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  1. Default Planning trip from metro Detroit to Acadia np Maine in , 8 days to work with. Advice?

    It's a roughly 16 hour drive from my home to the entrance of Acadia national park. I'll be getting off work at 2pm, and from that point I have exactly 8 days(or 7 1/2) to make my trip and be back.

    I figure, going through Canada takes us right past Niagara Falls, a roughly 4 hour drive. We stay the night there, wake up early and head to Green mountain national forest in Vermont, a 6hr drive, stay a night, then make the next 6hr drive to Acadia at first light.

    From that point we'll have 6 days, but still need to make the 16 hour drive home, which I would like to at least split in half. Any advice on something about 8hrs between SE MI and Western Maine?

    Suggestions are welcome, I'd like to maximize my time in Acadia though.. if you were planning this trip, how would you go about it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    I think you are going by computer drive times. These are not realistic, add 20% to account for traffic, delays, food, fuel, and bathroom/rest stops.

    Detroit to Niagara Falls via Canada is closer to 5 hours. Not unreasonable if you leave at 2pm.
    You didn't say where in the "Green Mountain National Forest" you are going, but Niagara Falls to Rutland VT is about 7 hours. Rutland to Acadia is about 8 hours.

    Now, for the return trip, this is right at the safe limit for a 2 day drive, you are looking at 10 hours a day for 2 days. This assumes you will take I-95 to I-495 to I-90, which is the fastest. You could save about 1 hour going through Canada, but that may be eaten up with border delays. The halfway point is Utica NY.

    NOTE that I-90 through MA is electronic tolling only, no cash. You need a transponder (EZ-Pass) or you will be billed by license plate photo. This involves a service charge. ME, NH, and NY still accept cash.

  3. Default

    @glc thank you for the reply. I'm definitely aware Google Maps isn't always 100% accurate with estimated times. How would you approach this? I want to maximize time at Acadia, but the only other option really is driving straight through, or flying and renting a car, but that option would be really expensive just to drive from the airport to the park and back not to mention the airplane tickets.

    Maybe I should just drive straight through to Utica, sleep for 5-6 hours and continue on, maybe just make a pitstop at Niagara just to look at the falls and grab a bite to eat.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    The other thing, and hopefully you know this ... you have to have a passport to cross into Canada.


  5. Default

    Thank you, yes I am well aware of that.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you get off work at 2pm, I would drive to Niagara Falls and spend the night. There is no way you can make it from there to Acadia the next day, so I'd either spend part of the morning in Niagara, or get to Acadia mid day the day after. If you spend part of the morning in Niagara, spend the night in Utica or the Albany area. If you want to get to Acadia early, spend the night in Portsmouth or Portland. Take I-90 to I-495 to I-95. You can take I-295 from Portland back to I-95 to save both time and tolls. Depending on time, you can take US-1 up the coast from Brunswick to Ellsworth for some scenery, otherwise take I-95 to Bangor then US-1A toward the park.

    For the return trip, I'd stay on the Interstates, spend the night in Utica, then stay in the US back to Detroit.

  7. Default

    Thank you for all of the useful information. I think I've come to a decision, and that is to shoot straight for either Cornwall Ont. Ca to stay the night, or Utica, NY, and completing the journey from there at first light. Same thing or reverse on the way home. That way I can be to the park by afternoon on Saturday, and get to really enjoy 5 full days and nights of hiking.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    No, if you don't leave till 2pm Friday, you cannot safely drive all the way to Acadia on Saturday. The best you are going to do is mid day Sunday. The only way you are going to make it to Acadia on Saturday is take Friday off work and leave in the morning.

    You also can't go through Cornwall. This will take considerably longer than crossing at Buffalo or Niagara Falls and taking I-90 and I-95. You must stick to the Interstates and Canadian limited access highways with your tight timeline.

  9. Default

    What do you mean I can't safely make it to Acadia by Saturday? It's roughly 8 hours to get to Utica, and then another 8 hours to get to Acadia from Utica. What exactly would be unsafe about doing that? I've driven longer than 10hrs numerous times. If I left by 2 or 3, I'd get to Utica by midnight at the absolutely latest. Then I could leave by 5am and be to Acadia by 3pm. Is there something I'm missing? Is it super dark and without streetlights before Utica or something else I'm unaware of?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Reality

    There are the estimated drive times that you'll get from computer-based mapping routines, and then there are the real-world driving times that it will actually take you. One assumes that you will drive at or above the speed limit for every second of every minute you are on the road and never have to stop for food, fuel or even to go to the bathroom, and will never get behind a slow truck passing an even slower truck, or see any construction or a toll booth or a customs station. The other is what people with even a modicum of experience will warn you is what you need to plan for. You claim to have driven 10 hour days before. Are you also claiming that you covered 650-750 miles on those days? Are you aware that the last portion of the drive, from Portland to Bar Harbor, will be on a two-lane, tourist-clogged highway?

    As you have left things, you are still claiming that you plan to leave Detroit at 2:00 PM on a Friday and drive 450 miles to Utica by midnight. That's possible if and only if you go through Canada with absolutely no delays at either border crossing. But then you claim, essentially, that you're going to immediately fall into a deep and restful sleep, after a mere 5 hours of which you are going to immediately get up, hop in your car and drive another 550 miles. That is also, I guess, remotely possible, BUT EXTREMELY UNSAFE. If you are lucky, you will (like I was when I tried such a stunt when I was 17, eight-foot-tall, and bullet-proof) get pulled over by an understanding state trooper who will merely take your license and have you follow him to the nearest motel where he watches you check in.

    Look, we cannot force anyone to be sane or reasonable or to face reality. All we can do is try to present you with the reality of the situation you are getting yourself into. And the reality of your situation is that you are proposing an unsafe drive, putting thousands of innocent people at risk, and asking us to endorse it. The answer is simple: NO

    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-24-2019 at 04:37 PM.

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