Sometimes the National Lampoons get it right — nothing’s better for a family vacation than a good, old-fashioned road trip. You can spend some quality time getting to know your own flesh and blood; you can teach your kids about the country they live in with the actual sights and sounds; and you can avoid the long lines and tantrums that come with air travel.
Taking a road trip or renting a car is often much more budget-friendly than trying to fly someplace and get around, and you won’t have to worry about losing your luggage. If you want to experience some of what North America has to offer, set your sights on any of these North American road trips — you’ll have access not only to one amazing destination like Niagara Falls, but several.
Michigan, Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania & Ohio
This route is a giant circle and perfect for anyone starting out around the Great Lakes. You and the family will get a great glimpse of a handful of the Great Lakes, depending on where exactly you start, and you’ll go right through America’s historic city of Detroit. Next you’ll travel through the scenic Canadian countryside and enter the beautiful Niagara region. In Niagara Falls, you’ll be able to get everyone out of the car to watch the falls or a few hours to play at one of the continent’s best indoor water parks.
When you journey back into the U.S., you can choose how deep into New York you’d like to travel, depending on how long you want your trip to be. You should definitely experience the outdoors in the Finger Lakes area, and if you have the time, the kids would love to stretch their legs in Saratoga Springs or the south edge of the Adirondacks.
Through Pennsylvania you’ll get the opportunity to see deep Amish country as well as plenty of the cities crucial to America’s creation, like Pittsburg. Then finally, in Ohio you have some fun museums, like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
If you’ve never seen much of Canada, a road trip is the perfect opportunity to get a heaping serving. Ontario is beautiful country full of vineyards and lush greenery, and there are plenty of opportunities to stop and learn about your surroundings.
It doesn’t matter exactly where you start with this one — for a short trip, you can start in Peterborough, and to make it longer you can go all the way up to Ottawa. Traveling south and west, you’ll go through delightful scenery and tons of educational opportunities, like the Heinz Factory and Fort Eerie, as well as countless stunning parks and gardens.
On your way, you’ll pass through Niagara Falls, where you can stretch your sea legs on the Maid of the Mist or take a couple days to explore the city’s various attractions. At the potential end of your tour, you’ll see Toronto, Canada’s largest city in the east.