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  1. #1

    Default Driving in and out of New York

    Hi all, just planing a trip for next July/August - two teenage boys with Mum and Grandad. Will be landing in Boston staying over then heading down through Cape Cod area - couple of nights stopover (any recommended boat trips / things to visit / local dining spots appreciated). Then onto NYC for three nights to take in the sights: Bit daunted about driving into the city - any suggestions for best areas to drive into and hopefully find hotel with car parking that will also give us good walking / transport links for sightseeing. We are then heading out and upto Niagra Falls for next leg.

  2. #2

    Default Niagra to Chicago

    Second leg of our trip takes us on a 81/2 drive to get to Chicago. Thats a long way for us Brits but we're going for it! Need a place to stop for picnic lunch and a walk to stretch our legs - aware that it will be summer holiday time so any ideas of a quieter place to stop and take in views of the Lake? - oh and if you know a good sandwich place to pick up the picnic that would be useful too!

    Please keep all posts about this trip together. Mod

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default The complete picture?

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    It would be very helpful to the members here if you posted the complete plan of your trip, so those who give advice are able to see the whole picture.

    For example, I would urge you to fly into NYC and visit there, before picking up a rental car. You will not want a car in NYC. Parking is nigh on impossible to find and very e xpensive. On the other hand, public transport is excellent. And you will want to spend a lot of time walking. Then I would head to Boston, and find a hotel out of the city, near a railway station. Boston too, has excellent public transport, and is expensive for parking. (Actually, I would probably pick up the car after visiting Boston, before heading to Cape Cod, and take Amtrak between the cities.)


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Multiple Transportation Modes and Other Treats

    First of all, Lifey is dead on about a car being a liability rather than an asset in both Boston and New York, but your current plan doesn't lend itself to a simple one pick-up car rental plan. What I'd suggest is that you make a somewhat substantial change to your itinerary and see things in the following order: Boston, New York, Boston, Cape Cod, Chicago. Now, while that may seem like a round-about way to see things, it does make the logistics a bit more manageable. You would see both Boston and New York using local public transportation within the cities and Amtrak in between them, ending up in Boston. Rent your car at the end of that portion of your trip and head down to the Cape. When done on the Cape, make the drive directly to Chicago where, again, public transport should meet your needs without the hustle of driving and finding parking space(s). Note that no matter where you leave from on the east coast, Boston, New York, or Cape Cod, Chicago is a two day drive and you will need to plan on at least one night's stay on the road.

    Now, with that basic itinerary what are some unique, quieter places to stop without the press of the largest summer crowds? On the Cape, in particular, that is going to be a difficult task. Be aware that there are only two bridges across the Cape Cod Canal and that all traffic onto and off of the Cape must squeeze through those choke points. Avoid weekends if at all possible as well as more typical 'rush hours' in the morning and evenings during the week. Your best bets are the areas around Cape Cod National Seashore and Nickerson State Forest Park simply because these are the largest tracts of undeveloped land left on the Cape. For a simple treat, try Four Seas Ice Cream on Main Street in Centerville. The other thing to seriously consider is taking a ferry out to one of the offshore islands, Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard. The Vineyard is closer to the mainland and thus easier/cheaper to get to. There's no need to pay to take the car over, just leave it behind, make the day trip, and return to it when done.

    Next up, the drive west. As noted, this is a two day effort. Yes, you could conceivably make it in a day and a half (but no less) from New York if you just got on the motorways and drove, drove, drove with no timeouts for picnic lunches of views of the lake(s), but that hardly seems like a relaxing holiday. Instead, as noted, I'd suggest that you leave from the Cape, take two full days (or even more), and use some of that time to take roads other than the turnpikes (tolls, tolls, tolls), enjoy the scenery and slower pace and ability to stop when the mood and opportunity strike you, and just experience the large chunk of America you'll be driving through. A workable route for such an adventure would be to take the Bourne (western) Bridge off the Cape, pick up MA-25 west to I-495/I-95/I-295 around Providence, and then US-6 west to I-84. Stay with I-84 until Scranton PA where you would pick up US-6 across northern Pennsylvania. At Kane PA use PA-66 to drop southwest onto I-80 to get through the Youngstown/Akron/Cleveland area. Then west of Cleveland you can leave the Turnpike for a bit to visit either a great amusement park on the lake or head out to some quiet off-shore islands. From there, the most straightforward way into Chicago is, unfortunately, more Turnpikes and Toll Roads.

