Washington, Dc to Niagara Falls
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Apr 25, 2012 8:42 PM Last Post By: Christnp
Apr 25, 2012 2:23 AM
Washington, Dc to Niagara FallsHi, My partner and I fly to New York in just over a week, and will be hiring a motorbike with the plan of traveling round the north east section of USA. We have NY and Philadelphia covered, planning a few days in Washington, DC and then on to Niagara Fall, then to Boston and then back down to NY. We have the bike for 12 days, and are spending 3 nights in Philly.
Any suggestions on the trip from Washington, DC to Niagara? We are happy to stop part way, stay a night, on to the falls and then start the journey to Boston, not intent on staying at the falls. From other threads it would seem the trip to Niagara is a bit ambitious, but we enjoy the travel and seeing the countryside as much as the usual tourist sights. We are happy to simply see the falls, spend a couple of hours there before moving on, and enjoy the ride!
Please keep in mind, we are from Australia, so will have some adjustments on USA roads! We have a USA GPS, which hopefully will help!
Thanks in anticipation, excited to be heading over so soon!!!
Apr 25, 2012 4:22 AM
1First, I'd suggest forgoing the bike if you can until you leave DC.
You don't want to drive in any of those cities, and parking can be quite expensive and/or hard to find.
For my usual spiel, to steal and augment a post from poster zeldasdad:
Niagara Falls is 426 miles away
Morgantown, West Virginia is 371 miles away
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is 371 miles away
Youngstown, Ohio is 397 miles away
Wheeling, West Virginia is 405 miles away
Richmond, Virginia is 343 miles away
Portland, Maine is 335 miles away
Montreal, Quebec Canada is 374 miles away
Nags Head, North Carolina is 438 miles away
If you feel you absolutely must go, then go.
If you are on your way to xToronto, go.
If you are making a random side trip to see it because it is there, you're crazy.
Apr 25, 2012 5:17 AM
Thanks for your response!
Okay, bike can only be hired in NY, we are stunned that is the only place on the east we can hire something other than a Harley, and are paying big dollars for it too! Staying with friends in Philadelphia, so will park it there and use public transport and their transport, in Washington, DC we hope to stay central, park the bike and utilise the public transport and walk.
Interests, some history, not adverse to some hiking, but reality is we probably won't have time. Definitely music! We would like to experience the culture of where we travel as much as anything, to explain what I am thinking in NY we are doing Broadway and a Yankees match, Philly we will visit an Amish town, DC is the White house and related attractions. What blows me away is that there is so much to do, and we will only get a taste of it.
We have chosen to do Niagara Falls as we will also get to see the countryside as well, which is what we enjoy. Roads that are good, and make for enjoyable riding are what we would like, with picturesque scenery on the way. Lake Erie sounds pretty, but it is a detour? Wineries, national parks, lookouts, etc all have their appeal.
We have done the google maps thing and are comfortable with the miles, we are used to long days interspersed with down days.
As far as accomodation goes, we are living it up in NY, but happy to stay in clean, comfortable 3-4* accomodation whilst touring!
We are both restricted with time away from work, hence not a lot of time - we are in NY for a conference.
Thanks again, all information is gratefully accepted, we are sifting through what we are finding, and hopefully piecing together an awesome trip!
Edited by: Amanda64
Apr 25, 2012 5:20 AM
3Any suggestions on the trip from Washington, DC to Niagara?
Welcome to this forum - there is a LOT of good information on here indeed. I am also an Australian - who hangs out on this branch quite a bit.
Are you interested in architecture? If so, probably the best house ever built in North America is Falling Water at Bear Run (it is also arguably the most famous private residence ever built in the world) - it is east of Pittsburgh, and therefore on your route to Niagara from DC.
But otherwise, do you really need to drive to Niagara Falls? I tend to think it's a very long climb for a very short downhill thrill. With those days you can have a much better time along the I-95 corridor between DC and Maine, in my view.
Apr 25, 2012 5:52 AM
A bit about timing:
12 days total.
