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Drive from Indianapolis to NY over 5 days in August

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Geraldton
Level Contributor
16 posts
9 reviews
Drive from Indianapolis to NY over 5 days in August

We are from Australia and will be going to Indianapolis in August. We intend hiring a car and taking 5 days to travel to NY city. Can you recommend a suitable route which includes good clean accommodation and interesting places to visit/sights to see. Also any tips regarding roads to avoid by foreigners, accustomed to driving on the the left side of the road.

Thanks,

Fred & Susan

Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
Level Contributor
6,856 posts
21 reviews
1. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to NY over 5 days in August

First, welcome to the TA forums!

Before making any specific suggestions (which I may not get to this response), I've going to make a few general comments, observations, etc.

1. I suggest you consider posting your question on a broader set of forums. Obviously you'll get responses here, but I think you'll get more and better responses on other forums. I suggest you consider posting on the state level forums for the states you're likely to be driving through (Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, maybe New Jersey or a few others).

This should result with more "eyeballs" with specific knowledge of local things that might appeal to you along any possible route.

2. I don't think looking for clean accommodations should influence your route. There's going to be enough options along just about any route that I don't think this will be an issue.

3. In terms of tips re: driving on the "wrong" side of the road. Probably the main thing I'll say on this is that if you primarily stick to interstate highways, this will be less of an issue. All of these are restricted access and are divided with multi-lanes traveling in the same direction.

That said, I encourage you to also get off the interstates as (in my mind) you'll see less of an homoginized (sp?) America that way. It's my opinion that Intestate exits tend to be very much alike, mostly chain restaurants, etc.

Also, you'll find many other highways (state & federal (non-interstate)) will also be divided and multi-laned (but not limited access) and these will also eliminate two-way traffic.

4. In terms of suggesting sites & things to do. It would help if you gave some kind of indications of things you enjoy doing/seeing. This way we can tailor suggestions to things that *you're* more likely to enjoy. Do you like/dislike: nature/outdoor stuff; arts, museums, etc; music; history; shopping & restaurants; or . . . (hope you get the idea). Also, for many of these a "what kind" will help.

A general rule of thumb on the TA forums is that putting more details in your question will result in more & better responses.

5. Along these same lines (more information) it will help if you give some idea of how fast you'd like to make the trip (i.e. how many hours you like to drive each day). It's actually possible to make the trip in one (fairly long) day. Google maps says the most direct route is about an 11 hour drive (without stops). If you were to take this same route (~700 miles) and break it into even segments over 5 days, you'd be looking at something like 140 miles/day, less than 3 hours driving per day.

Similarly, this will give people responding some idea of how far off of the most direct route you're willing to go. For example: a few hundred miles of "detour" would allow you to see southern Indiana, the Ohio River, and perhaps parts of Kentucky, West Virginia, etc. and still allow you to make the trip in your timeframe.

6. Something else that can be worthwhile are the specific dates you're looking at for making this drive (if you know them). The reason I mention this is that there can be special events going on that might appeal to you. (One example: the Indiana State Fair takes place August 2 - 18 and this might be something worth doing.) I'm sure there are *plenty* of other things like this all along the area in between Indy & NYC.

Anyway, there's a few general comments. Going to skip making any specific suggestions until later.

Hope it helps and looking forward to making specific suggestions,

hlo

Geraldton
Level Contributor
16 posts
9 reviews
2. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to NY over 5 days in August

Thank you Hio for your reply. We expect to be starting our journey from Indianapolis on Monday 19 August and need to reach NYC on Saturday 24 August. We would be keen to see some countryside and interesting natural (or man made) features, so there will be a need to exit major highways. As we have 5 days we can be flexible regarding the length of time we drive each day and would be happy to detour north or south, in order to experience a scenic drive, a landmark, a town fair, noteable cuisine/coffee/pancakes, unique food and cultural attractions. However, we don't consider we have time to do justice to museums and don't anticipate visiting any of them. We understand there will be good and bad places to stay along the way, so any recommendations or warnings would be helpful.

Regards

Fred&Susan

Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
Level Contributor
6,856 posts
21 reviews
3. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to NY over 5 days in August

Okay, got a little more to work with . . . .

The main specific suggestion I'll make at this time (will think about others I might make later and have a few ideas for Ohio) is to consider a swing into southern Indiana before heading east.

