Road Trip

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Detroit to New York Road Trip Itinerary

Explore the ultimate Detroit to New York road trip itinerary! From scenic routes through Niagara Falls and Finger Lakes to vibrant city stops in Philadelphia and D.C. - plan your perfect trip now.

Tobi Miles
July 1, 2022
Detroit to New York Road Trip Itinerary

Detroit is the largest city in Michigan, birth place of Motown and an Icon of the automotive industry, “Motor City”.

Detroit's Location makes it a great starting point for an epic road trip to New York City, through New York state!

Having taken this Road Trip twice now, I have outlined two Road Trip routes for you!

Scenic Route 1: New York State via Niagara Falls & Finger Lakes

My favorite is the scenic route through New York State.

En route you will get to stop off at some of natures greatest miracles from Niagara Falls, to Finger Lakes.

There are also many quaint New York Towns worth visiting in Ostego County, such as Cooperstown.

City Route 2: Via Philadelphia & Washington D.C

For those who have longer and would like to explore more of the cities enroute I have outlined a city route, with stops at Washington D.C, Philadelphia and more!

So start your engines and lets hit the road!!

philadelphia-road trip

Related Read: 35 Romantic Outings in New York City

How long is a road trip from Detroit to New York?

Driving direct from Detroit, Michigan to New York City will take around 8 hours and you will cover 526 miles via I-80 E and I-76.

Of course this is without any stops, (Which is the best part of any road trip!)

Averaging approximately 100 miles per day this trip will take you 5 days.

Averaging 250 miles per day you could drive for two days, stay over somewhere for one night. (This is what we did!)

We drove to Niagara Falls, then onto Finger Lakes stayed there for one night, then the next morning heading to NYC.

Road Trip Map (Detroit to New York City)


User Guide:  Simply Click the +/- buttons to zoom in & out,  Click on a favourite attraction, and click directions symbol to give you the driving or walking route directly there!

(Many visitors choose to share our map on facebook by clicking the link in the top right corner!)

Related Read: 30 BEST Waterfalls in Upstate New York

Road Trip Itinerary (Detroit to New York)

Scenic Route 1: New York State via Niagara Falls & Finger Lakes

  1. Detroit , MI
  2. Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
  3. Niagara Falls, NY, USA
  4. Buffalo, NY
  5. Finger Lakes, NY
  6. Ostego County, NY
  7. New York City

Detroit to New York City Road Trip

City Route 2: Via Philadelphia & Washington D.C

  1. Detroit, MI
  2. Cleveland - Optional
  3. Pittsburgh - Optional
  4. Washington D.C
  5. Baltimore
  6. Philadelphia, PN
  7. New York City

National cherry-blossom festival Washington-dc

See: 12 Epic Parades in the U.S.A

Road Trip Highlights:

A. Detroit, MI

Detroit is the largest city in Michigan, birth place of Motown and an Icon of the automotive industry, “Motor City”.

Is Detroit a ghost town?

Detroit is not a Ghost town in the traditional way. However, it does have at least 70,000 abandoned buildings & 31,000 deserted houses!

Urban explorers are intrigued by the city.

Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat, the abandoned ferris wheel is a true symbol of the Chernobyl nuclear Disaster! Photo by: Sergei Supinsky / AFP/Getty Images

For more check out: 13 Most Creepy Abandoned Amusement Parks in America!

Is Detroit Safe?

The crime rate in Detroit has declined in recent years, but it’s still one the most dangerous cities in the U.S.A.

However, that doesn’t mean everywhere is dangerous and the “Bad areas” are localised to a certain zone like many other big cities.

That's why it's an interesting place to visit, then hit the road & get outta there! haha.

5 Best Things to do in Detroit?

5. Visit the Henry Ford Museum:

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation is the largest indoor-outdoor museum complex in the United States and is visited by over 1.6 million people each year.

It was founded in 1929 and documents the development of ford motor cars and the motor car industry as a whole.

Henry Ford Museum

4. The Detroit Institute of Arts

One of the top rated Museums in the U.S.A, the Detroit Institute of Arts offering art, music, film gallery games and art making!

How much does it cost?

Residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties and children five and under receive free, unlimited general museum admission, but children over five are $6 and adults are $14.

3. Comerica Park

Comerica Park is an open-air ballpark located in Downtown Detroit. It serves as the home of the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball.

This is a great place to watch a classic open air baseball match.

2. Outdoor Adventure Center

The Outdoor Adventure Center  is the perfect place to sample the “Great Michigan Outdoors”.

Here you will find many interactive activities and experiences from cycling to viewing waterfalls, fishing and many more!

How much does it cost?

Children under two are free, children up to 12 are $3 and adults are $5.

1. Eastern Market – Foodie Favorite.

Eastern Market has to be one of my favorite places to visit in Detroit. Founded back in 1891 here you will find one the largest outdoor farmers markets in the country.

In addition to local produce you will find, hip cafes offering a range of foods from Tacos to Coney Island Hot Dogs. Head to Berts Warehouse Theatre for some live Jazz & Motown…of course!

Eastern Market detroit. Source; Detroit

Insider Tip:

Head Down on a Sunday to check out the arts & crafts from local artists.

How much is it?

It is FREE Entry and you just pay for what you eat or do inside.

For more info check out: Epic Food Hall Road Trip USA: 21 Best Food Halls!

Related Read: 17 BEST Bottomless Brunch Spots in Philadelphia, PA

B. Buffalo, NY

Drive up the shores of Lake Erie to arrive at Buffalo, New York. Some popular attractions here include:

Buffalo New York train journey


If your feeling hungry you have to try some of the spicy buffalo wings from Duffs.

