It all started in the late 1980's with a story published in Train's Magazine about the railroad action in Galesburg, Illinois. There happened to be a couple sentences of a great place to stay in town, a Howard Johnson Hotel that overlooked the Santa Fe Railroad mainline. I took a trip, and became hooked on "Railfan Motels"! Because really folks... why should railfanning stop when it's time to head for the motel? I've since become a frequent visitor to Galesburg. The hotel still plays host for the greatest show on the BNSF. The hotel later became a Ramada and is currently called Broad View Inn. The view is great and the trains are plentiful.
Finding these hotels became much easier once the web became a common tool. Our mission is to compose a list of verified motel / hotel properties, give you as much information that we can about each location. As more of us railfans use these motels, we have a better chance of the management maintaining the railroad view (meaning no trees or walls to obstruct view). When booking a room make a special request and ask for a room with a view of the railroad. Each motel/hotel listed details the best area of the property for a railroad view.
Currently we list 918 reviews of Railfan Motels. These are located throughout the United States. The properties we rate are verified, including pictures and notes of the visit. Passing along a personal experience can help you have an indication of what to expect, but note that RailfanMotels.com doesn't guarantee and is not responsible for motel/hotel conditions, services, cleanliness, rates, or other conditions that may not result as the same experience as our field scouts encountered. We are members of AAA, and refer to the AAA rating system for our reviews on this web site.
We will continue to populate the listings. We have a long list of motels/hotels to check. Once we approve them, you'll see them here on RailfanMotels.com !
Check us out before you take your next trip! Happy Railfanning!
Updated - The Kingsman, AZ page has been updated. Two motels have been removed, Rodeway Inn has closed to become a residence, and the 1st Value Inn has been torn down and replaced with a new truck wash. Maguson Hotel is now a Ramada. (Updated 12/26/2019).
Updated: Strasburg, PA - Red Caboose Motel has been updated after a recent visit. (Updated 10/24/2020).
Updated: Dunkirk, NY - Clarion Hotel has been updated after a recent visit (Updated 10/24/2020).
Updated: Jamaica NY - Airport Plaza Hotel is the former Howard Johnson motel. (Updated 10/24/2020).
New Addition: Jamaica, NY - LeTap Inn (Added 10/24/2020).
Removed - Econo Lodge - Battle Creek, MI - Motel closed & building demolished. (Updated 2/3/2021).
Updated: Staples, MN - Super 8 is now Americas Best Value Inn (Updated 2/3/2021).
New Additions: Tulsa, OK - Hotel Indigo and Holiday Inn Express have been added. (Added 2/3/2021).
New Additions: Marquette, IA - Cobblestone Inn / Frontier Motel. (Added 2/3/2021).
Updated - Longmont, CO - Best Western has been removed, hotel has been sold to become private residence. (Updated 5/6/2023).
Website update - We intend to update, and add / remove hotels later this year. We have received a lot of mail indicating updates are needed for certain properties. We have had an web host issues after an update prevented us from updating the site, as well as email issues with our web host. Long story short, don't use Webs to host a large web site. Looks like the problems have been fixed with updates on the hosts side, giving us full control once again. Another note; due to the inflation, and changes in many class 1 railroad operations, the hotel prices are usually much higher then we have posted (we plan to remove the prices all together), and freight rail traiffic maybe lower for many areas posted on this website. In the meantime; enjoy the site, and happy railfanning!