I'll try to keep this list kinda brief (you can find more on these in the Bloomington forum and/or the respective forum for each destination). There's a pretty reasonable cluster of stuff that can be done in a day approximately 1-3 hours south of Indianapolis. All of these are within about an hour or so of Bloomington (which is ~1 hour south of Indy), some ideas include:

1. Bloomington - Small Indiana city with lots of nature stuff nearby. Also has a good restaurant scene (recently won some award, don't remember the details), the Indiana University campus and lots of other stuff.

2. Nashville - A *small* "artist colony" town. Again, lots of nature stuff nearby too, including Brown County State Park (aka "Little Smokies") one of the most visited park in the country (not too bad when you consider the "competition" includes Yosemite, Grand Canyon, etc.).

3. Columbus (Indiana) - Small city which is recognized world-wide for it's "collection" of buildings by world-class architects.

4. French Lick/West Baden - More small towns (right next to each other). The claim to fame for these two are two old hotels which were recently restored. One of these, the "dome" (built circa 1095), was the largest enclosed free-span building in the US (world?) until the Houston Astrodome was built in the 1960s. (If interested there is also a casino there.)

5. Spring Mill State Park/Pioneer Mothers State Forest - Spring Mill has a recreation of a pioneer village, complete with working mill also a few caves. Pioneer Mothers is the largest stand of virgin forest in Indiana. Very interesting to walk through it and see what things were like before all the forests were cut down. (Really doesn't take to long to check it out.)

There are plenty of other state/federal parks, forests, wildlife refuges, etc. in the general area. Two that come to mind as being kind of unique are Weasly Chapel Gulf (a collapsed cave) and the rise of the Lost River. These are very close to one another in the French Lick area.

If you took a whole day for this "detour" it would basically eat a day of your trip. And, for all practical purposes leave you 4 days to make your drive (the additional time going east to NYC from Bloomington becomes pretty negligible compared to Indy).

That's all for now,

hlo

Fishers, Indiana
Level Contributor
780 posts
88 reviews
4. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to NY over 5 days in August

Initially regarding driving to New York City - I am not sure where you would intend to drop your rental car. I would definitely not want to drive in New York City and I am used to driving on the right side of the road. You can probably do better with that question on the NYC forum, but I would strongly recommend against driving in to or through the city.

HLO has provided you with great ideas on things to do in Southern Indiana. My advice will be much more general, trying to give you places to investigate and consider for your trip from Indiana to New York City.

From my perspective there are effectively three routes to get you from Indianapolis to New York City. All 3 routes I am going to suggest would to take you East from Indianapolis on Route 70 through Dayton, Ohio to Columbus, Ohio.

1. Northern most route through New York State. In Columbus, Ohio you would head North towards Cleveland, to Buffalo/Niagara Falls, to Syracuse to Albany to New York City. This is the longest of the 3 routes mileage wise.

2. Route across Central Pennsylvania on Route 80. This would be the route with the least traffic, lots of countryside, but little else to do. You would head North from Columbus, Ohio, then East to Akron, Ohio to Youngstown, Ohio to Route 80 in Pennsylvania. You wouuld pass near Williamsport, PA and through the Pocono Mountains.

3. Route across Southern Pennsylvania on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. You would continue on Route 70 East out of Columbus, Ohio through Wheeling West Virginia and pass South of Pittsburgh until you reached the Pennsylvania Turnpike. You would then head East through Harrisburg and Philadelphia, PA, then North through New Jersey to New York City.

I make the drive from Indianapolis to Columbus, Ohio to Youngstown, Ohio often. About the only possible attraction between Indianapolis and Columbus I was going to mention was the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum in Dayton, but I see that you have decided (correctly I think) that museums are likely out for your trip.

If you take the route through New York State, the prime attraction is, of course, Niagara Falls. I would strongly recommend at least an overnight in Niagara Falls. The forum there could give you more advice, but if you can take your rental car in to Canada, staying on the Canadian side is much nicer. The Falls are lit up at night and are simply awe-inspiring. In my opinion, Niagara Falls is the single best natural, scenic wonder in Eastern North America.

The New York State Thruway roughly follows the route of the Erie Canal through New York - some beautiful countryside in the Mohawk Valley. We enjoyed a visit to Cooperstown, New York - home of the baseball Hall of Fame. While it probably isn't up your alley, Cooperstown is just a quaint, idylllic lakeside town. It is about an hour off the Thruway.

On the route from Albany to New York City, you could consider a visit to West Point, the United States Military Academy.

The second route I described would take you near Williamsport, Pennsylvania, home of the Little League baseball World Series for 11-12 year-olds. The World Series will be ongoing during your trip. Australia will have a team entered for the first time in 2013 as participation in Australia grows. It is one of the places I have always wanted to see, but have not.

