How To See The Waterfalls At Niagara Falls State Park In New York
New York is home to many iconic destinations but few illicit the same response from throughout the world as Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls is located approximately 16 miles northwest of downtown Buffalo on the United States/Canadian border. There are viewing areas along both sides of the river, and while the views from the Canadian side tend to be better, Im only going to be covering what you can see from the New York side.
Niagara Falls can be found within Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest state park in America, and there are actually three large waterfalls that are together known as Niagara Falls. The most famous is Horseshoe Falls, which spans the Niagara River from the United States to Canada.
The other two waterfalls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, are both located on the American side of the border and are also on the Niagara River. Between these three waterfalls, islands offer both delineations for each and viewing areas.
While there are many popular attractions on the American side of the border including the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds, Im only going to cover how you can walk to see the three large waterfalls in Niagara Falls State Park in this article.
Buffalo Museum Of Science
Exploring natural history and life sciences, this museum’s immersive exhibits promote family fun and interactive learning. This award-winning museum has experiences perfect for everyone: record your own weather forecast, take in a film about our world in the National Geographic 3D Cinema, learn about health and wellness in the Explore YOU exhibit, and design your own building.
Best Time To Go On A Road Trip From New York To Niagara Falls
While the Niagara Falls State Park are open 24 hours a day, all year round, between June and August are undoubtedly the most popular times to visit, when average daily temperatures reach over 70 degrees Fahrenheit and all the attractions are open.
That being said, prices and visitor numbers are higher during the summer. If you would prefer to avoid the crowds, you might want to wait until September to visit Niagara Falls or plan your trip in early spring when you’ll also get to enjoy the trees and flowers in bloom.
Winters at Niagara Falls can be very unforgiving with average temperatures being between 28 and 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite being cold, winter does give you the opportunity to see the falls partially frozen or covered in snow.
If you time your visit between May and October, you’ll get the chance to see the daily fireworks held at Niagara Falls which is quite spectacular.
Other great events to consider timing your trip with is Canalfest of the Tonawandas held in Buffalo in July and the Niagara Falls Blues Festival, usually held for three days in September.
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Travel By Car From New York City To Niagara Falls
It takes about 6-7 hours to drive from New York to Niagara and its a pretty easy drive if you have a car. Plus there are plenty of great places to stop at on the way like The Finger Lakes which is definitely worth spending a night or two exploring if you have the time. We went in December and it snowed frequently on our drive so make sure you check the weather.
Best Places To Stop Between New York To Niagara Falls
While you can complete this trip in a single day, it’s much more enjoyable to spread it out and include a couple of overnight stops.
If you are looking to split your road trip from New York to Niagara Falls with an overnight stay, there are a number of great places you can do this in. Here are the ones we think you should keep an eye out for:
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Niagara Falls Day Trips From New York
Visiting the most popular waterfalls on the planet is an ideal plan to disconnect from the lights and chaos of New York. I leave you a list of the best organized tours and tell you if it is worth or not to make this visit.
13 min read
Located on the border between the United States and Canada, Niagara Falls is made up of three breathtaking waterfalls that will make your visit an unforgettable trip. Seeing this imposing wonder of nature at least once in a lifetime is totally worth it, and it is definitely one of the must-do activities during a trip to New York, even more so if they only require one or two days of your time. Here are the best tours to visit Niagara Falls from New York:
From New York City To Niagara Falls By Train
Two major Amtrak lines connect the Niagara region to cities on the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada. Those traveling from New York City can get on the Empire Service to the Niagara Falls International Train Station and Intermodal Transportation Center from Penn Station in Manhattan. The Empire Service train operates daily and has Business Class and Reserved Coach Class. The scenic ride takes about nine hours, with stops along the way in Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo.
Alternatively, visitors can take the Maple Leaf train that connects New York City with Toronto, with stops at Albany, Syracuse, and Niagara Falls. The total journey is 12.5 hours. Both trains come with WiFi and Cafe cars.
Once there, the Niagara Falls State Park is less than a 10-minute drive. Niagara Falls State Park is open year-round and offers interactive exhibits, hiking trails, and dining at the Top of the Falls restaurant. The state park’s Discovery Pass allows visitors to enjoy the falls on the Maid of the Mist boat cruise.
