docents, in the heart of downtown.)

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Budget Travel Lists

8 Best Day Trips From Nashville

The cities and towns that are just an easy drive from Nashville (between a half-hour and three hours) are full of natural and historical wonders that are ripe for a quick adventure. Whether you find yourself sampling some Tennessee whiskey from a powerhouse distillery or exploring the mysterious depths of an underground sea, here are eight of our favorite day-trip destinations. All of these locations can be reached in three hours or less from Nashville via car. Just be sure to check their websites and/or call ahead of time for any weather-related closures. 1. Brush up on your Civil War history in Franklin Drive time: 22 miles south of Nashville; 30-minute drive What to do: Franklin has come a long way since its days as a Confederate stronghold and site of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles (The Battle of Franklin). Today, the small town manages to preserve its historic past while stepping into its new role as a welcoming, suburban city brimming with quaint, locally owned shops and lively eateries. Start off by exploring three of Franklin’s most important Civil War sites – the Carnton Plantation, the Lotz House and the Carter House – through a local tour operator or venture out on your own on a self-guided tour. Later, head to downtown Franklin’s charming Main Street for boutique shopping and delectable Southern eats at Gray’s on Mainbefore capping off the day with a bottle of honeysuckle wine at the nearby Arrington Vineyards. 2. Drink some Tennessee whiskey in Lynchburg Drive time: 75 miles south of Nashville; one-hour and 40-minute drive What to do: Jack Daniels is practically synonymous with Tennessee whiskey, making Lynchburg – the home of Jack Daniels Distillery – a veritable mecca for fans of this storied brown spirit. Interestingly, the distillery is located in a dry county, but you can still sample whiskey drawn from individual barrels during one of their informative distillery tours. The town of Lynchburg itself is also worth exploring. If wine is more your speed, pop into the Lynchburg Winery before indulging in a slice of rich Southern gastronomic history at Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House Restaurant. If souvenir shopping is on the list, the surrounding shops are stocked with a delightful assortment of handmade crafts. 3. Go whitewater kayaking at Rock Island State Park Drive time: 87 miles east of Nashville; one-hour and 40-minute drive What to do: Within Rock Island State Park’s 883 acres, you’ll find a day full of nature excursions that cater to both laid-back explorers and adrenaline junkies alike. The park is both majestically craggy and verdant, boasting a 30-foot horseshoe waterfall that once powered the 19th-century cotton textile mill located above it. You can opt to hike past this powerful water feature on one of nine trails located below the dam, or, if you’re experienced with a kayak, you can take to the rushing stream and paddle your way downstream. Fishing, swimming and birding are also popular options here, with osprey, belted kingfishers and great blue herons in the area. 4. Visit an underground national park in Cave City, Kentucky Drive time: 93 miles northeast of Nashville; one-hour and 30-minute drive What to do: With its underground rivers, glittering crystals, jagged stalagmites and rare wildlife, Mammoth Cave National Park provides shelter for some of the most unusual ecosystems in the world. But the 400-mile surveyed passageways also have their fair share of fascinating tales to tell – including the cave’s turn as a tuberculosis hospital and the prehistoric mummies that inhabited its depths. You can spend a day learning about this U.S. national park through cave tours and experiences that range from an hour-and-a-half to six hours. After you’ve peeked at the blind beetles and eyeless fish inside the cave complex, go topside for an afternoon of hiking, fishing and ziplining through 53,000 acres of lush forest. 