When you hear the town name Grand Rapids, your mind may instantly go to Grand Rapids, Michigan, but there is a Grand Rapids, Ohio, located about 40 miles southwest of Toledo. It makes a great place to start an RV trip to visit the Finger Lakes region of New York. This region west of Syracuse and near Ithaca is known for its 11 finger-shaped lakes and excellent wine. You can also find terrific things to do near the lakes, like visiting the Corning Museum of Glass. The scenery all along this route is stunning as you drive around Lake Erie before heading east along Interstate 86 on the final leg of this road trip from Grand Rapids to the Finger Lakes.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Start your trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Brecksville, Ohio, by taking a scenic train ride leaving from the Rockside Depot in Bedford, Ohio, or the station in Akron. This ride allows you to see beautiful areas of the park that most visitors never see. Then, drive to the park where you will want to hike some of the 125 miles of available trails. One hike you will want to consider taking is the Brandywine Falls Trail, which is 1.5 miles long. The Cuyahoga River and numerous ponds are great places to fish for catfish and bowfish by using chicken livers. Fly-fishing enthusiasts can often catch carp in this location. This park can also be a fantastic place for a kayaking or canoeing adventure along the Cuyahoga River Water Trail.
Watkins Glen State Park
Watkins Glen State Park, near the New York city of the same name, is on the south end of Seneca Lake. There are 19 waterfalls in this park, so spend some time hiking to see them. A great option is the Watkins Glen Gorge Trail, which runs through a narrow gorge. This scenic trail crosses bridges, caves, and up and down about 800 stairs. It also allows you to walk under a waterfall. About 4.5 miles of the Finger Lakes Trail run through this park.
Robert H. Treman State Park
Robert H. Treman State Park near Ithaca, New York, is another terrific place to go hiking. There are 12 waterfalls in this park, but if you only have time to see one, follow the trail to see the Lucifer Falls. The shortest trail to Lucifer Falls is the Upper Gorge Trail, and you will enjoy seeing the Enfield Glen area of this park. After your hike, cool off in the refreshing water at the natural swimming hole. An accessible fishing pier is available. There are numerous picnic sites, with many offering stunning views of the Enfield River.
Buttermilk Falls State Park
Explore along the frothy Buttermilk Creek by stopping at Buttermilk Falls State Park near Ithaca. There are over five miles of trails, and most of them connect. Especially in the spring and summer when the wildflowers are in bloom, the trail through the Larch Meadows is an excellent place to go hiking. Another great option is to hike the Rim Trail, which starts by following the Maintenance Access Road. Then, it crosses two switchbacks before leveling out and offering stunning views of the entire area. After a hike, the natural pool at the base of Buttermilk Falls is a refreshing place to go swimming.
Taughannock Falls State Park
The hiking trails at Taughannock Falls State Park near Trumansburg, New York, are incredibly stunning in the fall when the leaves are changing color as they beautifully outline the waterfall. The Gorge Trail offers spectacular views from above and below the waterfall. This park is home to Cayuga Lake, which is the longest of central New York's glacial Finger Lakes. Anglers love to come to this location throughout the year. Spring fishing for Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout, and northern pike is usually outstanding. As the temperatures climb, head toward deeper areas of this lake to catch lake trout. In the fall, Atlantic salmon fishing is often excellent. There is a swimming beach. This lake is a terrific place to go on a paddling adventure, and you can rent boats nearby. Your children will love playing on the playground.
Seneca Lake State Park
Especially if you have young children along, stop at Seneca Lake State Park near Geneva, New York. They are sure to love the Sprayground, where over 100 water jets spray water periodically out of the ground. A playground is near the Sprayground, so it is easy for families to move back and forth. This state park also offers a swimming beach, and there are two marinas.
The Erie Zoo is in Glenwood Park in Erie, Pennsylvania. Hear the big cats roar and see the lemurs swing between trees. There are lots of other amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles to see. Another reason that you will want to include this stop on your road trip itinerary from Grand Rapids to the Finger Lakes is to ice skate at their ice house.
St. Peter Cathedral
While traveling through Erie, Pennsylvania, stop and tour St. Peter Cathedral. This church was constructed in the French Victorian style called Second Empire in 1893 using red sandstone from Medina, New York, and white sandstone from Amherst, Ohio, and Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Pay attention to the French organ, and listen to its different timbres if someone is playing it.
Erie Maritime Museum
Visit the Erie Maritime Museum in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania, to see the replica U.S. Brig, which is built to resemble the primary ship used during the Battle of Lake Erie. Many of the indoor exhibits are designed to teach you more about this battle that occurred in 1813. The museum also displays the General Electric steam-powered electricity generating station. It is one of the few remaining ones like it in the nation, so you do not want to miss this stop on your Grand Rapids to Finger Lakes road trip.
Watkins Glen International
Check the schedule during your Grand Rapids to Finger Lakes RV road trip to see what is happening at Watkins Glen International in Dix, New York. NASCAR operates a racetrack here, and concerts frequently occur at this venue. You can often arrange to drive a race car on this track.
Cornell Botanic Gardens
Located adjacent to Cornell University’s campus in Ithaca, New York, the Cornell Botanic Gardens is definitely worth a visit. The staff also operates approximately 40 smaller gardens around the community. This 150-acre facility is noted for its herb garden. About 33% of New York’s native plants can be seen here.
Start your road trip from Grand Rapids to the Finger Lakes with an easy day by staying at a Toledo, Ohio, campground. Toledo East/Stony Ridge KOA Journey is an outstanding option if you want a quiet wooded area, or think about Harbortown RV Resort with its family entertainment options like go-carts, a batting cage, miniature golf, and an outdoor pool. Toledo RV dump stations are available at Wilderness Campground, Harbortown RV Resort, and Sterling State Park.
Cleveland, Ohio, offers so many things to do that you will want to stay in a Cleveland campground so that you can explore this city. Roundup Lake Campground is an excellent option because you can fish and paddle on the lake. Another great choice is Woodside Lake Park, where the game players in your family are sure to love the arcade. Cleveland RV dump stations are available at Middle Ridge Service Plaza, Great Lakes Service Plaza, and Access Outdoor Storage.
There are also fantastic campgrounds in Erie. Sara’s Campground offers beachside and bayside camping. You will also want to consider Lampe Campground, where you can camp beachside and use the boat ramp to launch your vessel. Erie RV dump stations are available at both these campgrounds, as well as the TA and Boyer RV Center.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Grand Rapids to the Finger Lakes, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Grand Rapids or the Finger Lakes.