Home » 2010 RV Trip to Quebec

Northway Rest Area, NY

Sunday, August 15, 2010 - 6:30pm by Lolo
208 miles and 3.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Lolo of the RVLolo of the RVWe often like leaving late afternoon or early evening of the day prior to our planned departure. It always gives us the impression of getting a jump on things. That way the first “real” day of vacation is not just driving, but can contain some actual fun.

So we headed out of the driveway around 8:00 pm – we didn’t want to get to our less than exciting destination too early, as there is not too much to entertain yourself with at a Rest Area or a Walmart parking lot. You want to be nice and sleepy by the time you arrive, so that you can just pull down the shades and pretend you are somewhere else.

I had thoroughly researched our possibilities of a free overnight camping spot along the Northway. Although several travel blogs indicated that it was fine to spend the night in a Rest Area, just to be safe I wrote an email to the Adirondack Northway authorities to ask—probably not the best idea, as I think the policy is an unstated and unofficial one. I was told that the state frowns on camping in rest areas, but that a few hours would be okay, as long as we didn’t idle the motor. However, he did give me two other good ideas: a truckstop at Exit 36 and a Walmart at Plattsburgh Exit 37.

Despite the official advice, we did spend the night at the Schroon Lake Rest Area. It was just so much more convenient to stay on the highway than trying to find the Walmart. We figured we couldn’t get in too much trouble, as, after all, we were officially told we could sleep a few hours. How were they to know that we weren’t just there for just a few hours, and few is a rather subjective term. I even brought along the email, just in case.

We slept fine and rose early to head towards the border. The boys always look forward to a good border search. For some reason, me acting all nervous like I am trying to hide something seems to entertain them. We actually experienced a quite thorough one when we went to Campobello Island in 2004. I told them that it was not our goal to repeat this experience.


Interstate I87 runs 334 miles along the eastern edge of New York State from the Bronx all the way to the Canadian border, where it continues towards Montreal as Autoroute 15. The portion of I87 south of Albany is called the New York State Thruway, and it has several full-service rest areas. Once you get north of Albany, the name of I87 changes to the Adirondack Northway. While there are still several rest stops on the Adirondack Northway, they do not have restaurants or gas stations. However, they do have picnic areas, vending machines, and restrooms.

There are nine rest stops along the Adirondack Northway between Albany and the Canadian border. The following is a link describing their locations and facilities: http://www.adirondacknorthway.net/exits/nbreststops.php

Although the state does not sanction camping overnight in these rest stops, you are officially allowed to spend a few hours resting there, as long as you are not idling your motor.

Northway Rest Area location map in "high definition"

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