Biker-Friendly Lodging: Central U.S.

By Robert Filla

A collection of welcoming accommodations

by Robert Filla

Seeking to provide our readers with a pleasurable and unique riding experience, Thunder Press presents several biker-friendly places of lodging. And while often “biker friendly” actually translates into “motorcycle tolerant,” we believe these establishments have proven themselves to be businesses where you can truly enjoy the chance to plant both your kickstand and your body. Often owned and operated by riders, these lodgings were selected either through personal experience of the Thunder Press staff or the recommendations of other riders.

We have divided the U.S. into four sections that roughly correspond to North America’s time zones. We covered the Eastern Zone first and now we offer the Central Zone.

Enjoy your stay!

Nemo Guest Ranch, Nemo, South Dakota

Nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota and only 18 miles south of Sturgis is the Nemo Guest Ranch. Adjacent to Iron Mountain Road, the Needles Highway, Deadwood, Custer State Park and the Crazy Horse monument, Nemo is the perfect slice of Black Hills life. Along with ranch cabins, RV camping, horse camping and tent camping is also available. Since Nemo Canyon Road is a favored alternative to reaching the Black Hills, during the rally Nemo is awash in bike traffic. Accommodations range from one bedroom to six bedroom cabins, some with kitchenettes and some with full kitchens. All feature fire pits and grates but you will need to supply your own eating and cooking utensils. nemoguestranch.com

The Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

What happens when you take a 100-year-old warehouse in the middle of Milwaukee, sink a ton of money into loft-style renovations and open the doors to both motorcycle enthusiasts and business travelers? You have a massive success named the Iron Horse Hotel. Catering to bikers from around the world, it includes 100 oversized rooms, secure motorcycle parking, a self-service bike wash station, Thursday bike nights, and post-ride “Bikers Delight” spa services. The Harley-Davidson Museum is within walking distance. https://theironhorsehotel.com/

Mountain Air Cabins, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Mountain Air offers more than a dozen standalone lodgings in the area adjacent to the Smoky Mountains. Sleeping from two to 16 occupants, all are tagged as motorcycle friendly with several also being pet friendly. WiFi is available in most and a hot tub or Jacuzzi and pool table in many. And once you tire of scraping pegs in the Smokies, head over to the Devil’s Triangle, a gnarly, 44-mile loop northwest of Knoxville that circles Frozen Head State Park before taking a ride to Cyclemos, a unique motorcycle museum in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee, that pays homage to days long past. www.mountainaircabinrentals.com

Edelweiss Inn, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

The Ozark Mountains offer some of the best riding in the South and Eureka Springs is the ideal hub for a base camp. The Edelweiss Inn is favored by riders for its location as well as the owner’s welcoming manner towards bikers. At the end of a day of riding, the Edelweiss has cleaning rags available to clean up the road grime as well as decks and outdoor seating areas to relax and visit with friends. The Inn’s website even includes five riding loops developed by the Edelweiss along with a downloadable Arkansas Motorcycling Guide and a Ride Eureka Springs pamphlet. Not only is the Edelweiss biker friendly but this entire section of the state also embraces two-wheeled travelers. www.edelweissinn.com

Bullwinkle’s Lake Cabins, Lakehills, Texas

Some of the finest motorcycling experiences in the Lone Star State are in the famed Texas Hill Country. And 20 minutes west of San Antonio, in the heart of it all is Bullwinkle’s Lake Cabins on stunning Medina Lake. Nearby is the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum, Bandera (Cowboy Capital of the World—and very biker friendly), Lost Maples State Park, Luckenbach and, what many claim are the best motorcycle roads in Texas, the famed Three Twisted Sisters (State Roads 335, 336 and 337). Amenities include secure electric gate entrance, motorcycle-only covered parking, charcoal grills, fire pit, and pillow-top queen beds. www.bullwinkleslakecabins.com

While this is in no way a comprehensive listing, it does represent some of the best biker-friendly lodging currently available. As is standard with any travel, always check in advance for availability and rates. If you have suggestions or comments about these or other places of lodging you’d recommend, don’t be shy!

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