Boston, Niagra Falls and New York

Feb 12th, 2010, 01:11 AM
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OR this is my idea too as mentioned by djkbooks why not skip Toronto altogether?

If he spent time in Boston then Niagara he could then stop on the way back to Boston. What about the mountains? They are into the outdoors so rather than another city are there are National Parks or lakes or great scenery? Any advice - I do not have a clue what the options are.
sal56 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 05:26 AM
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Boston is probably going to be your cheapest for a international flight. I would go ahead and book a flight to Boston. Then, I would look into renting a car versus flying to Niagara Falls. I ve never been to Boston, but everyone seems to say you don't need a car there, as with most major cities because you can get around almost anywhere either walking or subway for longer distances. Niagara, however, you would need a car. So, for Niagara, I would look into roundtrip flights from Boston to Buffalo. I think someone mentioned there is a direct flight. Then, rent a car in Buffalo. And I would compare that to the total cost of renting a car all those days, the price of gas, and maybe figure in the cost of a hotel for 1 night each way. You might find the cost of flying from Boston to Buffalo to be not much more than driving. And it would save you a lot of time too. Then, you could just rent a car there and drive the 20 miles from Buffalo to Niagara Falls. If there is any issue of taking the rental car accross the border, then if youre in good shape, then you can just walk accross Rainbow Bridge into Canada. However, that being said, the falls can also be viewed on the American side. Check out Niagara Falls State Park. Its awesome. I ll give you a quick run down of each side. The Canadian side has panoramic views of the falls from a distance, it is very touristy, but has a European feel to it with manicured gardens. There is Maid of the Mist, which is the boat that goes up to the falls and its a must. There is also Journey Behind the Falls, which takes you down to a platform close to the falls and takes you in tunnels behind the waterfall. I don't think its worth it though, theres a similar attraction on the US side that is much better, which I'll get to in a minute. But, basically the Canadian Side has better facilities and the views are different in addition to much more crowds. However, that being said you could most certainly take a trip to Niagara Falls and never leave the US. Theres a lot to see and do on the US side and it is much less crowded. You can also take Maid of the Mist from the US side, which i'd reccomend because its less crowded and less waiting in line. The views of the falls are different on the US side though. They are more up close and personal rather than panoramic. But, I believe the views are every bit as good as the Canadian side, just different. I liked the US side a lot. Cave of the Winds on the US side in my opinion is the best attraction at Niagara Falls. Its not actually a cave, but it takes you down right down to the base of the falls and basically gets you right up to it. Its amazing to look up at the huge waterfall coming down on you. It is so much better than Journey Behind the Falls on the Canadian side. You dont go behind the waterfall, but to tell you the truth the Journey Behind the Falls, although it sounds cool, your basically looking at the back of the waterfall through a tiny porthole like on a boat, its just a wall of water not much to see. Its not like your actually walking behind the waterfall and its open. Cave of the Winds gives you more a experience than that and is much more up close and personal and not confined. So, basically the two things I wouldn't miss at Niagara is Cave of the Winds and Maid of the Mist. In addtion, I would take in the views at the state park. And Cave of the Winds is on the American side and Maid of the Mist like I said can be done from the American side. Another place I would reccomend is if you drive 2-3 miles north out of town is Whirlpool State Park. It gives you good views of the whirlpool and canyon downstream and recieves little crowds. There is also a hiking trail you can take down to the river, which is very neat with the roaring river and you find solitude. And this is free. If your into history, continue 8 more miles or so up the same road to Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario. You can see Toronto from here. Its a very interesting fort that was owned by the French and one of the strutures is almost like a castle. If I were you, I would focus most of my time in the Niagara area. You don't have to go over to Canada to experience the falls, but going over to Canada gives you more vantage points of the falls, although I liked viewing the falls better from the American side. The only reason I would go over to Canada would be for like I just said a different view of the falls or nightlife. Other than that, you can make a visit to the Falls and stay on the American side, no problem. When I was there, I stayed on the Canadian side and found myself doing most of my activities on the American side. Now, if you drive from Boston to Niagara, there are mountains. Theres the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. You cross them on the interstate but id reccomend taking Route 2 farther north into Albany, much more scenic. Theres also the Adirondacks in NY, but theyre a little bit out of the way. You also got the Finger Lakes region of NY closer to Niagara, which is pretty with lots of gorges.
asdaven is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 05:30 AM
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Also, you may need a visa to cross over into Canada at Niagara. I would look into that.
asdaven is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 07:06 AM
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I'm a little confused as there are two similar threads now (with different posters!) but have you checked out rail service? I'm going to post this on both:
E_M is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 07:52 AM
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I was going to mention that. It would be something to consider, but I would imagine you could fly between the cities for around the same price like on JetBlue. If the driving or the train is cheaper, then the only advantage the train would have is you don't have to drive. I would imagine driving would take just as long if not faster than the train as it is straight uncongested interstate once your out of Boston. I have always looked into using Amtrak to go to different destinations around the US and have almost always found flying or driving much cheaper.
asdaven is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 10:14 AM
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wow thanks asdaven - the info about niagara is brilliant.

Good advice to go ahead and book return to Boston and then do more research on flying v driving v train.

yes there are two similar threads going but I am still keen for any info about National parks etc between Niagara and Boston incuding detours. Any thoughts?
sal56 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 10:16 AM
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sorry asdaven just realised you have mentioned some places - I'll look into finger lakes and the berkshires
sal56 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 12:27 PM
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Detours: Ok, looking at a map, supposing you drive from Boston to Niagara taking I-90 (by name the Mass Pike and then NY State Thruway), I think below are your three best options for finding some wilderness hiking (park-maintained trails and maps) half-way between Boston and Niagara. I think it should be possible to rent a cabin and sleep in the woods in any of these places, which might be fun. Try googling, for example, cabin southern adirondacks.

