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Road trip Chicago

Brussels, Belgium
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Road trip Chicago

Hi all,

Im leaving to Chicago with a friend in a couple of weeks. Initially we went for another purpose but this has been cancelled, therefore we now have 17 days to do a road trip starting and ending in Chicago.

I currently have planned following route but I am open to any suggestions. We would like to have a mix of culture, nature,..

Chicago: 1-3

Hiawatha national forest (lake superior): 4-5

Toronto + Niagara Falls: 6-8

Boston: 9-11

Washington DC: 12-14

Cleveland + back to Chicago (probably with short stops in Cuyahoga Valley & Indiana Dunes to include some nature): 15-17

As mentioned, I am open to any suggestions as I am not too familiar with the region. I decided to focus on the (North)-east of Chicago as it seems to be the most interesting option but feel free to offer alternatives. One option I am considering is to exclude Washington and spend some more time in the other places as otherwise it might feel too rushed? or maybe replace Washington by NYC to reduce the distance (although I've already visited NYC before).

Thanks!

7 replies to this topic
Lewes, United...
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1. Re: Road trip Chicago

Where are you from?

Why have you chosen that road trip?

What are your interests?

It's very fast paced, city heavy for the most part and rushes past areas that are beautiful and would be much more pleasant in say early July than a city heavy trip.

You really do not want to have a car in any city, if possible, whether it be Chicago, Toronto, Boston, NYC or Washington DC where traffic volumes are high and car parking expensive.

SWT

Milwaukee
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2. Re: Road trip Chicago

I agree with the comments about cities and cars not mixing well.

I would also ask if you have looked at the total mileage of this trip? For example it will take you one long day of driving from Chicago to Lake Superior. Rather than thinking days 1-3 in Chicago and 4-5 at Hiawatha day 4 is drive to Hiawatha. That will set your time line back. Same with Hiawatha to Toronto. That will take a day.

Even with 17 days it seems like you will be putting on a lot of miles.

Brussels, Belgium
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3. Re: Road trip Chicago

I am from Belgium. In fact we did not plan to do this road trip but had other reasons to go to Chicago, however this has been cancelled. Therefore we now have 17 days between our arrival and departure at Chicago and decided to do a roadtrip instead.

Why did I chose this road trip? Considering the above fact that we are based in Chicago, the area around the great lakes and then going to Boston area seemed to me the most interesting. I mean, the West and South of Chicago doesn't appeal too much to me but I could be wrong obviously.

Interests are diverse: nature (hiking or just enjoying the scenery), culture (monuments, museums,..), good food,..We will also spend some time watching the world cup soccer (as Europeans we like this, lol)

Could you specify which areas are beautiful and more pleasant? I agree it might be the best to cut out Washington DC and spend some more time in these "pleasant areas" you mention. I have also read the area north of Boston is beautiful, maybe we should include this?

Brussels, Belgium
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4. Re: Road trip Chicago

Seems like I can not edit my first post, I changed this a bit to take into account the time spent driving and exclude Washington:

Chicago: 1-3

Hiawatha national forest (lake superior): 4-6

Toronto + Niagara Falls: 7-10

Boston (+ surrounding area): 10-14

Cleveland + back to Chicago (probably with short stops in Cuyahoga Valley & Indiana Dunes to include some nature): 15-17

Edited: 11 June 2018, 05:01
Lewes, United...
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5. Re: Road trip Chicago

OK, I get that you are committed to flying to and from Chicago. Spending the first few days there to get over jet land and enjoy that city, which has a lot to see/do makes sense. Do not pick up the rental car until you are ready to leave.

That leaves you with about 14 nights for a road trip. I'd suggest you skip NYC and DC, for a start. Both will be unbearably hot at that time of year.

He're one option for the trip that covers mostly rural areas and some decent scenery.

One option is to explore the Upper Peninsula area of Michigan and the Hiawatha Forest that you are already interested in, and then work your way across to Niagara Falls. Provided that you check with the car rental company, you can go via Canada, if you wish. Assuming Belgian nationality, you need no visa/eTA for Canada for land border.

From Niagara, cross back to the USA and explore the Finger Lakes are of upper NY state. Then loop back to Chicago via Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio where there are more national forests to explore.

You've not mentioned camping, but some of those areas have cabins, so you can be in quiet, remote areas without needing all the gear.

I'm sure others may have alternative thoughts for you.

SWT

Milwaukee
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6. Re: Road trip Chicago

I still think it's a lot of driving. Have you checked the mileage and drive times?

Also, if you will be arriving in a few weeks it will be a busy time with the US 4th of July Independence Day Holiday and Canada Day on July 1st. You may find lodging hard to come by in some areas. I don't know a lot about Michigan's Upper Peninsula except that it is popular for vacations and there are not a lot of hotels. You probably need to think about making lodging reservations or at least do some checking of availability and rates along your route.

Lewes, United...
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7. Re: Road trip Chicago

At this late stage, lodging availability could certainly be an issue - and not just the UP but is other areas of the route.

SWT's many and varied rules of road trip includes a personalised, only slightly arbitrary, distance driver per week rule. My route actually meets that distance for east side USA trips. The plan in post 4 exceeds it by a lot. However, it's not my trip and I'm not going on it, so if driving rather than seeing and doing are what suits you, that's up to you.

SWT

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