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  1. #1

    Default Toronto to ? (Cleveland or Hershey)


    I am looking for some ideas for a short 4/5 day trip from Toronto ON (Aurora ON). I will be traveling with two kids (ages 5 and 8), wife and her parents. To make everyone happy, we need to visit shopping mall (some sort of outlet mall), kids museum or factory tour or science center, and driving on a scenic road if I can.

    I was thinking that we would leave Wednesday morning and return Saturday night. We can add Sunday if we have to.
    Here are a couple of ideas I had and would appreciate any feedback:

    1st Option: (Miles ~ 976)
    Day 1: Drive towards Hershey PA. (my day, scenic drive)
    I donít think we can drive all the way to Hershey in on day, so maybe a place to stay on the way or possible short stop activity for this day.
    Day 2: Hershey Tour visit the town (kids day)
    Day 3: Drive down to Hagerstown MD or Lancaster PA for shopping (wife day)
    Day 4: Head back home. Can we do this in one day? Since most of the way back is not an interstate, I am wondering how long will it take to get back to Toronto area. What roads should we take?

    2nd Option (Miles ~ 923)
    Day 1: Head towards Cleveland OH (Visit outlet mall in Aurora OH, as we are from Aurora ON)
    Day 2: Shopping + Travel towards Cumberland OH (possible visit to Amish town?)
    Day 3: Visit The Wildz
    Day 4: Head back home

    I will run these through with wife and kids to get an idea of what they would like to do, but in terms of being able to accomplish this in 4 day, I am concerned about the drive to Hershey as it seems more mountains or smaller highways compare to the trip to Cleveland where itís mostly interstate. Roads to and from Hershey seems will take longer. What are you thought?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Quite different

    Quote Originally Posted by jacksonjohn83 View Post
    I am wondering how long will it take to get back to Toronto area. What roads should we take?
    Google Maps is being generous, I think, and stating this would be 8 and 1/2 hours. The terrain will be mountainous, and the roads will be slower than the Interstates. Also, you would be passing through some sparsely populated areas and/or towns that were once big highway stopping points but have since been passed by. That stated, here is a potential route. Through the mountains of Pennsylvania, you generally don't want to get off the US routes, unless you have a very good map.

    Routes such as US-11 and US-15 (which share an alignment for part of the way) will get you back to Ontario. It looks like your route would be (the first three skirting Harrisburg) PA-283 to I-283 to I-83 to US-22 towards Duncannon. From here, you would take US-11 to US-15. Much of this route travels along the Susquehanna River, and also travels through Williamsport, home of the Little League world series.

    Near Corning, NY, you can connect with I-86 - the Southern Tier Expressway - then to I-390. From the map, it appears these two sections of highway share an alignment with NY-15, so there should be (but may not necessarily be) signs noting this. For example: I-86/NY-15. Perhaps somebody else can chime in on this.

    In Dansville, you can hook up with NY-436 and head to NY-39. This skirts the southern edge of Letchworth State Park.

    Then it's NY-16 to Buffalo and on to Canada.

    By contrast, the route to Ohio is through much more even terrain, and is certainly closer to you. If I were you and had an extra day or two, I'd go with the Pennsylvania trip for the variety of landscape. But since you don't, my vote is with the Ohio trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Pluses and Minuses

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As we are famously fond of saying around here, there is no 'best' choice when planning a RoadTrip, only a set of options to choose from to put together a trip that suits your needs and desires of the moment. So let me just run down what I see as some of the good and not-so-good points of each trip.

    Hershey. Very scenic drive options there and back. Several good places to stop along the way including Letchworth and Watkins Glen State Parks for some outdoor activities. Excellent amusement park at your destination. BUT somewhat farther away and no direct Interstate Highway resulting in longer driving time. No standout shopping at your destination.

    Cleveland. World class museums, including Natural History and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Several 'mega' malls including Beechwood Place, the Arcade, Terminal Tower and others. BUT Cedar Point Amusement Park is a bit farther west, in Sandusky. The drive there and back is relatively uninspiring, being Interstate all the way.

