The Best Road Trip from Richmond to Niagara Falls

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A trip from one of the nation’s oldest major cities to the geological wonder of Niagara Falls offers the opportunity to appreciate historic scenes and fabulous eats.
Breaking up the 500-mile trip into two days allows for stops at must-see locations—including Washington, DC; Gettysburg; Harrisburg; and Williamsport—before landing in Niagara Falls.
Whether you’re a history buff or a foodie, a nature lover or an urbanite, this road trip from Richmond, Virginia, to Niagara Falls, New York, will give you something to Instagram about.
To fully enjoy the journey, make sure you’ve got the car insurance protection you need with the assistance of Jerry, a licensed insurance broker app that can find you the best coverage for your money from the top 50 auto insurance providers in under a minute.
Not only that, Jerry helps you make the most of your road trip with their emergency roadside assistance program, so you can drive with the confidence that emergency assistance, rental vehicle help, and other services will be at your fingertips if you get a flat in Harrisburg.
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Key trip details

Richmond, VA to Niagara Falls, NY trip map.
Richmond, VA to Niagara Falls, NY
Distance: 726 miles
Driving time: 11 hours and 50 minutes
Suggested length of trip: 2 to 3 days

Itinerary

  • Richmond, VA
  • Washington DC
  • Gettysburg, PA
  • Harrisburg, PA
  • Williamsport, NY
  • Niagara Falls, NY

Richmond to DC

109 miles, 2 hours
Wave goodbye to Virginia’s capital and head out on your two-day journey to upstate New York. With only four hours in the car today, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy some of the country’s most historic cities.
Take I-95 N for DC.

Where to eat in Washington, DC

  • Busboys and Poets ($$): Take a quick drive to Busboys and Poets, where you can enjoy delicious burgers, salads, sandwiches, and pizza in a dynamic restaurant famous for its "urban living room" vibes.

What to do in Washington, DC

An aerial view of the DC National Mall in autumn.
The National Mall
  • Smithsonian National Zoo Park: Peruse the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park, a 163-acre zoo home to over 2,700 animals, that offers free admission. Be sure to stop by the Giant Panda exhibit, where you’ll see Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, and their new panda cub.
  • The National Mall: Explore the National Mall, where you can experience America’s rich history by foot or bus as you maneuver around the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol Building, the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial, and more.

Washington, DC to Gettysburg, PA

82 miles, 1 hour 52 minutes
After another hour and a half in the car, take a pit stop in Gettysburg, PA, to explore the site of what is often considered the most important battle in the American Civil War.
Follow I-270 N and US-15 N to get to Gettysburg.

What to eat in Gettysburg

  • Mr. G’s Ice Cream ($): Be sure to stop at Mrs. G’s Ice Cream for some delicious homemade ice cream. Located in the Historic Twin Sycamores House, Mrs. G’s Ice Cream boasts 16 flavors of ice cream and various sundaes, shakes, flurries, dairy-free slushies, and even "pup cups" for your canine friend!
  • O’Rorke’s ($$): In the mood for a steak dinner? How about a hefty sandwich, or just Irish fare more generally? Hit up this pub and restaurant for anything and everything.

What to do in Gettysburg

A civil-war era cannon at the Gettysburg National Military Park with a military statue behind it.
Gettysburg National Military Park
  • David Wills House: Visit Gettysburg’s many historic buildings, including the David Wills House, where Abraham Lincoln finalized his famous "Gettysburg Address."
  • Gettysburg National Military Park Museum: Familiarize yourself at the Battle of Gettysburg at Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center before exploring the battlefield grounds. Take a self-guided tour so you can see the battlefield on your own timeline before hopping back in the car for the last leg of today’s trip.

Where to stay in Gettysburg

  • Gettysburg Hotel: Staying in Gettysburg? Make a reservation at this refined hotel that features an exercise room and a bar and restaurant for easy eats. Cost per night: from $157
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Gettysburg to Harrisburg

40 miles, 51 minutes
In under an hour, you’ll arrive at your final destination for the first day of your trip. The capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg features numerous historic gems, luxurious river cruises, a famous farmer’s market, relaxing parks, and trendy breweries.
You’ll want to get onto US-15 N for Harrisburg.

