Skip Navigation

Driving from New York to Toronto

Travel Forums North America Driving from New York to Toronto

1. Posted by templer (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Dear fellow travelers.
We intend to drive from New York to Toronto next summer (June) with our kids (11-14 years) and where wondering if there is anyone sitting in with a good travel tips.
We are flying in from Iceland and intend to rent a car in New York after spending a few days there.
From there spend 3-4 days driving from New York to Toronto and the only stop on the way we know so far is Niagara Falls.
We would appreciate any tips about interesting sights, attractions, things to do on the way.
Also if anyone knows more about the possibilities to rent a car in New York and return in Toronto as we intend to fly back home to Iceland from Toronto.
Thanks in advance

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2009 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

I think most agencies will not allow their cars to cross the border. It's a short ride from Niagara to Toronto - maybe take a bus from the border?

New York State has some beautiful lakes that would be ideal in June. You might also enjoy a side trip to Cape Cod and or Maine. Roads in the area are excellent and anywhere you go in the New York/New England area would be good. I personally like Montreal.


I just checked about crossing the border in a rental - I was wrong! Hertz will let you do it.

[ Edit: Edited on 30-Jan-2012, at 10:21 by Daawgon ]

3. Posted by DocNY (Respected Member 420 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Well depending on how you go (and I don't recommend the route through Pennsylvania that Google maps does) there are a number of places you can stop and see.

There are a number of drives through the Catskill mountains which pass through a lot of small towns worth exploring (and offering reasonable accommodations). There is also Saratoga Springs, which is a very nice town especially during the horse racing season (which you'll be missing as it starts in July) but is worth visiting. The Finger lakes region is the main wine producing area of New York State and is lovely, full of small lakes, nice wineries, good food and which offer a very different view of New York than what most people think of when they think of New York.

Just a couple hours out of NYC near the city of New Paltz are a couple of interesting little areas to visit. Lake Minnewaska is a glacial lake (no fish or anything living in the lake because of that) in an area with some great hiking. Mohonk Mountain House is a glimpse into the past in NY. It is one of the few survivors of the day when the Catskills were a huge resort area and has been around for more than 140 years. It also mainly features outdoor activities and the setting plus the old Victorian style hotel is what still keeps people coming to visit. It's expensive to stay there but you can visit for the day.

Between Saratoga and wine country there isn't a lot to see, (figure 3-4 hours of driving there) so stopping to check out the stuff in the Catskills makes sense.

If you have the interest, there are a couple of minor league baseball teams up that way too, as well as the Baseball Hall of Fame (in Cooperstown, NY), but unless you are really a fan of baseball the Hall of Fame probably won't be that interesting (although I like the town of Cooperstown for it's whole baseball crazy vibe anyway).

Hope that helps.

4. Posted by Dodger (Inactive 873 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Is 3 days all you have? Seems a shame to come all that way and not go north from NYC and take in Rhode Island, Cape Cod, and Boston, then head over to Niagara, drop the car and take the train into Toronto.

5. Posted by TeflonCDN (Full Member 129 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Here are a few suggestions. Neither of these take you to Niagara Falls, but you can get there easily as day trip from Toronto.

If your looking for a change of scenery from Iceland. I would recommend you go straight up I-87 from NYC and stop in Lake Placid in the Adirondack Mountains. Lots of forests and mountains. You can use Lake Placid, the site of the Winter Olypics in 1932 and 1980 as your base. If your up to a challenge, you can hike all the way up White Face Mountain and get a few great pictures. You can easily spend a few days in this area.

From Lake Placid, you could go to Kingston, Ontario, Canada's first capital. It is a town of about 100, 000 and it has a UNESCO World Heritage Site => Rideau Canal and Fort Henry. If you have boys, they will enjoy the Fort!

Alternatetively, you could take the train for NYC directly to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Lost to do in Montreal with the added bonus of some French Canadian Culture. I am sure there is lots of info on Montreal on there posts. But I would recommend going up Mount Royal, going to the Biodome, and going into the tunnels in Downtown Montreal -> a large complex for underground shopping... (to avoid winter's cold). Le Plateau is also a great neighborhood to spend time in and pick up some of the culture.

Have fun!

6. Posted by JosephaA (Budding Member 8 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

North of NYC is the historic Hudson River Valley -- full of sites if you are interested in history. You can also tour West Point (but only thru an organized tour) but it will be quiet since graduation is in May.

When you get close to Albany you will have to make a decision -- go west to see more historical sites or go north to the mountains. IF you decide to go north you will take the Northway (a super highway with little traffic) which takes you to the Lake George/Lake Champlain region along with the Adirondack Mountains. I would stay the evening in Lake George so that you could enjoy the lake while eating breakfast.

Continue up the Northway and exit at Rt 73 Keene/Lake Placid. This road is best enjoyed during the day due to the sights you will see. There are mountain lakes -- cliffs -- waterfalls (the one just past St Huberts is an easy hike from the parking area on the right). The towns you will drive thru were damaged post Irene but they are getting back on their feet. In Keene bear left at the Y in the road and head up the mountain.

Lake Placid is the former Olympic site and many places are open for tours. There are numerous shops on the main street but they tend to be expensive just like lodging. Just down the road to the west is Saranac Lake -- now making its way as an artist colony -- which has numerous motels right on the lake. Some even offer their guests boats and canoes. There are a variety of places to eat -- from down home cooking to organic. There are also artist galleries and workshops in the village.

If the weather is clear you might want to drive up to the top of Whiteface Mountain -- but it is not for the faint of heart. At the top of the mountain is a castle with an observation deck. There are also numerous trails for inexperienced and experienced hikers in the area. The people are friendly and can give you tips as to what to do if you ask.

When you leave Saranac Lake head west towards Tupper Lake -- an old logging community. There is a new museum/naturalist site there called The Wild. It takes about 3 hours to tour and features plants and animals found in the Adirondacks. If you continue west you will leave the mountains and come to Lake Erie. At Rt 81 if you turn north you will come to Alexandria Bay and the Thousand Islands. Boat tours are available to see this unique place. South on Rt 81 you will enter the Mohawk Valley, Erie Canal, and the Finger Lakes area. If you like wine you will find numerous wineries.

Buffalo is west on the Thruway and only a couple of hours drive from the Finger Lakes.

As for renting a car and dropping it off in Canada. Be very careful because those agencies that allow cars to cross the border can also charge a huge fee for dropping it off up there. Ask questions -- get all charges in writing -- and do the math. It might be better to drop off the car in Buffalo and take a bus across the border then renting a car in Canada.

Enjoy your trip!!!!!!!!!

7. Posted by JosephaA (Budding Member 8 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

I need a geography lesson lolol From Tupper Lake you head west towards Lake Ontario :o)