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Trying to find the best route for a family road trip.

New York
posts: 7
reviews: 11
Trying to find the best route for a family road trip.

We are planning on a road trip at the end of August. We are comming from Long Island, NY, leaving on Mondaymorning and returning on Sunday. Current highlights are: Watkins Glen, Corning Museum, Finger Lakes and Niagara Falls. I am not sure how many days/nights we'll need at each of our stops and in what order would be best to plan them. Any suggestions will be really appreciated.

3 replies to this topic
Fort Collins...
posts: 226
reviews: 294
1. Re: Trying to find the best route for a family road trip.

I guess it all comes down to what kinds of experiences you are interested in and how comfortable you are moving from hotel to hotel. The Finger Lakes are known for natural beauty, parks, waterfalls, agrotourism experiences, and a few impressive museums (e.g., Corning Glass). It is a fairly big place that will require some driving from point-to-point, but not so big that you can't base at one place and do "day trips" to various spots (e.g., a day to Corning, a day to Ithaca waterfalls, a day driving around a lake and visiting its wineries/breweries/distilleries/cheesemakers).

Seeing Niagara Falls is nice but frankly unless you want to gamble a lot there isn't much there. The Canadian side is better if you are willing to leave the US. But driving a couple hours to NF, looking at it, maybe taking a boat ride, looking at it again in the evening, spending the night and driving a couple hours back to the FL would be plenty for me.

While you are in the region consider a stop at Letchworth State Park to see the gorge, waterfalls, and dam. It is not the Grand Canyon, but pretty impressive for the NorthEast and well worth a couple hours on one leg to NF.

Vestal, New York
Destination Expert
for Auburn, Finger Lakes
posts: 1,739
reviews: 141
2. Re: Trying to find the best route for a family road trip.

I agree with RocTravelers assessment of NF and recommendation of Letchworth. I would not use Watkins Glen as a base; Ithaca is better although you may run into tight lodging if parents are returning their kids to college. You should definitely visit the state parks near Ithaca as they (in addition to WG SP) offer the best of the Finger Lake nature-wise.

If you decide not to use Ithaca as a base, look into towns like Auburn or Geneva if you want to still include Ithaca in your plans.

If you decide to incorporate Letchworth in with Watkins Glen and CMOG, the Hammondsport area would be a good base for visiting all three.

Syracuse, New York
posts: 3
reviews: 9
3. Re: Trying to find the best route for a family road trip.

Hi. I used to live12 miles from NYC and now live in Central NY (outside Syracuse). Although here 25 years now.. I still consider myself a tourist :) I agree with the other person who responded that there really isn't much in Niagara Falls - however - it is a MUST do! I would recommend driving straight there. You could see the falls at night on Monday - have dinner and do some shopping at Niagara on the Lake and then Tuesday spend the day "doing the Falls" (Maid of the Mist, whatever). From there - I would DEFINATELY go to Letchworth State Park... definitely more amazing than Watkins Glen! It's a must! It's only about 80 miles from Niagara Falls. While there..it's worth doing the tour of the working Mt. Morris Dam. (plan at minimum 1 full day - 1 1/2 is better) From there.. I would travel the 40 miles to stay overnight in Canandaigua. There are nice places to eat - you can take a boat cruise on Canandaigua Lake (they do lunch/dinner cruises as well) and visit the Culinary Institute and/or Sonneburg Gardens. (Use this as your "stop over" place - so no real "time" is needed to be set aside) Then I would take the 50 mile ride down the side of Seneca Lake to Watkins Glen. This brings you right thru wine country. Beautiful scenery.. stop and have lunch at a vineyard- tour some wineries.. learn about wine making and, of course, sample some wine! Spend a day in Watkins Glen and then drive the 21 miles to Corning. If you plan to be at the Corning Glass Musuem early on Saturday morning - after the museum - you may want to consider driving the 65 miles to Vestal NY (it's heading home anyway!) and go to the Kopernick Observatory - honestly - havent' been yet - but it's on my bucket list! On Saturday night they open the observatory for star gazing, etc from like 9 to 11. Then.. when you get up on Sunday morning - you will be right in Binghamton (Rt. 81) and about 1/2 way home already! You'll be back on the Island by dinner! Enjoy and Safe Travels!

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