1. If you leave the Mass Pike at I-91 and travel north to Greenfield. You could take Rt 2 west, which has beautiful vistas.
That would put you near Green Mountain National Forest (VT), which I've heard is nice, but haven't been there.

2. Or, you could drive through the Berkshires mountains between Stockbridge and Williamstown (MA). There are lots of state parks with hiking trails, lakes, etc. For example: Mount Greylock State Reservation, Savoy Mountain State Forest, Natural Bridge State Park.

3. Or, from the NY Thruway, drive up I-87 about an hour and visit the southern Adirondaks. This is a very remote area with lots of dramatic beauty.

You could continue on to the Finger lakes, but by then you are almost all the way to Niagara.
capxxx is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 12:41 PM
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Personally, I would go with Capxxx's Option 2 as there are lots of options. the roads up Mt Greylock was just reopened. Lots of hiking and a great viewpoint of the Berkshires. Part of the Appalachian Trail runs through here.
tchoiniere is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 12:54 PM
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With only one week, Boston and Niagara Falls, given the distance between the two and all there is to see and do, especially with the kids, is PLENTY.

With more research on both Toronto and Niagara Falls, whether or not to go to Toronto can be decided later.

With four people, driving will likely be much more economical and practical than flying or taking trains, plus renting a car.
djkbooks is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:50 PM
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Great info as I'm headed to Niagara Falls & Boston in July!
wtm003 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 05:38 PM
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sal56- Glad I could help with some detailed information on Niagara Falls. I ve never actually visited Boston, just been around there on I-95 on the way to Maine, so all I remember is lots of traffic. I do know that Route 2 through Western Massachusetts is a very scenic drive and if I recall that highway moves at a pretty good pace except a couple parts where you have to slow down through the mountains. These mountains are the Berkshires. They would be the most convenient to visit on your way to the Falls. I stopped by Lake George in the Southern Adirondacks on my last trip from Maine and I would say I liked Berkshires better. Plus, Lake George is out of the way for you. However, im taking a trip up this summer to the Northern Adirondacks/Lake Placid area, which is supposed to be and seems like to be the most scenic area of the Adirondacks. But, of course that is way way out of your way. The Berkshires are decent mountains and theres some quaint towns. You could go into Vermont, but probably going to be similar to the Berkshires, plus thats out of your way. The Finger Lakes in NY closer to Niagara I really enjoyed. However, the northern end of the lakes closest to Interstate 90, which you ll probably be traveling, there is not much in the way of hills/mountains and hiking. There are wineries, but the good hiking is going to be more so at the southern end of the lakes a good distance from the interstate. That being said I would focus your trip more on Niagara Falls and the Berkshires if your driving and just spend a day or two in Boston, especially if your into hiking and natural scenery. The scenery at Niagara Falls cannot be beat. Niagara Falls is not in the mountains however. You ll be surprised its even there because the surounding area is totally flat. But, the area around the falls and the few miles downstream in the gorge is all rugged. Good hiking can be found in the gorge at Whirlpool State Park in NY off of Robert Moses Parkway and Niagara Glen off the Niagara Parkway on the Canadian side. Both have trails into the gorge and trails at the bottom along the river. If your in good shape, other than the helicopters flying over, you can almost find solitude down by the river.
asdaven is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 06:49 PM
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Note that Rte 2 is not a freeway for parts of its eastern end.

Thus, while traffic on Rte 2 can move at a good pace in western Massachusetts, it can be considerably slower east of I-495 (because of heavier volume in the Boston metro area and because of the non-freeway portions around Concord and in Cambridge and Boston).

You can use a mapping program like Google maps to get the best route between Rte 2 at I-495 and Boston.
Cranachin is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 06:59 PM
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I took Route 2 from I-495, don't know the best way to get from Boston to there is though.
asdaven is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 10:27 PM
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Seriously, the drive is long enough, especially with two kids, Boston/Niagara or Toronto, with more to see and do in those destinations than any "detours" along the way.
djkbooks is offline  
Feb 13th, 2010, 02:19 PM
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I would agree, I would focus your time more on Niagara, its really something to see,especially if you do Cave of the Winds.
asdaven is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 06:40 AM
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djk --

It is indeed a long drive. I live in western mass and can barely tolerate the drive to Toronto.

My thinking is that a family of Brits, with kids, who like hiking, would not be used to kind of long-distance all day marathon that straight through drive would require. They'd be happier with an overnight break in the middle. And they asked about places to stop in between.
capxxx is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 09:45 AM
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He is going to go for Boston then onto niagara and then take capxxx's option2 on the way back - the idea of a cabin in the forest sounds great. Thank you everyone for all your help
sal56 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 10:22 AM
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I was assuming that there would be an overnight break in one or both directions. The trip could be done in one day, especially with two drivers, but we do like to break up the drive with an overnight stay in one or both directions. But, that's just a stop for dinner, a good nights sleep, a hearty breakfast, and back on the road.

If I understand correctly, this family will be landing in Boston after a long overseas flight, then exploring Boston, then driving to Niagara Falls and back.

If two days each way are spent driving to Niagara Falls and back, that leaves three days for exploring both destinations, including arrival day, if only one week is available for this trip.

So, I just don't think there's any time for additional excursions, such as Toronto or hiking in the Adirondacks. With additional days, sure, but not with only one week.
djkbooks is offline  
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