Want to learn more about your ancestors’ era? Sleep on it in a historic hotel, cabin, castle or other lodgings. This list, categorized by related historic era, is just a start. Look for more lodgings by running a Google search on terms such as california or gold rush plus lodging.
Colonial Houses at Colonial Williamsburg
Stay overnight in this restored and rebuilt 18th-century town, brought to life daily with costumed character interpreters, tradespeople at work in their shops and special events.
The Ellis Sanders House
This 1840s brick home is open to lodgers at the edge of Old Nauvoo, a restored town where interpreters share the history and the faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Inn at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
Period-furnished guest rooms are spread amongst fifteen restored 19th-century buildings, occupied daily by costumed interpreters and skilled artisans.
Castle Inn Riverside
Built in 1888 from architectural drawings of a castle in Scotland, the inn offers guests Old World ambience with modern amenities.
Castle Unicorn Bed and Breakfast
Pacific Junction, Iowa
This re-creation of a German brick and stone castle boasts its own moat, gargoyles, stained glass windows, suits of armor and a tower.
Geneva on the Lake
This opulent 1911 Italian Renaissance villa replica on Seneca Lake offers a rich ambience with formal gardens, classical sculptures, 70-foot pool and boathouse.
A 1902 English Tudor-style home and gardens with a grand staircase, high ceilings, and antique furnishings and decorations, this lodging shares grounds with Koinonia, the oldest organic farm in Maryland.
Port Townsend, Wash.
This 1892, 30-room manor is built in the style of a Prussian castle, with 12-inch thick brick walls and intricate woodwork handcrafted by German artisans.
New Castle, Del.
A Colonial mansion built in 1732, this lodging is located in Battery Park on the Delaware River. Nearby are more historic buildings and a canal lock dating to 1829.
Casa de Solana
St. Augustine, Fla.
Built by a Spanish military leader around 1763, this ornate home has five Minorican fireplaces and walls cemented with broken coral and shells.
Colonial Houses, Colonial Williamsburg
Stay in one of 28 historic buildings at Colonial Williamsburg, a restored 18th-century town.
Elias Child House Bed & Breakfast
Historic cooking hearths (including a beehive oven) and original floors, paneling and windows give visitors to this 1700 home a sense of the past.
Governor Bradford House Country Inn at Mount Hope Farm
Several historic buildings on a 200-acre campus are anchored by a 1745 inn where George Washington stayed.
Henry Farm Inn
A 1770 stagecoach stop in the Green Mountains boasts its original floors, Early American furnishings, fireplaces, and tranquil surroundings including meadows, a pond and a river.
Stephen Daniels House
Enjoy early American furnishings and wood-burning fireplaces in this 1667 home, within walking distance of Salem historic sites and the wharf.
Three Chimneys Inn
This inn is one of the country’s oldest lodgings: The homestead section dates to 1649.
AYH Ranch Hostel
Vashon Island, Wash.
Sleep in a recreated teepee or in one of several authentic covered wagons, originally used to haul ammunition or grain.
Casa Europa Inn and Gallery
The Old World meets the New World in this 17th-century pueblo-style adobe with 3-foot-thick walls and rooms full of European antiques.
The Cliff House at Pikes Peak
Colorado Springs, Col.
An 1874 boardinghouse on a famous stagecoach run, this lodging originally accommodated trappers, hunters, and miners.
Garnet Ghost Town Cabin Rentals
These winter-available cabins in a remote ghost town—accessible only by snowmobile—have wood-burning stoves and outdoor plumbing.
Nauvoo Log Cabins
Original log cabins from around the western frontier have been collected and reconstructed as guest rentals.
Rider’s 1812 Inn
Built as an Inn in 1812, Rider’s Inn still has a cellar passageway said to have been part of Underground Railroad.
The Rough Riders Hotel Bed & Breakfast
An old stagecoach stop, Rough Riders still appears much as it did when Teddy Roosevelt ranched nearby and delivered an address from the hotel balcony.
Yellowstone River Inn Cabins
Get comfortable in your cabin and send the kids out to sleep in a historic “sheepherder’s wagon.”
Oak Alley Plantation, Restaurant & Inn
This elegant plantation home has been restored to its 1839 glory; guests stay in sharecropper’s cottages that have been converted to guest quarters.
Prospect Hill Plantation Inn
A 1700s plantation left largely intact, Prospect Hill has grounds that include a 1699 log cabin, 1720 overseer’s cottage, and 1796 slave quarters.
This complex of buildings includes a restored 1841 mansion, a converted dye factory, and a former convent, complete with elegant gardens, courtyards, and balconies.
Anchuca Historic Mansion & Inn
Built in 1830, Anchuca survived the 1863 siege of Vicksburg; it’s now a bed and breakfast in the heart of Vicksburg’s historic district.
Jerico Bed & Breakfast
Several restored log cabins cluster on a hillside on the site of a Union camp near the Droop Mountain Battlefield.
Myrtledene Bed & Breakfast
This 1830s brick inn served as a Confederate General’s headquarters during his raids on the surrounding area.
Plantation House Inn
This 1832 Greek revival clapboard home boasts 9 fireplaces and mahogany woodwork.
Also see Sleeping in Slave Quarters and the book Robert E. Lee Slept Here: Civil War Inns and Destinations: A Guide for the Discerning Traveler by Chuck Lawliss (Ballantine Books, $10).
