View of the touristic area of Old Port with the famous Ferris wheel in the middle, image framed by trees
Firefighter Montreal/Shutterstock.com

Road trip from Philadelphia to Montreal

Published by Dianne Titos on January 9 2024

There is so much to explore in the beautiful Northeast, and if you're craving a grand adventure, consider crossing the border into Canada on a road trip from Philadelphia to Montreal. This journey weaves through picturesque towns, romantic vineyards and lush countryside before taking you to Montreal.

The 480-mile road trip from Philadelphia to Montreal will take 8 hours and 30 minutes to drive. Along the way, you can visit Woodstock, Saugerties, the Catskills, Albany, Saratoga Springs, Ithaca, Seneca Falls, Syracuse and Bear Mountain State Park.

You'll drive through some of the oldest cities and towns in America on this amazing drive from Philadelphia to Montreal. Read on below to learn more about our recommended routes, top highlights, places to stay, and the best seasons to travel.

How far is Montreal from Philadelphia, and how long will the road trip take?

Comparison of road trip routes between Philadelphia and Montreal
RouteDistanceDriving Time
Hudson River Route480 miles8 hours 29 minutes
Finger Lakes Route590 miles10 hours 25 minutes

The Hudson River Route takes approximately 8 hours and 29 minutes to complete, covering a distance of 480 miles on a road trip from Philadelphia to Montreal.

The Finger Lakes Route is a slightly longer adventure, spanning 590 miles, with a driving time of about 10 hours and 25 minutes without accounting for any stops.

While you can drive both routes in a day, the amount of attractions, scenic views, and destinations along the way will make you want to take your time. We suggest a more leisurely pace of 2-3 days.

Montreal, Canada in fall taken at sunset with golden trees in the foreground and the city skyline in the background.
Montreal is a fantastic destination on a drive from Philadephia, and the city is famous for its historic streets, beautiful architecture and world-class museums.
Firefighter Montreal/Shutterstock.com

Best road trip route from Philadelphia to Montreal

While both the Hudson River Route and the Finger Lakes Route will please any seasoned traveler, their highlights are quite different. Which one you choose will depend on what you want to see and do the most.

The Hudson River Route, while more direct, is a journey through beautiful landscapes. Starting along the Delaware River, it takes you through Philadelphia's suburban areas into New Jersey, where small towns and rural communities await.

Skirting around Newark's bustling metropolis, the route then leads north through the charming village of Chestnut Ridge, entering New York State and the stunning Bear Mountain State Park, known for its clear lakes and outdoor activities.

You'll enjoy beautiful views of the Catskill Mountains and visit the famous Woodstock. The route, following the Hudson River, takes you through lush forests and mountainous terrain.

The Finger Lakes Route, though longer, is a scenic adventure into the heart of western and Upstate New York's natural beauty. Departing from Philadelphia, it winds through small towns set against a backdrop of State Game lands and parks.

This route is a treat for those who love forests and lakes, offering stunning scenery at the Finger Lakes with opportunities to explore Seneca and Cayuga Lakes, and the renowned Seneca Lake Wine Trail.

As you near Canada, the route presents a breathtaking view, with Lake Ontario on one side and expansive wilderness on the other.

How to drive from Philadelphia to Montreal

The map above shows our suggestions for the best road trip routes between Philadelphia and Montreal. Keep reading for detailed descriptions of both routes, where to stay on either, and the best things to do on the way.

Hudson River Route

Begin your journey on the Hudson River Route by heading northeast out of Philadelphia, passing Sesame Place, a family favorite, before crossing into New Jersey.

Continuing northeast, you can stop in Rutgers Gardens for a peaceful nature stroll. As you approach New York, take a slight detour to Palisades Park for stunning views of the Hudson River.

Don't forget to make a stop at the Bear Mountain State Park as you keep heading north following the Hudson River. Driving through Catskill Park near Kingston, you can embrace the natural beauty of the region.

Soon, you'll take a slight turn west to Woodstock, known for its legendary festival (even though the festival itself did not take place here!). Here, you can visit the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum before continuing on to Saugerties and Catskill.

As you continue north, you'll reach Albany, New York's capital. Here, the Corning Tower Observation Deck offers panoramic city views.