5. Explore space travel and breweries in Huntsville, Alabama Drive time: 110 miles south of Nashville; one-hour and 53-minute drive What to do: Home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsvilleis quite literally a town full of rocket scientists. As such, space-themed adventures are the order of the day, and there’s no better spot to explore the skies than at the U.S. Space &amp; Rocket Center. The Smithsonian-affiliated museum contains the world’s largest collection of space artifacts, including rocket and shuttle components. Both kids and adults alike will get a kick out of a walk-through replica of the International Space Station and the resident G-Force simulator. Huntsville has also come into its own as an arts and culture hub. Case in point: Lowe Mill Arts &amp; Entertainment, the nation’s largest privately owned arts facility. Inside this former cotton mill, you can watch artists at work from over 148 studios, dip into one of the six galleries or watch a performance in the facility’s theater. After an afternoon of the arts, wind down with a beer inside one of Huntsville’s many up-and-coming breweries, like the Salty Nut Brewery, Yellowhammer Brewing and Straight to Ale. Certain areas around town are designated open container, making it easy to continue exploring Huntsville with a to-go cup in hand. 6. Ride the rail up to Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga Drive time: 134 miles southeast of Nashville; two-hour and 10-minute drive What to do: Six miles from downtown Chattanooga lies a nature-based triple threat: Ruby Falls, Rock City and the Inline Railway. It’s an all-day, all-ages adventure based in Lookout Mountain, a mountain ridge running through Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. Start with a guided cave tour or a 700-foot zipline adventure through Ruby Falls, home of the world’s largest underground waterfall, before strolling through the diverse flora and fauna of the Rock City Gardens. Wrap up your day with a mile-high ride on the Incline Railway, one of the world’s steepest passenger railways. At the top: a bird’s eye from the Lookout Mountain observation deck. 7. Navigate the Lost Sea in Sweetwater Drive time: 170 miles east of Nashville; two-hour and 53-minute drive What to do: Tennessee may be land-locked, but that doesn’t stop the state from boasting its very own sea. Designated a registered natural landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior and listed as ‘America’s largest underground lake’ by Guinness World Book of Records, the Lost Sea is a massive body of water located in a historic cave system known as the Craighead Caverns. The true size of this body of water is unknown, but you can glide across its four-acre surface and catch a glimpse of the crystal formations and colossal rainbow trout that inhabit the caverns on one of the daily boat tours offered. Nearby, Sweetwater’s revitalized Main Street offers a bake shop full of indulgent Southern sweets, galleries and plenty of antique shopping. 8. Tour Elvis Presley’s stomping grounds in Memphis Drive time: 215 miles west of Nashville; three-hour drive What to do: Clocking in at just over 200 miles, the drive from Nashville to Memphis stretches the definition of a day trip, but if you’re a devotee of ‘The King’, you know that it’s all about taking care of business… in a flash. And there’s no other place that brings the legacy of Elvis to life quite like the kitschy and wonderfully bizarre Graceland. The full Elvis Experience tour takes about three hours, which still leaves you time to fill up on some that transcendent low-and-slow Memphis pulled pork at Central BBQ before heading back to Music City. Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with Lonely Planet’s weekly newsletter.

