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East Coast USA/Canada Driving Holiday for Honeymoon - Tips?

posts: 96
reviews: 1
East Coast USA/Canada Driving Holiday for Honeymoon - Tips?

Hi All,

I am just starting to plan our Honeymoon for September. We will be doing a driving holiday of the East coast of USA and Eastern Canada. I am looking for peoples tips and experiences on just about everything :) So far I am looking at about 4 weeks.

This is the rough plan so far:

- Fly Australia to LAX, preferably from Brisbane but Sydney if flights can be had for cheaper (including a flight from Bris to Syd).

- 2 nights LA for Disney Land and Universal Studios.

- Fly to NYC. 4 nights. See Yankees and Jets game (highest priority of trip (other than spending time with my new wife :P) and will reshuffle order of destinations to ensure this occurs if need be!).

- Pick up hire car. Drive to Boston. 3 nights.

- Drive to Quebec City. 3 nights.

- Drive to Montreal. 3 nights.

- Drive to Ottawa. 3 nights.

- Drive to Algonquin Provincial Park. 2 nights. Partner's number 1 priority is to see a moose in the wild!

- Drive to Toronto. 3 nights.

- Drive to Niagara Falls. 1 night.

- Drive to Washington DC. Drop off hire car. 3 nights.

- Fly back to AUS.

So that is just a rough plan, 27 nights. Those are pretty much the destinations we would like to see but in no way definite. It looks reasonably good driving on google maps with the longest legs being Boston to Quebec at 6hrs and Niagara to Washington at 7hrs. Most legs only around 3hrs though.

So basically what do people think about that? Is it achievable? Too rushed? Should I spend less time at any of the places or more at others? What tips, tricks, recommendations on what to see and do, do people have?

We have a budget of around $15,000AUD for 2 people which seems doable.

- Airfares at around $1500pp to NY and back from DC, $3000.

- Hire car $1000.

- 27 nights accommodation at average of $120pn, $3240.

- Disneyland and Universal Studios Tickets $200pp, $400.

- Fuel. 1732 miles travel. Camry gets 30 mile per gallon. 57 gallons total. $3.4 average per gallon. So $196. p.s how cheap is that!!

- Yankees Tickets $100pp, $200.

- Jets Tickets $100pp, $200.

- Algonquin 3 day/2 night tour, $500pp, $1000.

- Spending money, $150 a day, $4050.

Total price of approximately $13290.

As you can see I have a bit of room spare in the budget there for more expensive hotels, i.e. NYC. Also I have room to add one or 2 more nights on or take some off elsewhere if people have any ideas?

Please give me anything you've got!



Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Family Travel
posts: 12,403
reviews: 23
1. Re: East Coast USA/Canada Driving Holiday for Honeymoon - Tips?

Hi David...........I see you've posted this same question on both the Road Trips forum and the New York forum.............

Although I've been to the destinations you ask about, I can only give you an opinion since I was a tourist too............

The most comprehensive and specific answers will come from locals who live and work in the cities you ask about on a daily basis, and you will reach them more often by asking on each destinations own forum..

I think 2 days in LA is not enough if you are touring amusement parks each day................you need some downtime IMO

Toronto is a bigger city than Ottawa ,so more to see and do, and I personally would not spend equal time in each............

Similar thoughts on Montreal and Quebec City...........

Similar thoughts on Boston and DC...........................good luck with your planning, you have the makings of an exciting Honeymoon...........

SE Ontario
posts: 7,604
reviews: 8
2. Re: East Coast USA/Canada Driving Holiday for Honeymoon - Tips?

Gosh ... I feel weary just reading this plan ... there is a lot of driving going on here.

Agree with Eden that you may be shortchanging yourselves in some of these cities.

Also - be aware that seeing a moose in the wild is not an easy, predictable or guaranteed thing. I'm assuming from your cost description that you are planning to book a tour of some kind in Algonquin Park, so hopefully you may have some luck with a knowledgable guide.

