Back in the glory days of the family road trip, the amenities for the Mom and Pop motels we stayed in usually included air conditioning, a color TV, hot water and clean towels, and we felt like royalty. And if they had an outdoor pool, we felt like we were at the palace itself.  

A restaurant AND a pool? Why, we’re livin’ like the Rockefellers tonight!

There were no refrigerators for a $3.00 soft drink; there were vending machines for a 10c bottle of soda. If pop wanted a cup of coffee, there were no coffee makers. There were vending machines for that, too. If pop wanted beer, well, he’d have to go grab one out of the cooler in the car. Recreation activities might include shuffleboard or a swing set for the kids in the motel’s front yard.

Indoor pools, tennis courts, wet bars, and business centers. Those were for rich folks.

Today however, many of those amenities can be found at nearly every hotel or motel across the country and we can thank Holiday Inn for making these luxuries available to us ordinary working people.

You see, back in the 1970s, Holiday Inn was looking for new ways to reach out to families and business people who traveled a lot. As a result, they created the Holiday Inn Holidome, an indoor, climate-controlled space that included everything from water parks to tiki bars.

With the Holidome, Holiday Inn wasn’t just a place you spent the night on your way to another destination, it was the destination!  Was Pop too busy to take the family all the way to Florida this year? No problem. He could take you all into the city with him and you could spend the whole day swimming while he spent the day in the Holidome’s business center finishing up some proposals for his boss. (We guess you could say that, along with inventing the Holidome, Holiday Inn also invented the “staycation”.)

“Okay, darling. The kids and I will enjoy swimming in the pool while enjoy working for the man.”

The Holidome wasn’t only beneficial for Holiday Inn’s guests however; it was also beneficial for Holiday Inn owners and franchisees, too, and especially when it came to their swimming pools. You see, back before the Holidome concept, most Holiday Inn’s swimming pools were located outside. That was great for three months of summer, but what to do with the pool the other nine months, especially in the colder northern climates of the US?

To solve that problem, a Holiday Inn in North Dakota built a Holidome before it was even adopted by other Holiday Inns; in fact, it wasn’t even called a Holidome yet.  Nevertheless, now both travelers and locals alike could enjoy the swimming pool and other amenities year-round in this large, covered space. The idea really took off and Holiday Inn franchisees became competitive with one another to see who could build the biggest dome and fill it with the most amenities.  Even in typically warm and sunny climates the Holidome was a huge success because parents didn’t have to worry anymore about taking their kids all the way to Florida only to have it rain the whole week.

Nonetheless, in the 1990s, Holidomes started falling out of favor with travelers. Add to that the fact they were also costly to maintain, and the Holidomes naturally started to fall into disrepair. However, though the Holidome may not have stood the test of time, many who stayed at them during the 70s remember them quite fondly.

The good news is that they still exist in some places for those who want to go back and relive the nostalgia of the Holidome (or if you’re not quite comfortable road tripping too far from home just yet). Here are some of the Holidome locations to be sure to include in your next family road trip itinerary:

It’s like 1975 all over again.

Once you’ve enjoyed your retro-stay at the Holidome, how about having another taste of nostalgia for the good old days by making a Stuckey’s stop. With just one bite of our world-famous Stuckey’s pecan log roll, you’ll be transported back in time to the simpler days of your cross-country family road trips and counting down the billboards until your next stop at one of our other Stuckey’s locations.

While you’re there, don’t forget to browse through some of our other fine pecan candies like our pecan divinity bars and pecan pralines. They make excellent gifts for the folks back home, as does our branded Stuckey’s merchandise featuring our retro-inspired t-shirts, caps and mugs. We even have some of those quirky souvenirs you remember from your youth like rubber alligators, coonskin caps, and drinking birds.

What’s that you say? “There’s no Stuckey’s near me?” Well, now worries! You can now order Stuckey’s pecan log rolls and other fine pecan candies along with all sorts of other Stuckey’s memorabilia you know and love online and have it all conveniently delivered right to your home.

And for a little more on Stuckey’s and Holiday Inn, check out our Facebook post here!

Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!