One of the staples of a roadtrip to northern Michigan was the roadside motel, or motor lodge, or even a small cabin. These little overnight stays cost very little and they popped up all over the place: on major highways, back roads, dirt roads, small towns, and out in the middle of nowhere.

Going back a number of decades, these joints could cost maybe a whoppin' two dollars a night. The further north you went, the cheaper they were. Nowadays, with all the casinos bringing more people north, the prices to these quaint little hole-in-the-wall overnighters aren't inexpensive anymore.

The rooms weren't always the cleanest, there may be a broken drawer handle, no TV, no phone, rusty toilet, no bathtub, DEFINITELY no wi-fi, cobwebs, ripped window screens, a garbage pail outside with leftover garbage from the previous tenant, and the front door handle was usually loose.

And those were just the motor lodge rooms.

The little roadside cabins were another story entirely. I remember staying in one of those lakeside cabins and – I'm not exaggerating – the bed took up the whole room. I mean, the mattress was literally from one wall to the other, that's how cramped this place was. It was impossible to fall out of bed and difficult to get up in the middle of the night to pee. Bed and toilet. That was it. You wanna shower? You had to go to the community showers to do so.

There are still a good number of these quaint little motor lodges/motels/cabins in Michigan. If you're too spoiled by the hotels and motels that have EVERYthing for you, then you need to be brought back down to earth and stay at one of these little 'mom & pop' motels or cabins. Granted, they weren't all small and rustic, but they provided an easy nights rest and a not-so-expensive way to get away for a couple of nights.

In the gallery below, take a look at sixty old Michigan cabins, motels, traveler's inns, and motor lodges, going back from the early 1900s to the 1960s...many of them gone forever.

Vintage Michigan Motor Lodges


Vintage Hamburger Diners and Michigan's First Drive-in Restaurant

Vintage Michigan Airports

Michigan's Vintage Bowling Alleys: 1908-1962

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