If you're visiting New York for a few days, then you might want to add a day trip to the famous Niagara Falls to your travel itinerary. The Niagara Falls is situated 400 miles from New York City and the drive is 6-7 hours long, lending itself as a beautiful day trip destination from the Big Apple. If you have plans of visiting Niagara Falls from New York City, then a planned day tour is the perfect way for you to experience this wonder of the natural world. In this guide, we will look at all there is to know about before going on a New York to Niagara Fall day trip.
New York to Niagara Falls - In a Nutshell
Distance : 408km
Duration from New York to Niagara Falls : 7 hours
Best time to visit the Niagara Falls : June to August
Best way to travel : Coach Tour/ Drive
Approximate day trip budget : $50-$100
Trip Highlights : Cave of the Winds, Maid of the Mist, Top of The Falls, Old Fort Niagara
The Niagara Falls - An unstoppable gush of hypnotic mist
The Niagara Falls are a sight to behold. A collective name for three neighboring waterfalls, the cascading water of the Niagara falls over 160 feet at the head of the Niagara Gorge and straddles the US-Canada Border. Over six million cubic feet of water goes over the crest of the falls every minute, making it the most powerful waterfall in all of North America.
The three waterfalls that make up Niagara, from the smallest to the biggest, are the Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls, and the Horseshoe Falls. The largest of the three, Horsehoe Falls lie on the US-Canadian Border while the other two falls are entirely within the United States. The Horseshoe Falls drop about 188 feet (57 m) while the American Falls' drop lies between 70 and 100 feet (21 and 30 m).
There are many vantage points on both sides of the border allowing you to catch some spectacular vistas of the waterfalls. The width of the falls span the entire panorama and offers a breathtaking sight unlike any other. The water appears a startling green as it falls over the crest and is a testament to the erosive power of the falls, itself a factor of the speed the water is flowing at.
Why you must visit The Niagara Falls State Park
Visiting the Niagara Falls is one of the most bucketlisted experiences in the world. Here are a few reasons why the falls are the worth the travel from New York.
The 3 waterfalls at Niagara come together to produce the world’s fastest-moving waterfall
The 3 falls: the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls come together to produce the largest water flow rate of any waterfall in the world and watching this is nothing short of spellbinding. It is no surprise that this stunning display pulls around 30 million tourists every year!
Umpteen other experiences, beyond the falls
If you're interested in history, a visit to the Old Fort Niagara with its underground gunpowder rooms, army barracks, and ancient cannons will have you spend hours here in rapt attention. If you're looking to get up close to the might falls, you can choose from an array of experiences - the Cave of the Winds, the Maid of the Mist, the Whirlpool Jet Boat, the Hydro Power Plant Ruins and many more. Adventure lovers will also enjoy hiking around the Niagara State Park on it many marked trails.
The Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest in America
Founded in 1885, the Niagara Falls State Park has the distinction of a storied history in USA. The Niagara Falls Association, which was founded in 1883 has acquired private land around the area to keep the natural environment intact for all these years.
Maid of the Mist drifting towards a rainbow
Ticket to The Old Niagara Fort
The ultimate adventure - Whirlpool Jet Boat
Clad in a raincoat, catching a distant glimpse of the falls
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.
Niagara Falls in one day from NYC
Escape the fast-pace of New York and enjoy a trip to one of the most impressive natural wonders in the world, the Niagara Falls.
- Enjoy panoramic views of the Niagara Falls as you stand on the border between the USA and Canada
- Learn all about the history of the region with the help of your expert bilingual guide (English/Spanish)
- Stroll through the magnificent Niagara Falls State Park and relax in the vibrancy of nature
- Experience no-fuss round trip transfers from New York City on a fully-fitted motor coach
- Tickets to the Maid of the Mist boat cruise or to the Cave of the Winds (access is subjected to weather conditions)
Two day Combo: Niagara Falls + Washington Tour
Visit several important structures in Washington D.C and Philadelphia, along with the ever-mighty Niagara Falls for an unmatched tour!
- Explore some of the can't-miss sites in the United States of America, all within 2 days
- Start your tour on a high note by visiting the ever-gleaming Niagara Falls- a landmark soaked in history and charm
- Tickets to the Maid of the Mist boat cruise or to the Cave of the Winds (access is subjected to weather conditions)
- Day 2 is a spirited walking tour of popular landmarks in Philadelphia and Washington D.C.
- Enjoy the company of a tour guide throughout and round-trip transfers on comfortable coaches on both days
More Recommended Niagara Falls Tours
Top 7 things to do at Niagara Falls
1The Adventure Theater
Hold onto your seats as you go on a historic journey of the Niagara Falls on the big screen. This 30-minute movie presentation will tell you some incredible stories and share the history of the falls. You will witness the Niagara Falls with a new perspective, going over the crest with daredevils from history. The show plays every 45 minutes at the 314-seater air-conditioned Niagara Adventure Theater auditorium. Tickets to the Adventure Theatre is included in most organized tours from NYC to Niagara.
2Cave of The Winds
Get closer to the Niagara Falls than you would have ever imagined at the awe-inspiring foot of the Bridal falls. Put on your souvenir sandals and poncho and descend 175 feet into the Niagara Gorge. You will then walk along a wooden deck until you reach the unbelievable “Hurricane Deck”. Here, you will be within an arm's reach of the Bridal Veil Falls. Let the Veil's mist wash you up as you take in the absolute awe-inspiring sight that you're presented with. Tickets to the Cave of The Winds is included in most organized tours from NYC to Niagara.
3Maid of the Mist
Ready for the ultimate Niagara experience? Nothing allows you to "feel the roar" as much as a mist-soaked cruise aboard the Maid of the Mist. Taking tourists to the feet of the falls for over 150 years, the Maid of the Mist cruise begins at the base of the Observation Tower, goes past the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls to the basin of the Horseshoe Falls. You are bound to return with a new found appreciation for the Niagara Falls.Tickets to the Maid of the Mist ride is included in most organized tours from NYC to Niagara.
4Prospect Point Observation
The view from Niagara Falls USA Prospect Point Observation Tower is simply unmatchable - the rampaging descent of all three individual falls and the rushing white water below while the mist fills the gorge up. You can take the elevator of the Observation Tower to head to the floor of the gorge. From here, you can either board the Maid of the Mist cruise or walk up a flight of stairs of the side of the cliff to view the falls from the Crow's Nest.
The illumination of the Niagara Falls at night - a symphony of of multi-colored light on the dancing curtain of water makes the sight breathtaking beyond par. The Niagara Falls is illuminated on holidays & special occasions from hundreds of LED lights laced throughout the gorge.
6Aquarium of Niagara
Another extremely popular attraction at the Niagara Falls is the Aquarium of Niagara. Featuring over 1,500 aquatic animals from 200 animal species, including the new Penguin Coast exhibit, the Aquarium is a lovely feature to visit for people of all ages coming to view the falls. You also get to witness daily penguin, shark and tidal pool feedings. Highlights of the Aquarium include California sea lions, Peruvian penguins, sturgeon and more.
Hot tip: Skip this experience if you're in Niagara for just one day.
7Scenic Hiking Trails
Explore the beauty beyond the Falls at on one of the many Niagara Falls hiking trails. Here are a few top recommended trails : Great Gorge Scenic Overlook Hike (1 hour trek), Upper Great Gorge Hike (2 hour round trip hike), Devil's Hole Rapids and Giant Rock (2.5-hour hike round trip) and the Whirlpool Rapids Adventure Hike (three-hour hike round trip). Download Trail Map 1 and Map 2 for a route preview.
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What is the best way to go from New York to Niagara?
|Mode of Travel||Time||Cost||Best For|
|Train||8 hours, 50 minutes||from $70||Leisure travel|
|Bus||7 hours, 50 minutes||from $55||Budget travel|
|Car||6 hours, 30 minutes||$114.44 (approx fuel cost)||Freedom to stop at leisure|
|Plane||1 hours, 30 minutes||from $49 (excluding transit)||Short on time|
|Organised Tour||12 - 14 hour roundtrip||from $200 (all inclusive)||Seamless, no hassle travel|
The quickest way to travel from NYC to Niagara is by flying. You can find frequent flights to the nearby city of Buffalo which takes only 90 minutes. The next fastest way is to drive through the scenic forests of Upstate New York. Going by bus is the least expensive mode, although it takes three times as long as a plane and is just marginally cheaper. The train is the slowest and most expensive choice, but undoubtedly the most comfortable and scenic.
New York To Niagara by Car
The journey from New York City to Niagara Falls is 400 miles long. If you're driving from NYC, the drive will take 6.5-7 hours. You can take either I-80 W or go via I-81 N & I-90 W.
New York To Niagara by Train
A train ride from NYC on the Amtrak takes about 9 hours. The Empire Service starts at New York's Pennsylvania Station and terminates at Niagara. It is the most expensive and slowest choice of transport, however, the most comfortable.
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 (for a family of four). 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.
Organized Tours from New York to Niagara
Another convenient option of commuting to Niagara Falls from New York is by opting for tours that include return transfers. With Headout tours, your commute is made considerably easier as you will be picked up and dropped off at your hotel in a comfortable coach.
Best time to visit Niagara Falls
The best time to visit Niagara Falls is between June to August. Summer is at its peak with lows of 14° C and highs of 26° C. This also means that you might have to rub shoulders with plenty of tourists and spend a few bucks more on attractions. However, this is a great time to spend outdoors hiking and exploring different parts of the Niagara State Park. All attractions are open in full swing and you can experience it all!
The crowds drop off in the spring and fall but so do the temperatures, typically running between 5°C to 15°C. Expect harsh snowfall in winters and erratic closures - it's best to avoid going to Niagara Falls between November to early April.
Visiting Niagara Falls
The Niagara Falls State Park is open 24*7, year round. However, the attractions are seasonal and have varying schedules throughout the year.
Weather at Niagara
Don't let the weather ruin your day trip. Here's the forecast for the next 7 days.
Parking at Niagara Falls State Park
The park is equipped with four lots and several city lots just footsteps from the Park.
- Parking Lot 1 | Prospect Point: This lot is the closest to the Visitor Center and the Maid of the Mist.
- Parking Lot 2 | Goat Island: This lot is is located near the entrance of the Cave of the Winds tour and Top of the Falls Restaurant.
- Parking Lot 3 | Three Sisters Island: This lot is located on the east end of Goat Island near Three Sisters Islands.
- Parking Lot 4 | Niagara Gorge: This lot is just off the northbound Niagara Scenic Parkway, convinient for those visiting the Aquarium of Niagara or the Schoellkopf Site.This is also the in-park stop for the Discover Niagara Shuttle which will bring you from within the park to the attractions outside the park.
Here's a handy Parking Lot Map of the Niagara Falls State Park
Getting around Niagara Falls
Niagara Scenic Trolley
Enjoy the ease and convenience of this hop-on/hop-off trolley that will take you to 15 exclusive sites along the 14-mile route from the "Falls to the Fort." Stops include Niagara USA Visitor Center, Aquarium of Niagara, Niagara View Points, Castellani Art Museum and the Old Niagara Fort among others. Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adult: $3
- Child (Ages 6-12): $2
- Child (Ages 5 and Under): Free
Niagara Falls Transit runs a local bus network specifically for tourists, though the center of town is small enough to be covered by foot. Regular fares are quite expensive at $2.75, but day passes for $7 can be economical if you're looking to move about.
Taxis in Niagara Falls start at a base fare of $2.75 and charge an additional $3 for every subsequent mile.
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.
Day trip budget from New York to Niagara
You can expect to spend $50 t0 $100 per day on a day trip to Niagara Falls, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.
Where can I eat around Niagara Falls?
