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  1. Default September 2016 Drive from Chicago to Boston Via Niagra Falls

    Is there any advice please we are from Europe and will be picking up our rental car in Chicago and plan to drive to Boston in early September 2016. We plan to take 3 or 4 days to complete the drive and want to stop at Niagara Falls (USA side). Do you have any tips for planning the journey. Practicalities of tolls etc would be appreciated as we don't have much experience of driving across states. We are in our late 50s but would like to experience as much as possible among the way so ideas for hotels and interesting stops would be much appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default To get you started.

    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Whereas you can travel from Chicago, via Niagara to Boston on toll roads the whole way, I would suggest you choose routes which will likely give you much more access to local attractions and scenic drives. One popular route is to drive from Chicago through
    Canada to Niagara.

    However, you have many months to think about most of it, and to do your research. The first thing I suggest would be the greatest help is to get hold of a good set of maps. If these are not available locally, I suggest you purchase a Rand McNally road atlas from the RTA store via the link at the bottom of this page. (If you order it now you will have it in a couple of weeks.) It will be invaluable during the planning, as the maps show most of the attractions along any given route - natural, historical and touristy - as well, those maps grade the roads from super highways (interstates) to local roads and scenic routes.

    As you are planning you can research all the places you see on the maps, and decide which ones are closest to the things which interest you, of which you have not told us anything.

    I have reason to travel through these areas frequently, and like to take a different route each time, to see different scenery and attractions.


  3. #3


    Hi, and welcome to the RTA Forum,

    You have just under 1,000 miles to drive in 3-4 days, and that makes it possible to avoid the toll roads altogether and use the parallel highway, US Route 20. Of course you can see sights along the way that aren't on that road, and it is an alternative to I-90, which has those nasty tolls. You'll get a better feel for America that way, too. And you can always get onto I-90 for part of the drive, as it is only a few miles from US-20 most of the way.

    Regarding Niagara Falls, I grew up there (Buffalo), and know it like the back of my hand. On the American side, Goat Island, the island between the two main falls, has nice paved walking trails to Terrapin Point, Three Sisters Islands and Luna Island, the small island between the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. There is even a footbridge across to Prospect Point and the tower down to Maid of the Mist. Goat Island also has a man-made walkway under the falls called Cave of the Winds. Most of the walks are free of charge, and Cave of the Winds has a reasonable fee for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. All of this is within Niagara Falls State Park.

    Further down the river there are two more state parks, Whirlpool State Park, where you can take a trail down to the river at Whirlpool Rapids, and Devil's Hole State Park, another park where you can walk down to the river and watch power boats run the rapids. You can ride those boats for a fee, but I much prefer the Maid of the Mist boats under the falls.

    Finally, there is the Robert Moses Power Plant which is situated across the Niagara River from its Canadian counterpart. The plant has tours if you care to see how hydroelectric power is produced.

    Most of what I described to you is either inexpensive or absolutely free, so don't let anyone tell you that Niagara Falls is a tourist trap.

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