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New York, Washington and Niagara Falls - Self-Drive Itinerary

Whether in a campervan or renting a car this 8 day loop from New York to Washington across to Lake Erie, Niagara Falls and back to New York let's you explore some of America's most iconic destinations.

  • New York NY to Atlantic City NJ
  • Atlantic City NJ to Philadelphia PA
  • Philadelphia PA to Washington DC
  • Washington DC to Bedford PA
  • Bedford PA to Erie PA
  • Erie PA to Niagara Falls NY
  • Niagara Falls NY to Watkins Glen NY
  • Watkins Glen NY to New York NY

Distance: 1223 miles
Download: New York self-drive itinerary

Day 1. New York NY to Atlantic City NJ

Collect your car or motorhome in New York today. If renting a motorhome we recommend allowing at least one hour for pick up and time to familiarise yourself with your vehicle before you leave the depot.

Depart this morning and take the I-78 W in Jersey City. Take the I-95 S and Garden State Parkway to Christopher Columbus Boulevard in Atlantic City.

The Atlantic City Boardwalk is a great way to see a number of attractions in one go. Known as the arts and cultural centre of Atlantic City, here you can find everything from the Atlantic City Historical Museum to the Atlantic City Arts Center. Plus, there are also lots of shopping opportunities for souvenirs and dining areas along the boardwalk.

One of the stops along the boardwalk not-to-miss is the iconic Steel Pier. The Pier is a small amusement park, and features 25 rides suited to both children and thrill-seekers. With food and entertainment on offer, it is a great afternoon out.

Distance: 127 miles, 2 hours 10 minutes.

Stay: Pomona RV Park & Campground.

Day 2. Atlantic City NJ to Philadelphia PA

Depart this morning and take the Atlantic City Expy W, NJ-42 N and I-676 N to N 15th Street in Philadelphia.

Independence Hall is one of the most iconic historical venues in America. The Hall is where the 56 men gathered to debate and sign the Declaration of Independence. Take a tour of this important venue and see George Washington’s famous “rising sun” chair in the Assembly Hall.

If you’re feeling brave, a visit to the Eastern State Penitentiary is definitely not for the faint-hearted! Opening in 1829, the prison was home to the infamous criminal and gangster Al Capone. At Eastern State, he is just one of the many criminals who were detained within these walls, where tour guides will enlighten you on just what criminals had to do to be imprisoned here.

Distance: 62 miles, 1 hour.

Stay: Campus Park and Ride.

Day 3. Philadelphia PA to Washington DC

Depart this morning and take the I-676/ US-30 E. Follow the I-95 S, I-895 S and Baltimore-Washington Parkway to US-50 W/ New York Avenue NE in Bladensburg. Continue on New York Avenue to Washington.

The Smithsonian Institution is home to 17 museums and galleries, including the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. Covering histories and sciences from all over the world, the museums and galleries are a great way to extend your knowledge and see these world-renowned attractions.

Washington DC is the home of politics within American. It is a must to visit the iconic Lincoln Memorial, and see the monument built to honour the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Just across from the Lincoln Memorial, you will find the Washington Monument. This particular monument was built to commemorate the very first President, George Washington.

Distance: 139 miles, 2 hours 30 minutes.

Stay: Cherry Hill Park.

Day 4. Washington DC to Bedford PA

Depart this morning and take the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Arlington. Take the I-270 N and I-70 W to US-30 W in East Providence Township. Follow the US-30 W to Bedford.

The Fort Belford Museum is a great way to learn about the local history. The museum displays a number of exhibits, from Native American artefacts to models depicting the original forts in the town. It is the best way to step back in time and witness the pioneer days on the frontier of western Pennsylvania.

Taste some of the local produce at the Briar Valley Vineyards & Winery, where they are home to award-winning wines of the region. Located next to the Allegheny Mountains, the picturesque winery is the perfect place to relax after a long day.

Distance: 140 miles, 2 hours 30 minutes.

Stay: Friendship Village Campground RV Park.

Day 5. Bedford PA to Erie PA

Depart this morning and take the I-70 W/ I-76 W in Bedford Township. Follow the I-76 W and I-79 N to Bayfront Parkway in Erie.

The Presque Isle State Park is full of activities suited to any weather condition. In summer, check out the 11 miles of beaches, which are perfect for a swim or to read a book on the beach. In the winter months, the park becomes home to cross country skiers and snow fans alike, so have a go at skiing or even just spend the afternoon playing in the snow.

Distance: 229 miles, 3 hours 30 minutes.

Stay: Presque Isle Passage RV Park & Cabin Rentals.

Day 6. Erie PA to Niagara Falls NY

Depart this morning and take the E 6th Street and PA-290 E to I-90 E in Harborcreek Township. Continue on the I-90 E to Niagara Falls.

While staying in Niagara Falls, it is a must to visit the actual waterfalls in the state park. Niagara Falls is situated in America’s oldest state park, and the best way to experience it is through a boat ride which will take you straight to the falls themselves. Each second roughly 750,000 gallons of water falls, making it both a powerful and beautiful view.

After seeing the falls, take a trip to the Aquarium of Niagara. Here you can get up and close with the animals that inhabit the state park. With everything from penguins to shark feeding sessions, the aquarium is a fun way to learn about the natural environment.

Distance: 116 miles, 2 hours.

Stay: Niagara Falls Campground & Lodging.

Day 7. Niagara Falls NY to Watkins Glen NY

Depart this morning and take the I-90 E to NY-318 E in Phelps. Take NY-14 S to Watkins Glen.

The Watkins Glen State Park is a truly magical place. With waterfalls, lakes, gorges and cascades, this is a place where you can get in touch with nature. Activities offered by the park include biking, fishing and hiking, meaning you can see every inch of the park in a new and different way.

Distance: 159 miles, 2 hours 50 minutes.

Stay: Watkins Glen / Corning KOA.

Day 8. Watkins Glen NY to New York NY

Depart this morning and take the I-86 E/ NY-17 E. Continue on the NY-17 E. Take the I-81 S, I-380 S, I-80 E and I-280 E to Holland Tunnel in Jersey City. Continue on Holland Tunnel to New York City.

New York truly has something for everybody. Whether you want to see a world-famous musical on Broadway, or spend an afternoon walking around Central Park, the ‘City That Never Sleeps’ will keep you entertained for hours on end.

For a cultured afternoon, discover masterpieces at the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Or if you’re not afraid of heights, head to the top of the Empire State Building to see the sites from up above.

Allow 60 minutes to return your Motorhome.

Distance: 254 miles, 4 hours 15 minutes.

Stay: Liberty Harbor RV Park.


Disclaimer

DriveNow's suggested itineraries are made available to assist travellers create and build personalised journey plans.

DriveNow does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of these itineraries and they are provided as is and as advisory only.

You acknowledge that any reliance on or use of any itinerary shall be at your sole risk.

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