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Gurnee, Illinois: Planes, Trains And Automobiles Motel

The El Rancho Motel, sadly (from our perspective) renamed the "River Trail Gardens and Inn" was a memorable location for the 1987 John Candy-Steve Martin comedy "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." Remember: those aren't pillows.

River Trail Gardens and Inn

36355 Route 41, Gurnee, IL
River Trail Gardens and Inn. US Hwy 41 east side, at N Riverside Dr.
Free to look.
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Visitor Tips and News About Planes, Trains And Automobiles Motel

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (former) Motel

Motel where part of the film "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" was filmed. Some recent tips have said that it's closed or no longer open, but it's open. Each room is rented monthly. It might look shoddy from the road, but it's still fully functioning.

[Jason Kramer, 07/05/2017]
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles Motel

I'm not sure this is an active hotel anymore. I keep searching the internet and cannot find anything. One site said it got converted to studio apartments. I'm going through there in summer, but I don't think you can stay.

[Brian C, 04/11/2017]

The motel was looking unappealingly seedy by late 2016. Its phone number has been disconnected, which pretty much guarantees that the previous business is shuttered. But it might still be worth a drive-by for a photo.

Planes, Trains And Automobiles Motel

The motel featured in the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles was not in Gurnee, but rather in Braidwood, IL, about 75 miles south. The motel was called the Braidwood Inn in both the film and in real life. After going through several name changes, it is now called the Sun Motel, and it's as horrid a place as ever.

[Jim Goebel, 06/12/2012]

Turns out there were TWO Illinois motels used in filming the movie. The one in Gurnee is the one where John Candy backs the car into the room, but the one in Braidwood was also used. So both are correct.

The old El Rancho cattle head.

Planes, Trains And Automobiles Motel

Oh the memories. The best movie ever. Easy to get to. Changed names but not the sign.

[James, 03/31/2012]

El Rancho Motel sign.

Planes, Trains And Automobiles Motel

The Motel "River Trail Gardens and Inn" on Route 41 in Waukegan was used in the filming of the 1987 movie "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" with John Candy and Steve Martin. At the time of the filming and until fairly recently, it was called the El Rancho Motel. The motel still has a giant bull's head on the building and sculptures.

[Jean Dunk, 01/20/2011]

Yes, diminished by the loss of the great "El Rancho Motel" name, and the addition of a garden center. But there is that bull head. RIP John Candy.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Big Onan Man with GarageBig Onan Man with Garage, Waukegan, IL - 2 mi.
Golden Pyramid HouseGolden Pyramid House, Wadsworth, IL - 2 mi.
Ray Bradbury Rides a RocketRay Bradbury Rides a Rocket, Waukegan, IL - 5 mi.
In the region:
Ghost Rider - Skeleton on Motorcycle, Chicago, IL - 37 mi.

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