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  1. Default Help pls!!!..... ONE-WAY Chicago - Boston... via Niagara

    Hi!

    I am very new to this forum as well as a road trip. This is gonna be the first real road trip in my life!!! :) So, I would really need lots of help from you guys. We (my husband and I) plan to do the road trip from Chicago to Boston via Niagara. These are our ideas, limitations and questions...

    1. I am the only one who drives cuz my husband cannot -*- So, maximum 8 hours driving per day is a kinda my limit.

    2. We will rent a car, so we cannot do a really long trip. If you have any suggestions of how many days we should spend, pls advise. Otherwise, I am thinking of maximum 3 nights on the way (2 nights is better in my opinion right now).

    3. The earliest we can leave Chicago is around 14.30 on Friday since my husband is gonna finish his conference then.

    4. Should we cross over to Canada (at Detroit or Sarnia?) or stick to the US side (on I90)? I've heard that the scenary on the Canada side is better as well as the Niagara itself. Also, I90 is quite boring and stressful to drive among those big trucks. I really need your ideas on that!!! (We need to apply for the Canada visa in case of crossing over since we are Thai.) I am thinking of 1 night on the way + maybe 1 night around Niagara. Any suggestions on where to stop (hotel names are welcome) on the way?


    5. My rough plan as of now from Buffalo to Boston is that I would spend 1 night on the way (which I still don't know where. Any suggestions?). It seems like I need to stick on I90 until Albany, then I plan to take MA-2 from Albany to follow the Mohawk trail to Boston.

    Lastly, any nice places to visit are absolutely welcome. We are very opened to any ideas as of now. Please help me plan my first road trip in the US!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Been there, done that - twice.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Last year I did exactly that trip, twice. Each time I chose to pass through Ontario, rather than I-90. The crossing at Sarnia is a lot nicer and smoother than Detroit. The drive up to Sarnia is also quite nice.

    You could stay in Toronto, then visit the falls the next day. There is quite a lot to see and do, the boat trip, the walk behind the falls and a trip to the whirlpools. If you have the time, I would highly recommend going to the Imax theatre (on the Canadian side) to see the movie of the falls. You could spend the second night on the US side of the falls, either in Niagara Falls or Buffalo. Lots of accommodation in that area.

    What I would suggest though, is taking an extra night, and rather than follow I-90 through NY, follow route 20. This runs parallel with I-90, just to the south, and passes by the Finger Lakes area, the Erie Canal, and through lots of small historic towns. Spend an extra night in the Albany area, and next day enjoy the Mohawk trail and onto Boston.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default things to work with.

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The question about your route is going to start with your rental car company. You will have to make sure you can get permission to drive into Canada, before you can even consider going that route. Some companies won't have a problem with going across the border, but others will.

    As far as which way you should go neither route is "boring" (there are no boring roads) but neither is particularly scenic if you are just sticking to the freeways. However, both options do have things you could do to make for a more scenic experience.

    For the falls themselves, the Canadian side is far more developed, and does get you a closer look at the falls. However, it if very developed, and there are lots of other tourist attractions and tacky tourist traps that have built up around them. The New York side viewing is within a State Park, and it is actually the side I prefer, but if you've got time, do both. Even if you don't drive through Canada, it still might be worth it to get a Visa, as you can walk across the border even if you have to park the car on the NY side. The International Bridge offers some pretty nice views of the Falls in its own right.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Timing for Your Trip

    I would generally agree with Lifey's recommendations on routing: Crossing at Sarnia and using US-20 rather than I-90 across New York and Massachusetts. The savings in tolls alone would make it my preferred option. And although you could make that drive in two 8-hour driving days, taking three (with two overnight stops) would make it much more relaxing and enjoyable. If you wait to pick up the car until late Friday afternoon or early Friday evening, you'll have until the same time Monday evening to return it on a three day rental. In that case, I'd look just to get out of the Chicago area on Friday, pulling up for the night around St. Joseph / Benton Harbor MI. Then Saturday get to Hamilton ON. That lets you visit Niagara on Sunday for a few hours and still get to, say, Waterville/Richfield Center NY. Then on Monday you'd have the better part of the day to cover the last 275 miles or so to Boston before you hade to return the car.

