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Mid-end July Roundtrip: Boston-Portland-White Mountains-Niagara-NY-Boston

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Mid-end July Roundtrip: Boston-Portland-White Mountains-Niagara-NY-Boston

Old Mar 5th, 2016, 06:24 AM
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Mid-end July Roundtrip: Boston-Portland-White Mountains-Niagara-NY-Boston

Dear all,

This summer visiting USA again (from Europe, parents and two kids, 15 and 19yo). Starting in Boston, stay for two nights preferably in Bay Back area, already saw that prices wil start at about $200 a night (which is a setback to be honest, West Coast was a little friendlier on this). Then rent a car to go whale watching, what is your advice, better from Provincetown or Portland?

Next step is the White Mountain NF. Any tips on what to see/where to stay are welcomed, as well as recommended drive to Niagara from here. And during this drive, stay a night where/to do/see what?

Last question also applies for the drive from Niagara to NY.

And: is the drive from NY to Boston worthwhile or can we return our rental car in NY and take public transport to Boston?

Looking forward to read your suggestions!

Kind regards,
Zeb
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 06:31 AM
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You can take a whale watch from Boston. All the boats go to the same area to see the whales so the trip from Provincetown may be slightly shorter than that from Boston but you would be driving two hours just to get to there. I would do it from Boston or Portland, depending on your schedule and the weather.

You won't need a car in NYC and can easily take a bus (cheaper) or the train (more comfortable) to Boston. Buy Amtrak tickets in advance for the best prices. The Northeast Regional train is cheaper than the Acela, and takes about a half hour longer to make the trip.
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 06:53 AM
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As cw said, the boats go to where the whales are so just sail out of Boston.
Are you going to the Maine or New Hampshire section of the White Mountain NF? http://visitmaine.com/things-to-do/o...tional-forest/
I enjoyed the Kancamangus Highway in New Hampshire.
Either fly to Buffalo or take the Amtrak Lake Shore Limited from Boston South or Back Bay to get to Niagara Falls.
Coming back from Niagara Falls either fly or take the Maple Leaf train to New York.
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 09:46 AM
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Zip lining and mountain biking are popular in NH and so is kayaking. It depends on what your 15 and 19 yos would like to do. One of the places I would like to explore is Diana's Baths which I believe is off the Kancamagus. We have visited a Vermont swimming hole with a small waterfall and that was a lot of fun.
The Flume is a very popular (and pricey) walk thru a gorge but probably worth it.

If you are driving north on I93 from Boston to the White Mountains you are going very close to a popular kayaking place. We have rented from the place on the Contoocook River (Penacook NH) and kayaked that river to a secluded beach but they will also transport you to the Merrimack River for a half day paddle (bring lunch/snacks) which I liked even better (went with friends). Hannah's Paddles is closer to this spot but I don't know if they transport.

Continuing up I93 is actually fairly scenic. Your children might want to spend some time at Weirs Beach on Lake Winnipesaukee but a nicer area to stay is Meredith. I would suggest you look for a ski area condo which would be more comfortable for your family and you can cook your own breakfast. It's been a long time since we stayed a Loon. One of the advantages of the Meredith area is several summer theaters if you want something to do in the evening.

Conway and North Conway aren't my favorite areas due to the amount of traffic although I will agree the view from downtown North Conway is beautiful. Again, there are ski area condos as well as a variety of motels and hotels.

We are planning an overnight in the spring for the Conway/Tamworth area so I am looking into air B&B. We usually do the mountains as a day trip. Our son likes to take visitors to Polar Caves but I don't care for it.
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 10:26 AM
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I don't see where you have said how many weeks in total you have for this trip. Without that it's hard to make recos.

A couple of notes:

Ignore Tom about trains. That is his mania and he recommends train for every trip no matter how convoluted or how much extra time it takes.

To go from Boston to Niagara Falls you might want to spend a day in the finger lakes - which have lots of places for hiking, and some nice waterfalls as well as the lakes.

For Niagara Falls you really want to go to the Canadian side - where the best views (and hotels) are. You can also make a short visit to Niagara on the Lake which is very pretty. BUT you need to be sure you are allowed to take the car into Canada - additional paperwork but usually OK as long as you tell them in advance. (Check this before you rent from that agency.)

With 4 people I reco driving to NYC - but it is a full day drive - at least 9 hours from the Canadian side. Flying from Buffalo is obvouisly much faster but the cost can be very high.

Drop the car as soon as you get to NYC - since you can;t use it there and parking will be $50 per night or so.