Budget Travel Lists

9 Perfect Day Trips From New Orleans

Whether you're fleeing from the brutally hot and humid weather or simply looking for a respite from the Big Easy's riot of colors and sounds, here are nine of the best day trips from New Orleans. 1. Barataria Preserve There are all sorts of swamp tours that operate out of New Orleans – we're even recommending one below – but one of our favorite ways to experience the south Louisiana wetlands is a visit to Barataria Preserve, a national park located about 25 miles south of New Orleans. Easy trails – dirt and boardwalk – thread through the swamps, and you may be able to spot local alligators, although wildlife viewing is hindered by prolific invasive water flora. On your way back to New Orleans, make sure to pop into the superlatively good Tan Dinh for some excellent Vietnamese food. Getting there: Take US-90 and cross the Crescent City Connection Bridge over the Mississippi to the New Orleans West Bank. From US-90, take exit 4B to access Barataria Blvd which takes you to the preserve. 2. Whitney Plantation A cluster of restored mansions sit roughly 50 miles west of New Orleans, with the Whitney being the most interesting of the bunch to visit. While most plantations now pay lip service to the history of slavery, the Whitney is a museum dedicated to unpacking the grim institution. Through a series of thoughtful exhibits, the Whitney demonstrates how the South did not just benefit from but was built upon chattel slavery. Getting there: The most direct route is I-10 West for about 40 miles, then detour south on LA-641 for another 10 miles. 3. Lafayette Cajun country is as fabled a destination as New Orleans, a land of low prairies, deep swamps, good music and delicious meals that you may never want to let your cardiologist know about. ‘Acadiana’, as the area is known, consists of many small towns scattered over southwest Louisiana. The capital of the region is Lafayette, a friendly small city located 140 miles west of New Orleans, packed with great food and excellent live music venues – don’t leave without stopping in for a night of dancing at the Blue Moon. Getting there: Take I-10 West for about 2-and-a-half hours. Part of the route goes through the preserved Atchafalaya Basin, one of the state’s remaining wild wetlands. 4. St Francisville When the furnace of New Orleans gets too hot or you just need some small-town arts atmosphere, head north about 120 miles to St Francisville, a tidy bohemian retreat set amidst hills and forests. A glut of historical buildings, cute cafes, antique-and-artsy shopping and hiking trails through the woods makes for a perfect break from New Orleans. Getting there: Take I-10 West up through the state capital to Baton Rouge, take exit 8C to get on I-110 North. From there, take US-61 North to St Francisville. 5. Mississippi Gulf Shore Despite being totally tied to the water, there’s no real beach access in New Orleans, barring a few stretches of not very friendly sand on Lake Pontchartrain. While the beaches of Gulf Shores and Dauphin Island, AL are pretty lovely, they’re also a fair distance. Consider instead the decent sand, friendly restaurants and generally laid-back seashore vibe at Mississippi Gulf Coast towns like Bay St Louis and Gulfport. While this area can get inundated with day-trippers on hot weekends, you can still embark on a relatively quiet escape during the week. Getting there: It depends on where you’re going, but this advice applies from Biloxi to the Alabama border – just head east on I-10. 6. North Shore The north shore of Lake Pontchartrain is made up of several bedroom suburbs of New Orleans and radiates a more sedate vibe than what you’ll find in the Crescent City. Attractions include sampling some brews at the Abita Brewery or exploring the surreal madness of theAbita Mystery House, one of the state’s great roadside attractions. Need a place to stay? Cabins at Fontainebleau State Park are raised on stilts over Lake Pontchartrain and make for a supremely relaxing, breezy escape. Getting there: To cross Lake Pontchartrain, take I-10 West and exit to cross the Pontchartrain Causeway, one of the largest bridges in the world. 7. New Iberia The hazy, humid town of New Iberia sits about 140 miles west of New Orleans. On the sleepy main streets you’ll find the well-preserved plantation of Shadows on the Teche, and just outside of town is the area’s main attraction: Avery Island (not really much of island), home of a huge salt mine and the headquarters of Tabasco, the iconic hot sauce maker. You can take a tour of the Tabasco Factory, and afterward amuse yourself by exploring the nearby Jungle Gardens, a sort of hybrid botanical retreat, wildlife preserve, aviary and a slice of historical trivia. Getting there: US-90 West gets you almost 100 percent into New Iberia, and you’ll get to see some low-lying Louisiana prairie and farmland on the way. 8. Paddling Into the Bayou While it’s great fun to trod a boardwalk at Barataria or watch an old fisherman point out gators on a motorized boat tour, there’s something utterly otherworldly about paddling the Louisiana swamps. It’s a strange, primal, beautiful experience; you are at once present in the midst of the bayou, yet also deeply aware that you are a visitor to this ecosystem, a fish out of water (or a human gliding across it, more accurately). Louisiana Lost Land Tours, conducted by local environmental experts, give participants an excellent kayaking experience, as well as a solid grounding in the unique environmental issues confronting south Louisiana. Getting there: Lost Lands will help you coordinate the launching point for your swamp adventure. 9. Baton Rouge A lot of New Orleanians blow off Baton Rouge – named for a red stick used as a geographic marker by local Native Americans. This may be known as the state’s grey, faceless capital, yet it's also a sprawling town with some decent attractions. Football games at LSU are a non-stop display of pageantry and spectacle; it's a glimpse into the football-mad world of the American South where a tailgating party is a monumental sports moment. For a quieter experience, the Rural Life Museum is a window onto the state’s past. Getting there: The ‘BR’ is an easy 80-mile trek northwest of New Orleans via I-10. Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with Lonely Planet’s weekly newsletter.

