The quickest road trip from Washington, DC to Buffalo runs through three states as well as the District of Columbia. The journey takes you from the tidal area of the Potomac River north along the Appalachian Mountains to the eastern tip of Lake Erie. Along the way, travelers will see a vast city that was built on the grounds of a mosquito-infested swamp, the initial barrier that blocked colonist expansion westward into the interior of the continent, and a vibrant place with a humble past that emerged as one of the most critical locations in the early development of America. RV travelers who take this journey can see some of the country's most scenic areas while taking the time to visit national and state parks created to preserve the land as settlers found it.
Shenandoah National Park
Before taking off north on your road trip from Washington, DC to Buffalo, take a detour about 70 miles west to see the fantastic Shenandoah National Park. The park is one of the most visited in the United States due to its proximity to densely populated areas. That proximity, however, does not limit the activities found in the park. Hiking trails take you along rivers, across ridgelines, over creeks, and to impressive waterfalls. The fishing is phenomenal, and it is a fantastic place for children to see various forms of wildlife in their natural habitat.
New River Gorge National Park
About 50 miles into your Washington, DC to Buffalo RV road trip, you will reach Frederick, MD. The town is a critical juncture in your journey as it allows you to go in different directions to see various sites. At Frederick, take a detour to the southwest to see the New River Gorge National Park. Carved by one of the oldest rivers in the western hemisphere, the New River Gorge is an example of the power of water to define a landscape. Here, you will find one of the deepest and most impressive canyons in the country amongst the undulating hills of the Appalachians.
Cuyahoga National Park
About 240 miles into your road trip from Washington, DC to Buffalo, you suddenly find yourself near Pittsburgh, PA. You should add a detour here to your itinerary to visit the Cuyahoga National Park. Taking this detour to the northwest only adds 133 miles to your journey, and it provides access to over 125 miles of hiking trails that skirt along 100 waterfalls. This area is wondrous to see and definitely merits your attention.
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park
Continue your detour out of Pittsburgh toward the west to find the Indiana Sand Dunes National Park, one of the more recent additions to the nation’s family of national parks. The dunes are a phenomenon sustained by the southern currents in Lake Michigan. As the currents wear away rock and sand from the lake floor, the sediment arrives at the southern tip of the lake to be deposited ashore at this park. The park offers sandy beaches, grass-covered dunes, and water inlets from which waterfowl, crustaceans, and other water creatures benefit. The fishing is excellent, and hiking/biking trails run throughout the park.
Gambrill State Park
After students study the Civil War, they must get out to the grounds and witness the terrain for themselves. The most fitting way to do this is to stop for a few days at Gambrill State Park outside of Frederick, MD. Today, the trip from Washington takes about an hour; in those turbulent times, it took an army considerably longer. When you stay at Gambrill State Park, you are a short distance from the Gettysburg and Antietam battlefields. A physical visit to these sites puts into perspective the dangerous situation the Union found itself in when these battles took place.
Black Moshannon State Park
When you reach Pittsburgh, it might be time to rest and recuperate for a bit. Take a small detour to Black Moshannon State Park to experience nature’s restoring elements. The site is remote, relatively unvisited, and full of surprises as you find a 250-acre lake surrounded by hardwood forests on impressive ridges. Take the time to fish in the lake or the many streams in the area. Get ready for a detour westward to see two national parks that you cannot leave off your road trip itinerary from Washington, DC to Buffalo.
Evangola State Park
Evangola State Park sits 25 miles southwest of Buffalo along the shore of Lake Erie. The park offers considerable room for RV camping, an arching natural sandy beach, and hiking/biking trails geared for all ages. Most visitors are locals looking to fish, swim, or sunbathe along the edge of the lake. Evangola is the perfect park for you to finish your Washington, DC to Buffalo road trip. Its location is near enough to the bustling town center of Buffalo to allow you access to all its impressive amenities yet distant enough to isolate you from the industrial din that inevitably emanates from such active urban areas.
Ford’s Theater still exists in Washington, DC. The famous theater that saw the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln remains a historic site. Live performances are still played out on the stage, and tours that focus on a terrible night in 1865 that saw an end to a life dedicated to preserving democracy are available throughout the day.
Antietam National Battlefield
Only 22 miles west of Frederick lies the Antietam National Battlefield. The battle is considered the bloodiest ever fought on United States soil. Students of the conflict between the states visit here to understand the terrain on which the battle was fought and how it influenced the loss of so many brave soldiers. A visit here is not just for information; it pays homage to those who sacrificed so that democracy could continue to flourish.
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Finish your Washington, DC to Buffalo road trip by connecting the two at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Historic Site in Buffalo. The site is dedicated to Roosevelt’s memory with interactive displays that include timelines of his entire life. Daily guided tours take you back to when the United States led the world toward peace and the notion of the importance of every human, animal, and plant to the planet's wellbeing.
Frederick is the first crossroads you reach on your road trip from Washington, DC to Buffalo. Staying a day or two here puts you within reach of some of the best food you will find on this journey. Gift shops and interesting sites are frequent throughout the area. It is a good idea to use one of the multiple dump stations offered inside the city. Several RV campgrounds are located within easy reach of the town.
When you take a detour from your Washington, DC to Buffalo road trip itinerary to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park, you will travel through Columbus. Take advantage of your time here to test the fantastic array of restaurants, thrill rides, museums, and shops in the city. There is an abundance of dump stations in Columbus where you can clean your tanks and several campgrounds from which you can choose your perfect stayover location.
Pittsburgh is the final crossroads you encounter on this Washington, DC to Buffalo road trip. Here, you can detour westward to visit two fabulous national parks and then return to continue your journey north. The city is a convenient place to recuperate as the restaurants and shops are superb, and there are several important sites to visit. Make sure to use one of the city’s dump stations before you leave the area. If you wish, stay at one of the fantastic campgrounds available within a short distance of the city.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Washington, DC to Buffalo, 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 Washington, DC or Buffalo.