What to eat in Harrisburg

  • Appalachian Brewing Company ($$): Both the foodie and the craft beer hobbyist will revel in the dining experience offered by Appalachian Brewing Company. Located in a previously abandoned 100-year-old building, this brewpub offers complimentary guided tours of the brewery and soda bottling facility. Expand your palate with a unique craft beer and ABC’s famous Boo Boo Burger, a BBQ pulled pork sandwich served with their signature coleslaw.

What to do in Harrisburg

A bridge extends over foggy water at Fort Hunter park.
Fort Hunter Park
  • National Civil War Museum: For the history buff who wants to build on what they’ve just experienced in Gettysburg, a visit to the National Civil War Museum will round out their education. As you wander around the museum, you’ll encounter over 20,000 Civil War artifacts, including memorabilia, letters, manuscripts, and more.
  • Fort Hunter Mansion and Park: Take advantage of Harrisburg’s river views by exploring the Fort Hunter Mansion and Park. Situated on the Susquehanna River, this historic house, originally built in 1787, boasts elaborate interiors and a majestic 40-acre waterfront park.

Where to stay in Harrisburg

  • Crowne Plaza Harrisburg-Hershey: With river views and proximity to downtown Harrisburg, this is a no-fuss place to stay the night before hitting the road again. Cost per night: from $129

Harrisburg to Williamsport

84 miles, 1 hour 38 minutes
The second day of this road trip is divided into two parts: first, you’ll venture from Harrisburg to Williamsport, a major cultural center in central Pennsylvania, before continuing to your final destination, Niagara Falls.
Follow US-11N and US-15N for this route to Williamsport.

Where to eat in Williamsport

  • Moon & Raven Public House ($$): Grab lunch at the Moon & Raven Public House. With an atmosphere reminiscent of Irish, English, and Scottish pubs, this restaurant serves food made with the finest ingredients, including those that are locally sourced and organic. Enjoy one of their famous burgers or a tasty tuna melt served on their signature pub pretzel.

What to do in Williamsport

An overlook over Williamsport at Susquehanna State Park in the fall.
Susquehanna State Park
  • World of Little League Museum: Baseball lovers should visit the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, which features interactive exhibits that tourists both young and old can enjoy—and in only 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Susquehanna State Park: Stretch your legs at Susquehanna State Park, a 20-acre waterfront park that is perfect for walking, paddle boating, fishing, and picnicking.

Williamsport to Niagara Falls

221 miles, 3 hours 28 minutes
The drive from Williamsport to Niagara Falls is the longest portion of your road trip. But with all the sightseeing, dining, and entertainment experiences available in this New York city, you’ll want to get there as soon as possible to have extra time to explore.
Hop back on to US-15 N to get to this destination.

Where to eat in Niagara Falls

  • Kelsey’s Restaurant ($$): If you find yourself at Clifton Hills, be sure to check out Kelsey’s Restaurant, a casual roadhouse famous for its massive patio dining space and distinctive Canadian menu. Consider ordering their fresh chicken fingers, which are hand-breaded in-house and served with Ontario-grown chip truck fries.

What to do in Niagara Falls

People in red ponchos lean over a boat at the Niagara Falls Mist Boat Tour.
Niagara Falls Mist Boat Tour
  • Clifton Hill: Numerous options for dining and recreation can be found at Clifton Hills. From roller coasters to whimsical rides, waterparks to ziplines, adventure golf to go-karts, arcade games to bowling, there is no end to the fun awaiting you in this entertainment wonderland.
  • Maid of the Mist Boat Tours: No trip to Niagara Falls is complete without visiting the waterfalls. Whether you experience the geological phenomenon by one of the legendary Maid of the Mist boat tours, through the caves, by helicopter, or from one of the many observation towers, you’ll have your breath taken away by the sights and sounds of these massive waterfalls situated on the US–Canada border.

Where to stay in Niagara Falls

  • The Oakes Hotel: The best way to stay in Niagara falls is in a hotel with a view. This is an affordable place to do so! Cost per night: from $69

Why you need roadside assistance

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  • Up to $100 for fighting tickets
  • Up to $1,000 for car theft reward
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