You can also take the hop-on/hop-off shuttle called “Falls to the Fort” right at the train station. The 14-mile route stops at highlights such as the Niagara USA Visitor Center, Niagara View Points, Old Niagara Fort, Aquarium of Niagara, and Castellani Art Museum, among others.
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About The Niagara Falls Tour
There are a few different tours you can take. Being a budget traveler I chose the cheapest option and then roped my mum and her partner in to make it even cheaper! The normal cost is $135 if there are four of you and you all share a room its $300! So its worked out really cheap. But all it included is getting there and back and the hotel. Once you get on the bus they will try and sell you all of the extras including the jet boats and evening entertainment.
Now, if you asked my mum how she liked this particular tour she would tell you she hated every moment of it and would NEVER go on another. I, on the other hand, thought it was brilliant! So here is a rundown of the tour from both viewpoints.
How Long Is The Train Ride
The train may be one of the most relaxing ways to reach Niagara Falls from New York City, but it’s also the slowest and generally the most expensive. It’s a nearly nine-hour journey, so you’ll use up an entire day just sitting on the train, and with tickets starting at $68, you’ll likely spend more than taking the bus or even a plane. However, if you want to visit other Upstate New York destinations, such as Albany, Rochester, the Hudson River Wine Valley, or the Finger Lakes, the train passes through all of them en route to Niagara Falls.
Amtrak trains depart from the Moynihan Train Hall, the expansion to Penn Station that opened in January of 2021. The Niagara Falls Station is located two miles from downtown and the viewpoints to see the falls, and it’s easiest to use a cab or ride-sharing service to get there.
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What Accommodation Can You Book In Niagara Falls
With ViaMichelin you can book your accommodation for Niagara Falls at no additional cost. Whether you want to book a stay in Niagara Falls or simply stop off on your New York – Niagara Falls route, you can book the accommodation of your choice . This free service is offered in partnership with Booking. You can also view and book any of the hotels selected from the MICHELIN Guide.
Picking A Souvenir At Niagara
There are 4 gift/souvenir shops within Niagara Falls State Park that sell officially licensed park souvenirs and merchandise. You can grab a full-line of quality souvenirs, including apparel, glassware, gifts and books, umbrellas and more.
Hot tip: The One Niagara Center outside Prospect Point has cheaper souvenirs than the ones inside the park.
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How Long Does It Take To Drive
If you have a vehicle, the drive takes six and a half hours and passes through all of New Jersey and northern Pennsylvania before re-entering New York State and continuing up to Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls State Park on the U.S. side of the border has four parking lots that are open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, which cost $10 to park for the day during the week. However, on weekends and holidays they fill up quickly and cost $15 for the day. If they’re full, there are paid parking lots around downtown Niagara Falls as well as metered street parking, all of which are just a short walk from the waterfall viewing points.
Best New York To Niagara Falls Day Trips
If you’re looking to squeeze in a 14 hour round-trip day tour from New York to Niagara, what you need is an efficient organized tour. You will be picked up from New York in the wee hours of the morning, around 4 am and a 7 hour drive later you will arrive at Niagara.
A typical day tour of Niagara Falls allows one to spend around 4-5 hours strolling around the Niagara Falls State Park and taking in the vibrancy of nature, catching a show at the Adventure Theatre, a ride on the Maid of the Mist or a visit to the Cave of the Winds and heading back to New York post lunch.
Hot tip: If you’re planning a self guided visit to Niagara, make sure to grab your Maid of the Mist tickets online in advance to avoid spending your precious few hours in queue. Most organized tours have these tickets included in the package.
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From New York City To Niagara Falls: 4 Best Ways To Get There
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Straddling the border between the United States and Canada, the powerful Niagara Falls is a must-see for anyone visiting New York City. Located 400 miles from the Big Apple, Niagara Falls can be reached in several ways: You can choose to go with an organized tour or travel on your own by way of a car, bus, train, or plane.
Niagara Falls, cascading 167 feet into the Niagara Gorge, consists of three waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls , Bridal Veil Falls, and American Falls, all of which are located in Western New York. The latter two and part of the Horseshoe Falls are part of the Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest state park in the state. Although the view from Canada is considered to be better, you can experience the splendor of 3,160 tons of water gushing over the crest every second on both sides of the border from various vantage points.
