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self drive Chicago to Toronto- June 2013

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kilkenny
posts: 2
reviews: 10
self drive Chicago to Toronto- June 2013

Hi, we are from Ireland and myself, my husband and 13 year old son are flying into Chicago on 16th June for 2 weeks, we would like to hire a camper van and tour / self drive from Chicago to Toronto and back to Chicago, we are wondering is there a self drive Route planner which lists campgrounds , or if there are a list of hotels on these routes and we could hire a car instead of a camper van, what do you reccomend ? most of the self drive tours include flights but we have books ours separately, also do we need a USA visa and a Canadian Visa do you know , thanks for any advice you can offer

detroit
Destination Expert
for Niagara Falls
posts: 5,228
reviews: 19
1. Re: self drive Chicago to Toronto- June 2013

Not sure on the Visa, I believe you will, don't forget you be entering the USA again to get back to Chicago.

Its around a 9 hour drive, I would think you both could take turns driving and do the drive without an overnight stop. I would recommend crossing in Port Huron Michigan vs Detroit Michigan the 401 freeway in Canada does not go straight to the border crossing in Windsor/Detroit , its a better drive on I-69 vs I-94, less semi truck traffic.

Edited: 5:27 pm, January 08, 2013
Amsterdam, The...
posts: 679
2. Re: self drive Chicago to Toronto- June 2013

As EU-citizen you don't need a visa for Canada. The US is trusting nobody these days and for that country you need a so-called ESTA visa.

https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

Toronto, Canada
posts: 11,733
reviews: 597
3. Re: self drive Chicago to Toronto- June 2013

Most camper type vans are expensive and charge per mile, go with a smaller vehicle for sure....

Ottawa, ON
posts: 1,885
reviews: 59
4. Re: self drive Chicago to Toronto- June 2013

As noted above, the direct route can be done in a day, and is remarkably unscenic. Is that what you want? Or did you want to spend more time taking a more interesting and scenic route. I`m thinking via Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Mackinac Island, Sault Ste Marie and down to Toronto via Georgian Bay and the Muskokas.

detroit
Destination Expert
for Niagara Falls
posts: 5,228
reviews: 19
5. Re: self drive Chicago to Toronto- June 2013

That be a nice trip ronw

toronto
posts: 239
reviews: 9
6. Re: self drive Chicago to Toronto- June 2013

I was thinking the same as ronw, the drive between Chicago and Toronto is not particularly interesting. The (albeit much longer) route suggested offers opportunities to see some scenery. North of Sault Ste Marie is Lake Superior Provincial Park which has outstanding rugged scenery if you have time. Killarney Provincial Park on Georgian Bay also offers beautiful and wild scenery. Between there and Toronto, the Muskoka Lakes district offers a variety of resort and chalet accommodations. Alternatively you could drive through Manitoulin Island and take the Chi-Chi-Maun ferry to Tobermory which makes a nice stop of a couple of days. Cute town and nearby Bruce Peninsula National Park offers great views from the top of this northern section of the Niagara Escarpment overlooking Georgian Bay. Boat tours from town to picturesque rock formations and shipwrecks.

kilkenny
posts: 2
reviews: 10
7. Re: self drive Chicago to Toronto- June 2013

Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions , definitely the scenic route, we're not in a hurry, the camper vans do seam expensive which I wasn't expecting, do any of you know if there is a route planner/ list of hotels along that scenic route which I could download ? thanks again

Ottawa, ON
posts: 1,885
reviews: 59
8. Re: self drive Chicago to Toronto- June 2013

<<do any of you know if there is a route planner/ list of hotels along that scenic route which I could download ?>>

Not that I am aware of. You can, of course, use google maps to locate the places mentioned above, and use the "search nearby" function to find hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, etc.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) provides Triptiks and Tour Guides to its members. Automobile Association Ireland and the Royal Irish Automobile Club are listed as affiliates of AAA. If you are a member of either, you may want to check whether affiliation gets you access to these services.

toronto
posts: 239
reviews: 9
9. Re: self drive Chicago to Toronto- June 2013

I'm more familiar with the Canadian portion of the suggested route so will comment on that. Try googling Georgian Bay Circle Tour. Also Google Muskokas Accommodations and each of the Parks mentioned, plus Ontario Resorts (which has search function based on general area and closest town).

The Canadian portion of this route is rather sparsely populated but here are a few suggestions. Sault Ste Marie is a fair-sized town with a good choice of accommodation. I have stayed in a nice modern hotel right on the waterfront, can't remember name but it was one of the major chains and should be easy to find. If you will take the time to visit Lake Superior National Park, drive up from "the Soo" (Sault), spending most of the day in the park and stay over in the much smaller town of Wawa on the other side which offers a number of motel type accommodations. Then head back, again spending a good part of the day in the park before once again overnighting in the Soo.

Killarney townsite is quite tiny and accommodations are the Sportsman's Inn, recently renovated and modernized with nice rooms; KIllarney Mountain Lodge, a large, older and somewhat rustic resort property; and several B&B's. The beautiful scenery is best viewed from the trails in the Park and along the coast of Georgian Bay (several are relatively short and easy), or you can rent a canoe or kayak to explore the shoreline or smaller lakes in the park interior.

The Muskokas district offers a large variety of chalets and resort properties and the google searches suggested above will help you with those. There are scenic boat tours out of the towns of Bracebridge and Gravenhurst.

An alternative to Killarney/Muskokas: after the Soo, turn down into Manitoulin Island (some North American Native culture here) and take the Chi-Chi-Maun car ferry to Tobermory (google Chi-Chi-Maun for details). Tobermory offers a number of small hotels and motels. You will want to visit Bruce National Park and Fathom Five National Park while there. The limestone cliffs and rock formations of the Niagara Escarpment in this area (the Bruce Peninsula) are quite different from the granitic outcrops and hills of the "Canadian Shield" (Pre-Cambrian Shield) of northern Georgian Bay and Lake Superior, and so offers an interesting contrast, but you would miss Killarney and the Muskokas if you do this.

Old Greenwich...
posts: 3
reviews: 43
10. Re: self drive Chicago to Toronto- June 2013

CAA (Canadian Automobile Assn) is the counterpart to AAA. They would probably be a great resource. If you are members of an Irish affiliate, as someone else mentioned, you can probably use their services. Sounds like a wonderful trip. Enoy!