Road Trip

5 min read

New York to Cleveland: Finger Lakes Road Trip Itinerary

Explore the scenic route from New York to Cleveland, covering Finger Lakes, Niagara Falls & more. Perfect for travelers seeking natural wonders & cultural gems.

Tobi Miles
July 1, 2022
New York to Cleveland: Finger Lakes Road Trip Itinerary

New York City is one of the greatest & most iconic cities in the world, filled with skyscrapers such Empire State Building, one world trade center and the Rockefeller centre!

In addition, to it being a melting pot for culture, from Chinatown to Little Italy. As the hub of the east coast its the ideal launching pad for some epic road trips!

Whereas Cleveland is an understated city know for its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Metro Parks nature reserve & Emerald Necklace.

On a Road Trip Between New York and Cleveland, you will encounter some of the most stunning natural wonders New York State has to offer!

From the picturesque finger lakes region to the epic Niagara Falls! Which is over over 15,000 years old & attracts 30 million visitors each year!

Alternative road trip routes including stopping off at the great city of Philadelphia for a Philly cheese steak! Before driving through Lancaster, home to the mysterious Amish County!

So start your engines, pack your travel essentials and get ready for a life changing road trip!

How long is the drive from New York to Cleveland?

Driving direct to Cleveland from New York will take you approximately 8-9 hours and you will cover 463 miles. However, the best part about any road trip is the great places you can stop en route!!

Which is the best Driving Route between New York & Cleveland?

There are a few alternative routes which i briefly mentioned in the introduction. Here is the list:

Route 1 - Scenic Road Trip Via Finger Lakes/Niagara Falls!

  • This Road Trip is longer but so much more scenic!

Route 2 - Via Philadelphia & Amish County

  • This road trip Route is shorter and passes through Philadelphia and more quaint towns!

Alternative routes:

Tip: You can download a FREE walking tour map for Cumberland, HERE

Insider Tip:

We drove the road trip on a loop! We took Route 1 via Finger Lakes & Niagara falls on the way there and took Route 2 via Amish County on the return leg!

(I've added all the best places to stop and route on this helpful interactive map below, to help you plan!)

Interactive Road Trip map (New York to Cleveland)

Dive into our Interactive Map below!

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 below:


Road Trip Itinerary (New York to Cleveland)

Route 1 - Scenic Road Trip Via Finger Lakes/Niagara Falls:

  1. New York City
  2. Cooperstown
  3. Ostego County, NY
  4. Finger Lakes
  5. Niagara Falls
  6. Cleveland, OH

Route 2 - Via Philadelphia & Amish County

  1. New York City
  2. Edison, NJ
  3. Philadelphia, PA
  4. Longwood Gardens
  5. Harrisburg
  6. Lancaster - Amish County
  7. Hershey, PA- Home to the famous Chocolate Factory!
  8. Delgrossos Amusement Park - Great for Families
  9. Clearfield, NY
  10. Cleveland, OH

Road Trip Highlights:

Harrisburg, PA

Harrisburg is located in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. Be sure to check out the historic Indian Echo Taverns, a labyrinth of caves which were a base for the Susquehannock Indians

Visit Hersheys Chocolate world!

Take the short drive to Hershey which has many attractions centralised around the famous Chocolate factory!

From the Hershey Museum which is dedicated to Milton S. Hershey and the Hershey Chocolate Story. To amusement rides and even a gift shop at Chocolate World.

Insider Tip:

Check out Hershey's Museum of Bus Transportation, which offers 12 buses on display that were made between 1912 and 1975.

Where to stay?

Near Harrisburg,  Homewood Suites Harrisburg East is not a bad option. It offers two televisions, a kitchenette,  swimming pool, whirlpool tub & fitness room.

Insider Tip:

In you plan on visiting Hershey Park, you can stay overnight at the Hershey Lodge , Hotel Hershey

These both offer a shuttle service and discount tickets to the amusement park.

In addition, chocolate extras such as costumed Hershey characters which visit you at your breakfast table!

The lodge is more family-aimed, while Hershey Hotel is more luxurious and offers an on-site spa.

The Sheraton Hershey Hotel is the perfect place for couples!

Clearfield, PA

Clearfield is the halfway point between New York City and Cleveland. From charming architecture to unique attractions there is alot to see in central Pennsylvania.

Be sure to check  out Grice Clearfield Community Museum which showcases over 60 classic cars whereas the Susquehanna River Arts Center exhibits a range of local & professional artwork.

For some adventure, drive a few miles south of I-80 to Black Moshannon State Park, a 3,481 acre park great for boating, fishing and biking in summer, or snowmobiling, skating and cross-country skiing in the winter.

Hungry? , Thirsty?

After the sightseeing head to the iconic Dutch Pantry which is a great family restaurant.

