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Best scenic drive from Ontario to Buffalo to Washington DC

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Haliburton, Canada
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Best scenic drive from Ontario to Buffalo to Washington DC

Hi I have read a few reviews of travelling from Canada to Buffalo to Washington DC and am wondering if you have done it what you recommend going and coming? Which is the most scenic route and what should we stop and see? Where could we stop for a night? We are coming 4-5 hrs from Buffalo so would drive another 4 hours and stop

Any help would be great

Bonnie

caviar@sympatico.ca

Toronto
Destination Expert
for Nassau
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1. Re: Best scenic drive from Ontario to Buffalo to Washington DC

The drive from Buffalo to Washington is about 8 hours at best. You can extend this time almost indefinately, depending on how much sightseeing you really want to do. I would suggest you try to avoid arriving in the Washington area during the evening rush-hour.

I would probably recommend from Buffalo take I90 east to Rochester, then I390 south towards Corning. (You may want to make this a stop-over, and spend some time in the nearby Finger Lakes area.). From Corning, continue south on US#15, which will take you down through the scenic Susquehana Valley. Continue on through Harrisburg and past Gettysburg, until you cross I70 in Frederick, MD, and from there you are only about 1 hour to Washington.

Have a safe trip.

Central VA
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2. Re: Best scenic drive from Ontario to Buffalo to Washington DC

Its a drive I do fairly often (or close to it, since we are heading to Richmond).

I would have to say that the suggestion to go I390 is a good one - I390 to 86 to US 15 south is a lot more scenic than taking I81 or other interstate.

On US 15 just a couple of miles south into PA, there is a very nice relatively new visitors center with breathtaking views.

As you get closer down to Harrisburg there is an old diner in Duncannon right on US 15 (though on the Northbound side) also an old drive-in style restaurant (Red Rabbit Drive In) that also has a few picnic tables in Duncannon on the 322 Bypass of Harrisburg (which I recommend taking, though if you are not in a hurry, the little town of Maryville is quaint to drive through, not sure if there is anything to stop for there, however)

Option I) Stay in Harrisburg/Hershey area

Plenty of lodging options in Harrisburg for the night, and also there is the Hershey chocolate plant, which is now more of a visitor's center, next to Hershey Park. Amusement park. If you have kids it could be fun to do.

Option I-A) US 15 to Harrisburg to Gettysburg

After staying in Harrisburg, if you arent in a hurry, I would recommend taking 15 south to Gettysburg and at least doing the visitor's center there. You will want to check in advance with there website to see if there is some major event there. From Gettysburg south on 15 (which is mostly rolling hills) I would guess it is about an hour to I-70 which will take you towards DC.

Option I-B) US 15 to Harrisburg To York

If you don't go the Gettysburg route, then you should take I83 south and get off at York PA, it is a college town and is on US 30 (which is the main route from Gettysburg to Lancaster PA, though traveling any distance on the road towards Gettysburg is frustrating because of so many traffic lights )

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Option II) Travel down US 15, Stay in Lancaster - Basically in Harrisburg, get on I83 to US 30, or take I283 to PA283 to Lancaster. A lot of dining options there, though many of the smorgasbords aren't that great.

One of many cool things near Lancaster is an old working steam train line in Strasburg, PA. If you have the time you can actually take a ride on it! Still a fond memory of taking my oldest on the train. The farmers market in Lancaster is the oldest one in the US still in operation, and I think near there you can get a ride in horse and buggy (which gives you an appreciation for how it feels to be in one of those when cars come up behind you !)

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Option III) US 219 south from Buffalo, stop in State College PA, then stay in Altoona I would go to the ice cream place, the Creamery in State College and maybe spend a few dollars there. Given recent events, the town is not as highly recommended a strop anymore overall as it used to be. It is mostly interstate after you get off the slow road of US219, but some nice views.

If you go this way, consider stopping to eat at Joe's Bakery in the small town Ridgway, PA (yes, no E in the name for some reason) It is more of a diner than a Bakery and they serve breakfast whenever they are open (at least, they served it every time we went) . It is just a bit off the 219. the Eat and Park in DuBois is pretty good for kids as well, and I think I remember getting breakfast for dinner there as well. And yes, they do let you park before you eat ;) it is a small regional chain.

One of the things that I don't like about the 219 is that I get no cell service for a good stretch just south of PA, about 15 minutes or so. It is right along the Allegheny National Forest.

Anyhow those are just a few ideas. If you have small kids I know several small amusement parks that are family owned and cater to smaller kids mostly, one along US 99 the other not far from US 15, another in Lancaster area. it is always great to let them stretch their legs and enjoy after a few hours in the car.

If you have anything specific you are looking for let me know, I have done Richmond to Buffalo or Rochester probably 20 times (and 20 times the reverse as well) and many times we will stop for the night somewhere in the middle, just for the sake of sanity with the kids

Edited: 12:01 pm, September 20, 2012
Haliburton, Canada
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3. Re: Best scenic drive from Ontario to Buffalo to Washington DC

Hi did you get my reply as I had more questions

Thanx Bonnie

Haliburton, Canada
6 posts
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4. Re: Best scenic drive from Ontario to Buffalo to Washington DC

Maybe I did not reply right. We are very active early 60'0 alone with no kids and want the best scenic ride coming and going. We are going to Gettsburg on our way home so that might change your advice as to route?

Are there specific sites we would not want to miss?

Thank you so much for all of your amazing information

Bonnie

Central VA
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90 posts
83 reviews
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5. Re: Best scenic drive from Ontario to Buffalo to Washington DC

Sorry I missed your reply as I was out of town when you replied on the 3rd.

If you havent gone already, definitely right now consider I79 south to I76 to I70. The colors are amazing on that route and probably should be for the rest of the month - to be safe I would check a foliage map. I was there last week and it was breathtaking views , previous hadn't really noticed but the fall colors really made the views pop. Maybe the fact i was a passenger versus driving helped me see it as well.

6. Re: Best scenic drive from Ontario to Buffalo to Washington DC

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