Budget Travel Lists

Historic U.S. Homes: Our Top 8 Picks

You can read an author’s entire body of work, study a president’s legacy, or celebrate the achievements of a civil rights hero, but nothing gives you a true understanding of a famous figure like a visit to the place she or he lived. Their home is their sanctuary for creating their art, developing and carrying out their righteous mission, or simply experiencing life in a setting that influenced them. Here are a few historic homes that deliver a thorough education and, if you’re open to it, inspiration. 1. Harry S. Truman National Historic Site: Independence, Missouri From 1919, the year he married Bess Wallace, until his death in 1972, President Harry S. Truman lived in a simple Victorian home in, fittingly enough, Independence, Missouri. (During his eight-year residency on Pennsylvania Avenue, it was known as the ‘Summer White House’) A wander through this home delivers an intimate look at the life of the World War I veteran and 33rd American President. Like most presidential homes and memorials, this one is part of the National Parks Service and tours by park rangers happen regularly. The home is so loaded with period details, family heirlooms, personal objects and memorabilia that a guided tour is well worth it. 2. Susan B. Anthony House: Rochester, New York One of the cornerstones of American democracy – a woman’s right to vote – took root at a modest, pre-Civil War brick house in Rochester, New York, which is located about 90 minutes from Niagara Falls. Pioneering activist Susan B. Anthony turned her house into the headquarters of the suffrage movement, and when she wasn’t campaigning across the country, she was organizing from the parlor here, often with anti-slavery activist Frederick Douglass and fellow women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Check out the third-floor attic, where she penned many political documents, and the second floor features a collection of memorabilia that tell the story of the suffrage movement. 3. John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site: Brookline, Massachusetts America’s 35th president was born and raised just outside of Boston, in the ritzy suburb of Brookline, and to this day, the unassuming home where he spent the first three years of his life stands as a monument. It’s a museum-like destination showcasing Kennedy family mementos and photographs. 4. Morris-Jumel Mansion: New York, New York George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton are just a few of the notables who dined in the Morris-Jumel Mansion, a country retreat built in 1765 on an elevated perch overlooking Manhattan in what is now the Sugar Hill neighborhood of Harlem. It was commissioned by Roger Morris, a colonel in the British Army, and his wife Mary. But in 1776 it was seized by the Continental Army and transformed into General Washington’s HQ. About 35 years later, it was purchased by wealthy businessman Stephen Jumel who pulled out all the stops to refurbish it. Known to be the oldest house in Manhattan, its period details have been carefully maintained, much to the joy of locals over time. (Duke Ellington once deemed it ‘the jewel in the crown of Sugar Hill.’) 5. Edgar Allan Poe House &amp; Museum: Baltimore, Maryland The city of Baltimore pays tribute to its longtime resident Edgar Allan Poe in many ways, such as naming its football team the Ravens, in honor of his famous poem. A visit to Charm City can be a Poe-filled pilgrimage, what with Enoch Pratt Free Library’s original manuscripts and his grave at Westminster Hall and Burial Ground. Of course, the best way to learn about the American icon and his celebrated work is to visit the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, a modest building where he lived for much of the 1930s with his teenage cousin/bride, Virginia, and her mother. His workroom sits at the top of a narrow and fittingly creaky staircase while the rest of the house, which became a National Historic Landmark in 1962, has exhibits on his life in Baltimore, his family and the poems and stories he penned. 6. Emily Dickinson Museum: Amherst, Massachusetts The tranquil woodsy landscape of Amherst Massachusetts, about 95 miles west of Boston, is the setting where Emily Dickinson penned her contemplative, radical verse. The Emily Dickinson Museum is set in two historic properties – the Evergreens, her brother and sister-in-law’s house, and the Homestead, a two-and-a-half-story brick house, where the famously reclusive Dickinson was born and spent most of her Victorian-era life writing countless poems, only ten of which were published – allegedly without her knowing – during her lifetime. Wander the Homestead for a look at her parlors, library, kitchen and maid’s quarters and check out ‘my Voice is alive,’ an interpretive exhibit about her early work. 7. Louis Armstrong House: Queens, New York The brick house on 103rd Street in the working-class neighborhood of Corona, Queens, doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside is a time capsule that tells the story of one of America’s most iconic musicians. Louis Armstrong, who grew up poor in New Orleans, lived out his retirement years with his wife, Lucille, in this gorgeously appointed home, which today stands as a tribute to the legend. The charming kitchen, the opulent bathroom and bedroom, the handsome wood-paneled office featuring original recording equipment, and the inviting living room, packed with souvenirs that Satchmo collected on his global travels, have all been maintained with attention to detail. 8. Eastman Museum: Rochester, New York Photography museums and galleries proliferate the planet, but the oldest in the world is in Rochester, New York at the estate of George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company. A National Historic Landmark since 1966, the Eastman Museum is set on 10.5 picturesque acres and contains works from more than 14,000 photographers, including celebrated contemporary artists like Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman, the world’s largest collection of daguerreotypes, and vintage prints from luminaries like Ansel Adams. Eastman’s actual home contains more than 200,000 objects ranging from business and personal correspondences, including some with presidents, his own photos and scrapbooks, and an archive of Kodak advertisements. Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with Lonely Planet’s weekly newsletter.

