Waco isn’t teeming with trendy, historic, or even interesting places to spend the night; in fact, chain hotels are virtually the only option. Fortunately, for the most part, they’re clean and affordable.
The best of the bunch are downtown near Baylor University, including the Best Western Old Main Lodge (I-35 at Fourth St., 254/753-0316, www.bestwesterntexas.com, $86 d). The hotel is adjacent to the Baylor U. campus and offers a free continental breakfast, Internet access, and an outdoor pool.
One of the city’s only decent independent options is Hotel Waco (1001 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 254/753-0261, www.hotelwaco.com, $89 d), which features free hot breakfasts, a complimentary airport shuttle, free wireless Internet access, and what’s billed as the largest outdoor pool in town.
Another good option near Baylor is La Quinta Inn (1110 S. Ninth St., 254/752-9741, www.lq.com, $95 d), offering free Internet access, a complimentary continental breakfast, and an outdoor pool.
The most upscale option in town is the Hilton Waco (113 S. University Parks Dr., 254/754-8484, www.hilton.com, $149 d). The recently renovated “high” rise, adjoining the Waco Convention Center, overlooks the mighty Brazos River and is across the street from the city’s warehouse entertainment district. Rooms include free wireless Internet, and the hotel contains a fitness center, outdoor pool, hot tub, and tennis court.
Since Waco is overrun with chain hotels, consider staying at one of the city’s bed-and-breakfasts as an alternative. Nestled near downtown is the Cotton Palace (1910 Austin Ave., 254/753-7294, www.thecottonpalace.com, rooms start at $120), a three-story 1910 Arts and Crafts–style home with seven plush rooms. Guests can relax in rocking chairs on the front porch and help themselves to beverages and homemade treats from the bottomless cookie jar. Luxury robes and marble whirlpool tubs are available in some rooms.
For a more rural experience, there’s Let’s Go Country B&B (1182 Spring Lake Rd., 254/799-7947, www.letsgocountry.com, rooms start at $120). Accommodations are located in a renovated 1913 Victorian house on a working farm. The B&B features comfortable rustic furnishings, gourmet breakfasts, and the peace and privacy of quiet country living.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates a popular camping area along the shores of Lake Waco. Sites include Speegleville Park, Midway Park, and Airport Park, each providing basic drive-in pads and spaces with water and electricity. For information or reservations call the Corps of Engineers at 254/756-5359.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition