Help me plan a fun road trip!
March 9, 2010 9:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm taking a 10-day road trip (Chicago->East Coast-->St. Louis) to visit some friends in random places and need some suggestions for sights to see! Link to the route inside!

Well, here's the route I'm planning on taking.

That said, I love getting off the beaten path and can afford to make a few stops ranging from a few hours to a day or so (not too much longer than that, though).

So, any suggestions of things I should see along the way? I had considered jumping up to Niagara (I've never seen the falls), but that might lengthen the trip too much. I've visited NYC and DC several times each, so I hadn't really planned on making stops there, but if there's something new in the past 2-3 years, I'd be up for it.

I'm adventurous and open to pretty much anything! :)
posted by sciencemandan to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could see Falling Water (although I think their open hours are very limited) and/or the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh.

And watch out for the Ohio cops--I've taken your route from Chicago east many times, and they'll nab you for 6 miles over the limit if nothing faster comes along.
posted by sallybrown at 9:08 PM on March 9, 2010

Since you're passing through Philly, maybe you'd like to visit the Walt Whitman House, across the river in Camden? Well, that's what I would do.
posted by cirripede at 9:27 PM on March 9, 2010

I took a Niagra detour when going from near NYC to Nashville a few years ago, and didn't regret it at all, even though it added 4-5 hours to the drive. It was really pretty cool. Plus, you can jog over to 87 on the 90 and come down the Hudson River Valley (worthwhile in itself IMHO) and stop by the Catskills. This might be a better idea in May than it is in March, though.

I also took a detour to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, which is not that far off the second leg of your trip, found it very pretty.
posted by weston at 10:02 PM on March 9, 2010

I was going to say make sure you avoid I-55 from Chicago to St. Louis since it's so boring, but it looks like that's the point of your entire trip. :) Niagara Falls is worth looking at, but if you go to the Canadian side (IMO better than the US side) plan on spending an extra 2 hours getting through the border check on the way back in and bring your passport. Check out the Bourbon trail in Kentucky. The thing I wish I had seen when I was driving a similar route was the New River Gorge bridge in West Virginia. It's not more than a handful of miles off your current route...if you're into bridges.
posted by thorny at 10:31 PM on March 9, 2010

A short trip south in Central PA will net you the Horseshoe Curve in Altoona, PA, the home of the Railroader's Memorial Museum. The Curve is quite spectacular.
posted by pjern at 3:05 AM on March 10, 2010

Drive Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park rather than taking 81 for that segment. The little town of Floyd, VA, is a fun place for a half-day stop-over or overnight.
posted by drlith at 4:45 AM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

City Museum, St. Louis.
posted by nitsuj at 5:57 AM on March 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's a bit off the beaten path, but the Warther Museum in Dover OH can't be beat for its funk factor. He ended up starting a line of kitchen knives (of which I have several) in the process of pursuing his passion of carving trains from wood. They really are pretty magnificent. And if that weren't enough, his wife collected buttons and they are proudly displayed in a little house on the same property. They sound like a fun couple, don't they?
posted by DrGail at 6:29 AM on March 10, 2010

Rock'n Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland?
posted by PMdixon at 7:42 AM on March 10, 2010

I agree about Shenandoah National Park- it is beautiful. It makes an easy drive instead of the highway route. You can stay at one of the park lodges that were built in the 1930s! Very vintage and not your average Holiday Inn (in every sense).

If you want to go further off your route, and you like the National Park thing, Smoky Mountain National Park is just south of Roanoke, Virginia. Asheville is a pretty spot if you like the arty college town thing, and Gatlinburg if you're more the traditional tourist type. Dollywood is a good stop for people of all stripes. Then come north through Nashville to get to St. Louis.

I also agree about the City Museum in St. Louis. Totally weird and arty and fun, all at once. It's open way late at night and you can explore by flashlight. I've never seen anything like it. Also in St. Louis, check out the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, site of an ancient Native American city. Pretty cool! And of course there's the Arch.

On the east coast, you can drive down the Jersey shore coast to Atlantic City and then to Cape May, and take the ferry across to Rehoboth, Delaware, then drive across Delaware to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Annapolis. Much longer drive than Jersey->NoVa, but it would be much more interesting than I-95 toll roads, and possibly you'd avoid traffic (unless this trip takes place on a summer weekend).
posted by aabbbiee at 8:42 AM on March 10, 2010

Go to the City Museum! It is one of the best things ever. A truly unique experience and not to be missed.

If you need a second thing to do in St. Louis, I'd recommend the free tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. It's a modern, working factory that's housed in original factory buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s, which is neat. Plus, you get a free beer (or two) at the end of tour.
posted by thewrongparty at 10:55 PM on March 10, 2010

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