Aaron Shipman House
Get a sense of the past in this 1880s three-story townhouse featuring original wood paneling, stained glass, chandeliers, and period furnishings.
The Abbey Bed & Breakfast
Cape May, NJ
The Gothic revival mansion (dating to about 1865) has a 60-foot tower, arched windows, ornate gas chandeliers, shaded verandas and Victorian furnishings.
Abigail’s Elegant Victorian Mansion
An 1888 mansion with authentic high Victorian interiors offers an interactive Victorian experience, with period games, movies, books, and furnishings.
The Atwood House Bed & Breakfast
An 1894 Neoclassical Georgian Revival mansion two blocks from the state capitol, this 7500-square foot home is decorated with Victorian antiques.
This Italianate “painted lady” still has its original plaster ceiling designs and parquet floors, and boasts authentic Victorian dZcor.
Ellerbeck Mansion Bed & Breakfast
Salt Lake City
This restored Victorian inn still has its original moldings, hardwood floors and stained glass.
The Grand Anne Bed & Breakfast
This 1897 Queen Anne overlooks the Mississippi River in a historic town with a colorful history.
Idaho Heritage Inn
Enjoy natural warm springs during your stay at this 1904 Colonial Revival in a historic district.
Shipman House Bed & Breakfast Inn
An 1899 Italianate and Queen Anne style manor house, Shipman still contains many furnishings and plants original to the home.
The Wentworth Mansion
The 1887 residence of a wealthy cotton merchant preserves the opulence of America’s Gilded Age in historic downtown Charleston.
Cliff Cottage Inn
Eureka Springs, Ark.
This first-edition Sears kit home, built around 1880 in Victorian style, overlooks a historic downtown.
Summer Inn Bed & Breakfast
This historic farmhouse was built from a Sears kit around 1912 by a Gold Rush claim jumper.
Red Boiling Springs, Tenn.
A 1924 mineral bathhouse, the Armours Hotel features covered bridges, a creek, a gazebo, and other attractions.
Blue Spruce Inn
The Arts and Crafts-style home boasts a broad veranda, original chandeliers, woodwork and stained glass. Some décor is a nod to a nearby American Indian reservation.
Fly right to the front door: the Hangar Hotel was modeled after a WWII hangar. All 50 rooms have replica 1940s furniture, army blankets and bomber jacket-leather chairs.
The Olde Stonehouse Bed & Breakfast Inn
A 1928 banker’s house, Old Stonehouse is still decorated in “roaring ’20s” style.
La Posada del Valle
This 1929 Santa Fe design is still furnished with 1920s and 1930s pieces.
Valley Hotel and Colony Inn
This 1930s hotel originally served as housing for teachers and nurses during the era of Alaskan settlement by the United States.
B&B at Skoglund Farm
This 1917 working farm with cattle, chickens, emu and peacocks welcomes guests, especially children (for whom there are special rates).
Rainbow Ridge Farms Bed & Breakfast
Guests can stay in an old farmhouse, feed the animals and gather eggs at this working 1902 farm on 35 acres.
Soldier Meadows Guest Ranch and Lodge
Formerly Fort McGarry, Soldier Meadows still has its original stone stables and officers’ quarters. Guests can work the historic cattle ranch, mine for opals or visit natural hot springs.
Red Caboose Getaway
Bed down in train cabooses; the oldest being a 1948 car.
The Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant
Stay in one of 19 fully-restored, 25-ton train cabooses.
Trout City Berth & Breakfast
Buena Vista, Col.
winter: (719) 495-0348; summer: (719) 395-8433
Spend the night in a Pullman car or caboose, parked at this old railway station up a mountain pass.
Also see Caboose Hotels, Caboose Motels, Caboose Bed and Breakfasts and Caboose B&Bs, Hotels & Motels.
Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast
Big Bay, Mich.
The 1896 lighthouse on Lake Superior still has its original light intact— a 1,500-pound Fresnel Lens.
East Brother Light Station
Point Richmond, Calif.
This 1873 island lighthouse, accessible only by boat, offers nationally renowned meals and a tour of the historic facilities.
Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast
Two Harbors, Minn.
Check out this working 1892 lighthouse on the shores of Lake Superior.
Jailhouse Inn Bed & Breakfast
Sleep behind bars in a converted 1869 jail, courthouse and sheriff’s quarters.
The Mansion at Elfindale
A former girls’ academy built as a private home in 1800, has a turret observation room, ornate fireplaces, stained-glass windows and antique furnishings.
McMenamins Kennedy School
Nap in class, chew gum and daydream without fear of being sent to the principal’s office. This former school features guest rooms in old classrooms, plus a movie theater, restaurant, soaking pool and bars.
The Round Barn Inn
About 200 round barns were built in Indiana, and this is one of the few left. Built in 1916, it now features unique collectibles and antiques: a real glimpse of Midwest Americana.
An old mill and mill pond, country store, coach house and tavern form a 1790s colonial complex filled with family heirlooms and primitive furnishings.
Historic Bed & Breakfasts, Inns, and Small Hotels by Suzanne G. Dane for the National Trust for Historic Preservation (Preservation Press, $22.95)
The Official Guide to American Historic Inns, Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns by Deborah Edwards Sakach (American Historic Inns, $16.95)