Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1

    Default Chicago to Frederick, MD Road Trip Advice

    Hello! I am new to this website and have a few questions about our upcoming road trip from Chicago, IL to Frederick, Maryland. We will be traveling with 3 kids under the age of 8. We plan to stop in Sandusky, Ohio and spend a couple of nights there. Then we will make our way on to Frederick.
    Anyone have any good park recommendations between Chicago and Sandusky where we can eat lunch and let the kids run around a bit?
    How about recommendations on hotels to stay on our way back? We have a Marriott gift card so we are looking at a Fairfield inn & suites either in Cleveland or Toledo....which would you do?
    How about when we get to Frederick? My brother lives out there but is new to the area. he also has 3 kids but they are all teenagers. we are thinking of going to D.C., thoughts on that? Should I bring my stroller or can I rent one there?
    Really any tips you can offer would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default To start with.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    With your three children it will be essential to know where the parks are along the way, even if only to let them run around and let off steam.

    Here is a thread which will help with choosing what you are looking for. You will find that all good maps have most of these; and maybe more, marked on them.

    I'll leave the rest up to others who are perhaps more familiar with the area.


  3. #3


    I can only help with the what to do in Frederick MD part. Just north of Frederick is a small zoo (nice shade) called the Catoctin Mountain Zoo. My kids loved it when they were small (and preferred it to the National Zoo which is built on a hill and is very hot in the summer). DC is a good option from Frederick as is Baltimore. Baltimore has several cool kid things including the Aquarium (pricey but well worth it) and Port Discovery (which is geared toward younger kids and could take almost a whole day). There are also harbor boat rides that the kids might like and Ft. McHenry. If you do DC, you'll need to be prepared for traffic on 270 at any time of day. Best bet would be to drive to Shady Grove Metro Stop in Gaithersburg and take the Metro into the city. I would definitely suggest you bring your own stroller(s) with you. Some places will have them to rent but others won't. The DC Metro system is stroller friendly. Good luck on your trip!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default And to Continue...

    Boy, you asked an awful lot of questions. And that's a good thing. As my college advisor told me (often): "The only dumb question is the one you don't ask." Lifey has already directed you to one list (out of a very large set of possibilities) of places to stop along the major Interstates for lunch and a bit of R&R.

    As for the return trip, I'm going to suggest that you take a completely different route. Since you want to stop in Sandusky on the way east, it makes sense to take the Turnpikes, I-80/I-76/I-70, to Frederick. But there's no such need on the way back And since it's going to take you two days anyway, you might as well take the road(s) less traveled and avoid paying the tolls. From Frederick you can start out taking I-70 west but then at Hancock MD switch over to I-68 through western Maryland. At Morgantown WV pick up I-79 north to Washington PA. Use the I-70 west around the northern part of that city and head out on PA-18 up to US-22 west to Cadiz OH and hop on US-250 west through Ohio's Amish area up to Wooster OH where US-30 will take you the rest of the way back to the Chicago area.

    As for where to spend the night if you were to take that route, Canton OH (besides being home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame), has three separate Marriott properties including a Fairfield Inn & Suites. That would be about half way and would allow lots of time for stops on both days of your return drive.

    In the Frederick area, Washington DC is an obvious place that is worth visiting, but not the only place. If/when you go into DC, do not plan on driving all the way into the city. Traffic is a mess, and parking is both scarce and expensive. Instead, drive only as far a a good Metro stop with ample parking and take the subway into town. In your case, the Red Line to L'Enfant Plaza or one of the other stops on the Mall is the obvious choice. But besides DC, consider trips to Gettysburg, Antietam, Fort Frederick, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, or even Shenandoah National Park.

    As for the stroller, I rarely see the point of renting something I already own and can (relatively) easily carry with me. If you can fit your own stroller conveniently in your car, do so. If it folds up, all the better both for packing and for taking it on the Metro (see above). If you rely on renting strollers where and when you need them, then you are a captive shopper and will have to pay whatever the renter charges (exorbitant) for whatever they wish to rent you (shoddy and unclean).


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    You should definitely BYO stroller -- my daughter recently made the decision to bring her own on their road trip out here. She took a look at the stroller rental prices at places like Sea World and the San Diego Zoo, and decided she'd find a way to tote it along. That way, she also had it to go shopping, go for a walk around the neighborhood, our walking tour of Julian, etc. Some places may not even have a stroller to rent, assuming that everyone brings their own. If your own large one doesn't fit in the vehicle, perhaps an umbrella stroller (which takes up far less room but isn't as sturdy) will work, and they are reasonably priced.


Similar Threads

  1. Chicago to Sarasota road trip advice
    By vetra in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-24-2012, 03:53 PM
  2. First 3-week Road Trip--Chicago to Cali ADVICE
    By clg22 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-11-2010, 05:45 PM
  3. Campgrounds around Frederick, MD ?
    By Argosy24 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-30-2008, 12:57 PM
  4. Chicago - Los Angeles Road Trip: Some Advice Needed
    By kingsubbu in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-18-2007, 10:30 PM
  5. Frederick, MD to Burlington, VT
    By merg in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-22-2005, 09:49 PM

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name