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Family road trip 10 days from NYC or Boston

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Family road trip 10 days from NYC or Boston

Hello,

We are going on a road trip next summer. We are flying to either NYC or Boston (we have been in both cities before and are not spending any time there). We have to stop in Toronto, and would really like to stop in Chicago. We like to travel in a way that means new places and hotels every night (except two nights in chicago and maybe one other place..), and 2-5 hours driving each day. The children are 2 and 5 years.

Any tips for itinerary from the two different locations? Should we end in Chicago or other suggestions (total driving time for the trip around 30-40 hours..)?

Roseville...
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1. Re: Family road trip 10 days from NYC or Boston

Total days not including flying in/out?

2 adults & 2 kids?

Chula Vista...
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2. Re: Family road trip 10 days from NYC or Boston

Hi Lekawijo,

Welcome.

From looking at the title of your post, I'm assuming that you'll be here 10 days. Take away one day in Toronto and two days in Chicago, and that leaves you with 7 days. Take away another two days for your fly-in/fly-out days, so that means you have 5 days to drive.

The distance between Boston, Toronto, and Chicago is about 1,100 miles. The distance between NYC, Toronto, and Chicago is about 1,000 miles.

Doing the math at a somewhat conservative average speed of 55 mph, that means that it will take 20 hours / 4 hours per day from Boston. It will take 18.2 hours / 3.6 hours per day from NYC.

But you should expect to add a minimum of 1-3 hours per day onto your driving time to account for traffic congestion, stops for fuel, meals, rest breaks, border crossings/customs into/out of Canada, etc.

You know best how your family travels and how frequently you have to stop.

So your objective of driving just 2-5 hours per day won't be realistic; plan on at least 5 hours and perhaps as many as 7 hours.

I'm not sure where you're flying to Boston or NYC from, but I assumed, too, that you would buy an "open jaw" ticket and book a return flight from Chicago.

If my assumptions were wrong, that may change your trip (but not by much).

Finally, you may want to verify from your car rental agency that it's okay to bring the car into Canada. (I have not done that and am not sure if there would be any restrictions. Other contributors may have the answer to that.)

Boston-Toronto-Chicago Route:

http://goo.gl/maps/4V84T

NYC-Toronto-Chicago Route:

http://goo.gl/maps/4gJJP

Cleveland
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3. Re: Family road trip 10 days from NYC or Boston

With young children, I would consider Niagara Falls; Presque Isle and Waldameer Park, just west of Erie, PA; Lake Metroparks Farmpark in Kirtland, Ohio, just east of Cleveland; and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on your way to Chicago.

Of course, there are many adult attractions as well, but they might be problematic with young children. Check out Cleveland "Things to Do" and The Henry Ford in Dearborn, MI, south of Detroit.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g50207-s407/Cleveland…

Good planning!

Cleveland
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4. Re: Family road trip 10 days from NYC or Boston

Also, make certain your rental car agreement explicitly gives you permission to take the car into Canada. Reportedly this may be checked when you enter Canada or re-enter the U.S. Have you considered car rental drop charges?

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5. Re: Family road trip 10 days from NYC or Boston

Thank you so much! We are flying from iceland, two adults and two children. We have driven a lot in the US, but never in this area. We usually sleep at super 8 motels along the road, and spend some more money in the big cities..

If we fly to NY we thought something like this:

Day 1: Arrive US, and drive 1 hour from JFK

Day 2: drive to around syracuse? With a stop in rochester and museum of play

Day 3: drive to niagara falls

Day 4: drive to Toronto

Day 5: toronto

Day 6: drive to around chatham-kent?

Day 7: drive to around elkhart, and stop for the superhero hall of fame?

Day 8: drive to Chicago

Day 9: Chicago

Day 10: Chicago (fly to Orlando)

Niagara falls seems great, but the stops in syracuse, chatham-kent and elkhart are only based on looking at a map.

Three questions;

- should we drive to muskegon and take the ferry to milwaukee instead?

- is it worth it to drive a little extra for a visit in cleveland?

- is there any playgrounds near the road in this area, or just in the cities?

Cleveland
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6. Re: Family road trip 10 days from NYC or Boston

If you want to save some drive time and a drop charge on your car rental, you could fly to Chicago and do a loop out of there that includes Toronto. Of course, you would incur the cost of four round trip tickets. If you fly into Boston or Newark Liberty, you could fly to Chicago Midway on Southwest, which has lower luggage fees and often good fare sales.

The loop out of Chicago might include Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Mackinac Bridge, the Soo Locks, Toronto, Niagara Falls and back to Chicago, along either along the northern or southern shores of Lake Erie depending upon your remaining time. Or you could drive through Detroit or Port Huron along the north shore of Lake Erie to Toronto and return along the southern shore, all depending upon your time and interests.

Good planning!

West Grey, Ontario
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7. Re: Family road trip 10 days from NYC or Boston

Hi Lekawijo;

As TranscendentalEye has commented above, ensure that the car rental company notes on the rental agreement that they authorize you to take the car into Canada. You may be asked by Customs when entering Canada, or when re-entering the US, for this documentation.

