Driving From Buffalo To Detroit: The Complete Road Trip Guide

If you’re considering a road trip from Buffalo, NY to Detroit, MI, there are a few key things you’ll want to know before hitting the road. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide tips on the best route to take, how long the drive will take, places to stop along the way, and what to see once you arrive in Detroit.

In short, the drive from Buffalo to Detroit is just under 5 and a half hours if you take the direct route along Interstate 90 and Interstate 75. With minimal stops, it can be done in a full day of driving.

But there are great places to stop like Niagara Falls, Ann Arbor, and Frankenmuth that could extend it to a 2-3 day adventure.

Planning Your Buffalo to Detroit Road Trip Route

The Quickest Route on I-90 and I-75

If you’re looking to get from Buffalo to Detroit quickly, the most direct route is to take I-90 West towards Cleveland and then merge onto I-75 South. This route will take you through the heart of Ohio and into Michigan, leading you straight to Detroit.

It’s a straightforward and efficient option, allowing you to cover the distance in the shortest amount of time.

According to Google Maps, the estimated driving time for this route is approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. It’s important to check for any construction or traffic updates before you hit the road to ensure a smooth journey.

Alternative Routes to Consider

If you’re looking for a more scenic route or want to explore different attractions along the way, there are a few alternative routes you can consider.

  • Route via Lake Erie: Instead of taking I-90 West, you can opt to drive along the coast of Lake Erie. This route will take you through beautiful lakefront towns such as Erie and Toledo, offering stunning views and the opportunity to stop and explore charming waterfront areas.
  • Route through Canada: Another option is to cross the border into Canada and drive through Ontario before reentering the United States. This route may require additional documentation such as a passport or enhanced driver’s license, so be sure to check the entry requirements beforehand.

Both of these alternative routes may add some extra driving time to your trip, but they offer unique experiences and the chance to discover new places along the way.

Tips for an Enjoyable Road Trip

Embarking on a road trip from Buffalo to Detroit can be an exciting adventure. To make the most of your journey, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Plan your stops: Take the time to research interesting attractions, scenic viewpoints, and local restaurants along the route. Planning your stops in advance will help break up the drive and add some fun to your road trip.
  • Stay hydrated and well-rested: Long drives can be tiring, so make sure to drink plenty of water and get enough rest the night before your trip. Consider taking regular breaks to stretch your legs and stay refreshed.
  • Bring snacks and entertainment: Pack some snacks and drinks to keep you fueled during the journey. Additionally, bring entertainment options such as music, podcasts, or audiobooks to make the drive more enjoyable.
  • Check for tolls and gas stations: Before hitting the road, familiarize yourself with any toll roads along the route and make sure to have cash or a card handy. Also, be aware of gas stations along the way to avoid running out of fuel.

By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared for a memorable and enjoyable road trip from Buffalo to Detroit.

Recommended Stops Between Buffalo and Detroit

Niagara Falls

One of the most iconic natural wonders in the world, Niagara Falls is a must-see stop on your road trip from Buffalo to Detroit. Located on the border between the United States and Canada, the falls offer breathtaking views and a range of activities for visitors.

Take a boat tour to get up close to the falls, or explore the many observation decks and hiking trails in the area. Don’t forget to snap some photos to capture the beauty of this majestic waterfall.

Cleveland, Ohio

As you make your way through Ohio, consider stopping in Cleveland, a city known for its vibrant arts and culture scene. Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which showcases the history and influence of rock music.

Explore the Cleveland Museum of Art, home to an extensive collection of artwork from around the world. For sports fans, catch a game at Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, or cheer on the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Located just west of Detroit, Ann Arbor is a charming city with a lively atmosphere. Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor offers a range of cultural and recreational activities. Take a stroll through the picturesque campus, visit the University of Michigan Museum of Art, or explore the vibrant downtown area with its unique shops and restaurants.

If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss the beautiful Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.

Frankenmuth, Michigan

If you’re looking for a taste of Bavaria in the heart of Michigan, make sure to stop in Frankenmuth. Known as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria,” this charming town is famous for its German heritage and hospitality.

Wander through the streets lined with Bavarian-style architecture, visit the famous Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, and indulge in delicious German cuisine at one of the local restaurants. Don’t forget to try a slice of the town’s famous Bavarian pretzel or a glass of their locally brewed beer.

Things to Do Once You Arrive in Detroit

After a long drive from Buffalo to Detroit, you’ll be excited to start exploring the Motor City. Detroit offers a wide range of activities and attractions that cater to all interests. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, a sports fan, or a nature lover, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Visit the Historical Henry Ford Museum

One of the must-visit attractions in Detroit is the Henry Ford Museum. This historical museum showcases the legacy of Henry Ford and the impact of the automobile industry on American society. From the famous Rosa Parks bus to the presidential limousines of past presidents, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of innovation and transportation.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, where you can witness the assembly line process of building a Ford F-150 truck.

Explore the Detroit Institute of Arts

If you’re a fan of art and culture, a visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts is a must. This renowned museum houses an impressive collection of over 65,000 works of art, ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary masterpieces.

