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Niagara Falls to Washington DC by car

London
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Niagara Falls to Washington DC by car

Hi,

I will be travelling from Toronto to Niagara falls to Washington with my family (all adults) in August. We are planning to leave Toronto in the morning of day one and go to Niagara, spend few hours there and then off to Washington DC..since it's a long way we woudl like to stop somewhere on route between Niagara Falls and Washington DC... can you give me tips on:

1. Best route to follow

2. Where to stop between Niagara Falls and Washington DC (we do not ming arriving in Washington DC in the late afternoon)

Any advise is most welcome!!!

PA
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for Hershey, Harrisburg
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1. Re: Niagara Falls to Washington DC by car

The route advised by yahoo maps will take you through Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh would be a possible stopping point where there would also be things to do and see. You might want to post your request on the Pittsburgh forum for more recommendations on lodging and things to do & see.

Even if you take the route from Niagara to DC through central Pennsylvania, you will not pass directly through Lancaster (the forum on which this is posted). If you intended to visit Lancaster enroute to Washington, DC, it would be a slight detour.

Elizabethtown...
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2. Re: Niagara Falls to Washington DC by car

Google Maps' first option for the trip is Rt. 219 through Altoona. I don't think I would recommend this route, particularly if looking for some place interesting to stop half way. They also make the recommendation of Rt. 15 to the Harrisburg area, then 2 options from Harrisburg to D.C. If you choose Rt. 15 over the Pittsburgh route, I would go the western option out of Harrisburg, rather than Interstate 83 around Baltimore.

Be aware that the ride from Niagara Falls to D.C. is nearly 8 hrs. without any stops or traffic. We visited Toronto and Niagara Falls last Summer, and were astounded by the traffic we had to go through leaving Toronto. We literally sat still for hours. We were just coming home, rather than planning stops on the way, and it still made for a much longer day than expected. I have no idea how early in the a.m. you need to leave Toronto to get ahead of the traffic - I would guess by 7, I'm pretty sure we were on the road around 8. It would be a good question to ask over at the Toronto board.

Once you get to Niagara Falls, I assume you plan to just get out of the car and look at the Falls? There are many fun tours to see the Falls, like Maid of the Mist, which are very worthwhile. Beyond that, there isn't much to do - so if your plan is to get out of the car and snap a few pictures, you won't need to be there for more than an hour. If you do choose a tour and to walk around the check things out, how long you stay can range from 2-4 hrs. Even with just taking a few pictures, and no other stops, I predict you won't get into D.C. until dinner time, so even with finding a scenic place to stop along the way, you won't really have time to see anything unless you decide to make it an overnight stay.

To get our kids out, walking around, and getting some fresh air on the return from our trip last Summer, we stopped at the "Grand Canyon of PA" in Leonard Harrison Pennsylvania State Park. Not too much of a detour from the Rt. 15 drive shown on Google Maps, and just outside the small and picturesque town of Wellsboro, PA. This is just a very simple overlook and not what most people would think of when they hear the words "Grand Canyon." Like I said, it was just a place near our route to get the kids out of the car for some fresh air.

If you are truly looking for a place to do some additional touring during your visit, the most logical spots would be to follow the previous suggestion of Pittsburgh, or travel through Central PA and see Gettysburg. Truth is though, that both areas deserve a lot more than the hour or two that you might have. I would probably make Gettysburg my first choice, because I don't really think I would want to fight the urban traffic in Pittsburgh for just a couple hours of visiting and then fight it to get back out of the city again. The visitors center is Gettysburg could meet your needs, but is only open until 6 p.m. and I would worry about you making it in time.

I know I gave you a lot to think about. Good luck and have a great trip!

Pennsylvania
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3. Re: Niagara Falls to Washington DC by car

Rt 15 takes you through Williamsport, PA which is a pretty neat stop. There is Millionaire Row, several good musuems, some great architecture, several unique gift and jewelry shops, interesting local restaurants and across the river the home of the Little League World Series.

London
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4. Re: Niagara Falls to Washington DC by car

HI,

we are actually looking for an overnight stop. We are plannign on arriving to Niagara Falls, spend few hours doing tours etc and then move on to the next stops, where to sleep. Pittsburgh would be a good option as we could spend the evening and morning there and then head to Washington just after lunch and get in Washington DC in the eveingin, as google map shows it as a 5 hours journey..

Well this is unless you think there is a beeter place to stop overnight which is half way between Niagara and Washington DC.

Thanks

Elizabethtown...
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5. Re: Niagara Falls to Washington DC by car

It would only be an additional 1-2 hrs. driving to D.C. from Gettysburg. You would get there late, and be able to visit the Visitor's Center/museum and maybe take a quick drive around parts of the battlefield before heading on to Washington in the morning.

Pittsburgh would be a completely different experience. You would arrive only a few hours after leaving Niagara Falls (dependent on traffic crossing the border), allowing you to enjoy a more urban nightlife scene and have a nice dinner out. You'd then have about 5 hrs. of driving the next morning on the rest of your trip.

It really depends on what you are interested in. It is Urban visit v. U.S. history. You'll have a good time whichever one you choose.

London
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6. Re: Niagara Falls to Washington DC by car

s..my only concern is that Gettysburh is about 6/6.30 hours from Niagara and Niagara is 2 hours from Toronto..so leaving Toronto in the morning, then doing a tour in Niagara and heading to Gettysbourg in one day it would be a bit of a long trip....it there anywhere else closer to Niagara where we could sotp_ We could stop there, and then head to gettysburg in the morning, have lunch there and then off to DC...

ANy idea?

Elizabethtown...
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7. Re: Niagara Falls to Washington DC by car

The thing is, you'll want to be at Gettysburg right away in the morning in order to take advantage of seeing anything. Otherwise, you're just taking time away from being there. You'll stop, get out of the car, stretch your legs, have a bite to eat along the way. It really isn't all that bad of a drive. Once out of Buffalo it's primarily rural. Assuming you'll leave Niagara right around noon, you will get to Gettysburg in time for a late dinner. Of course, I'm the kinda person that is driving 4 hrs. just to go to a friend's BBQ and have done 12 hr. road trips with 2 toddlers in the car without blinking an eye (without a car equipped with electronics). But, I live in the U.S. and as we joke with our Welsh friend: In the U.S. 200 yrs. is really, really old, and in the U.K. 200 miles is really, really far. ;)

Like I said, you'll have a good time whether you decide to stop in Gettysburg or Pittsburgh. It's not like there aren't great things to see in Pittsburgh - museums, restaurants. It's just about as different as you can get from Gettysburg - small, rural town with amazing history, beautiful scenery and the drive there will take you through some of PA's most rural areas. If you think Gettysburg sounds interesting and worthwhile, I think you'll be glad you pushed through and made the drive to get there in one day.

8. Re: Niagara Falls to Washington DC by car

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