Not that it matters too much, but in Canada we use metric, so your miles will be kilometers and your gallons will be litres. Gas prices fluctuate wildly from place to place - they are especially high in Quebec, so make sure you fill up before you cross the US/Quebec border. Also - check to be sure the car rental allows you to bring the car into Canada, and, if you've been given a free mileage rate, that it is applicable to Canada also. Some rental companies do not allow that.

I also think you may underestimate hotel prices - you are likely looking at closer to $150 a night - especially when you add in the dreaded taxes in various states and provinces.

Finally - you should know that the Toronto International Film Festival takes place in early September and hotels are at a premium - both price and availability wise.

Edited: 10:35 am, January 08, 2013
posts: 2,243
3. Re: East Coast USA/Canada Driving Holiday for Honeymoon - Tips?

I actually just posted some tips on seeing moose in Algonquin in September on another thread, see the 3 posts starting at tripadvisor.ca/…46272587

I'll add that in addition to Hailstorm Creek it never hurts to try early morning paddles on marshy creeks in general, including Callipso Creek south from Lake Opeongo and the Madawaska River west from Lake of Two Rivers, if water levels permit.

Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Quebec, Montreal, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Miami, Miami Beach
posts: 10,379
reviews: 54
4. Re: East Coast USA/Canada Driving Holiday for Honeymoon - Tips?

Doeable but with some tweaking, including budget.

In LA you will have to rent a car since Universal and Disney ar at very different points of the city. Also nowadays Disney has a second park, easy to reach since you only have to cross the entrance plaza and the parks sits face to face. This new Park is California Adventure and since in the early years it looked cheap compared to Disney Land a huge improvement has been made and it is not the case anymore and it has some great attractions that you will also see in diverse Disney parks in Orlando but not all in a single one and are must sees (Tower of Terror, Ariel under the Sea, Cars Land, etc). So after a flight from Oz I would suggest that you take the remaining of the day off and then hit the parks 3 days in a row. If you can skip Universal then you can rent a motel/hotel room at LAX, many offers shuttles to Disney or, if not you can get one directly from LAX.

Some collaborators seems to think that you are spending too much time in Qc, Otta, etc. I beg to differ, particularly in summer, it is only from Ottawa to Toronto that I would take a full day for the drive and stop in Gananoque for a cruise on the 1,000 Islands. So arrival in TO at night and 4 nights there then early check in and Niagara Falls and make a detour to visit picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake and then drive the scenic parkway to NF. I would also suggest that you seek accomodation for that night on the US side and go as far as Buffalo to find decent accomodation at affordable prices.

Finally Washington can be very expensive for rooms when congress is in session and all the lobbyist are in town. Usually week-ends are quieter and good deals can be had as well as the whole summer time where everybody vacate town due to the brutal weather: very hot and extremely humid. If you comb the Net in a few months you might be able to find good deals around for more luxurious lodging before your return flight.

''- 27 nights accommodation at average of $120pn, $3240'' No way Jose!

NYC rooms prices are sky high. My only suggestion would be to try Leo House, a catholic logding but now run by civilians. It is spartan but spic and span and you must make reservations at least 75 days in advance if not more, check the website: www.leohousenyc.com.

At this point I am also questioning going to Boston unless you have very special interests for this town. Instead I would extend my stay in Québec City by one day or two and go all the way to Tadoussac to get a whale watching and fjord cruises, or closer to Qc at Saint-Siméon for whale watching tours only. And the whole Charlevoix area is beautiful.

Boston, Montreal, Québec City are expensive for hotels too but a bit less than NYC but you might look at $150 + per night not counting the big taxes not already included in the prices. One good solution would be B&Bs, many choices in that price range, sometimes free parking spots and breakfast always included. Both Mtl and Qc have great Youth Hostels with a separate aisle with regular rooms that will fit your budget and are very well locate, breakfast are also included in those places

You will have very little chance of spotting a mooses in the wild as they are very shy animals but if you want to see some andm any more nordic animals then you could stop at Parc Omega during your journey from Mtl to Ottawa.

SE Ontario
posts: 7,604
reviews: 8
5. Re: East Coast USA/Canada Driving Holiday for Honeymoon - Tips?