Address: 14680 Clearfield Shawville Hwy, Clearfield, PA 16830, United States

Phone: +1 814-765-2137

You should also check out Dennys Beer Barrel Pub, and try the infamous HOLY GRAIL, a  9 lb. dish consisting of 6 lbs. of hamburger, 3 lbs. of sides!

Where to Stay in Clearfield?

We discovered three hotels which are great to stay and all include pools, fitness centers and free in room Wi-Fi.

  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel
  • Hampton Inn Clearfield
  • Comfort Inn Clearfield.

Insider Tip:

All of these hotels include Breakfast at the room rate. The Hampton & Comfort inns offer 24-hour beverage centers.

B & B?

For more charm check out the Victorian Loft Bed & Breakfast.

This offers a Library & Wi-Fi in your room and you can also use the Grand Piano in the music room (If you can play!) or just relax in the Victorian Parlor by the fireplace!

Insider Tip:

A great place to grab an Instagram snap!

Lancaster, Amish County

The second largest & oldest Amish Community in the U.S. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is the most well known and popular Amish settlement to visit. Lancaster County is a lot more diverse than Holmes County, Ohio.

Amish Buggy Ride at Lancaster County. Photo by: Raindear60/ WIKI

For more on Amish counties in America, check out: Top 13 Amish Communities in America : Culture Guide

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia is Pennsylvania’s largest city, famous for it’s rich history, tasty foods and vibrant culture! Historically, Philadelphia was the inception point for the United States of America.

Check out them Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is famous for the iconic scene, where Rocky ran up the steps, "Yo Adrian, we did it”.

Be sure you have some good Travel Photography gear!

Liberty Bell Center

This is a MUST SEE attraction for all Americans! Just opposite Independence Hall, you will discover the Liberty Bell Center located in Independence National Historical Park.

Liberty Bell, Philadelphia Road trip. Source: getty Images

Where to eat??

Philadelphia is a melting pot for some epic foods such as the mouth watering Philly cheese steak!

Reading Terminal Food Market, Philadelphia

One of best places to sample the best of Philly is at Reading Terminal Market  a Food Market which contains over 80 different food vendors!

It’s the perfect place to try some local Philly foods and baked goods. In addition, to a variety of international foods such as Greek, Mexican, Indian and even Thai!

Address: 51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States (beneath the 1891 train station (a National Historic Landmark!)

Cooperstown, NY

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.

For more info on Cooperstown & Ostego county check out: Chicago to Cooperstown Road Trip Itinerary via Niagara Falls!

Finger Lakes, NY

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

Finger Lakes New York

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

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.

Niagara Falls, NY

Niagara Falls is the raging wonder of the USA!

Fun facts about Niagara Falls:

  • 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.
  • 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!)

Insider Tip:

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.

For more on Niagara Falls, Check out: New York City to Niagara falls Road trip!

Essential Road Trip Tips:

1. 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??


2. 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!

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.

4. 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![/caption]

5. Make sure you have all your Essential Travel Accessories

Phone died?? You should have brought a Chargeable power bank now your stuck in the mountains (Happened to me in the Rockies!!).

Other essential Travel Accessories, I don't leave home without include;

  • Space Saving Water Bottles (These are great for a day out with the family or hiking!)
  • Comfy Neck Pillows (A must have for long road trips)
  • Hidden Money Belt (These are vital when travelling in busy tourist areas where pickpockets are common)

Have you packed all your Travel essentials!??

6. Get yourself a high quality backpack,

Pots of Jam smashed!??? After leaving Pikes Place Farmers Market my old backpack ripped and pots of Jam smashed everywhere!

I was so embarrassed, don't let this happen to you! A high quality backpack is even more essential if out travelling with the family or hiking.

See our Robust Backpack reviews.


7. Invest in a High quality tent

If you plan on camping out under the stars and saving some money on hotels!

Check out our recommended, Camping Gear

8. Pack your Sturdy Hiking boots:

"These Boots are made for walking!" - Sturdy hiking boots are essential when visiting the great US National Parks or even a long days hiking!

See our Hiking Gear reviews

hiking boots usa

I'm so glad I got some new ones before I trekked the National Millennium Trails

9. Get Travel Insurance!

If travelling Internationally Travel Insurance is ESSENTIAL!

Avoid gigantic $15,000 Medical Bills! see: Why you NEED Travel Insurance in 2020?

I used to think travel insurance was expensive, but after doing some research I found it to be really cheap!

Definitely worth it for the peace of mind! I'm not losing my house over a vacation!

Getting hit with a large hospital bill after getting sick or injured, could really add to your worries! Get some Travel Insurance

10. Too Much Planning!?

Is planning your own trip is getting time consuming and stressful? An organised tour could be a great option for you!

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

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

Town & Tourist 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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