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Planning Chicago, Toronto, Niagra and somewhere hot. Help!

(20 Posts)
BeCoolYolande Sun 21-Apr-19 11:28:21

DH has a big birthday coming up late July next year and this is what he wants to do.
We have 3 weeks, maybe a bit longer.

- Chicago - he says for 3 nights but I say 5 to get us over the jet lag.
- Niagra Falls - DH wants to stay for a night, is that even possible? Feasible?
- Toronto for 3/4 nights.

DH is suggesting we fly between Chicago-Niagra-Toronto. Would a train be just as quick and more scenic for at least part of the journey?
I'm factoring waiting at airports and immigration control into my thinking.

Then he wants to 'flop somewhere hot by the pool'.
By the time we get there it will be August and hurricane season...does that rule out Orlando?
For this leg of the trip we want somewhere hot, relaxing and not too busy.

As we'll have a long flight to wherever we go lots of places fill this brief, where would fit?

I've never been to the US but I have been to the Caribbean and South America.
DH has only ever been to the US on business so all he saw were airports, hotels and meeting rooms. He didn't arrange his own travel.
So we're both clueless.

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BubblesBuddy Sun 21-Apr-19 13:02:52

All these places will be hot in July and August. Your itinerary (apart from Chicago) would not suit me and I would stick to Canada or USA. We don’t do flopping in the USA so cannot advise but the Hamptons on Long Island comes to mind. I would actually just go from Chicago to Boston and go to Cape Cod. Niagara Falls is tacky and I would avoid. Boston is great and keeps you in the USA. North of Boston is lovely but Cape Cod is flopping territory! Loads of pools and beaches.

BubblesBuddy Sun 21-Apr-19 13:04:08

You will need a car for Cape Cod though. Fly back from Boston.

BeCoolYolande Sun 21-Apr-19 14:16:19

Thanks bubbles, we're prepared for the heat in Toronto/Chicago in July or August.
The one variable that can't be changed is the date of DH's birthday. We have a mutual agreement that when we each get to this particular milestone we will have a big holiday and we each get to choose our own destination(s).

This itinerary is DH's choice, I know we can't necessarily 'flop' in the same way that we would in, say Spain but after all the hubbub of our first few destinations we want to slow the pace down and get some sun on our pale British bodies.

The Hamptons is a great idea and one I hadn't considered.
DH just suggested a $$$$ hotel in San Francisco so we could easily stay in the Hamptons for similar money.
I'll take a look.

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keiratwiceknightly Sun 21-Apr-19 15:11:33

Maine coast - Kennebunkport. Delightful.

BeCoolYolande Sun 21-Apr-19 15:12:05

Oh and yes, I get that Niagra is tacky but there are lots of places in the UK which are tacky or, more usually, underwhelming. Neither of us have been and we probably wouldn't go again but while we're there we'd like to.

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BeCoolYolande Sun 21-Apr-19 15:12:54

I don't know much about Maine <goes off to Google>.

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RaskolnikovsGarret Sun 21-Apr-19 15:16:09

We are going to Montreal and Quebec at the beginning of August, and have been promised hot!

RaskolnikovsGarret Sun 21-Apr-19 15:19:45

Planning on chilling near mount orford national park after a week in montreal and Quebec City. Hotel with pool in Sherbrooke.

BreakfastAtSquiffanys Sun 21-Apr-19 15:21:10

Niagara Falls- the watery bit- is stunning (from the Canadian side) and well worth a visit. I believe the USA side is disappointing.
Niagara Falls City is naff beyond belief.
But Niagara on the Lake (20 drive north) is absolutely charming, I can recommend a lovely B&B there.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sun 21-Apr-19 15:21:21

I’m planning a trip like this for September next year. My plan is fly in to Washington DC, do a road trip through Virginia blue ridge mountains etc via Virginia Beach, to Chicago, hop over to Toronto. I have family in Toronto which explains tacking that bit of the trip on the end.

Not sure about somewhere hot to flop. Florida keys?

Backwoodsgirl Sun 21-Apr-19 15:31:16

All those locations are probably quicker to drive between, sounds like a nice setup,

Maine (our home) would be warm then. Louisiana, Iowa or Missouri would be nice too

SayPleasePlease Sun 21-Apr-19 15:52:47

We did a very similar trip in July/August last year with DC 18 and 20. This was our itinerary.

Flew LHR to Montreal (5 nights)
Train Montreal to Toronto (5 nights) - 5 hours - lovely trip! Easy to book seats.
Megabus Toronto to NF (3 nights) and back (2 hours each way) and again easy to book seats
Flew Toronto to Chicago (3 nights, 2 hour flight)
Flew home from Chicago

Had an amazing time!

We stayed for 3 nights in NF and loved it, as pp have said the town is not that nice but the falls are absolutely stunning, we wandered up and down the surrounding pathways for hours. A ride on the Hornblower is a must (or Maid of the Mist if on the USA side) - big tip, go about 7 pm and no queue. We stayed at the Sheraton on the Falls in a top floor room, they are $$$ but well worth it for the view and the fireworks. There's a great bus network around the falls area and you get a free pass from most hotels. For an additional few $ there's a bus to Niagara on the Lake, which is a gorgeous town.

The weather was very hot in all places, but humid and overcast on the whole in Montreal, Toronto and NF. Chicago was sunny.

No issues at all with immigration, no particular delays. When flying Canada - USA the formalities are done at the Canadian airport so arrival in Chicago was a breeze.

SayPleasePlease Sun 21-Apr-19 16:06:20

To add, I booked the flights and the Chicago hotel on a BA ' multi-centre flight+hotel' deal which was unbelievably good value, I could not get it cheaper separately. You only need to book one night's accommodation for it to qualify as a package, which gets you ATOL protection and so on. I booked other hotels and travel arrangements separately. We didn't want to drive but if you do, you can also book a car through BA as well, plus more flights/venues.

BeCoolYolande Sun 21-Apr-19 16:51:31

Oh pants I've just realised that I've been misspelling Niagara in every post.
Aargh <hangs head in shame> I'm sorry.

SayPlease that's very, very useful information thanks

Backwoodsgirl how warm does it get in Maine in July and August?
It looks beautiful, it's to our nearest seaside in the UK!

We'll be doing it just before you ThroughThick!

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BeCoolYolande Sun 21-Apr-19 18:06:33

it's similar to our nearest seaside confused
I've taken a different antihistamine today but you'd never know grin

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BubblesBuddy Mon 22-Apr-19 02:37:56

You can combine Cape Cod with Maine. Best of both worlds!

GinisLife Mon 22-Apr-19 03:11:32

I'd second staying in Niagara on the Lake rather than Niagara. If you go to Toronto do the bus tour round the city and have lunch at the top of the CN Tower - not cheap but lovely food and you jump the queue to get to the top if you've pre booked lunch.

myadviceisdontskippaps Mon 22-Apr-19 03:44:36

Hi. British/Canadian living in Toronto here.

You can’t fly into Niagara. So itinerary if flying might be something like uk-Chicago-Toronto-Niagara-Toronto-uk. Or you could fly Chicago to buffalo and then it’s a short drive to Niagara and you can cross the land border (either buffalo/fort Erie or Niagara).

Niagara is only about 1.5-2 hours drive from Toronto (depending which part you start from). I actually think both sides of the falls have their own unique merits. On the Canadian side, Clifton hill is the tacky part everyone is talking about - fun houses and arcades, that sort of thing, but can be fun. There is a nice casino. I’ve stayed at Sheraton on the falls which is in a great location and lovely. You can hike down to the whirlpool, go on the maid of the mist etc. Goat island on the US side is cool - it’s in the middle of one of the falls and you can cross over to it (or at least you used to be able to). If you’ve never seen it before it really is quite a sight.

Maine/providence etc are all lovely - fond memories of wingaersheek beach. Also ogonquit (spelling?) I think is where they have lobster pounds which is quite an experience.

Another option for hot/warm is the outer banks in North Carolina. Beaches for miles and lots of activities to do. Kill devil hills is where the Wright brothers flew and there’s a good museum there with the markers. They also have the wild horses in corolla. And duck donuts is pretty awesome. Definitely hot in the summer. From Toronto It’s about 13 hr drive - you could also stop at philly/DC along the way. Summer weather is perfectly fine in all these places (I lived just outside dc for almost 3 years). You can fly but the airport isn’t that close to the outer banks. Virginia beach is also a popular option and closer to the nearest airport.

I would not do a train for the US-Canada section. Rail here is not like in Europe - slow with poor connections. Toronto only has a bloody 2 line subway. I’d fly Chicago to Toronto to save time as it’s quite a long drive. There is a train from Toronto to Niagara Falls but not sure how scenic it would be ... I’d actually recommend driving and maybe doing some winery tours in the Niagara peninsula (if you like wine) - the glaciers left behind a particular sediment that’s conducive to grape growing and stone fruit trees. peaches might be in season then so def grab some from a farmers market in Niagara if you can. On the way - Hamilton is the waterfall capital of Canada in terms of number - I forget how many but I think at least 20?

If you really have that much time ... what about a road trip from Toronto to the maritimes (stopping at Montreal and Quebec City along the way) and then rent a beach place there? I’ve been looking at pei myself and it should be fairly warm there in August.

myadviceisdontskippaps Mon 22-Apr-19 03:45:30

Hah what I meant above is the Toronto-niagara-toronto bit would be driving or the train. Hope that’s clear.

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