    The other option would be to wait until Saturday morning to pick up the car (rather than try to fight Friday night traffic out of Chicago), and then spend your overnights around London ON and Lafayette NY and arrive as late as you need on Monday evening in Boston, returning the car Tuesday morning. Depending on how you apportion your time you may have the opportunity to visit some sites between Niagara and Boston.

    AZBuck

  5. Default

    Hi all!!

    Thank you so much for your reply. However, the Canada-choice for me is quite hard owing to the fact that I need to apply for the Canadian visa (It is so problematic to get it fron Sweden where we live now). If we stick to the only option that I need to stay only on the US side. Do I have other choices rather than I-90 between Chicago and Buffalo? We plan to spend 1 night before Niagara and another night between Buffalo-Boston (probably around Alberny).

    Many thanks,
    BlaCkLoBbY

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Route 20 will take you all the way.

    Sure you have other choices. I rarely ever drive I-90 when travelling between Chicago and Boston. It will take a little longer, as the roads are not high speed roads, but most of them are scenic and enjoyable rides.

    Out of Chicago you could choose route 20. It is a much more relaxing drive than the interstate. Route 20 runs all the way from Chicago to Buffalo to Albany, then through Massachusetts to Boston.

    We plan to spend 1 night before Niagara and another night between Buffalo-Boston (probably around Albany).
    If you mean you plan to take two days for each leg, on top of any time spent in Buffalo, then I think route 20 would fill your bill. Anywhere around Cleveland would be a good stop on the first leg. Albany is a good place to break up the second leg.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Another Option Between Chicago and Niagara

    Actually, I'm not a great fan of US-20 between Chicago and Buffalo, mainly for the fact that it takes you through a number of cities: South Bend, Elkhart, Toledo, and (shudder!) Cleveland. There is a much more relaxed and pleasant (in my opinion) alternative which does, though, require a bit of navigation on its eastern side. You would begin with US-30 which you can get to by using I-65 south out Gary IN. US-30 is mostly four-lane, divided highway with bypasses around the few cities it hits (e.g. Fort Wayne IN, Mansfield OH) and takes you most of the way to your destination. It will, however, take that bit of navigation I mentioned earlier to make the 'left hook' that will get you north up to Buffalo while threading the needle of all the cities in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, but here's how I'd do it. Stay on US-30 to East Liverpool OH and then get on OH-39 east which follows the Ohio River and turns into PA-68. At Rochester PA switch over to PA-65 (south!) for about a mile, watching for and making a left turn onto 9th Street, which becomes Lovi Road which becomes Freedom Crider Road which becomes Freedom Road which becomes PA-228 (through all of those 'which becomes' you just keep going straight!). Then take PA-228 to PA-356 to PA-28 north at which point you'll be back on the 'main' roads. At Brookville PA take PA-36 north to PA-899 north at Clarington PA. Then at Marienville get on PA-66 east. A short stretch of US-6 east out of Kane PA will get you to US-219 which (finally!) will take you up into the Buffalo area. It will be slower, of course, and at around 700 miles should take a day and a half, but if you plan to spend a night somewhere between Chicago and Buffalo anyway, I think that you'd find this route intriguing, relaxing, and much more 'fun' than I-90. And if your husband can help with the navigation, so much the better.

    AZBuck

  8. Default

    Thx both of you, Lifey and AZBuck.

    @Lifey.... Route 20 might be a good choice for me!!
    @AZBuck.... I found your option a bit extreme for us (as a new road triper). Also, it takes rather long time and I am not sure if I can stand driving that long.

    How about this route? I just use google map and select ''avoid tolls'' option. It's partly US-20, OH-2, I-90 and NY-5. I hope we should get some nice scenaries along the sea, shouldn't we?
    http://maps.google.se/maps?saddr=Chi...&via=1&t=m&z=7
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-17-2013 at 04:29 AM. Reason: Fixed Link

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Broken link.

    Your map link is not working, not for me anyway.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Me too.

    Link does not work for me either.

    When I put in Chicago, Buffalo and Boston, and tick 'avoid tolls', what it brings up is nothing like you describe.

    Lifey

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