Finally, head north on Interstate 87 (I-87) and make a stop at Saratoga Lake and explore the historic Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs.

Next, continue north along the shores of Lake Champlain and cross into Canada. From here, it's a short drive north to your destination of Montreal.

Sunbeams escape the clouds at sunset across a valley covered in fall colored foliage, overlooking a Lake
You will get the opportunity to admire the stunning views of the Catskill Mountains on the Hudson River Route.
Colin D. Young/Shutterstock.com

Finger Lakes Route

Set off on the Finger Lakes Route by starting in Philadelphia and heading towards Allentown, Pennsylvania. Here, you can enjoy the serene Allentown Rose Gardens.

Continuing north, you'll soon reach Scranton. From here, head north on I-81. Further along the route, in Binghamton, New York, the Robertson Museum and Science Center offers an engaging experience.

As you drive deeper into New York State, the city of Ithaca awaits, with its breathtaking Ithaca Falls. From Ithaca, head to the heart of the Finger Lakes region, where you can explore the scenic Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail.

The route then takes you east along I-90 to Syracuse, home to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, a perfect stop for families.

Crossing the border into Canada, the journey includes a stop at the Brockville Railway Tunnel for a unique historical experience.

For dinosaur enthusiasts, the Prehistoric World near Morrisburg is an exciting detour. As you approach Montreal on ON-401, consider a visit to Lamoureux Park in Cornwall and Ile-Perrot for picturesque lakeside views.

Seneca Lakes beautiful lakeshore scenery, with a blue sky, and picturesque view from the iconic Pier House, New York
Finger Lakes region is home to so many beautiful lakes that make it famous, and Seneca Lake is one of our favorites with its stunning views, amazing hiking opportunities and charming towns.
PQK/Shutterstock.com

Best places to stop between Philadelphia and Montreal

With so much to see and do along both routes on a drive from Philadelphia to Montreal, you'll want to stay and rest in one of the exciting destinations below. That way, you'll have plenty of time and energy to explore all the amazing highlights along the way.

Nestled right in the heart of nature in Saugerties

Saugerties, nestled between the breathtaking Catskills Mountains and the serene Hudson River, is an ideal stopover on the Hudson River Route, approximately 4 hours into your journey from Philadelphia.

Did you know that Saugerties hosted the Woodstock '94 rock concert at the expansive 800-acre Winston Farm, marking its place in contemporary music history?

Beautiful waterfall, cascading through boulders on a rock wall on its way to the Hudson River
Saugerties is located at the doorstep of the beautiful Catskills, with so many peaceful areas to explore such as the Falling Waters Preserve to recharge and unwind.
Andrew Tuttle/Shutterstock.com

Renowned for its quaint village center, Saugerties offers a delightful array of antique stores, vintage shops, and restaurants.

A must-visit in Saugerties is the Saugerties Lighthouse, an iconic beacon on the Hudson River offering picturesque views and a glimpse into the region's maritime history. If you love nature, the Falling Waters Preserve is perfect for hiking and enjoying the tranquil river scenes.

To get the most out of this incredible region, we recommend staying at the relaxing AutoCamp Catskills for a unique lodging experience. Just a short drive from the town, AutoCamp offers a variety of accommodation options, including stylish Airstreams, luxury tents, and cozy cabins in the woods.

This retreat is ideal if you're seeking a mix of adventure and comfort, with onsite restaurants and a café adding to the convenience.

Nearby, you can explore the Woodstock Museum, about 4 miles from AutoCamp, offering insights into the legendary music festival and its cultural impact. The Saugerties Lighthouse is also a short 5-mile drive away.

Stunning lake views and majestic waterfalls in Trumansburg

Trumansburg, a gem in the heart of New York State's Finger Lakes Region, is an idyllic stopover on the Finger Lakes Route, approximately 4 hours and 40 minutes into your journey.

Trumansburg is known for its natural beauty and proximity to incredible gorges, its bustling main street, and renowned wineries along Seneca and Cayuga Lake trails. It also has a refreshing blend of nature and small-town charm.