If your into spicy wings, this is the place. There medium is boiling, and they even have “death sauces” which are only for those which want a real spicy challenge.

C. Niagara Falls

We’ve finally made it to Niagara Falls, a raging wonder of the world! Fun facts about Niagara Falls:

  • Niagara Falls is over 15,000 years old, formed just the last Ice age
  • The Largest Fall (Horse shoe falls) is on the Canadian side 176 feet / 53.6 meters high.
  • 600,000 U.S. gallons / 2,271,247 litres per second flow over Horse shoe falls.
  • The first person to go over the Falls in a barrel and survive was a 63 year old female schoolteacher.
  • 30 Million Visitors come to Niagara falls each Year
  • 20% of the worlds freshwater lies in the Great Lakes and most flows over Niagara Falls.
  • In 2012 Nik Wallenda was the first person to cross the Niagara Falls by tightrope in 116 years. (He even had to present his passport at the border despite being on a tightrope!)

Best time to visit Niagara falls:

Peak flow at Niagara falls is in the daytime during peak tourist season (June, July, and August). If you want less tourists you can head an alternative time of year.

Do I need a Visas/passport to cross over to Horseshoe Falls (Canada)?

US Citizens:

U.S Citizens can travel visa free in Canada for up to 180 days. However, you must carry proof of identification & nationality at all times.

So keep your passport, passport car  or NEXUS card with you at all times.

Foreign Citizens:

For International visitors you will require a Visa or ESTA for the USA and an visa or ETA for Canada.

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Philadelphia

D. Finger Lakes

Take the short drive to the Finger Lakes Regions where I suggest you spend a few days.

Fun Fact: The name “Finger Lakes” comes from the finger shape of two lakes Seneca and Cayuga, which are some of the deepest in the US.

Finger Lakes New York

The area is also famed for its wine vineyards, with over 100 in the area! You will also find boat cruises, farmers markets and a variety of Museums.

If you need some driving inspiration head to Watkins Glen International racing circuit

E. Coopers town (Otsego County)

Cooperstown in Ostego County is a quaint village area which packs a big punch in New York state. Baseball fans will know the town as home of National Baseball Hall of Fame which celebrates the legendary players & managers from yesteryear.

Many choose to head down to Doubleday Field, to watch a ball game!  Head along the charming main street to find plenty of quaint shops & great restaurants.

If your into some culture why not check out the world renowned Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum.

Outdoor activities:

If you fancy heading outdoors then head to Glimmerglass State Parka 593 acre which offers year round activities including swimming and camping on the wood lined shores.

Hyde Hall:

Hyde Hall, is 50-room mansion which acts as a 19th century museum, of a bygone era when powerful english families had vast estates in their former colonies.

The house is considered one of the finest examples of neoclassic country mansions anywhere in the United States.

F. New York City

Welcome to the big apple, due to the size of New York you should really spend at least 3-5 days here to experience the city!

Things to do in New York City?

  • Walk over Brooklyn Bridge
  • Check out Times Square – Free Activity!
  • Visit Ground Zero – 911 Museum
  • Visit Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • View the city from atop the Empire State Building
  • Check out Central Park – Look for the area where John Lennon’s ashes were scattered.

new york road trip hammock girl Town&Tourist

Chinatown & Little Italy – Is it worth it?

Chinatown and Little Italy are worth a visit for entertainment value, but to to be honest you will get better food in Queens (Flushing area) or

Bronx (Arthur Avenue for Italian dishes!) – New Yorker Tip!

Sunnyside, Queens A great stop on the National Millennium route. Line 7.

Rooftop Cocktails at Pod 39 – Empire State Alternative!

Wrap up your day with some rooftop cocktails at Pod39, this terrace offers tasty tacos and breath taking views over New York city.

Address: 145 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016, United States

Should you book a tour in New York City?

This all depends upon personal preference but if you wish to experience all the major sites & attractions in one go its a great idea!

It can also work out cheaper with many tours including admission fees and local “New Yorker” knowledge.

For a list of my favorite tours in New York City, Follow the link HERE

Where to Stay?

For a great selection of our recommended Hotels & a comparison of the best prices in NYC, follow the link HERE

5 Essential Road Trip Tips:

(You HAVE to know before planning!)

5. Book Your Hotels in Advance!

To avoid having to drive around looking for hotels when your tired (My wife hates this!)

& to get the best prices, Check out our: How to find the Best Hotel Deals??

Marriot AC Honeymoon Hotel San Juan Puerto Rico

4. Get the Best deal on Car Rental

For some vital tips to know before renting a car & to get the best deals check out, Ultimate Car Rental Travel Hacks!

car rental travel hacks

3. Need an RV?

If you fancy an RV adventure, you have to check RV Share

It’s an RV share platform, like airbnb where you can rent someones RV at a fraction of cost compared to normal!

Bring your RV to Tiden Park.

2. Bring a Great Travel Camera!

Want to capture those vacation memories? For friends, Facebook or even Instagram!

A phone just doesn’t compare with a high quality travel camera, they are well worth the investment!

Check out our Recommended Travel Photography Gear

Make sure you are equip with some great Photography Gear!

1. Need Help Planning!?

Do you find planning a trip time consuming and stressful?

An organised tour or vacation could be a great option for you!

They organize Flights, Hotels, Car Rental, Activities and much more!

With expert local travel knowledge & bespoke vacation planning you can’t go wrong.

Check out our reviews here: Which are the Best travel Tours?

Orlando Tours

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
Find me on Twitter

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