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  1. Default NJ to Niagara via Finger Lakes, Adirondacks

    Hello, we are traveling to niagara this summer from NJ. We have a week, and would like to spend it traveling through NY vs PA since we go to the Poconos all the time. We will have four kids aged 3-12, and would lovesuggestions on an itinerary that could take us to Niagara and back. Ideally we would like to spend some time in the finger lakes, and then perhaps head back via the Adirondacks. Initial research has been done and we are thinking Watson glen, would love some boat tours, perhaps kid friendly wineries and or breweries, horseback riding? Kids are very adventurous and we prefer country to city, but would love to see pretty small towns. Overnights in Saratoga? Cooperstown, Ithaca? Thank you so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Early and Often

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Not knowing precisely where you're starting from, I would offer the following general advice. First, plan on making this a loop trip where you use different routes out- and in-bound so that you're constantly seeing new things, and second, start seeing those new things as close to home as is practical and worthwhile. The beauty of a loop trip is that it can be done in either direction, but I will describe one possibility in a clockwise direction. Starting your visits to scenic outdoor locals early means you shouldn't have to drive a long way to get the kids out of the car and avoid cries of "Are we there yet?"

    So start by heading up the Delaware River and taking advantage of the Delaware Water Gap and Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River on the way to Ithaca and several state parks including Taughannock Falls (with a waterfall taller than Niagara), Buttermilk Falls, and Robert H. Treman. I believe there are also boat cruises on Cayuga Lake, but of the evening dinner cruise type. The other major Finger Lakes stop should be at Watkins Glen State Park where the hiking trail will actually take you behind its waterfall.

    Next up, head towards Niagara Falls with a stop at the amazing Letchworth State Park. If at all possible, I would also make sure that you have passports in hand for everybody in your group so that you can cross over to the Canadian side of the Falls as well as take in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Another site in the area to consider is Fort Niagara State Park on the American side of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River.

    The return would then be easy, basically following US-20 and the old Erie Canal along the top of the Finger Lakes. While the state parks are fewer and smaller on the northern ends of the lakes, they are still there as well as the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls and the nearby Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

    You could then head for home via Cooperstown and the Catskills, but the Adirondacks may be a 'bridge too far' for a one week RoadTrip especially when you consider everything else available to you, and I'd probably save them for another loop trip that would go up one side of the Hudson and back down the other, taking in not only the Adirondacks of New York, but the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-11-2019 at 01:06 PM.

  3. Default

    Thank you so much for your reply - and the wonderful advice! Where would you suggest as overnights? We all have passports so Canada is fine. I thought maybe 2 night Ithaca, 2 niagara, 1 Cooperstown and maybe 1 more?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I'd advise getting the children involved in the planning, particularly the older ones. They can research some of the suggestions and maybe they have ideas of their own. If they don't know how to read a road map, now's the time to learn, when there's a reason!

    Have them keep a trip journal. Though they may groan a little, you can tell them that this is a place where they can keep the ticket stubs, photos, and other memories, for their whole life if they want.

    If there is a Junior Ranger program available -- most national historic parks and similar have them, and some state parks are starting to have these available -- have the kids do them. They'll learn a lot and have a good memory to enjoy (not to mention a pin, decal or badge to keep) down the line.

    Finally, to keep the "are we there yet" syndrome to a minimum, here's what my husband and I did when our kids were growing up: at the beginning of the day, we told the kids how far we were going and how long we thought it would take, plus any stops we planned to make. They were not allowed to ask that 4 word question. They could only ask, "how many miles have we gone?" We would answer that one. They learned early on that we used 55 miles per hour as our average, so they learned to do the Math -- "hmmm, we've gone 200 miles, we have 500 miles in all, that means we have 300 miles left, and at 55 mph, we have about 5-1/2 hours left." Good review of Math skills!


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