Beautiful creek surrounded by autumnal trees during a misty sunset
Taughannock Falls Gorge is beautiful no matter the season but is especially stunning in the fall, making Trumansburg a must-visit destination.
Paul Massie Photography/Shutterstock.com

The town is close to Taughannock Falls, one of the most stunning waterfalls in the Finger Lakes Region. Here, you can also explore the Ulysses Historical Society to delve into the area's rich history or enjoy the natural beauty of the Finger Lakes National Forest.

For a luxurious stay, we recommend the Gothic Eves Inn and Spa in Trumansburg, situated just 13 km from the Museum of the Earth. The inn boasts eight spacious guest rooms with cathedral ceilings, high thread count linens, and comfortable beds.

You'll be treated to delicious home-prepared meals featuring local ingredients and freshly baked goodies each evening. The inn also offers a fabulous spa and a hot tub and fire pit area for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Nearby, Taughannock Falls is a mere 3.3 miles away, offering a spectacular natural sight. The Museum of the Earth is only 8.1 miles from the inn, which is a fascinating place to explore.

Where to stay when you reach Montreal

Montreal, a city renowned for its vibrant culture and history, is the birthplace of the famous Cirque du Soleil and was the proud host of the Summer Olympics in 1976. It also gained acclaim for hosting Expo 67, widely considered as the most successful world's fair of the 20th century.

If you love nature, the Montreal Botanical Garden is a must-visit, offering an exquisite array of flora and thematic gardens. History enthusiasts will find Maison Saint-Gabriel, a museum dedicated to preserving and interpreting Montreal's rich heritage, well worth a visit.

Quartier des Spectacles with a crowd walking through the street, the sign on a building reading
During your stay in Montreal, you will be located at the heart of the action at the lively Quartier des Spectacles.
Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock.com

Nestled in the city's cultural district, Quartier des Spectacles, the highly rated HONEYROSE Hotel, Montreal, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, offers an experience of laid-back luxury with the classic spirit of Montreal's art de vivre.

The hotel's amenities include a fabulous indoor pool, dry sauna, spa, and a fully equipped gym and movement studio.

Dining options at the hotel are equally enticing, with the French bistro-style COMMODORE restaurant and café, and the Californian-inspired Muze Lounge & Terrasse featuring an impressive rooftop terrace.

Nearby, you're only a few blocks from Montreal's top sights, including the Museum of Contemporary Art and the lively Underground City.

Things to see on a road trip from Philadelphia to Montreal

There's plenty to see and do on your way from Philadelphia to Montreal. To help make planning easier, we've included our top highlights below.

Hudson River Route

  1. Sesame Place - A family-friendly theme park in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, Sesame Place is themed around the beloved children's show Sesame Street, offering a variety of rides, water attractions, and shows.
  2. Six Flags Great Adventure - Located in Jackson, New Jersey, this thrilling amusement park boasts a wide array of roller coasters and rides, including the famous Kingda Ka, the tallest roller coaster in the world.
  3. Princeton University - An Ivy League institution in Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University is renowned for its picturesque campus, historic buildings, and prestigious academic programs.
  4. Rutgers Gardens - Part of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rutgers Gardens is a botanical garden offering a variety of plant collections, themed gardens, and serene natural landscapes.
  5. Palisades Park - Overlooking the Hudson River in New Jersey, Palisades Park offers stunning views, hiking trails, and picnic areas, making it a great spot for nature lovers.
  6. West Point Museum - Located at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, this museum showcases military history through extensive collections of artifacts and exhibits.
  7. Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site - This historic site, a short detour from the route in Hyde Park, New York, features the luxurious Vanderbilt Mansion, set in beautifully landscaped grounds, representing America's Gilded Age.
  8. Catskill Park - Catskill Park near Kingston, New York, is a vast natural area offering outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, fishing, and breathtaking mountain views.
  9. Woodstock Artists Association and Museum - In the iconic town of Woodstock, New York, this museum celebrates local artists with exhibitions, performances, and educational programs.
  10. Clermont State Historic Site - This historic estate in Germantown, New York, showcases the history and architecture of the Livingston family, set against the backdrop of the Hudson River.
  11. Warren Street Antique Shops - Located in Hudson, New York, Warren Street is known for its eclectic array of antique shops and boutiques, perfect for treasure hunters and collectors.
  12. Corning Tower Observation Deck - Situated in Albany, New York, the Corning Tower offers an observation deck with panoramic views of the city and surrounding areas.
  13. Saratoga Lake - Saratoga Lake near Saratoga Springs offers recreational activities like boating and fishing, with beautiful views and tranquil surroundings.
  14. Saratoga Spa State Park - Known for its natural mineral springs, this state park in Saratoga Springs, New York, also features historic spas, golf courses, and cultural venues.
Saratoga Springs, NY, USA with a view of a picnic area by a brook at the Saratoga Spa State Park.
Make sure to pack a picnic and enjoy a day out at the beautiful Saratoga Spa State Park.
Carolyne Parent/Shutterstock.com

