Classic Cowboy Towns and B and Bs

The main street of Tombstone, Arizona, is where all the action takes place. Frommers.com Community
By Charis Atlas Heelan

By day, you want to discover historic ghost towns and abandoned mines, but by night, you'd like to bed down with some creature comforts. Relax at a cozy B&B in one of these five classic Western towns. Cowboy boots and hats are optional.

Photo Caption: The main street of Tombstone, Arizona, is where all the action takes place.
Photo by Forever Imagery/Frommers.com Community
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Sheridan's Historic Main Street, home to more than 30 buildings on the National Register. Sheridan, WY Travel and Tourism
What: One of the last great Frontier towns, Sheridan lies on the infamous "Bloody Bozeman" Trail in a valley in traditional Sioux and Cheyenne hunting grounds, where leaders like Red Cloud and Crazy Horse took their final stands below the Big Horn Mountains. Indian battlesites surround Sheridan, including Fort Phil Kearny, Fetterman Battle, Wagon Box Fight, and the Little Bighorn Battlefield.

Why: Relive history at nearby forts and battlefields; visit museums and interpretive walking trails; and experience the town's frontier spirit through cultural events and rodeos. Sheridan's Main Street district is home to more than 30 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. There are also endless outdoor activities, such as skiing, hiking, mountain-bike riding, and fishing in the nearby Bighorn Mountains.

Where: Sheridan is about a two-hour drive southeast of Billings, Mont. Although there are a few lodging options in the town of Sheridan itself, Spahn's Bighorn Mountain Bed and Breakfast is worth the 15-mile detour for its gorgeous country-style inn on the face of the Bighorn Mountains.

How Much: Double room rates at Spahn's start at $125 per night. Views are priceless.

More Info: Sheridan & Spahn's Bighorn Mountain Bed and Breakfast.

Photo Caption: Sheridan's Historic Main Street, home to more than 30 buildings on the National Register. Courtesy Sheridan, WY Travel and Tourism
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The historic No Scum Allowed Saloon in White Oaks, NM. Courtesy ruidosoattractions.com ruidosoattractions.com
What: Founded in 1869, this New Mexico gold-rush town gained notoriety as one of Billy the Kid's favorite places to hang out (and commit a few crimes, so it seems).

Why: Don't miss White Oaks' Cedarvale Cemetery, where you can visit the tombstone of Deputy Sheriff James Bell. You'll see the epitaph, "Murdered by William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid." To experience what the Old West was like, down a whiskey at the No Scum Allowed Saloon, saddle up at Windward Stables,and mark your calendar for next year's Gold Rush Days Festival (first Saturday in June).

Where: White Oaks is in Ruidoso/Lincoln County, about three hours southeast of Albuquerque or two hours west of Roswell. The closest B&B to White Oaks is 30 miles away, the welcoming Evergreen Manor Bed and Breakfast.

How Much: A night at Evergreen Manor starts at $95 for a double room with breakfast; stay on a Tuesday to Thursday night from only $75 a night. A full day of riding instruction at Windward Stables is $225; a half-day trip is $165, or one hour is $55.

More Info: Evergreen Manor; No Scum Allowed Saloon; Jaimee Tate's Windward Stables (tel. 575/648-4015)

Photo Caption: The historic No Scum Allowed Saloon in White Oaks, NM.
Courtesy ruidosoattractions.com
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Boot Hill, Dodge City. Courtesy Dodge City Convention & Visitors Bureau Dodge City Convention & Visitors Bureau
What: Part of the historic Santa Fe Trail, Dodge City was established as a Western frontier town in 1872. Known as the Cowboy Capital, it also had its fair share of lawlessness and even men like Wyatt Earp struggled to keep control of the town's bars, gambling dens, and rowdy men.

Why: Dodge City became famous as the place to "get out of," but there are plenty of reasons to stay -- stagecoach rides, the historic Boot Hill Cemetery, and the annual Dodge City Days Western celebration (last week of July).

Where: Dodge City is in southwest Kansas, about 150 miles west of Wichita. The 1920s-era Boot Hill Bed and Breakfast is at 603 W. Spruce St.

How Much: Double rooms start at $99 per night, with breakfast.

More Info: Boot Hill Bed and Breakfast; Dodge City; Dodge City Days.

Photo Caption: Boot Hill, Dodge City.
Courtesy Dodge City Convention & Visitors Bureau
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Historic Deadwood, The Black Hills Jérémie Souteyrat
What: Founded in 1876, the former gold rush town can lay claim to two of the Wild West's most beloved (and notorious) characters: Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

Why: Today, the entire city of Deadwood -- with a population of about 2,300 people -- is on the National Historic Register and features some remarkable examples of Victorian architecture. There are also plenty of nighttime activities in the form of gaming establishments. Visit the Mount Moriah Cemetery and walk down Main Street to get a feel for how the town looked more than 100 years ago.

Where: Deadwood is in western South Dakota's Black Hills, about 40 miles northwest of Rapid City. You'll find the quaint Tucker Inn right on Main Street.

How Much: Prices for a double room start at $120 per night, with breakfast.

More Info: Tucker Inn ; City of Deadwood

Photo Caption: Historic Deadwood, the Black Hills
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Tombstone, Arizona, is one of the most famous gold-mining towns of the 1880s. J. Stephen Conn
What: Perhaps the most famous of the gold- and silver-mining towns of the 1880s, Tombstone was once synonymous with gun-slinging and settling scores at the O.K. Corral.

Why: The Town Too Tough to Die is a National Historic Landmark and includes some of the West's most intact late 19th-century architecture. Visit Boothill Graveyard and the 1880s-era Old City Hall; catch a live gunfight, dancing, or Wild West animal show; or walk in the footsteps of the Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday along Fremont, Allen, and Toughnut Streets.

Where: Tombstone is about 70 miles southeast of Tucson, AZ. The historic Tombstone Bordello is at 107 W. Allen St.

How Much: There are 10 guest rooms at the Bordello starting at $99 per night, with a home-cooked breakfast.

More Info: Tombstone Bordello; Tombstone Chamber of Commerce

Photo Caption: Tombstone, Arizona, is one of the most famous gold-mining towns of the 1880s. Photo by J. Stephen Conn/Flickr.com
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