    So, that's one kind of the framework that might work out well for you and the boys. If so, just let us know and we can start to fill in some details.


  5. #5

    Default Change of plan!!

    Thanks for your responses (and sorry for two posts - not figured out the site properly yet!)- good points and as I expected about a car and the cities. I have revised the plan without Boston;
    Fly to JFK, three nights then get the rental car and head to Albany for a lunch stop and look around then onto Corning to overnight. Next day off to Letchworth State Park one/two nights stay. Upto to the Waterloo outlet mall on the thruway for a shopping spree then off to Buffalo airport to pick up Grandma. Overnight at Niagra and following day at the falls. Any route advise rather than the highways google maps will give me/ detours or alternative scenic route but keeping Albany and Letchworth in there? want to drive through the small towns and see the locals.
    Going to break the drive up next day with an overnight en route to Chicago to leave us 3/4 hours in the morning to get into the city - any suggestions? / anything worth a quick stop to see on this leg? - Need to keep the car but staying a night in Chicago to see the city and two of us will fly home from here. Same problem as previous - cars and cities don't mix so will have to find hotel with car park?? Say 'bye' to family and continue on our adventure to see Mount Rushmore, Custer etc.... Casual drive to Dubuque for an overnight and morning paddleboat on the river then onto Sioux Falls for another break in driving. Then onto SD for three nights in a lodge for sightseeing. Then we have to get a flight back to NY so heading for Denver airport to drop the car and fly back. Will land in LGA so plan to pick up another car and head for the Cape now to spend four days relaxing, seeing the sights - good tips already thanks. Back to JFK to drop car and fly home. Hows it sounding now? Also is there anything worth pulling over for on the way down to Denver just because we wont pass that way again? Thanks.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 09-20-2013 at 12:34 PM. Reason: removed in line response quote.

  6. #6

    Default Plan B!

    Thanks for the advice. I have changed the route (Bostons gone!) and would appreciate feedback:
    Days 1-3 New York with no car.
    Day 4 collect car (probably from La Guardia airport) and head to Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. *son may want to see the Basketball Hall of Fame. Can you advise on best scenic routes as google will take us on the highway.
    Couple of days at the hotel with trips to the Glen, Corning Glass and kayaking on Seneca Lake.
    Day 7 drive up to Waterloo Outlets for day of shopping and ovenight at motel.
    Day 8 visit Letchworth State Park then pick up Grandma from Buffalo airport and overnight in Niagara with full day at Falls.
    Day 9 after falls head off towards Chicago (scenic route??) with overnight around Fremont - 4 - 5 hours drive is enough for us Brits!!
    Day 10 onto Chicago with stop at Shipshewana.
    Day 11 leave 2 at Chicago for their flight home - we carry on to South Dakota; overnight at Dubuque for a boat ride on the Mississippi.
    Day 12 overnight at Sioux Falls
    Day 13 SD for two nights - Mount Rushmore etc.
    Day 15 1/2 day in SD then drive towards Denver - quickest route but happy if any suggestions for a two hour stop off and a spot for an overnight.
    Day 16 early flight back to JFK and then open to ideas for nice drive with lunch stop.....
    Going to head towards Cape Cod but want to stay in one spot so we can chill and have day trips to Nantucket, Providence etc. Fairhaven and West Island have some cottages that are well priced but is it a bit isolated in terms of having a teenage boy with us? Would like somewhere that we can stroll out at night to few shops/restaurants.
    Day 21 drive back to JFK for return flight.
    Appreciate your help - this is a fantastic site.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Looking good.

    Looks like a great trip you have planned there. Two suggestions I would throw in for you to consider. Although I have not done this myself, I have heard multiple times that it is much cheaper to rent from Newark NJ than it is from anywhere in NY. Plus you will not have to drive through and out of the city. Might be worth checking out. And the boat trip on the great river - I found that the one in St Paul MN to be much more interesting and enjoyable than the trip from Dubuque.

    As for your options of routes.... do you actually have good paper maps or a road atlas to help you plan this trip. All your options are marked on them, and scenic routes are hi-lighted. If you are not able to get them locally, I recommend that you order a Rand McNally atlas, the 2014 edition has been out for a couple of months now. As well as all your electronics, you are going to need good paper maps when on the road. Don't be tempted to rely only on technology.


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