Finger Lakes Route

  1. Thrillz High Flying Adventure Park - An indoor adventure park in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Thrillz offers exciting activities like zip-lining, rope courses, and trampoline areas for all ages.
  2. Allentown Rose Gardens - Located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, these beautifully manicured gardens showcase a stunning variety of roses, making it a perfect spot for leisurely strolls and photography.
  3. Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour - This tour in Scranton, Pennsylvania, offers a unique underground experience, exploring the rich history of coal mining in the region.
  4. Robertson Museum and Science Center - In Binghamton, New York, this museum and science center provides interactive exhibits and educational programs, focusing on natural history and science.
  5. Ithaca Falls - One of the most famous waterfalls in the Finger Lakes region, Ithaca Falls in Ithaca, New York, offers stunning views and a picturesque setting.
  6. Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail - This scenic trail in Seneca Falls, New York, follows the historic Cayuga-Seneca Canal, offering opportunities for walking, cycling, and observing local wildlife.
  7. Women's Rights National Historical Park - This park in Seneca Falls, New York, commemorates the first Woman's Rights Convention, highlighting the history of the women's suffrage movement.
  8. National Rod and Custom Car Hall of Fame - Celebrating the art of custom cars, this museum showcases unique and historic vehicles, located along the Finger Lakes route.
  9. Rosamond Gifford Zoo - A popular family destination in Syracuse, New York, this zoo is home to a wide range of animals and offers educational programs and events.
  10. Brockville Railway Tunnel - Canada's first railway tunnel, located in Brockville, Ontario, offers a historic and educational walk through with unique lighting and sound effects.
  11. Prehistoric World - Near Morrisburg, Ontario, this outdoor park features life-size dinosaur replicas, making it an exciting destination for families and dinosaur enthusiasts.
  12. Lamoureux Park - A waterfront park in Cornwall, Ontario, Lamoureux Park offers walking paths, scenic views, and various recreational activities.
  13. Ile-Perrot - An island near Montreal, Ile-Perrot offers a peaceful escape with its natural landscapes, outdoor activities, and charming small-town atmosphere.
Closeup of a lioness sleeping with her head on a rock in the zoo
You will get to see and learn about so many fascinating creatures during your visit to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.
Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com

Best time to go on a road trip from Philadelphia to Montreal

Montreal, a city renowned for its culture and history, will give you a distinct experience depending on the season of your road trip.

In winter, Montreal's temperatures range from a chilly 5 to 23 degrees Fahrenheit, with the city transforming into a snowy wonderland. This is the perfect time to experience the city's world-famous holiday markets.

This season, while beautiful, can present challenges on the Hudson River and Finger Lakes Routes, with potential road closures in Bear Mountain State Park and the Catskills because of snow and ice.

Spring is pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 32 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit along most of the routes. This is the time when you can experience the region's famous wildflower blooms.

Summer in Montreal is warm and inviting, with average temperatures between 59 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for exploring outdoor attractions like the Montreal Botanical Garden and events like the Montreal Jazz Festival in June-July.

On the Hudson River Route, you can experience the Saratoga Race Course Season from July to September. Alternatively, the Finger Lakes Route features the Finger Lakes Grass Roots Festival of Music & Dance in July.

However, be mindful that upstate New York, particularly along the Hudson River Route, becomes quite busy with tourists during these months. On the Finger Lakes Route, pay attention to hunting season dates and closures if you plan to explore the area.

Fall is another perfect time to make the journey, with pleasant temperatures along both routes. If you're traveling in fall, don't miss the Woodstock Film Festival in October.

However, fall is when both routes come to life in vivid fall colors, especially in the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain regions. This is a spectacle not to be missed.