Niagara Falls from New York: The Perfect Day Trip Organised

Ant

If there was one day trip I’d recommend from New York it would be this. Considering it’s one of the seven wonders of the world, the journey may be long but the experience of witnessing the sheer power of mother nature is something that stays you with you for the rest of your life. In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know, from how to get there to how to make the best of your time at Niagara Falls.

Of course, to make things easy for you, I recommend you check out a number of tours from our partner Hellotickets, allowing you to take a day trip the Niagara Falls from New York, without worrying about organising the journey.

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How to get to Niagara Falls from New York

Distance from New York to Niagara Falls: 311 – 410 mi
Journey Time: 2 – 10 hours

The famous waterfalls can be found on the border between the US and Canada, more specifically between the states of New York and Ontario. The closest city is Toronto, with the journey taking around 3 hours by car.

The best road route between Niagara Falls and New York.

To make the journey to the Niagara Falls from New York, you’ll need to take around 410 miles on the road, and around 310 miles if you decide to take a plane. That said there are a number of options to take, so here I’ll give you three in order of speed.

Reaching Niagara Falls by Air

✈️ Time from New York: 2 hours

There are direct flights to and from both JFK and La Guardia, to Buffalo airport (the closest airport to the Falls). The flight lasts about 1.5 hours, however as the airport’s not in Niagara Falls, you’ll also need to take a minimum 30-minute journey (at about 25 mi) to reach Niagara from Buffalo.

Reaching Niagara Falls by Car

🚘 Time from New York: 6 hours 30 minutes

The second fastest option is taking a car yourself. It takes between 6.5 to 7 hours to reach, counting a 30-minute rest stop (which you should definitely take if you plan on driving yourself). Keep in mind, that while it can be a cheap option regarding petrol, price of car rental and parking costs should be something to take into account.

Reaching Niagara Falls by Coach/Bus

🚌 Time from New York: 9 – 10 hours

Taking a coach or bus to Niagara Falls from New York, is undoubtedly the cheapest option of the three, but it’s also the slowest. That said, it’s also the most comfortable option as you don’t need to worry about organising car rental, drive for hours before searching for parking or deal with general airport chaos and the US’ notorious security checks.

Why it’s worth visiting the Niagara Falls from New York

As you’ve seen the journey to Niagara Falls is long, regardless of the method you take, however this doesn’t stop the majority of New York’s visitors, who make the journey to see the majestic natural wonder for themselves.

A close up view from the top of Horseshoe Falls
A close up view from the top of Horseshoe Falls

Niagara Falls is made up of 3 waterfalls, the most impressive of them being Horseshoe Falls, found on the Canadian side. The other 2 waterfalls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, can be found on the American side. If you take a day trip to Niagara Falls from New York, chances are high that you’ll be seeing them from the US side, but I recommend that you make the most of your time in Niagara Falls and try to visit both sides, especially if you’re coming from New York.

💡 Ant’s Top Traveller’s Tip

Don’t miss the impressive views of Horseshoe Falls from Table Rock Welcome Center

What tour should you choose?

If you do decide to take a tour, you’ll probably find that your choices are pretty extensive. My personal recommendation is to take the 2-Day Trip to Niagara Falls. The tour gives you the chance to visit both sides of the natural wonder, including both Niagara Falls State Park and Watkins Glen State Park. The overnight stay also means you get the chance to see Niagara Falls at all stages of the day, from morning, afternoon and night (though not necessarily in that order).

Of course, this wouldn’t be a good post, if I didn’t give you options to decide for yourself which is the best tour to take from New York to Niagara Falls. Below you can find a comparison of the best options and their prices, so you can pick the tour that best suits your own personal tastes or needs.

Day Trip: Niagara Falls
From £122
Niagara Falls State Park
Maid of the Mist Tour
Niagara Gorge Trail
Goat Island
Day Trip: Niagara Falls (Early Bird: Waterfalls in the Morning)
From £135
Niagara Falls State Park
Maid of the Mist Tour
Niagara Gorge Trail
Goat Island
Waterfalls at night
2-Day Trip: Niagara Falls (Includes hotel)
From £195
Niagara Falls State Park
Maid of the Mist Tour
Niagara Gorge Trail
Goat Island
Waterfalls at night
She-Qua-Ga Waterfalls
Luna Island
Shopping Outlet visit
4-Day Trip: Niagara Falls, Washington DC and Philadelphia (Includes hotel)
From £397
Niagara Falls State Park
Maid of the Mist Tour
Niagara Gorge Trail
Goat Island
Waterfalls at night
She-Qua-Ga Waterfalls
Luna Island
Shopping Outlet visit
Philadelphia
Washington DC
5-Day Trip: Niagara Falls, Washington DC, Philadelphia and Toronto (Includes hotel)
From £549
Niagara Falls State Park
Maid of the Mist Tour
Niagara Gorge Trail
Goat Island
Waterfalls at night
She-Qua-Ga Waterfalls
Luna Island
Shopping Outlet visit
Philadelphia
Washington DC
Toronto

What to see in Niagara Falls

When you visit the Niagara Falls from New York, make sure that you visit these impressive sights, so you can make the most of your visit and take advantage of Niagara Falls beautiful nature.

Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara State Park - Denisbin/Flickr
Niagara State Park – Denisbin/Flickr

The Niagara Falls State Park is situated perfectly to see all three of Niagara Falls’ waterfalls. From the lookout point, you can see Canada’s Horseshoe Falls from afar, while the walkway itself sits right next to the Bridal Veil falls, giving you a great view of Niagara Falls’ US-side waterfalls.

Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist - Boblinsdell/Flickr
Maid of the Mist – Boblinsdell/Flickr

This iconic tour sees you board a boat that takes you to the base of each of the three waterfalls, giving you unrivaled, up-close views of the cascades. Needless to say, this is a tour that everyone who visits Niagara Falls should do, as it really is once in a lifetime. Fortunately, every tour that Hellotickets offers include tickets for the Maid of the Mist as part of the tour packages.

The boat itself leaves on the US side of Niagara Falls daily (although there are exceptions). So make sure to check the boat’s schedule on the Maid of the Mist official website.

Niagara Gorge Trail

Niagara Gorge Trail - Harrywagner/Flickr
Niagara Gorge Trail – Harrywagner/Flickr

The Niagara Gorge Trail features a series of walks and hiking treks that offer some of Niagara Falls’ most impressive views. There are many routes of varying duration and difficulty, so taking time into account, I recommend taking the Great Gorge Railway Trail. At an easy 1.8km (each way), the Railway Trail is a pleasant trek without ever-reaching grueling territory.

Goat Island

Tarrapin Point - Nickschooley/Flickr
Tarrapin Point – Nickschooley/Flickr

With Goat Island located in the centre of the Niagara River, you’ll find the famous lookout point of Terrapin Point and a statue dedicated to the unsung inventor of electricity, Nikola Tesla.

Although you can make the journey by yourself, I would recommend that you take an organised tour as you’ll learn much more about the sights you see, and you won’t need to stress about planning every detail. Also you avoid having to figure out how to sort out getting to Niagara Falls and back, and all the costs that entails.

Niagara Falls in one day

Despite waking up really early and returning late at night, the Early Bird option of the Day Trip to Niagara Falls is a very popular option, because of the morning experience you get when seeing the Niagara Falls. One of the highlights of this tour is seeing the Horseshoe Falls in the morning, complete with rainbows and fog to add to the morning atmosphere.

While you do leave at four in the morning, it’s clearly worth it.

Don’t feel like waking up at such an ungodly hour, don’t worry, I get it! There is an option to visit the Niagara Falls from New York at a more reasonable time, this tour leaves at a much more doable 8:30 am.

What you’ll see

  • Niagara Falls State Park
  • Maid of the Mist Tour
  • Niagara Gorge Trail
  • Goat Island

⭐️ Recommended: If you’re limited on time but want to see Niagara Falls
💰 Price: From £122

Niagara Falls - Denisbin/Flickr
Niagara Falls – Denisbin/Flickr

Niagara Falls in two days

If you do have the time, the 2-Day Trip to Niagara Falls is the tour that I would personally recommend. With it, you can visit Watkins Glen State Park on the way and discover the impressive canyon and She-Qua-Ga waterfall. Once you arrive, you’ll see Niagara Falls during sunset, and you’ll get to wind down your night around the falls. The following day, you’ll then get to visit each of its three waterfalls individually, before heading out for a spot of premium shopping at the Crossings outlet on the way back to New York.

What you’ll see

  • Watkins Glen State Park
  • She-Qua-Ga Waterfall
  • Niagara Falls State Park
  • Maid of the Mist Tour
  • Goat Island
  • Luna Island
  • Crossing Premium Outlet

⭐️ Recommended: If you want to see Niagara Falls at night
💰 Price: from £195 (Tour and hotel included)

Niagara Falls at night - cpiercy/Flickr
Niagara Falls at night – cpiercy/Flickr

Niagara Falls in four days

A complete journey that gives you various sights is the 4-Day Trip to Niagara Falls. Including all the staples such as Watkins Glen State Park, She-Qua-Ga Waterfall, Maid of the Mist and a chance to see Niagara Falls from Canada, your hotel stay is also included. Before your return to New York, you’ll also get a chance to visit Washington and Philadelphia, and also experience a life without electricity with the Amish Country.

What you’ll see

  • Watkins Glen State Park
  • She-Qua-Ga Waterfall
  • Niagara Falls State Park
  • Maid of the Mist Tour
  • Canada Side of Niagara Falls
  • Crossing Premium Outlet
  • Liberty Bell Center
  • The iconic steps from ‘Rocky’
  • Amish Country
  • Thomas Jefferson Monument
  • National Arlington Cemetery
  • Capitol Hill
  • The White House
  • The Lincoln Monument

⭐️ Recommended: If you’re planning to make a number of excursions from New York
💰 Precio: From £397 (Tour, breakfast and hotel included)

View of the White House from the exterior green
View of the White House from the exterior green

Niagara Falls in five days

Is you want to go a step further during your stay in New York, this 5-Day Trip to Niagara Falls gives you the chance to see everything that you’re likely to search for around New York. You’ll start your tour with the classic view of the Niagara Falls from the Maid of the Mist, or behind the waterfalls of She-Qua-Ga (depending on the season). You’ll then get a chance to visit the city of Toronto, located 3.5 hours away from Niagara Falls. Upon your return journey to New York, you’ll then head to Philadelphia and experience the Amish Country, before finally checking out Washington DC’s iconic sights such as Capitol Hill and The White House.

The completeness of the tour, really means that you aren’t overlooking or missing anything, making it ideal if this is your only chance to visit the US’ East Coast.

What you’ll see

  • Watkins Glen State Park
  • Niagara Falls State Park
  • Maid of the Mist Tour
  • She-Qua-Ga Waterfall
  • Niagara Falls Sunset Visit
  • Niagara’s Lake Heritage District
  • Toronto and Brookfield Place
  • Lake Ontario
  • 1000 islands of the St. Laurence River
  • Crossings Premium Outlets
  • Liberty Bell Center
  • The iconic steps from ‘Rocky’
  • Amish Country
  • Thomas Jefferson Monument
  • National Arlington Cemetery
  • Capitol Hill
  • The White House
  • The Lincoln Monument

⭐️ Recommended: If you want a complete journey that touches upon both countries of North America
💰 Price: From £549 (Tour, breakfast and hotel included)

El ciudad de Toronto - Boklm/Flickr
El ciudad de Toronto – Boklm/Flickr

Would you like the Niagara Falls? Is it for you?

Visiting Niagara Falls is truly a “must” if you describe yourself as a nature lover, the sheer impressiveness of the falls, makes it the perfect backdrop for those outdoor treks. Likewise, if photography is your jam then Niagara Falls is definitely worth the visit, as the sheer size and scope of the cascades makes for a challenging yet rewarding photography experience (and you’ll also have some of the most impressive photos to show off on your Instagram).

If you’re visiting Niagara Falls with kids, then you’re also in luck: The area is perfect for families with Niagara Falls offering a crazy amount of attractions and places catered specifically for children.

Typical dishes of Niagara Falls

Around Niagara Falls you can expect the typical dishes to be the standard typical American food (steaks, burgers, etc.) however you’ll also find food with a touch of French influence thanks to its border with Canada. You’ll easily find countless bars and BBQ restaurants where you can try the typical dishes such as poutine (French fries with cheese and gravy) and Canadian bacon (strips of pork marinated in maple syrup).

Recommended Restaurants

  • If you’re searching for something priced reasonable with a typical American flavour, you’ll want to try Flip Burguer, which has a number of good reviews and can be found right next to Maid of the Mist’s departure point.
  • Mother Cluckers Inc offers an interesting fusion of Portuguese and American food, and is conveniently located next to the Niagara Falls’ Tourist Information point.
  • If you don’t mind the extra walk and you have the time, you can cross the Rainbow Bridge and try Smoke’s Poutinerie nationally popular poutine (Though remember to bring your passport, as you’re actually crossing a border!)
  • If long walks aren’t your thing, and you’d rather try something without the stress, then there is also a very good menu at Savor (though it is a fairly upper-class affair)

When is the best season to visit Niagara Falls?

Winter
Nov – Mar
Weather: Extreme Snow
Max: 8ºC
Min: -8ºC

Spring
Mar – May
Weather: Unstable
Max: 19ºC
Min: -3ºC

Summer
Jun – Aug
Weather: Sunny with thunderstorms
Max: 26ºC
Min: 14ºC

Autumn
Sep – Nov
Weather: Pleasant and sunny
Max: 21ºC
Min: 1ºC

The average temperature around Niagara Falls changes drastically, depending on the time of the year. While in winter, you’re most likely to freeze, summer gives way to some truly beautiful weather, with many days being hot and humid. If you visit Niagara during the spring, expect rain, while autumn is actually a great time to visit, though make sure you visit before November.

In all honesty, the best advice I can give is to visit the Niagara Falls from the middle to the end of May, or between September to October. This way, you can be sure, to avoid the majority of the summer tourists, and enjoy the pleasant weather.

What day of the week is best to visit Niagara Falls?

Much like many touristy places, you’ll get the best experience mid-week or outside of US holidays, as you’ll certainly run into less people and it’s much less crowded.

Festivals and events in Niagara Falls

30 December – 12 January

Summer festival of lights

Christmas lights are installed among the many lookouts and hikes of Niagara Falls. During this time you can expect to also see fireworks, giving the place a level of magic.

Fireworks

Christmas isn’t the only time you’ll see fireworks, you can expect fireworks all year round, so make sure to check the official schedule for more information.

All year round
1 July

Canada Day

Canada Day is also celebrated in Niagara Falls, so you can expect celebratory lights, markets, activities perfect for children, as well as exhibitions on cars and BMX.

Summer Music Series

Throughout much of summer, there are series of Canadian music concerts that take place in Queen Victoria Place. These concerts are especially exciting as they are also accompanied by light shows projected onto the Horseshoe Falls.

June – September
4th Thursday of November

Thanksgiving

A standard American tradition, you’ll find that many restaurants and parks celebrate the holiday with special meals, BBQs and many street-food vendors to choose from.

What should you bring to Niagara Falls?

As far as what to wear, the best advice I can give is that you take the most comfortable clothing you have as you’ll see that the majority of Niagara Falls visitors tend to do the this. If you’re visiting in summer, you’re best bet is to wear layers that can adapt to the varying temperatures. Keep in mind that the area is obviously very humid and often wet, so it’s a good idea to bring waterproof trainers or shoes, especially if you’re going to hop on the Maid of the Mist. Talking of the Maid of the Mist, while you are provided with a poncho and some flip-flops, you’ll do well to bring a waterproof camera such as a GoPro, or make sure your bag’s contents are in a waterproof container.

Final Advice

Very important! Don’t forget to bring your passport, especially if you intend to cross the border between the US and Canada, as it’ll happen more regularly than you think.

If you visit Niagara Falls in autumn, make sure you visit the Niagara Falls State Park. The colours of the leaves contrasted with the Falls, make it a truly inspiring time to visit.

No te preocupes por los niños ya que es un lugar muy seguro, pero ten en cuenta que es fácil que se pierdan entre la multitud de turistas, por lo que échales un ojo con regularidad.

You shouldn’t need to worry about your kids as the place is generally very safe, however the sheer number of tourists means you’ll want to pay close to attention the smaller ones and keep them close, as it can be very easy to lose each other in the crowds.

Finally, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is much more looked after, and so generally looks better than the American side, which is why if you do get the chance, definitely cross the Rainbow Bridge to spend some time in the Canadian side.

That’s really everything I’ve got to say! It goes without saying that Niagara Falls is a once in a lifetime experience, so above-all else, make sure to simply enjoy your time there whatever the plan, as it will undoubtedly be a memory to remember!

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