January 06, 2012,
K.N. asks from Lombard, IL on December 30, 2011
Places to Stop While Driving from Chicago to NY
We are planning a roadtrip from Chicago to NYC in June to visit some relatives and wanted some suggestions on places to stop along the way. We have a 4 year old and 5 year old and do not plan on driving straight through. We would like to do a couple of day trips along the way. We already have Hershey, PA as a possible stop. Anyone out there have any other suggestions?
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✪.P. answers from Chicago on December 30, 2011
Well my kids enjoyed Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. They also liked the Kalahari Resort nearby, too. There wasn't too much more worth mentioning, but you could go to the amusement park one day and sleep over at Kalahari and still use their waterpark even after check out the next day. Their indoor play area is nice there, too. That would be a fun day or two off the road before continuing your road trip to NY. We would love to travel to NY this summer, too. So I am saving your post in case you get some really good ideas. Oh... yeah... there's also Put In Bay Island that wasn't too far from Sandusky (maybe 30 min.) and we took a ferry boat to get to the island. Once at the island, you can rent a golf cart (FUN and reasonable) to get around the town on the island. There's "gold mining" for the kids, restaurants, souvenier shops, some landmarks, beautiful photo shot opportunities near the water, and more. My kids loved the 20 min. or so ferry ride to the island and the fee for this was very reasonable.
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D.B. answers from Charlotte on December 30, 2011
If you are in the Hershey area, think about stopping in Amish territory in Lancaster County. Also, a stop in Philly would be really cool. I know that's clustered closeby, but it's nice in both places.
I doubt that you would want to go out of the way to NYC, but I will say that Sleepy Hollow outside of Tarrytown is wonderful, and great for children. June would be a wonderful time to do that, outside of Halloween!
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B.E. answers from New York on December 30, 2011
Niagara Falls? Canadian side is better, of course, but the NY side is not too shabby either - particularly Goat Island. Just don't let the kids wade into the rapids! :)
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J.G. answers from New York on December 31, 2011
If you are taking Rt. 80, know that pennsylvania NEVER ends, and between Clarion or Dubois and the New Jersey border, there is vertually nowhere to stop except rest areas. So bring games and snacks. On the border of PA and Ohio, (I think it's Sandusky) There is a Hotel with an indoor water park- really cool. The Great Wolf Inn, I think. Austintown, OH has nice hotels and a CrackerBarrell.
Clarion and Dubois have nothing to offer. (sorry residents :) We live in NJ and my inlaws live north of Chicago. We have done the trip more times than I can count. HTH
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K.S. answers from Detroit on December 31, 2011
If you are going the Canadian route, you could stop in Ann Arbor for the night. Compact downtown for eating, and a kid's hands on museum, U-M natural history museum with dinosaurs, and its Summer Fest is in June with free entertainment near U-M bell tower at night.
Niagra-on-the-Lake is another place to spend the night. Cutesy historic town with horse-drawn carriage rides. It is also near Stratford, Ontario. There usually is at least one play that is appropriate for children. Last year they had Peter Pan.
I have had problems getting into NY from Canada due to a build up of traffic. Try to reach the border early in the morning if you go that route.
You could go to the Adiorandacks (sp?) for some mountain hikes. Bring cash and checks. They don't take credit cards at the resorts (amazing issue there!)
Other areas for hikes would be south-west corner of NY. Look into the state parks in the area.
Howe's Caverns is near Cooperstown, NY, the Baseball Hall of Fame. It's a cute town, too.
Cedar Pointe has incredible roller coasters, but your 4 and 5 year old won't be tall enough. I'd check into what you would be able to do before going.
And my DH would not even think of me sending this email without telling you about the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential home located in Freemont, OH. It does have lovely grounds, but unless you are presidential nuts like he is, you may only think it is a nice house.
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N.P. answers from Chicago on January 06, 2012
I have planned MANY a cartrip using http://www.randmcnally.com we have taken our kids to 31 states in the last decade and almost all were planned with that site's help. The trip adviser/trip planner feature is free to all.
Now, as far as what to see/do along the way we made that trip in Fall 2003 when our older daughter was 4 and younger one had just turned 1- we did a train ride to a historic site in Ohio, Easton PA - the Crayola factory, Bushkill Falls in PA, a silver mine in NJ, Mystic Harbor in CT, Rhode Island and the black sand beaches, Mass was Ecotarium (totally amazingly cool, wish the kids had been older to do the tree thing) and Battleship Cove. Maine, well, Maine was the hard one, we just went to see the Cedar Works factory, lol, we did end up buying a climber the next year from them. NH was a bike ride down the mountain (rented bikes, helmets and kid seats were provided as well as transportation), we went to the Lost River Caves (OMG so fun!!) and took a ride through the mountain to see where the man in the mountain used to be. VT was Ben and Jerry's (my littlest still loves the flavor we tried that day, lol), the Von Trapp Family Lodge and the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory. Then we did NY - we did a cave outside of um, Lake George, and we did the Canada side of the falls. We ended up driving through Canada to get to Michigan, but now you need a passport to do that so we would have just stayed on the US side.
I don't think I missed any thing. We didn't do anything in MI that time, but we did a whole IL, WI, MI, IN loop summer 2009.
J.S. answers from Chicago on January 03, 2012
No one has mentioned beaches. Lake Erie has many beaches across Ohio. There's a museum of invention geared for children in Akron, OH. Sauter Village near Archibald, OH reflects 19th century midwest. Pokagon State Park near Angola, IN is nice for hiking, running off energy. Toledo, OH has a zoo. There's an old time train ride from Penninsula, OH north a bit that's nice. Cuyahoga Valley National (?) Park near Cleveland.