Also, some companies offer unlimited mileage, but only within the US. The rental company will use the onboard GPS to track your usage. The extra per mile charges can add up quickly, so be sure to ask in advance.

>>"Day 2: drive to around syracuse? With a stop in rochester and museum of play"<<

Rochester is west of Syracuse. You will need to make your stop the next day enroute to Niagara Falls.

>>"Day 4: drive to Toronto"<<

Niagara Falls is approx. 80 miles / 130 km southwest of Toronto. The average drive is about 1½ hours, without any traffic delays.

>>"Day 5: toronto"<<

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, 4th largest in Canada & the US after New York, Los Angeles & Chicago. You could spend an entire week in Toronto and still have plenty to see and do !

>>"Day 6: drive to around chatham-kent?"<<

There really isn't much of interest to a tourist in that area.

If I may suggest, head north from Syracuse into Canada, and enjoy some of Canada's natural beauty, the 1000 Islands Region.

www.1000islandsgananoque.com

www.visit1000islands.com/

www.1000islandsinfo.com/

The town of Gananoque (pronounced GAN-AN-OCK-WAY), is known at the "Gateway to the Thousand Islands", and is located about 3 hours east of Toronto.

You could then make you way to Toronto, southwest to Niagara Falls, and then re-enter the US and visit Cleveland.

I hope that helps.

Best Regards

Cleveland
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8. Re: Family road trip 10 days from NYC or Boston

Lekawijo, the Rochester Museum of Play sounds like a wonderful stop for your children. I wasn't aware of it and have never seen it mentioned on this forum, so thank you for an excellent addition to our information base. Most posters on this forum travel with older children or teens, or without children.

As mentioned by RescueTeam, Rochester is west of Syracuse, so just drive there directly. However, check the museum's hours and how long you'll need there with your children. You may have to spend a good portion of the next day there.

You'll want to make certain that you ride the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls, which you can ride from either the U.S. or Canadian side. The lines can be very long in the summer. Read the FAQs at the NF, Ontario, forum. Read through the forum or search for children in the forum, and perhaps even post, for tips about visiting NF with young children.

On Day 6, I would try to get into the U.S. to avoid possible congestion at the border crossing into the U.S. the next morning. You could check on the Detroit or Michigan forums for a recommendation as to where to stay that evening.

Whether you want to visit an attraction on the south shore of Lake Erie despite the longer distance is solely based on what you want to see on your trip, and perhaps based on what you do while in Toronto, which, e.g., reportedly has a very good zoo and Toronto also has a children's amusement park and farm parks. RescueTeam is correct that you could spend many days in Toronto, and in Chicago for that matter.

If you take the southern route, your children likely would enjoy swimming in Lake Erie at Presque Isle, especially if your trip is in July or August when the water is warmer and if you experience good weather. Presque Isle also has a modern observation tower which children enjoy.

Your children definitely would enjoy Waldameer Park, located at the entrance to Presque Isle and one of the last of the "trolley" amusement parks in the U.S. Visitors there pay no admission charge, they just pay to ride the rides. It has many kiddie rides and a water park.

Lake Metroparks Farmpark just east of Cleveland is excellent for children and worth considering. Ditto, for the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The latter has reportedly the largest collection of primates in the U.S., a new and acclaimed African elephant exhibit that features the larger elephants than the Asian elephants displayed at many zoos, an animal hospital exhibit, and one of the best Rainforest exhibits in the U.S.

lakemetroparks.com/select-park/farmpark.shtml

…wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Metroparks_Zoo

I'm not familiar with the Toronto Zoo or the city's farm parks so I can't offer you a specific recommendation/comparison.

Good planning!

Cleveland
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9. Re: Family road trip 10 days from NYC or Boston

As for your other specific questions:

1) Personally, on such a short trip, I wouldn't spend a day on a ferry, especially on a route that would lengthen your trip.

2) There are likely good playgrounds all along your trip, both in cities and in some parks. The difficulty is finding them and assessing the desirability of the playground's location. Perhaps stop at a gas station, local restaurant, etc. and ask for a recommendation when you feel the need to give the kids a travel break.

E.g., Lake Metroparks Fairport Harbor Lakefront Beach has both a sandy bottom beach protected by a breakwall which mutes waves for small children, and a very nice playground. It's less than 20 minutes north of I-90. Once you've set your itinerary, post in local forums for selected locations along your route, or search for playgrounds for specific cities (many cities list all of their playgrounds on their park websites). In Ohio, metroparks are county park systems, generally conserving attractive geographical features, and often with playgrounds or other attractions oriented toward children.

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10. Re: Family road trip 10 days from NYC or Boston

Thank you so much for great answers! We have now desided to be as much as possible in the US, just the trip from NF til Toronto and back the same way, then drive NF-cleveland-Chicago. I thought this was much longer compared with driving in Canada above lake erie and through Detroit, but I see on google maps now that it is not!