You may want to give yourself more than a day to enjoy the falls and the surrounding region in a leisurely manner, and don’t forget to bring your passport or an enhanced driver’s license to walk or drive across the border on the Rainbow Bridge.
Here are four of the best ways to get from New York City to Niagara Falls to help you plan an unforgettable trip.
Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.
From New York City To Niagara Falls By Plane
Visitors can also take a planned one-day tour by air, which includes round-trip airfare between NYC airports and Buffalo, a half-day guided tour of the attraction from both sides, a boat cruise, and a buffet lunch at the Top of the Falls restaurant. The Maid of the Mist cruise operates only during the warmer months when visiting during winter, participants are taken to the Journey Behind the Falls observation decks and portals located behind the falls. The entire tour takes approximately 14 hours and hotel transfers to and from the airport are available from properties located between 23rd and 74th streets.
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Go Wild At Seneca County
Drive west into New Yorks Seneca County, and be sure to check out Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge an area which offers of 10,000 acres of swampland and has been a national landmark since 1973.
The area is largely untouched with a variety of migratory birds in the area. You have options to take the wildlife drive or park up and hit the hiking trails.
Be sure you have the correct Hiking gear, check out our reviews here: Hiking Gear
Can You Drive From Buffalo To Niagara Falls
Theres no way around it: The fastest way to get to Niagara Falls from Buffalo is to take a car! If you dont mind paying a toll, the route over Grand Island will get you there in 30 minutes or less: Drive over to Church Street and from there, hop on to I-190 N. I-190 N will take you all the way across Grand Island.
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Does Viamichelin Offer Gps Guidance For My New York
Download our mobile app from the AppStore or for our guidance on your New York – Niagara Falls journey. Our app includes Michelin maps and routes with real-time traffic info, GPS navigation with voice guidance and community alerts. You can also transfer your New York – Niagara Falls route calculation from your computer to the app by saving the route as a Favourite in your Michelin account.
Best Time To Visit Niagara Falls:
Peak flow at Niagara falls is in the daytime during peak tourist season . If you want less tourists you can head an alternative time of year.
Which is better New York side or Canada side of Niagara falls?
The Canada side of Niagara falls is the best. It is the largest of the three waterfalls and has the majority of hotels, restaurants & attractions in the town of Niagara. After Niagara you can carry on the journey and visit the incredible waterfalls of Hamilton . There are some great off the grid cabins in Ontario, CA.
Take a drive along the scenic Niagara Parkway.
Do I need a Visas/passport to cross over to Horseshoe Falls ?
U.S Citizens can travel visa free in Canada for up to 180 days. However, you must carry proof of identification & nationality at all times. So keep your passport, passport car or NEXUS card with you at all times.
For International visitors you will require a Visa or ESTA for the USA and an visa or ETA for Canada.
Where do I get the best Rental Car deal?
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What Is The Fastest Way To Get From New York City To Niagara Falls
The fastest way to travel to Niagara Falls is, without a doubt, by plane. The Buffalo Niagara International Airport isn’t actually in Niagara Falls, but in the nearby city of Buffalo, which is only 30 minutes away by car or up to two hours away by public transit . Flying to Toronto is also an option if you want to visit the Canadian side of the falls, and it takes about an hour to reach them by car.
Planes depart frequently from all three of the New York City airportsJFK, LaGuardia, and Newark. Prices don’t fluctuate depending on your departure point, so you can freely choose whichever airport is most convenient for you. If you buy tickets in advance and aren’t traveling during a busy holiday period, prices start at about $80.
Leg : Manhattan To The Mountains
Less than 90 minutes outside Manhattan, you can be a world away in the second largest park in the state system, Harriman State Park. With more than 30 lakes, 200 miles of hiking trails and two beaches, every nature lover can find something to enjoy. And its a great way to whet your appetite for the great outdoors in Niagara Falls! Continue on to the scenic mountain towns that dot that Catskills, perhaps stopping for another hike or to cast a line in Roscoe, aka Trout Town USA.
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Flying From New York To Niagara
The closest city to Niagara Falls is Buffalo, NY and is located 23 miles away. The flight takes under an hour, but including check-in and boarding, it should take 3-4 hours each way. Buffalo Airport Shuttle provides a private transfer service for just over $20 per person . You can also arrange taxis from the airport, which can cost as little as $10 per head if you are traveling in a large group.It still remains the fastest way to get to Niagara Falls from New York City.