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  1. Default HELP- Chicago to Niagra or another idea !!

    Hi all,

    I have just joined the board to get some advice - any tips welcome.

    I am visiting my son (together with my wife) in Chicago for 3 weeks, coming from the UK arriving 22nd June, and we intend to spend the first week (could be up to 10 days) on a trip somewhere by ourselves. First thought of renting an RV and tripping to Yellowstone, but see this will cost about $1500 for the week and its too far for us to spend all the time on the road. So now thinking of a hire car and a trip to Niagra Falls, mainly because its cheaper and not so far.

    I would really appreciate any other ideas. Or if this is as good as any, any advice on the best places to stop on-route. Its looks as if we can travel south of Lake Eire one way, and back through Canada ?

    We like all sorts, but it would be great to see both Nature and City life to give the week some contrast, but any thoughts on places we should definitely see, or equally, definitely miss, would be a great help.

    Also, would you advise booking stop-overs now, or leave it and just turn up - we are not sure if places will be fully booked ? I suspect that the best places will be full and others not so.

    (this our third trip to the USA. Last ones were A) Florida Disney when the kids were tots; and B) the last one was Washington and New York City 4 years ago) (We are 56 years old)

    Thanks a lot
    (anyone wanting UK trip advice just ask)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default One Rough Idea

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    One nice loop trip that you could do from (and back to) Chicago in a week that has a good mix of both city and country, plains and hills, and covers ground that you haven't yet seen would be Out through Cleveland to Washington DC then down the Blue Ridge Ranges of the Appalachian Mountains to around Knoxville, then back up through Kentucky and Indiana to Chicago. Some of the highlights of such a loop would include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, The (mostly free) museums of our nation's capital, Chesapeake Bay, Revolutionary and Civil War historical sites. the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains and Mammoth Cave National Parks, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and enough small town America to let you get a good taste of what we're about.

    I would not recommend getting an RV for such a trip. As you have seen, they are very expensive and trying to drive one in an urban environment is difficult to downright impossible. The loop described would take about three days of driving in a sedan, leaving you four or more days to actually enjoy the sites. In general, you don't need to make reservations, but I would suggest that you do so for your urban stops anyway. That lets you do your shopping before you get there and not spend valuable vacation time running around looking for a good deal. If after doing a little research on the above suggestions that looks like a trip you might want to take let us know and we can offer some more specific advice. And yes, we do occasionally take RoadTrips in the UK.


  3. Default

    Thanks AZBuck - I will take a look at your suggestion in more detail (interesting alternative to Niagra and Canada).

  4. Default

    Just pondering on your suggestion again AZBuck, and although it sounds a good idea, we did spend 3 days in Washington when last in the USA and don't really wish to repeat... the rest of the trip sounds good though, but without the Washington element, not sure if this beats my original intention.

  5. Default

    I think the loop around the middle three Great Lakes sounds like a good idea. When I was young, my family took a similar road trip (Lakes Huron, Erie, and Ontario - not Michigan though.) There were lots of nice little beaches, and I enjoyed how further up in Canada, they were very untouristy. I've been to Niagara Falls numerous times, and while it's beautiful, I feel like for myself a day is plenty of time there. If you did the loop, a few places you might like to stop are Presque Isle State Park in Erie and in Toronto.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default You're the Boss

    There are any number of possible loop trips that you can take out of Chicago. It is, after all, fairly close to the center of the North American continent. A loop of the Great Lakes is certainly one, as is the triangular option I gave. There are lots of other options for things to see and do in the Washington area besides the city itself, including Annapolis, the Chesapeake, the Eastern Shore, Virginia's Historic Triangle, several Presidential homes and innumerable Civil War battlefields. Other general trips you should consider as well are New England (and perhaps French Canada), the Mississippi River valley and the Ozarks, the deep South and Gulf Coast; even Yellowstone is not entirely out of the question if you take a full ten days. At this point we're just offering ideas. Once you find the one that appeals most to you we can get down to the brass tacks of helping you plan it out.


  7. #7


    Also from the UK and did a trip around that side couple of years ago. We did Philly - Chincoteague - over the Chesapeake Bridge and into Williamsburg then onto DC (you could miss the city out - we visited Alexandria which was lovely) - upto Gettysburg and rode horses along the battlefields, then down the Blue Ridge Parkway stopping at Luray Cavern for an hour or so and finished with a vacation house on Smith Mountain Lake and rented a pontoon boat. Flew back from Raleigh Durham.

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