Roadtrip - DC to Niagara Falls to Quebec

Jul 7th, 2004, 11:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Roadtrip - DC to Niagara Falls to Quebec

Hello -
A friend is coming over to visit me (from Australia) in Washington DC in late August. He wants to see Niagara Falls and I want to see Quebec City, so we are planning a roadtrip. Unfortunately we only have 7-8 days due to my/his schedule, so we are trying to plan an itinerary that will let us see both of these places within our time frame. We would like to drive through Lancaster County (2 hrs from DC) then up to Niagara Falls (6 hrs more?) the first day, stay there a day, then continue on up to Quebec City (maybe stopping at Montreal or somewhere for the night to break the trip up and see some sites). After 2-3 days in QC we then want to drive back to DC a different route (maybe 2-3 days through New England?). Anyway, any ideas on how to structure this or sites to see along the way? I have never done a roadtrip through this part of the country (and Canada) before so I would greatly appreciate any suggestions ...

Thanks a lot.
calana1 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 03:19 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 987
Your plan includes a lot of driving. I'd check and double check the driving times between your destinations, that's all. Quebec is fabulous! You'll love it!
tbelgian is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 04:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 575
A direct route Quebec to D.C. is about 750 miles. Going back through New England through New England would add additional miles. You might consider joining an auto club such as the AAA. The maps and tour books you could get would be very helpful in planning your itinerary. They would more than makeup for the cost of membership[.
Rob is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 05:48 AM
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According to the AAA (you can get detailed maps/directions on their free web site) the driving distance from DC to Niagara is 500 miles or 8 hours (without any stops) by the shortest route. Going through Lancaster County is no where near this route and would seem to add several hours to this time. I think you may be underestimating distances and driving times (especially once you get off the major highways).

For perspective, we did NYC to Niagara a couple of years ago and it is a solid 8 hours of driving (including traffic, construction etc) plus stops for gas and time for even a snack.

Also, if your travel days include weekends be aware that on August Fridays and Sundays some routes near major cities (at least NYC and Boston - don;t know about all the others) can be bumper tp bumper for hours with folks going to/from their weekend houses - so for those days you would want to do any driving before 1pm or so.

I would suggest using the AAA or another site to lay out possible day drives (keeping in mind that the times they list are best case - do not allow for any delays or stops) to get a better perspective on how long you would be in the car versus how long you would actually have to see anything.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Shortest route from DC to Niagara Falls is just over 400 miles, but include a lot of non-freeway travel through the Allegeny Mountains in West-Central PA. Would still take 7.5 hours.

Shortest route from Niagara Falls to Quebec is about 560 miles, by backtracking through Upstate NY. About 9 hours. If you go through Toronto, then you add to the distance and especially time because of traffic in the Toronto area.

Quebec City to DC is almost 750 miles, including passing through NYC. 12 hours.

So, that's close to 30 hours of driving time alone. You'll be spending 3 to 4 full days (i.e. half of your trip) looking out the car windows. Not a good itinerary, in my opinion.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 12:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 127
We just returned from a driving trip from Richmond, VA to Niagara Falls and Toronto. From Richmond to Niagara (passing D.C. on I495 to I270) took about 9 hours. It takes about 1 1/2 hours from Richmond to D.C., so you should count on 7 1/2 hours to Niagara if you take the shortest route. However, the wait at the border was about 1 1/2 hours. We crossed the border on a Friday afternoon, and the border agent said Friday's are the worst for backups.

We spent 2 days in Niagara, which was just about right. If you have only one day, here is my suggestion for a one-day itinerary that includes what I think are the "must see" attractions:

1. Stay in a hotel on the Canadian side. It is much nicer than the American side. Try Sheraton-On-The-Falls (not Sheraton Falls View). It has easy access to the bridge so you can walk over to the US. Also, it has FANTASTIC views of the falls and is close to restaurants and nightlife.

2. Start your day on the Whirlpool Jet Boat tour at 10:00 a.m. (reservations required). This was without a doubt the highlight of our trip. You wll get thoroughly soaked in spite of the rain gear and boots they give you, so bring a change of clothes (everything). The have changing rooms. The boats leave from Niagara-On-The-Lake, about 19 miles and 30 minutes drive from the Falls.

3. You will be done and changed into your dry clothes by 11:30 a.m. Grab lunch in a cafe in the beautiful main street area of the town of Niagara-On-The-Lake before returning to the Falls. You could walk there from the Jet Boat parking lot or drive a few blocks.

4. Return to Niagara Falls and take the Maid of the Mist (lines on the American side are shorter, and the walk over from the Canadian side is very short). They give you a poncho, but you should wear shoes that you don't mind getting wet. The ride lasts only 15 or 20 minutes but it is the best way to see (and experience) the falls.

5. Tour Cave of the Winds on the American side, which is near the dock for Maid of the Mist. This is a cool walk down to the base of Bridal Veil Falls on steps and platforms. They give you a poncho and water sandals.

6. Walk on a little ways from the Cave tour to see the fantastic up-close views of Horseshoe Falls from the American side.

7. You should be done in plenty of time for dinner, drinks, gambling, or whatever in the evening.

By the way, as you walk across the bridge to the US, be on the lookout for the metal plaque on the side wall of the bridge telling you where the international boundary line is. I am almost 42 years old, but I still think it is cool to stand with one foot in each country!

Don't know about Quebec. Have fun!

Davelw is offline  
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