Do you have a hotel for NYC? NY is typically more than Boston and $200 a night for 4 people is not an easy budget and the time you are coming is not cheap.

For returning to Boston I would take the train (buy tickets at least 2 weeks in advance for best prices).
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 12:48 PM
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Thank you travellers! Your info brought us a step further to deciding upon itineraray. We'll go North from Boston for the whale watching from Portland. And check with the Alamo's and Dollar's upon travelling to Canada, as well as pickup in Boston and return in NY (and travel by train to Boston again).
This also means that we won't use the I93 but the I95 along the coast to get to the White Mountains.

We have 18 days for the roundtrip, and activities like kayaking, paddling, swimming is just right for all of us. And of course we need to do some shopping in the outlets. Probably first thing when we arrive in Boston...

Any tips on our way from White Mountains to Niagara are still welcomed (Fingerlakes is already in now!) and for our trip from Niagara to NY also.

Btw: originally Washington was also part of the plan, skipped already due to time schedule. We don't like to rush.
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 03:24 AM
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The reason why outlet shopping in NH is so popular is because there is no sales tax. There are quite a lot of stores in the Kittery ME area which is right off I95 just north of Portsmouth.
North Conway NH would be on your route in the mountains.

Other possibilities - small outlet mall in Tilton NH just off I93 exit 20. Nice assortment of stores off Everett Turnpike close to Nashua NH - Merrimack NH outlet mall but is probably not on your route at all.

If your timing is good, you might find some very good sales at regular stores - maybe summer clearance sales. Fox Run Mall in Newington NH next to Portsmouth. I'm not familiar with Portland ME mall.
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 08:22 AM
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Since you will be visiting the Finger Lakes on your trip from Niagara to New York, consider heading north from the White Mountains to Montreal... then proceed towards Toronto along the Canadian side of Lake and then continue to Niagara... it's the same amount of driving, but Montreal and Toronto are great stops...

In Niagara Falls, make sure you take the kids on Whirlpool Jetboats, the best attraction at the Falls...

After Niagara, make sure you stop at Letchworth State Park,on the way to the Finger Lakes... you can then drive Route 20 to Central NY before heading south to NYC.

HAVE FUN!
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 09:47 AM
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I agree with Gary to some extent but will add that the cost of gasoline, unless something has changed, is going to be higher in Canada than it is in the US. OTOH given how the Canadian Dollar has tanked (at least against US currency, and I assume also your own) the gasoline costs may not be an issue.
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Old Mar 7th, 2016, 10:24 AM
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Hey Gary, what is so special about Montreal (Toronto being already a possible goal from Niagara)? Does it differ that much from those we are visiting? Sorry for asking but I heard that people in USA are more friendly than in Canada? Do I need to take this into consideration or assume this is something untrue? I'm also a little worried that it may be one city too many... For the time being we'll stick to our original route. Need to read more about the Canada option. Is nature more impressive on the Canadian side?

Dukey, you're right, in comparison with gas prices in Europe, it's still cheap. So the difference in gasoline prices won't be as decisive as other reasons (see above).

Dfrost, thx for the detailed suggestions on the outlet shopping. It will take a fair amount of our budget, so let's hope we spot some interesting clearance sales.

Yesterday we also booked first two nights in Boston, plans are getting into shape bit by bit!
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Old Mar 7th, 2016, 12:03 PM
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Wow, Americans more friendly than Canadians. I'm definitely putting that in the "win" column. Montreal is certainly very different than any of the other cities, and in general I find Canadians at least as friendly as Americans. French Canadians (like the French) are certainly very proud of their heritage and culture, so if you do things that appear to belittle that like expect them to speak English, you won't always see their best side, but I wouldn't let that deter you. Still, the few times I've done it I've found the drive down the Canadian side much more tedious than the American side, so I agree, I'd cut across New York instead.

So after your time in New Hampshire, I'd head west across Vermont to Burlington (I'd probably do US-302 to I-89). Possibly spend a night there. Take one of the ferries across the lake to New York. Possibly do some hiking in the Lake Placid / High Peaks region of the Adirondacks. Then head south on I-87 to I-90, possibly cutting west at Saratoga if you want a break from freeway driving, and take I-90/I-190 to Niagara Falls, with a stop in the Finger Lakes either on the way over or on the way back depending on what works better for you.
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Old Mar 7th, 2016, 12:43 PM
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It's your call... The drive time is identical through NY and Canada so it's really a choice of whether you want to see Montreal and Toronto or just NY both ways...
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