The third route would take you south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Downtown Pittsburgh and a visit to Mount Washington overlooking the city would be a treat. You can park downtwon along the river and ride on of the inclindes up to the top of Mount Washington and have dinner overlooking the city. Indianapolis to Pittsburgh would be a good, solid day's drive and an overnight there could work.

The third route would take near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, site of a battle during the American Civil War in 1863.

Philadelphia is an exciting city - lots of American history there - Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are not true museums and can be viewed in just a few hours. Philadelphia is known for its cheesesteak sandwiches and pretzels.

I feel comfortable in saying the third route would have the most traffic of those I suggested.

All three routes rely heavily on the interestate highway system, limited access roads. If I had to make the choice, I would do what I could to see Niagara Falls. Using mapquest.com, that route is about 16 1/2 hours of driving, the other routes are both about 12 1/2 hours of driving.

Good luck and enjoy.

Chula Vista...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
2,576 posts
102 reviews
5. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to NY over 5 days in August

Hi Fred & Susan,

As others have suggested, you may want to post your question in the Road Trips Forum:

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…

In the Top Questions of the Road Trips Forum there's a link to tips for driving in the US on the right side of the road.

Here's a potential route / itinerary that may work for you:

http://goo.gl/maps/INHvH

Day 1 - Indianapolis to Lebanon or Waynesville, Ohio via Metamora, Indiana and Cincinnati

Metamora is a small town along the Whitewater Canal with little shops and restaurants.

http://www.metamoraindiana.com/

Lebanon and Waynesville are small towns with a number of antique shops, restaurants, etc.

http://www.historicdowntownlebanon.com/

http://www.waynesvilleohio.com/

Day 2 - Lebanon to Millersburg

Millersburg is the heart of the Ohio Amish country.

http://www.visitamishcountry.com/index.php

Day 3 - Millersburg to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh has a revitalized downtown area with much to see and do. Perhaps the Pirates may be in town and you can catch a game at the beautiful PNC Park.

http://www.visitpittsburgh.com/

Day 4 - Pittsburgh to Gettysburg via Mill Run, Pennsylvania

Mill Run is the location of Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic masterpiece home called "Fallingwater," perched over a waterfall. I know you aren't interested in museums, but if you have even a modicum of interest in architecture, it's a must see in my book. (Book reservations for a tour time slot online in advance.)

http://www.fallingwater.org/

Explore Gettysburg in afternoon.

http://www.nps.gov/gett/index.htm

Day 5 - Gettysburg to NYC

Finish exploring Gettysburg in AM. Drive to NYC.

Hope that gives you something to think about. Enjoy planning.

Edited: 6:00 pm, January 18, 2013
Indy
Destination Expert
for Indianapolis
Level Contributor
339 posts
79 reviews
6. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to NY over 5 days in August

We made the drive in one day, so I can't comment on things to do. However, on the way out, we took I-70 and hit the Penn. Turnpike (tolls) and made our way to Manhattan that way. On the trip back, I decided to use I-80 to I-76 to I-71 and then hit I-70 at Columbus, OH. I liked using the I-80 route more than the PA Turnpike. For starters, there were no tolls. It seemed like a better road with fewer turns, and the scenery was much better.

Geraldton
Level Contributor
16 posts
9 reviews
7. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to NY over 5 days in August

Thanks HLO for your suggestions. We have googled some of these places and Bloomington, in particular sounds like a good 1st overnight stay. We could then head towards Nashville and Columbus. Lots of work to do so we don't waste our journey.

Kind regards

Fred and Susan

Geraldton
Level Contributor
16 posts
9 reviews
8. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to NY over 5 days in August

Thanks for some great suggestions and especially the heads-up on driving in NYC. Niagara Falls sounds fantastic but I think time might be against us so will probably go to Bloomington then head east. In particular we would like to go to Gettysburg and will now drop the car at Newark Airport. Our computer is getting a workout!

Kind regards

Fred and Susan

Geraldton
Level Contributor
16 posts
9 reviews
9. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to NY over 5 days in August

Thanks for your email and as most have suggested we have posted this on the Road Trip Forum. You have made some great suggestions for us to pencil in as we plan our trip.

Kind regards

Fred and Susan

Geraldton
Level Contributor
16 posts
9 reviews
10. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to NY over 5 days in August

That is some trip to do in 1 day. We have decided to avoid diving in NYC and return the car to Newark Airport then catch a shuttle from the Airport into the city.

Kind regards

Fred and Susan