    So neither is 'perfect', and neither is 'best, but there are no shortage of excellent choices.


  4. Default

    I have been on numerous trips from near Harrisburg to Niagara Falls and back in one day (including time visiting Niagara Falls). Yes, it's a very long day, but since that included going there and back, I do think you could go from Toronto to Hershey in one day if you don't mind a long drive. The drive in that area is very pretty.

    I've been to the Outlets in both Lancaster and Hagerstown. I don't have a favorite for shopping (not a big shopper), but I enjoy seeing the Lancaster area a bit more. HOWEVER, if your kids aren't so into shopping, Cowans Gap is a nice state park in PA not too far from Hagerstown. Your wife could drop you and the kids off at the park for the day and then head out to do some shopping.

  5. #5

    Default Thanks you

    Thank you for all the great advice. After some discussion with the family and advice given, we have decided that Hershey trip will have to be saved for another time as it will require much more driving time.

    So, that should leave us with the Cleveland option; but that would be too simple. We have now added Detroit to the mix. There are couple of malls out in Detroit suburbs which would be interesting for the wife. I also read about a kids museum in Ann Arbor which would fit right in between two malls (Birch Run, MI and Howell, MI). We can go down Sarnia way and come back through Windsor.

    With Cleveland, there is that mall in Aurora and there is plenty for the kids, the Submarine tour, the science center, etc.

    The last thing I need to make a decision on where we should go is the roads. Since I have never been to either places, which one would offer more opportunities to get off the interstate? Or drive through some smaller towns or different scenery; farms, hills, lake, etc? The Cleveland way would be mostly toll way I-90 right? Would it be more costly to get on and off this highway or would it be same if were on it from Buffalo all the way to Cleveland? I am sure we would need to take a break or two :)

    Thanks for your help.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The only toll stretch on I-90 is from Buffalo to the PA state line. This is only about an hour and I don't think there is anything noteworthy along that stretch. US-20 does parallel it most of the way.

    The toll is only $3.15, and it's on the ticket system, so if you do get off and back on any additional toll will be minimal.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Complete the Loop

    If Detroit, Ann Arbor and Cleveland are all in your plans, then the simplest/shortest route would not be to go all the way back from Cleveland to Detroit (Windsor or Sarnia) to return to Ontario, but to just continue on around lake Erie and cross back at Buffalo/Niagara Falls. That would save you over a hundred miles of driving and mean that you are almost always on 'new' road, rather than just retracing your steps for half your trip.

    That said, here are a few other spots you might want to think about including in your trip: the sprawling Henry Ford Museum outside Detroit has something for everybody, including my personal favorite, Greenfield Village. Whether or not you stop in Sandusky for the amusement park, you should also consider taking a morning or afternoon and take a relaxing ferry ride (leave the car on the mainland) out to one of the Bass Islands offshore.

    As far as actual roads go, both types, Interstate or 'local', have their good and bad points. The main advantages of the Interstates are speed and, to a lesser extent, safety. The main advantages of local roads is are the opportunity to stop at will when/if something catches your way that you weren't expecting and, in contrast to the Interstates along the southern shore of Lake Erie, the fact that they're free. In the case of Ohio, there is a wonderful alternative to I-80/I-90, and that is the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail . that uses predominantly state highways (OH-2 in particular) to stay close to the shoreline and pass through and near several state parks and scenic towns. You can easily alternate between this and the Interstates as your desire for speed vs. scenery varies. In Pennsylvania and New York, US-20 would serve basically the same purpose.


  8. #8


    Sorry for the delayed update, but I just wanted to drop a note and thank everyone for their feedback.

    We were unable to take this trip as planned for March break due to sickness. However, we did manage to drive to Detroit over the Easter long weekend. Since we had never been to Detroit before (well, except once, driving at night to catch a flight), it was new experience. Surprisingly, the drive didn't feel too long (3.5 hours) to Sarnia (border) and then another 45 minutes to Troy where our hotel was. It was a very nice drive in terms of traffic and views, mostly farms (after London, ON).

    It was a very short trip (only the weekend), we will go back to do some more sightseeing.

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