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  1. Default Upstate New York To LI

    Hey All,

    My husband, son, and I are taking a trip from Long Island to Michigan in late September, early October. To get to Michigan, we're going to be taking I-80. Coming back from Michigan, we plan on driving through Canada and upstate New York. The planned route that Google Maps gave me to come back to Long Island would have me driving over the GW Bridge, through the Cross Bronx, and south through the Van Wyck. However, I'm not sure that this is the best route. I've been lucky once with traffic on the Cross Bronx and GW. The last time I went to Jersey via the Van Wyck and Cross Bronx, we hit heavy traffic at every point, and it was 1:00 in the afternoon! It ended up taking over 2 hours to get there.

    We don't know what time of day we'd be coming out of upstate, but we would try our hardest for it to be out of high peak traffic times. Not counting rush hour, does anybody have alternate routes that might be quicker? I don't care if it's a little bit out of the way if it means not getting stuck in hours of traffic after over 12 hours of driving. Would going through 87 to 287 to 95 to the Cross Island be any faster and avoid the mess?

    In relation to this, does anybody have any ideas about what would be the fastest way to get to I-80 from Long Island? I found that taking the Belt Prkwy to the Verrazano through Staten Island into Jersey was faster and had less mess and traffic than going up to the GWB. Even though it's a little bit more out of the way and less direct than the GW to I-80, would it still be faster and avoid most of the traffic? We plan on leaving Long Island between 12:00 and 1:00 PM, so we figure that traffic should be a little bit lower at that point. Also, there isn't as much construction going on on the Belt as there is along Van Wyck and the Cross Bronx. I'm open to alternatives, though!!


  2. Default Interesting I-80 Stops For Kids?

    Hey all,

    I'm new to this site. My husband and I have a 2 year old son. We will be driving from New York to Michigan, using I-80 through Pennsylvania, in late September or early October. Half of the trip will be done in the daylight. I know that there are some really nice rest areas along the way for us to stop and let our son run around. Does anybody know of a website or link to a listings of the rest areas or parks, so we can have an idea of what they look like? I've been trying to find a list like they have with the Turnpike but have been unsuccessful thus far.

    However, given our precocious son, we know that it might be nice to have a place where we can really stop and enjoy for a couple of hours so that he can really run around and tire himself out. It can either be a national park or museum, something with a kid friendly tour. We would prefer having a few choices that are indoor because of the time of year we're going, and walking around a national park for an hour or two with a child in 40 degree weather isn't very realistic.

    So I guess that's my question. Does anybody have any ideas for a stop along Pennsylvania Route I-80 that we can chill for a couple of hours and let our, then, 2.5 year old son run around without too much worrying? Given that the weather might be a little chilly at that time of year, what should we keep in mind? Are there alternatives to outdoor locations if it's too cold or raining? We wouldn't mind if we had to drive a few miles out of our way to get there, but something that's more than 10-20 miles or so out of the way is a bit much. We still want to make our way to Michigan in under 15 hours and do it all in one day if possible.

    Also, as a side note, if there are any of you out there that have traveled these kinds of long distances with small children, especially toddlers, and have any tried and true suggestions for keeping them entertained and happy, snacks to bring along, things like that, I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks so much for your help!!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 06-18-2010 at 07:26 AM. Reason: Merged - Please do not create multiple threads about the same trip

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default ideas

    Welcome to the RTA Forum! We have merged your questions into the same thread, so that we have a complete picture of your trip, which always makes it easier to get better answers to your questions.

    With regard of getting from Upstate to Long Island, I actually just posted the same question myself. You can see that discussion here, but basically, I'm planning to take I-84 to I-684 to the Hutchinson Pkwy and cross the Whitestone Bridge.

    As far as finding stops for kids, there are always State/National parks that can be found in pretty regular intervals, Here's a great list of just some of the ones you'll find along I-80. Of course, looking at the PA State Parks site would be a good idea too. And don't forget that pretty much every town in the US has a park with playground equipment that can be an easy and free way to get a break from the road.

    Long Island to Michigan is going to be a very long day on the road, and also pretty big "targets" but assuming you start in the middle of LI and go to Detroit, you're looking at a drive of more than 650 miles. That's not impossible to do in one day, but it is a fair bit more than we recommend especially when traveling with small children. Just with the bare minimum of stop, and assuming very little traffic (a huge assumption when traveling through NYC) you're looking at 12 hours on the road. However, I would also recommend stopping frequently, at least every 2-3 hours to get a break, and to let the kid move around. When you factor those breaks in, I'd say 14 hours would very much be a minimum time (and again that's assuming you're going to the Southeast Corner of Michigan, if you're planning to go pretty much anywhere else in the state, I'd strongly encourage you to stop somewhere for the night along the way.)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Could you please post exactly where in Long Island you are leaving from? That's going to make a difference.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default addendum

    Upon further review, I noticed that you're not planning to leave until after noon. While I understand your desire to beat traffic, that also means that you won't be getting to Michigan until at about 2am. Trying to drive that late into the night after a full day on the road really isn't a great idea, and knowing that you are "only a 100 miles" to your destination will make it that much more likely that you'll try to convince yourself to keep going, even when your body is well beyond the point where it can no longer maintain the focus needed to safely operate a 2 ton machine at 70 mph.

    If you are going to try to do this in one day, I'd recommend trying to leave very early and beat rush hour that way or at the very least try to leave just after peak morning rush - say 10am - so you aren't driving so late into the night. In either case, make sure you are fully packed up an ready to go the night before, so you don't have the additional stress and work of trying to pack up to wear you out before leaving on a long drive like this.

  6. Default Thanks, y'all


    MW Michael, yes, you are, and we are going to try to leave at 10 Am rather than at noon. I had originally thought noon would be best since that's around the time when our son goes down for his afternoon nap. But now that I think about it, if we leave right after peak rush hour time, we can get a couple of hours of driving in, stop for lunch and some play, and then our son can fall asleep for his nap after that time. I think what you're saying makes much more sense.

    In terms of the length of the drive, I've done the drive quite a few times in the past with my parents, from childhood through the end of high school. With one or two exceptions, even with 5 of us kids in the car, we always managed to make the trip in one day. We will be driving to metro Detroit, yes. However, one of the main reasons that we're driving and not flying is for the flexibility and less stressful experience. Yes, that's how bad domestic flying has become these days!! That being said, while we would like to try our hardest to get to my parents in a one day drive, we are open to pulling over to a motel and staying somewhere overnight. We understand that there are some things that will be out of our control in terms of how many stops we have to make and how long they will be. The average drive takes about 12 hours, and that includes stopping every 2-3 hours for 10-20 minutes at a time. And we do plan on stopping some place for an hour or two so that our son can really work out the energy, so we know it will take longer than that. So, again, we're open and flexible.

    Glc, we will be leaving from Lawrence in Long Island.

    Thanks for all the great advice!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Okay, I see Lawrence is near JFK. The best way out to I-80 will be the Belt to the Verrazano to the Outerbridge, then 287 to 78 to PA-33.

    Coming back from upstate, assuming you will be taking the Thruway, I'd take 84 to 684 to the Hutch to the Throgs Neck to the Cross Island. This would also apply if you are coming in 17 or the Taconic.

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