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5 Classic Roadside Motels in South Dakota


Last week I wrote about the rising popularity of the RV as we start to emerge into the outdoors again after a brutal and confining start to 2020. Americans are eager to safely get back to adventure destinations. Although we’re all a little hesitant to fly, we’re finding new ways to travel.

In the same vein as the RV, another Americana classic is finding its way back: the roadside motel. We’re not talking about luxury hotels with 25 stories but rather the open-air exterior corridor motels along the highway. If you’re not having any luck finding an RV you’ll need a place to stay for the night. And right now, given the circumstances that the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt us, most travelers are likely to choose a motel over a hotel, since their traditional outdoor corridors avoid busy lobbies and more contact with others.

According to Business Insider, brands like Super 8 and Days Inn, are already seeing increased demand for its properties with outside corridors. Ah, the classic motor-court style roadside motel is my kind of haven while traveling. My wife and I differ on this. She prefers the skyline luxury hotels and all of its amenities while I prefer the roadside classic motel. Sure, there’s not usually a continental breakfast but who wants to touch the waffle maker anyway nowadays?

If you’re looking for a classic roadside motel to bunk down for the night, here are 5 classics in South Dakota:

The Rocket Motel: Located only 30 minutes from Mount Rushmore and only 5 minutes from Custer State Park, this gem in the Black Hills brings the nostalgia.

The Gateway Motel: A fun place to hang your hat for the night just 15 minutes from Sioux Falls where Newton Hills is only a stone’s throw away.

Sioux Motel: The sign says super clean rooms and we like that. Located on 5th street in Murdo.

Ann’s Motel: As long as we’re stopping in Wall for pie and free ice water, check into Ann’s Motel for a night.

The Lazy U Motel: A blast from the past in Rapid City but still provides modern necessities like Wi-Fi and microwaves.

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