Rick - The OP wants to go to Algonquin Park - so he'd be driving west from Ottawa and then south to Toronto. He's likely to have a better "wilderness" experience there than going to the Thousand Islands.

posts: 96
reviews: 1
6. Re: East Coast USA/Canada Driving Holiday for Honeymoon - Tips?

Thank you all for your very helpful answers so far! We've actually decided to cut out LA altogether and power on to NY. Mrs has said she really isn't interested in the theme parks and I saw them not too many years ago. So we are going to add an extra 2 nights onto NY. The budget is flexible so I can spend more on hotels if need be, figured $150 is probably more accurate. Just set an estimate of $15,000 so it doesn't blow out, you know how these things can go. For hotels we are just looking for nice, clean business style hotels, holiday inn sort of thing. Although in at least 1 location I'd like to splurge and book a nice romantic hotel, it is our honeymoon after all, so possibly in Niagara.

As you can see with my initial estimates I only arrived at $13,290 so I already have a bit of room to play with without even expanding the budget. And if I cut out LA then we already have an extra $400 spare from theme park tickets.

I indeed did post this in a couple of forums, don't really like doing that but I'm hoping ro get various opinions etc. Once I have a better idea of our plans then I might pose individual questions in destination forums.

Looked up airbnb and it seems we can get some nice apartments in the upper west side of NYC for around $200 which will be perfect.

Regarding the moose sighting I've indeed heard they are elusive. That's why we are booking a 2 night guided canoe tour of Algonquin Park. They are apparently quite prevent there compared to elsewhere and with a good guide, hopefully we will have a chance. It's also the time of the year just before the rut so the males will hopefully have their full antlers.

So where do people think I should extend our stay and shorten others? Just based upon generally what tourists like to see and do in those cities. I haven't got into the nitty gritty of what we want to see in each city just yet. Not sure I even will as we like to explore and get up each morning, grab a brochure and figure out what we want to do.

Think we will keep the car whilst in DC. Changed our plan to stop in Gettysburg for at least a night.

This is the driving plan I've made on google maps. What does everyone think?


Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Family Travel
posts: 12,403
reviews: 23
7. Re: East Coast USA/Canada Driving Holiday for Honeymoon - Tips?

david...................please double check on the New York City forum with regard to short-term apartment rentals..............from all the information I've been given, they are not legal, even though this type of thing is common in other cities................please ...double check...the NYC forum is very busy and very helpful and they will steer you right.............:)

Your other post is on the forum for the STATE of New York......you need to ask on the forum for New York City........

Edited: 7:16 pm, January 08, 2013
posts: 96
reviews: 1
8. Re: East Coast USA/Canada Driving Holiday for Honeymoon - Tips?

Interesting just did some googling about NYC airbnb being illegal and you are indeed correct. It is illegal if the host is renting an apartment for less than 30 days and they are not staying in the apartment. It is legal if they are in the apartment or it is a split apartment etc. looks like we will just have to pay the $250-$300 a night to stay in a hotel. Don't want to do anything illegal on our holiday! Silly laws, perfectly legal in most places around the world.

Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Family Travel
posts: 12,403
reviews: 23
9. Re: East Coast USA/Canada Driving Holiday for Honeymoon - Tips?

david...........thankyou, I'm so glad you checked...........that certainly makes one think twice about airbnb......

Edited: 8:35 pm, January 08, 2013
Toronto, Canada
posts: 6,855
10. Re: East Coast USA/Canada Driving Holiday for Honeymoon - Tips?

Most places around the world don't pack 1.6 million people into 60 sq km of land. New York City is unique in many ways -- not just real estate -- but then presumably that's why you're spending time there!

I agree with Eden that Quebec City and Ottawa could be shortened, though it really depends on your specific interests. Being the capital, Ottawa has lots of quite good museums, so if you're inclined to wander through all those you could use up all three days easily enough. But if you're more likely to spend time exploring neighbourhoods or shopping, you may find the central part of Ottawa fairly compact and easy to "see" in a shorter time.