Florida Motel Sign Designs


Drive around any coastal town in Florida and you’ll find an endless array of little mom and pop-type motels that run the gamut from total craphole dive to retro boutique. I look at various properties and wonder what the rooms look like inside, who stays there, and why they choose a particular place. Granted, my one experience with staying in a Florida coastal motel ended with the family and me fleeing the next day to a national chain hotel with brand new location across the street. And yet, I find myself fascinated by the sheer volume and variety of these motels that make staying near the beach affordable to all, regardless of budget. (And in the Magic Beach Motel’s defense, it’s been bought and remodeled, as someone on Flickr shared with me a few months back.)

Above is the beginning of a photo project idea that’s been floating in my brain and that I finally started snapping this weekend. I’m starting a photo collection of motel signs to explore the vibes created through their layout, font and logo choices.

I’m still playing around with how much of the property itself to show in the photo, so I may show a sign more than once so I can show signs with and without the context of the building (that top right one is definitely making another appearance soon.) I’m also using Instagram to share photos because there’s something about the retro/nostalgic filters that seems fitting for a coastal motel series.

Interested in following my photo project? Follow me @threebysea on Instagram and click on the #FLmotelsigns hashtag.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or suggestions for this project. Leave me a comment below.

Take care,


  1. Annie

    Loved this post so much! Reminded me of the hotel my family stayed at when I was in 2nd grade and we took our first vacation by plane to Ft. Launder dale. Sayed at the Rainbow Motel, which is still there (I had to check Google maps to be sure :-) ). The memories!

    • Thanks, Annie! It’s been interesting going around and taking photos. I’ve found a few I wouldn’t mind staying at myself! And if I ever end up near the Rainbow Motel, I’ll be sure to take a picture for you!

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