T.O. > NY & DC - 1st Timers from Scotland !!
Hi Everyone, I've been reading this forum with much interest over the weeks !! I am visiting Toronto in September, but plan to take 4/5 days to vist NYC and Washington D.C. I've had a quick look at some of the recommended sites and figure the distance is about 550 (10hrs) from TO to NY, then 250 miles (5hrs) onward to DC (after a couple of days sughtseeing !) and then back to T.O. (another 550 miles). Firstly, are my distances and mileages correct?? Secondly, we have a two and a half year old daughter, so plan to take breaks every 3 hrs ? (Bear in mind that the distances discussed on this site are totally alien to us, as a 200 mile trip is considered excessive in the UK !!)Is this fair and can anyone recommend stops (I know Niagra / Buffalo is about 2 hrs from TO, but would like more advice for further afield !) I am renting a Ford Expedition which I believe is a huge vehicle, so it should be comfortable. I know the gas will be expensive, but I am used to paying approx $13/14 a gallon - so it can't be that bad !!! but any knowledge of these vehicles and gas usuage or prices would be much appreciated. Think thats about it..... sorry for the long post, but I am really looking forward to this, and want the trip to go well. Thanks is advance, Steven
to be sure about the distance, go to www.mappoint.msn.com and click on Get driving directions. You'll see that Canada and USA are very huge countries, in some states or provinces you can drive for days within the borders of the said state/province. Traffic jams are not as bad as in UK but you should expect some delays especially in metropolitan areas such as NYC and D.C. I did a roadtrip accross USA last June and if it didn't changed much you can expect gas price to range from 1,79$-2,30$/US gallon depending on the area. In Canada, gas prices are around 0,90$/liter, maybe a little bit less in Ontario. Stick to big truck stops like Flying J and TA, gas is usually cheaper than anywhere else and you can get a frequent fueler card that gives you rebates (not much but...)on gas (go to flyingj.com and order a directory while you're there(you can also get a TA directory by mail : www.tatravelcenters.com)).
Of course, you know that big comfortable cars costs more both at the rental and on gas, but if comfort is your main concern, it's definitly worth it, they're really comfy:-)
Be sure to bring great music and lots of toys for your little kidd-o because she might get bored easily just sitting there and doing nothing. Try to bring some toys that don't make to much noise because then you will be the bored one. Bring pillows and blankets for everybody and try to find one of these little curtains that you stick to the window to make some shade. That way your baby girl won't get sunburned and she'll be able to sleep.
For sightseeing, I know the Adirondacks area in upper NY state is worth seeing. Personally, I don't really much enjoy metropolitan areas except for specific purposes so maybe others can help you more with NYC and DC attractions and sceneries. Of course you have the classics : Statue of Liberty, Empire State Buildings, The White House, Pentagon, ... I'm not really familiar with these areas unfortunately...Sorry!
Have a great trip!
Thanks for the speedy reply Gen - some great ideas - I hadn't thought about sunblinds (not much need here).
If anyone with local knowledge could help with ideas on good places to stop, that would be great.
Steve, you are correct, the Ford Expedition is a very large vehicle -- and although they are very fine, even luxurious, chariots, it's overkill for two people and a baby. You might check into something a bit smaller, like a Ford Explorer -- same basic shape, but on a smaller scale.
Trust me, it'll still seem like a very large vehicle to someone used to driving Euro-sized vehicles. You may find that not only is the cost of rental somewhat less, but it'll also do significantly better on gasoline mileage. I have driven both vehicles, and I suggest that you would be comfortable in the Explorer. In my Ranger (same vehicle built as a pick-up), I got about 19-21 mpg on the highway, but with an Expedition, I doubt you'd do much better than 16. I recognize you may have other reasons for wanting to rent the Expedition, but that's my suggestion! Bob
Thanks for the advice Bob - we need the extra seats for visiting friends in TO (with new born twins !!) - I may look at hiring something more sensible for the 'roadtrip' - thanks again. Steven
That's an ambitious trip for 1 week from Toronto. I can't suggest anything for NYC but they may have tour buses you can get a tour for a day or from your hotel that would hit the high spots, same in D.C. Don't forget going back to Toronto from D.C. is 800 miles. I'd suggest flying if you can swing that. Especially with a baby. It would give you more time to see the sites other than one day in each place. The must see places in D.C. are the Washington monument(good view on a clear day), the Capitol building, the Smithsonian museum of natural history(they have a stuffed Dodo bird and the Hope diamond)and Arlington Cemetery for the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldiers (also good view of Washington from the Cemetery).
NYC & DC
Stevie, traveling with a kid, it might be much more comfortable if you pick the one city you want to see the most. Both cities contain several days worth of sightseeing in them and to give both cities a good once over driving down from Toronto and back again in 5 days is, as other posters mentioned, bold.
It's doable, but you'd be Clark Griswalding the places you visit (rent "National Lampoon's Vacation" if you don't catch the reference).
If you have your heart set on seeing both I'd do this.
Day 1: Travel towards DC, NOT going through NYC. It's a tricky drive since there's no Interstate that leads straight from Buffalo to DC and you'll be hitting US hightways rather than interstates (lower speed limits, potential traffic lights, etc), but if you're willing to drive 10 hours, you can get REAL close to DC. If you get into DC, check into your room for 2 nights.
Day 2. Check out the attractions you want to see. You have all day. You can do a lot in day. The Mall is the area where all the major monuments are.
Day 3. Drive to NYC. You'll be there in plenty of time to see some stuff. Check in the room in the afternoon (check in times for most hotels and motels in the US are usually 3:00 EST. You can request early check in.)
Day 4. Explore more of NYC.
Day 5. Back to Toronto, arriving in the evening.
To me that makes more sense than driving through NYC, then down to DC, than back through NYC to Toronto in 5 days. Day 1 and Day 5 will be big travel days, but you'll get to see some nice scenery. I live in Connecticut and my best friend moved in DC a few years back and we're always driving up and down for golf weekends, bar hopping, baseball games and hanging out, so I know the trip pretty well. If you need any specific info, let me know.
Enjoy your trip.
Grethcen - thanks for the tips on Washington, really appreciated. I thought DC to TO was approx 550 miles ? I used one of the resources mentioned earlier in this thread. Can you / anyone confirm this ?
Most direct route
The most direct route I could come up with quickly is only 489 miles, so I'd say your figure is probably more accurate than the 800 one. Routes can vary greatly, and there are many to choose from in that part of the country. Bob