Budget Travel Lists

8 Coolest Motels in America

Over the past few years, creative hoteliers have been taking rundown vintage motor lodges and sprucing them up with modern amenities without sacrificing any of the nostalgic charm. Here are a few of America's coolest motels where you can rest your head, retro-style. 1. Austin Motel: Austin, Texas Joanne’s Fine Foods, a classic 1950s-style diner, is the Austin Motel’srestaurant, and its throwback vibe captures the overall vibe of the super-hip property. Both fit perfectly into their setting, Austin’s super-hip South Congress neighborhood. Opened in 1938, the motel underwent a makeover in 2017 and now stands as a tribute to mid-century modern design and style. Each room features retro-esque radios and lamps, plus orange and yellow vinyl accents that complement the ultra-colorful, vibrant wallpaper. But the biggest draw is the kidney-shaped pool, a gathering spot for locals in the warm weather. 2. Beck’s Motor Lodge: San Francisco, California Rooms at this Castro district motel are no longer $5 per night, the rate charged when it opened in 1958, but parking is free, which is hard to come by in San Francisco and a big boon for road-trippers passing through. Beck’s Motor Lodge is perhaps the most historic on our list, what with its role in the gay rights scene in the 1960s. A 2017 makeover added sunburst décor, analog clocks, simple throwback furniture, and other details that enhance mid-century modern vibe. Contemporary amenities like flat-screen televisions were added, too. A few of the 58 rooms have access to the rooftop sundeck, a perfect perch for a timeless San Francisco activity: watching the fog roll by. 3. Vagabond Hotel: Miami, Florida Once you know that Sammy Davis Jr and Frank Sinatra hung out here back in the day, you’ll understand how important it was that this Miamihaunt’s snazzy 1950s-era vibe was preserved during a 2014 refurbishment. The works brought the hotel back from the brink of disrepair. The Vagabond Hotel’s revival is in sync with the design-centric MiMo Historic District in which it’s located. The sleek rooms feature Atomic Era-style geometric stenciling on the walls, groovy vintage lighting fixtures and custom-made furniture with pops of Miami-appropriate pink, turquoise, and muted yellow hues. 4. Modern Hotel &amp; Bar: Boise, Idaho Because of the growing number of hipster business that have sprung up over the past few years – breweries, farm-to-table restaurants, artist galleries – Boise has developed a reputation as ‘Little Portland.’ As such, the Modern Hotel &amp; Bar, an expansive low-rise building located about a ten-minute walk from the vibrant downtown, fits right in. It opened in 2007 in an overhauled Travelodge, an early lackluster motel franchise with all the hallmarks of a classic roadside accommodation, such as rooms that open onto an outdoor corridor. The rooms are decorated with mid-century modern furniture and retro-chic lighting. The stylish, laid-back restaurant/bar features creative dishes and classic cocktails. The most buzzed-about thing, however, is the turntable and collection of ’45s in the lobby bathroom. When the