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  1. Default DC-Chicago-Toronto-DC

    Hi all,
    This is my first post here, so apologies for any newbie mistakes. My family is heading from the DC area to Chicago for a family reunion end of June. I expect the trip out there to be pretty straightforward, although some fun along the way would be good too. Mom, Dad, and kids 12 and 13 in the family Subaru. I was thinking of coming home via Canada, and down into NY as a route home. I would love to see the Adirondacks. I had thought of crossing into Canada at Detroit, as the most direct route, but the trip up to the UP looks like fun too. We have about tqo weeks total. My guess is a week for the trip back home. We love to hike, check out cool towns, museums, attractions and we love to eat. Mostly we love to eat. Any ideas for good routes or stops along the way? Any suggestions at all are greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Long and the Short of It

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If you were to just drive point-to-point the cities you listed, you'd need only about 3½ days in the car. Were you to add you wish list items of the UP and the Adirondacks, you're upping that to 5 full days. That's still a reasonable amount of driving spread over two weeks, but you do need to keep it in mind. Speaking of things to keep in mind - you do have passports for everybody in order, right?

    The first leg to Chicago will take a minimum of a day and a half so why not take a bit more relaxing route than I-70/I-76/I-80 and maybe use old US-40 up along the Potomac through Cumberland and then as it follows the old National Road past Fort Necessity. Using I-70 to get through Wheeling, US-250 would then take you up through Ohio's Amish country to US-224 and US-30 as alternatives to the Turnpikes.

    After Chicago, head north along the Lake Michigan to shore, but consider a slight detour to cross to the southern side of the Straights of Mackinac to visit Colonial Michilimackinac State Historical Park, then cross into Canada at Sault Ste Marie, with a visit to the Soo Locks. Then its along the northern shore of Lake Huron on the Trans Canada past a number of lakeshore provincial parks to Sudbury and a decision point. If Toronto is your goal, head south on ON-69/ON-400. But if Toronto was just a way point, then consider continuing east on the Trans Canada with Ottawa and Montréal as targets instead. Ottawa is the national capital and Montréal is the urbane heart of French Canada. Going that way will also put you in position to drop back down into the US along Lake Champaign and into through the Adirondacks, Catskills, Poconos, and Alleghenies on your way home.


  3. Default

    Great advice, thanks. That is exactly what I am looking for. I do worry about the drive time a bit, but there are so many things to see that I think it would go pretty well. We are working the passports now so that should not present a problem. We are all history buffs, so seeing some of the forts and battlefields along the way is a definite plus. I have no particular agenda in Canada, except to see the sights along the way and to drop down into NY perhaps at Niagara Falls for the obligatory look. I may need to look at a slightly shorter route if the full route seems too long. Would the direct to Detroit approach save significant time over the UP?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Going up to the UP is a pretty big detour. You can get from Detroit to Niagara Falls in about 5 hours, if you go up through Sault Ste. Marie, its a good 2-3 day trip. That's just going directly up I-75, and not really exploring any of the UP, except for the little section between Macinaw and SSM.

    BTW, the more developed side, with arguably better views, of Niagara Falls is actually the Canadian Side, so if you want to continue your exploration of Toronto/Montreal, you wouldn't have to cross the border back into NY.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Making the Best of It

    We always give more useful advice when we know to what uses that advice will be given. A case in point - your initial leg to Chicago. In addition to Fort Necessity, take a look at Fort Frederick just off I-70 a few miles west of Hagerstown and Fort Wayne in the similarly named Indiana city. Also note that US-250 west out of Wheeling is a scenic route and that using it, US-224 and US-30 will be more relaxed than sticking to the Interstates but will still allow you to hop over to the Turnpikes should time constraints require it.

    It is true that going to Niagara by way of Detroit (actually, I'd bypass Detroit - crossing at Port Huron/Sarnia to the north of there) saves about a day's worth of driving over heading north through Wisconsin, crossing at Sault Ste Marie and then coming down through Sudbury and Barrie. I suggested the northern route because it is a different, scenic and historic route. Along it are Colonial Michilimackinac and the Soo Locks as previously noted, and also the site of the Peshtigo Fire (bigger than the more well known Chicago fire that occurred the same night), Fort Mackinac (on an island reachable by ferry from either Mackinaw City or St. Ignace), and numerous provincial parks along Georgian Bay. If that seems too much, then by all means head for Niagara by way of Sarnia. On that southern route stops to consider would include the Museum of Steam Technology in Hamilton and Niagara-on-the-Lake (recently named one of the 10 Most Romantic Vacation Towns and home to Fort George.)

    From Niagara, the Adirondacks are a bit out of the way, but you could certainly have a great scenic drive home from there via US-219/US-322 through the Alleghenies, US-22 to Harrisburg, and US-15 through Gettysburg to Catoctin Mountain National Park and home.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-08-2012 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Typo

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