From the iconic mural by Diego Rivera to the European and American paintings, there’s something to capture the imagination of every art lover. Take your time to wander through the galleries and appreciate the beauty and creativity on display.

Catch a Baseball Game

Detroit is home to the beloved Detroit Tigers baseball team, and catching a game at Comerica Park is an experience not to be missed. The stadium offers a lively atmosphere, with passionate fans cheering on their team.

Grab a hot dog and a cold beverage and immerse yourself in America’s favorite pastime. Whether you’re a die-hard baseball fan or just looking for a fun night out, a Tigers game is a great way to enjoy the sporting culture of Detroit.

Check out Campus Martius Park

If you’re looking to relax and soak in the city’s atmosphere, head to Campus Martius Park. Located in the heart of downtown Detroit, this urban oasis offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city streets.

Enjoy a picnic on the lawn, rent a bike and explore the nearby RiverWalk, or simply sit back and people-watch. During the summer months, the park hosts various events and concerts, adding to its vibrant ambiance. It’s the perfect place to unwind and take in the sights and sounds of Detroit.

These are just a few of the many things to do once you arrive in Detroit. The city has so much to offer, from its rich history and cultural attractions to its thriving sports scene and beautiful parks. Make sure to plan your itinerary accordingly and make the most of your time in the Motor City!

Where to Stay in Detroit

When planning a road trip from Buffalo to Detroit, one of the most important considerations is where to stay in the Motor City. Detroit offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs, from luxurious downtown hotels to budget-friendly motels and unique local Airbnbs.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the best places to stay in Detroit:

Downtown Hotels Close to the Action

If you want to be in the heart of the city, staying at a downtown hotel is your best bet. These hotels offer convenient access to popular attractions, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center and the Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney are two highly rated options that provide stunning views of the Detroit River and easy access to downtown attractions.

These hotels offer comfortable accommodations and top-notch amenities, ensuring a memorable stay in the city.

Budget-Friendly Motel and Hotel Options

For those traveling on a budget, there are plenty of affordable motel and hotel options in Detroit. The Red Roof Inn Detroit – Dearborn/Greenfield Village and the Comfort Inn Downtown are two budget-friendly choices that still offer comfortable accommodations and convenient locations.

These options allow you to save money on your stay without compromising on comfort.

Unique Local Airbnbs

If you prefer a more unique and local experience, renting an Airbnb in Detroit can be a great option. From historic homes to modern lofts, there are plenty of unique properties available for rent. One highly recommended Airbnb is the “Detroit Luxe Loft,” located in the trendy Corktown neighborhood.

This loft offers stylish accommodations and is close to popular attractions like the Michigan Central Station and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

When choosing where to stay in Detroit, it’s important to consider your budget, preferred location, and the type of experience you want to have. Whether you choose a downtown hotel, a budget-friendly motel, or a unique Airbnb, Detroit has something to offer every traveler.

Detroit Day Trip Ideas

Day Trip to Ann Arbor

While visiting Detroit, taking a day trip to Ann Arbor is a must for any traveler seeking a mix of culture, history, and vibrant college town atmosphere. Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, offers a range of attractions and activities for all interests.

Explore the beautiful campus grounds, visit the renowned University of Michigan Museum of Art, or catch a game at the iconic Michigan Stadium, also known as “The Big House.” Don’t forget to indulge in the local food scene, with numerous restaurants, cafes, and breweries offering delicious options for every palate.

Tour the Cranbrook Educational Community

If you’re interested in art, architecture, and education, a visit to the Cranbrook Educational Community is a must. Located just outside of Detroit in Bloomfield Hills, Cranbrook is a sprawling campus that houses a variety of educational institutions and cultural landmarks.

Take a guided tour of the Cranbrook House and Gardens, a historic 1908 English Arts and Crafts-style mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens. Explore the Cranbrook Art Museum, which showcases contemporary art exhibits, or visit the Cranbrook Academy of Art, a prestigious graduate school for the visual and fine arts.

Spend a Day on Belle Isle

Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend a day on Belle Isle, a 982-acre island park located in the Detroit River. This picturesque island offers a range of activities for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the scenic trails, have a picnic in one of the many designated areas, or enjoy water sports such as kayaking or paddleboarding. Visit the Belle Isle Aquarium, one of the oldest aquariums in the country, or explore the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, a beautiful greenhouse filled with exotic plants and flowers.

No matter which day trip you choose, Detroit and its surrounding areas offer an abundance of attractions and experiences to make your road trip unforgettable. Plan your itinerary wisely and make the most of your time exploring the Motor City and its neighboring destinations!


Road tripping from Buffalo to Detroit can make for an amazing weekend getaway or extended vacation. With about 5 and a half hours of total drive time, you can pack a lot into your Detroit and Michigan adventure.

From the power of Niagara Falls to the charm of Ann Arbor, there are great pit stops between the two cities.

Once in Detroit, be sure to explore both the classic attractions like the auto museums and the up and coming food and arts scene. With the right mix of planning and flexibility, a Buffalo to Detroit road trip can provide lasting memories and a great Midwest cross-section experience.

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