hotel opened, locals lined up to play DJ. 5. Big Texan: Amarillo, Texas The towering cowboy figure flanking the roadside sign for the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo is a dead giveaway of the adjacent Big Texas Motel’s kitschy throwback vibe. Not convinced? Just take a look at the motel’s façade, which looks like the set of a Western movie, and the Texas-shaped pool. Opened in 1960 and located on Route 66, just a few minutes from Rick Husband International Airport, the property’s rooms feature campy touches such as swinging saloon doors, old-timey wooden furniture and animal pelts, all of which add up to a theatrical Old West atmosphere. 6. Jupiter Hotel: Portland, Oregon Located in Portland’s fast-evolving Central Eastside neighborhood (known locally as Lower Burnside, or LoBu), Jupiter Hotel takes the log cabin design that’s inextricably linked to the Pacific Northwest’s woodsy landscape and gives it a jolt of cool, modern energy. Set in a low-slung 1964 motor lodge, which stretches out across several zig-zagging buildings, rooms open to an outdoor corridor. But the old-school look of the exterior belies the sleek rooms, which balance subdued minimalism with pop art vibrancy. The creative vibe that’s so characteristic of Portland extends beyond the rooms. The lobby doubles as a gallery for local artists, and the Doug Fir Lounge – a log-cabin-themed restaurant/bar and club next to the motel – features local beer, nightly concerts and a lively patio. If the creativity moves you, doodle your masterpiece on your room’s giant chalkboard before snapping it and tagging it #jupiterhotel. 7. Thunderbird Inn: Savannah, Georgia With its neon sign, blocks of color marking the exterior, and MoonPies and cans of RC Cola on the nightstand, the T-Bird Inn looks like something out of a Doris Day movie. When this downtown Savannahmotel, which sits on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1964, it lured travelers – including the Jackson 5 – with its ‘refrigerated’ rooms. Now, after a 2018 overhaul, it charms with warm popcorn on arrival, retro-chic rooms, full-on green initiatives, and complimentary Krispy Kreme donuts. Also, puppy parents will be happy to know that the hotel features an enclosed dog run and offers doggie bedding and treats. 8. Unscripted Durham: Durham, North Carolina Retrofitted into a 1960s motor lodge, the Unscripted Durham boasts a giddy mod sensibility with a vintage-style poolside lounge, mid-century modern furniture in the lobby and guestrooms, and wallpaper with colorful geometric patterns throughout. No modern, high-tech amenities are spared at the expense of a thoughtfully designed vintage look that makes you half-expect Don Draper to stroll through the lobby of this conveniently located downtown Durham property. There’s a smart flat-screen television and Bluetooth sound system in each room and high-tech equipment in the fitness center. Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with Lonely Planet’s weekly newsletter. Make sure you're ready for anything with travel insurance from our trusted partners.

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