3 in xPhilly, leaving 9 days.
A "few" days in DC, leaving 5-6 days.
3 days in xBoston.
2-3 days left.
If this includes your NYC time, when do you find time to go to xNiagara?
If it does not include your xNYC time, 2-3 days DC to Niagara.
(And don't forget to budget for getting back to xNYC.)
Apr 25, 2012 5:53 AM
5Consider motor-biking from DC to and down the SkylineDrive and BlueRidge Parkway instead. If you do go to xNiagara, the FingerLakes region sounds like your speed.
Parking hassles don't apply so much to motorbikes. http://mayoreric.com/moto/parking.html
Macarthur Blvd. out to GreatFalls (or before there, free parking across from Old Angler's Inn and a short walk) would make a nice short ride to a worthwhile waterfall closer to xDC.
Apr 25, 2012 6:01 AM
6If you decide to make the trip to NF, check out Route 219 on the map. Coming from DC, there are a few spots you can leave the major highways and pick up this route, It takes you through some nice countryside and forrest and is _far_more interesting than the Interstates. Ellicottville, NY could be a nice place to stop.
I originally come from the Niagara area so I'm sorry to say that NF, NY is not a nice city to stay. Definitely check out the US-side of the Falls though - it's nice parkland. If I were to stay over, I would consider Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario or Lewiston, NY (make sure you check in advance if the bike can be taken into Canada.) Buffalo, NY has a poor reputation among the uninformed, but has some groovy places like the Elmwood Village, great architecture, friendly people, and in places a decaying, post-industrial beauty, although I acknowledge that not everyone "gets" this part.
I think it's a bit dismissive to say you're crazy to go there. There are some great places along the way to discover. Too bad you don't have more time!
Apr 25, 2012 6:07 AM
Apr 25, 2012 8:12 AM
8I've used both routes many times. Route 15 is also nice, especially north of Williamsport, PA ad you are closer to the Finger Lakes in NY which could be a nice spot to find a winery. From there, the scenery is rolling farmlands. Sometimes it can be a drag getting through Harrisburg, PA, however. Traffic can also slow south of Williamsport. It's a nice option, but for myself I prefer Route 219. I only use 15 now in the winter if I'm concerned about the roads being clear of snow. Another bonus for 219: you can visit the Zippo Lighter museum in Bradford, PA. And you pass by Blue Knob, PA.
Apr 25, 2012 8:29 AM
Apr 25, 2012 8:36 AM
Why are people so set on the White House?
To get into the White House tours, you have to contact your ambassador, who might be able to finagle you a spot--but then again, he might not. U.S. citizens have to hit up their members of Congress, in the same way. This was a post-9/11 change, originally instituted as a form of panic but now kept in place, one strongly suspects, because they like the political patronage aspect of this system: a White House tour for visiting constituents is a nice little plum to hand out.
The Capitol (where Congress meets) is accessible to non-Americans (just reserve your spot on the tour far enough ahead) and is IMO a better tour anyway.
The real things to see in Washington, besides all the monuments, are the Smithsonian museums. This is a multi-day task for a tourist.
Apr 25, 2012 10:33 AM
11Unless you're already accomplished at riding on the wrong side of the road, you're not going to enjoy those bikes much in the cities. In fact, hardly anyone but a total fanatic would suggest riding bikes around New York City, Washington D.C. and Boston anyway, regardless of time of year, weather, or riding skills--those cities suck for traffic, and you can't lane-split without risking arrest and/or dismembering injury.
Decide what sort of holiday you want. If it involves riding bikes, ride out into the country--there's plenty of good riding to be had in New York, New England, Pennsylvania, the southern Appalachians.... If you want cities, go to cities without the bikes and have a blast. At minimum, wait on your rental until you're ready to leave the cities behind.
I'm not at all into the rental scene, but you can rent various makes and models of bikes in Washington DC as well. Boston might be more problematic.
Hope that helps.
Apr 25, 2012 5:10 PM
12Wow, lots of info, thanks!
