Toddler Friendly Road Trip from Philadelphia to Niagara Falls
It has been slightly past two months since we came back from our 3-week vacation in the U.S.A. I finally found time to write this post and share on our experience for this road trip with our little princess, Ashley, who is now 2 and a half years old. Although this was not the first road trip that we have had with Ashley, this was by far the longest road trip as we made a round trip from Philadelphia to Niagara Falls in just one week. Many considerations were put in place when we planned this road trip such as deciding the stop-overs for Ashley’s meal and leg stretches wherein she would be able to run free and not be stuck in the car for 3 to 4 long hours continuously.
Our road trip started with the arrival at Philadelphia International Airport in the morning at approximately 9 a.m. Some may ask, “Why not JFK or NEW airport if you are going to the Niagara Falls?”. Well, my answer is simple. “Sesame Place” is in Philadelphia and since the distance from the New York airports to Niagara Falls does not differ much from Philadelphia, it seems like the most logical choice for us especially given the thought that Ashley would be ecstatic to see Elmo and friends.
For the first stop-over of the 1 week road trip, we stopped by Lehigh Valley Mall in Allentown for lunch and quick shopping as we were stumped by the cold temperatures in Philadelphia as opposed to the sunny Orlando which we were at earlier. Next, we drove on to the town of Corning, sadly to coincide with the closing time of Corning Museum as we had stayed longer in Lehigh than originally planned. We settled for a quick dinner at a Chinese restaurant before heading to our first pit stop of the trip, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Bath. It is a pleasant and simple inn for an overnight stay (generally clean room except for the mouldy showerhead in the toilet) with nearby eateries around such as Dunkin Donuts, Burger King and Pizza Hut. There is also a Walgreens within walking distance should you need to do some simple grocery shopping. Furthermore, Microtel Inn provides complimentary breakfast of coffee, tea, cereals and bread rolls that you can enjoy before you hit the roads.
We departed from Microtel Inn in the early morning on the next day and drove straight on to Niagara Falls which was about 2 hours drive away. Our first stop at Niagara Falls was lunch at Applebees, situated near Fashion Outlets, Niagara Falls. For avid shoppers, I would say that Fashion Outlets, Niagara Falls is a great place to shop given that it is a indoor shopping mall and differ greatly from the ones in Orlando which can get a tad unbearable should the weather get too hot and sunny. Furthermore, I found better deals at the outlet mall at Niagara Falls with the smaller crowds. We ended our first night in Niagara Falls with a Teppanyaki dinner at Fuji Grill (although it doesn’t really taste like the usual Teppanyaki we have in Singapore) before checking in to our accommodation for 3 nights, Super 8- Niagara Falls. Super 8 is a simple and affordable accommodation with complimentary breakfast (although the crowd can get a little overwhelming on weekends). The waffles are a hit with the visitors so do try out the self-made waffles when you are there!
On our third day, we visited Niagara Falls in the early morning and headed straight to the Cave of the Winds. Gosh, we were glad we headed early! At 10 am in the morning, it was a breeze through the lines (or rather there was no line at all) and we got in to the attraction within minutes upon getting our raincoats, slippers and shoe covers. From the cave of the winds, you can view the horseshoe falls from afar but get really up close with bridal veil falls at the hurricane deck. For those who love to have a beautiful view whilst having your meal, Top of the Falls is definitely one with beautiful view of the Horseshoe Falls. However, food variety is limited and cost falls short of quality but I guess visitors mainly patronise for the sake of the view. A short stroll further down of Horseshoe Falls is the Three Sisters Island which is another point of attraction at Niagara Falls. A must-take-note point for tourists who would like a full view of the American Falls especially the illuminating lights display upon the Falls at night, do get your passports ready with you because the custom borders to cross over to Canada is just a few minutes away!
On the fourth day, we began to make our way back to Philadelphia, making our first stop at House of Hong, Watkin Glens for lunch and staying over at Red Roof Inn Wilkes Barre. A friendly note to guests staying in Red Roof Inn is to not follow the GPS blindly as it led us through to the back of the inn which is a highway.
Upon checking out the next morning, we drove straight on to Philadelphia and made our first stop at Please Touch Museum which is suited for kids seven years or younger wherein the children museum designs interactive play to create learning opportunities for the young minds. I must say it was really crowded on that day and Ashley was still too young to venture into all the play amidst the crowd of older kids. Hence, we stayed for a mere 3 hours after which we decided to head to Sheraton Bucks County Hotel for an early rest before our visit to Ashley’s favorite Sesame Place the next day.
With Sesame Place as our final attraction in Philadelphia, we concluded our week long Philly-Niagara Falls journey and headed back to Orlando for more Disney Magic.