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  1. Default San Diego to Washington DC and then to Toronto (to and fro) in 19 days drive plus 2

    Hello Experts,

    I am planning to drive with family (2 Adults and 2 kids of age 12 years and 8.5 years) from San Diego to Washington DC and then to Toronto in a mini van and then stay in Toronto for 2 weeks (Here cover Ottawa and Montreal on a long weekend) and then return by driving from Toronto to San Diego via Chicago. Each way I will like to start on Friday afternoon and reach the destination Sunday the following week. i.e. in total of 9.5 days. So, the total travelling time will be 19 days (9.5 days x 2 = 19 days (to and fro)). I want to choose the different route for both going to Toronto via DC and then coming back via Chicago from San Diego.

    Please suggest me the places that I should visit on the way so that I can enjoy along with kids and try to make it a memorable trip for the family. I have enough points on one of the credit cards that should be able to cover me for 10 nights in Hilton hotels.

    Your suggestions and experience will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank You!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default First Impressions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Let's start with the basics. You're going to need at least six days to get to Toronto via Washington DC. Then you're going to need at least a day to do even a quick once over of the major sites in DC, another day (at least) to see a few things along the way, and another day to hold in reserve in case you hit bad weather. That's your nine days already blown getting to Toronto, at a minimum, and 'at a minimum' is not the way you want to be doing such a long trip with relatively young children. By the same token, two days is simply not enough time to do justice to Montréal and Ottawa. Then you have to do another cross-continental-drive for the final nine days or so of your 'vacation'. That's a flat out brutal schedule and not one I would recommend. Yes, you can physically pull it off, but there's no way I think it's going to be fun.

    By the way, when are you planning to do this RoadTrip?

    AZBuck

  3. #3
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    Default Oh! Weeks not Days!

    Wasn't that actually a bit of code in one of the Star Trek movies? Anyway, having two WEEKS in eastern Canada, makes a world of difference, particularly if you are doing this trip anytime between late spring and early fall. I can suggest quite a few places worth seeing along the way, but again, a day in Washington isn't really enough and if you can add another day to either driving leg, that would also help a great deal. So please let us know those important bits of information. Another big help would be letting us know what your (all of you) interests are. In the meantime you can have a look at a couple of trips my wife and I took a few years ago to Montréal and Québec.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
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    Default

    To add to what has been suggested above, another would be to "get your kids involved." They are old enough to be able to look at a US map and find things that they might be interested in. Perhaps they have learned about something in school that kindled a flicker of interest.

    Hubby and I just went to DC from San Diego, this past summer. Yes, it is a good 6 days just to drive, and then you add your sightseeing stops. You can read about our "2018 History Trip" here. We took I-15 to I-40 to Memphis, then we got off the 40 to veer through Mississippi and Alabama. Our purpose was to stop (briefly) at Corinth and Helen Keller's birthplace in Tuscumbia, a more substantial stop in Huntsville, before heading up to Virginia where we spent a week in the VA/DC area. If you can only spend one day in DC, then take one of the sightseeing tours on a bus where you can get off and on the bus at will. "Walking the Mall" is a LONG walk, especially if you consider the walk out to the Jefferson Memorial.


    Donna

  5. #5
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    Default Some Suggestions Northeast Bound, Then

    As I noted earlier, if you can take say eight full days to get to Washington, that opens up some time for some meaningful visits to worthwhile sites. The key is going to be the ability to mix 'travel' days, where you're mostly just covering miles, with 'vacation' days, where you're spending most of your time out of the car enjoying the adventure of experiencing scenic, historic or just plain interesting sites. For example, If you took Day 1 out of San Diego and just drove to Flagstaff AZ, you might arrive in time to watch the sun set over the Grand Canyon, but would certainly be in a great position to spend a fair amount of time there in the morning of Day 2. Day 2 could also then include the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert and maybe even the Hubble Trading Post, making it a great 'vacation' day while still putting a few miles down.

    Another area where you should consider spending a vacation day might be Memphis and/or Nashville TN, depending on your interests. In Memphis there's Mud Island, Graceland, the old Sun Studios, Beale Street, and probably a few paddlewheel boats plying the Mississippi. In Nashville there's the Old Opry, President Jackson's home, the Lane Motor Museum and several antebellum plantations. And if you still have time, a final leg into DC using the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive would be in order.

    As noted, there is far more to see and do in Washington than you can possibly cover in a day, and particularly if this is your kids' first visit to our nation's capital the city easily deserves at least a couple of days. Besides the Mall, be sure to at least walk by/around the three seats of government, the Capitol, White House and Supreme Court.

    You can make the drive from Washington to Toronto in a day if you want, but if you do so, then I'd recommend leaving Niagara Falls for a day trip out of Toronto and instead concentrate on a few shorter stops on the way up including the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Fort Necessity and (if you're a fan) the Lucy and Desi Museum in Jamestown NY. I'll cover a possible return route in a later posting.

    AZBuck

  6. Default

    Thanks for your time and reply AZBuck!

    I really appreciate your time and advice, I won't be increase the time in vacation but will still like to enjoy as much as we can. I hear you that it may not be fun but I still want to give it a try.

    I have done the drive from Toronto to DC in 8 hours about 10 years ago, yes just drive no sight seeing. Please suggest the tourist spots no the way to and fro from San Diego to DC and from Toronto to San Diego. I will cover some of them. I hope you understand my constraints.

    Thank You!

  7. Default

    Thanks for replying to this thread AZBuck!

    The things that interest kids the most will interest me! Like trip for look around the Capitol and the Parliament of Canada, some historical places, some engineering marvels etc.

  8. #8
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    Default And Some Suggestions Southwest Bound

    For the return trip I'm going to suggest and assume that you leave from Ottawa. That way you can spend a bit more time in Canada and avoid Cleveland and Chicago by taking the Trans-Canada Highway to Sault Ste. Marie via North Bay and Sudbury and visit the Soo Locks. The Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan is another spot to think about taking a day off from driving and besides the locks take in Pictured Rocks and Apostle Islands National Lakeshores.

    From there, you could just head down through Minneapolis (Mall of America) to Des Moines and pick up I-80 west. Now I-80 through Nebraska follows the Platte River but more importantly the old Oregon Trail Route so there are a number of historic/scenic sites along that route. Take the I-76 cut-off to Denver, another area where you could spend a day. For some kid-friendly attractions in central Colorado, check this report.

    The final run for home would take you through southern Utah (Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks), Las Vegas and past Mojave National Preserve to San Diego.

    AZBuck

  9. Default

    If you do the Soo Locks in the Upper Peninsula, I'll bet your kids would love a visit to the Valley Camp. It's a Museum freighter that you get to explore!

    http://www.saulthistoricsites.com/mu...p-valley-camp/

    And here are some stories we have published on RTA from this area.

    Photos of the Soo Locks in action

    One of our favorite restaurants with a view of the locks

    A possible scenic drive in the area

    And another one -- similar, but not the same

    And I love this lighthouse (at least in the summer months)
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 12-04-2018 at 07:27 PM. Reason: added some RTA links

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