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  1. Default Boston to Denver Road Trip Help


    I'm very new to this site but I am seeking help on planning a road trip and it seems like everyone on here is very helpful and knowledgeable so I figured I'd give it a try!

    About me: I just turned 25, I've been living and working in Boston since graduating college in May 2012 - I grew up in the northeast and have been itching to switch things up and adventure out West. So I found and applied to some jobs and landed one in Denver which I am very excited about! It all happened very fast and now I find myself needing to make my way from Boston to Denver before a job start date of June 1.

    I am hoping to do this drive in 4 days, with 3 overnight stays. It would be great to split up the days evenly as far as mileage (~500 miles per day) but I am flexible if it means having my overnights be in better locations.

    I'm looking for advice on best routes and specifically, advice on what cities/towns I should plan to stay overnight at on the way. The company will help me pay for the lodging for my drive, but they require me to book hotels through their travel department which means that I have to plan everything before I head out (takes out some of the fun and spontaneity of a road trip unfortunately). I'm looking for a more or less direct route, nice scenery is a plus, and places with nice lodging/good food options would be great (hey, if the company is gonna pay for it I might as well stay somewhere nice).

    Thanks in advance for all the help!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Planned Spontaneity

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Four days is just a shade more than you'll need for this trip, so you will have some spare time to get off the straight and narrow. And there's no reason why knowing where you're going to bed down each night should seriously impinge on your ability to explore a bit. Indeed, knowing that you've got a warm comfortable room waiting for you at the end of the day could open things up a bit since it's one less thing you'll have to worry about.

    So, first a route. I'd highly recommend that you ignore what most software will tell you is the 'best' route (I-90/I-80, lots of big cities and tolls) and instead dip just a bit farther south taking I-84 west out of Hartford to Scranton, I-81 down to I-80 across Pennsylvania, continuing straight onto I-76 rather than following I-80 onto the Ohio Turnpike, dropping a bit farther south on I-71 to Columbus and finally I-70 the rest of the way to Denver. You'd have to cover right around 500 miles a day which is a nice easy pace. Overnights would be in or near Du Bois PA, Terre Haute IN, and Salina KS. Those are all fair-sized towns with multiple lodging options.

    Another advantage of going the I-84/I-80/I-70 route is that there are parallel 'back' roads that you can use to break up the monotony of freeway travel without it costing too much in time. US-6 is an option in northern PA although I-80 is a scenic route in its own right. US-40 runs next to I-70 through western Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. US-50 is an option in Missouri as is US-24 in Kansas. You can't use all of those roads but you can pick and choose where you might want to see a bit more than you can from the Interstates, or simply travel at a slower pace for a while.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    If you take the most direct route, that would be I-90 to I-80 to I-76. It can be done safely in 3.5 days so you can either take it real easy or take a more interesting route and avoid a bunch of tolls and Chicago traffic. That would be I-90 to I-88 to I-86 to I-90, I-271 around Cleveland, I-71 to I-70. That adds about 100 miles.

    Either way, I'd avoid large cities for overnights unless you stay in the western suburbs - that will help you get out in the morning, you will be going against rush hour traffic.

    Going the first way, I'd look at Erie PA, Joliet IL, and Lincoln NE. All big enough to have good choices but not too big - Joliet is close to Chicago but it's not that congested.

    Going the second way, look at Erie, Terre Haute IN, and Topeka KS.

    Best big city bypasses:

    Columbus OH - I-270 around the NW
    Indy - I-465 around the S
    STL: I-270 around the N
    KC: I-70/I-670 through town

    If you take the toll roads, an EZ-Pass works in MA, NY, OH, IN, and IL.

    EDIT: Buck was posting same time as I was, and I can't recommend I-84 at this time. The Newburg-Beacon Bridge over the Hudson is under a major reconstruction project, and there is usually about a 5 mile backup going westbound. That's why I recommended I-88 and I-86 across NY State instead of dropping down to I-80 across PA.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Shorter Detour

    There is an easier way around the Newburgh construction, and it's quite scenic and interesting to boot. At Brewster NY take Exit 24 from I-84 onto US-202 and follow that to the Bear Mountain Parkway around Peekskill and back onto US-202/US-6. Cross the Bear Mountain Bridge and follow US-6 west to the Port Jervis area where you'd rejoin I-84 to Scranton. That's still about 50 miles shorter than the I-90/I-88/I-86/I-90 alternative, avoids the tolls on the western Mass Pike and eastern NY State Thruway, and is a very scenic route across the Hudson.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-06-2015 at 02:43 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Congestion and construction..

    The route laid out above is interesting and relatively scenic, especially in PA. However, there is considerable construction and congestion on I-81 in the vicinity of Wilkes Barre. A good way to get around that is not to go all the way to Scranton, but take I-380 to I-80, which is a much better run. It does not add much in distance but saves quite a bit in time.


  6. Default

    Thanks everyone for the very timely and very detailed advice. I am on board with the idea of avoiding large cities, and I'm glad to hear that a 4 day timeline doesn't seem like it will be especially difficult for this trip. Buck, I like your idea of planned spontaneity - I'm going to take that to heart on this trip.

    I'm going to spend some time tomorrow looking into all of the routes that you've suggested and checking out some lodging options, and I'm sure I'll be back on here with questions as they arise. Thanks again!


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