Ok, clarifications! We have no intention of going into the white house! Just happy to say we have seen it! Smithsonian museums sound great, but not huge museum wanderers, will probably do one. The amount to see is overwhelming, and we realise we will only see a minute amount of it!
Bike riding in the cities is not our interest, only doing it because it seemed we had no other option. Our preference was to hire a car to do the leg to xWashington, DC, bike to NF and onto xBoston, returning it there. We scoured the web for rentals, looking for a BMW touring bike, only found 2 companies who rent bikes, 1) eagleriders, who are more widely available but only had Harleys or a BMW sports bike, not suitable for long rides, or 2) Jupiters who are only in LA or NY. We started our search in February, and finally booked what we could find on Monday. It begs the question, if there are plenty of places, why could we not find them? Maybe I should have come here sooner!!
If I am totally honest, I am nervous about the bike, quite vunerable. But, my partner is competent, has done a little driving in US, and is patient, I trust him implicitly, it is more other drivers I am worried about - lol!!
We have 5 days in NY before we pickup the bike, and 1 day, 2 nights after we drop it back, so haven't factored the NY componenet into this!
#6, #7, #8, thankyou for those thoughts and suggestions, we will look at them closely. #3 that sounds great, just the sort of thing we are looking for!
#5, thank you for the suggestion, I will pose it to my partner. I am not sure about the trip to NF, it is more to see the countryside on the trip, and say we have done it. I have noted on other forums that it is a better option to do when visiting Canada, travelling from xToronto. Canada is a trip we would like to do one day, so may be best left til then. However we do want to see Boston, apparently it is very picturesque. So the trip to Maine suggested by #3 could even hold potential.
Just to give an idea, (not that we wish to do anything this 'intense'), my partner did a 2 week trip to west US last year. They hired a mini bus, did xSan Fransisco, xLake Tahoe, xYosemite NP, xGrand Canyon, x Los Vegas and LA. In that they pushbiked over the bridge in SF, mountainbiked at xTahoe, rock climbed, drove lamborginis, circ de sole, xVenice Beach and had a bucks night! They got off the beaten track and saw some amazing scenery and history as well. I guess that is more what interests us, rather than the tours of buildings and monuments, although we would incorporate a few of these.
#4, not sure what you mean re numbers, all our searches seem to give 'star' ratings for accommodation, even here on lonely planet? If you could explain more, maybe I can provide the info you need. We don't plan to prebook much accomodation beyond NY - which is already done. That way we can be flexible, take more time if we see something we like, or keep going if not. In Australia, if we ride up to a hotel we are likely to be told they are booked out, but then ride off and ring from down the road they have a room! We are not bikies, either!! lol clean and tidy professionals, lol! Does this happen in US? We will probably find something and ring them, like we do here, which gets around the problem!
Thanks again everyone, lots to talk about, think about and add to our planning, it is appreciated!
Apr 25, 2012 5:35 PM
xAir & Space and xAmerican History. Then have lunch at the xAmerican Indian.
The second reason we ask for numbers is to ensure you're not unreasonable with your expectations. We sometimes have people come here and say "I want a 3 or 4 star in DC," then tell us their budget is $60 per night, which is way too low.
Assuming, of course, that there is availability.
Apr 25, 2012 6:46 PM
14Thanks Bzookaj! Awesome.
Museums sound good, as well as the lunch suggestion! Thanks so much!
I now get what you mean re the ratings and budget. I suspect it is more standardised here. Whilst cost is not the major factor, we don't want to be spending $200 a night all the way, our main criteria is clean and comfortable. We would like somewhere central in xWashington, DC and xBoston, with secure parking (!) as we like to walk, you see more! Same reason we like the bike! Good to know there shouldn't be an issue with being on a bike, it has been an issue on our travels here! Availability is fully understandable.
The suggestion re travel around Maine is great! We enjoy the mountain riding (although mountains in Australia are big hills in other countries!) More things to discuss, the trip is quite fluid, so even when we are there we can change things.
Any suggestions to consider are appreciated!!
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