Be it inside the park premises or in the town of Niagara, you have many restaurants to choose from. Here are the top 5 recommended restaurants in Niagara.
This is the only restaurant that overlooks Niagara Falls and offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Tempt your tastebuds with modern American cuisine and accompany every bite with a spectacular view of the Horseshoe Falls. Distance from the falls : 0 miles
Savor is an upmarket New American spot at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute with an open kitchen & seasonal menu. It is one of the top eateries close to the falls, so expect a wait time during peak hours. Distance from the falls : 0.4 miles
A homely set up serving a friendly mix of traditional North & South Indian dishes in unassuming digs with a buffet. The decor adds to the charm: a stylish dining room energized by a large Bollywood-style mural. Make sure to end your meal here with a sweet plate of gulab jamuns! Distance from the falls : 0.1 miles
A sophisticated American tapas spot with a lengthy artsy wine list. Here, the small plates are contemporary American in origin, accompanied by live music during weekends. Share the truffle fries, crispy artichoke and mussels with friends and pair everything with local wines. Distance from the falls : 0.2 miles
Indulge in traditional Italian dishes with a great view of Niagara River. Located within the Sheraton Four Points hotel, you won't be disappointed with the the hand-rolled fettuccine, the sauteed jumbo shrimp or the pan-seared snapper. Distance from the falls : 4.7 miles
Where can I stay near Niagara Falls?
Extending your trip for a day or two? Here's where you can check-in for the night.
The Red Coach Inn is Niagara Falls NY's longest continuously operating hotel in Niagara Falls. This historic inn overlooking the Niagara River is a 5 minute walk from the brink of the American Falls. Make sure to have a scrumptous meal here.
This hotel features a stylish casino with many gaming options from slots to cards. Enjoy 24 hour room service and recreational amenities likee an indoor pool, health club, spa tub and sauna. The rooms here offer a fantastic view of the Niagara River.
The Hyatt Place is the newest and best hotel in Niagara Falls, located just 3-minute away from the famous Niagara Falls State Park. All rooms in the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV with cable channels, private bathroom with free toiletries and free wiFi.
What you must know before visiting the Niagara Falls
- Your clothes are likely to get wet at the Niagara Falls. Shorts and quick dry trousers are much better than jeans. At the same time, sandals are better than wearing shoes and socks.
- Choose the right time to visit. During the summers, the falls have a heavy flow and the park gets crowded.
- During winters, the falls freeze and present an outworldly site. The crowds are much lesser as well. However, getting drenched in the mist is how you actually visit the Niagara Falls.
- Unless you have your own car, traveling from New York to Niagara by public transport is quite the hassle. The public transport within Niagara is practically non-existent; hence getting from one place to the other via local taxis can cost you a lot. We recommended taking an organized tour from New York to Niagara for the optimal experience.
- Outside the Niagara Falls entrance, there is a mall complex with multiple food kiosks and souvenir. You have cuisine options from Indian to Chinese and Arabic.
- Download this mobile map of the Niagara Falls State Park for easy navigation.
Niagara Falls Reviews
Here's what past visitors have to say about their visit to the Niagara Falls.
On Your Way To Niagara Falls
Road day trips are a whole lot fun with scenic pitstops and small town strolls. Here are a few pitstops you could consider on your way from New York to Niagara.
Located in the village of Watkins Glen, this State Park is nature at its best.A stream gushes through the two-mile-long glen, and there are 19 waterfalls along the course. Hike on trails that runs over and under waterfalls, past cliffs, and between rocks and lush greenery.
The Corning Museum of Glass is home to the largest collection of art glass in the world. You'll gain a whole new perspective about a seemingly common place material - glass. Witness a molten blob transform into something exquisite and you'll never look at glass the same way again.
Nestled in the hallowed halls of hollow earth, a walk through the Secret Caverns takes you through a prehistoric passageway encrusted by the patient hand of time. Catch a glimpse of natural stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstones as you walk down 103 stairs. The tour culminates when one reaches the world famous 100 ft underground waterfall.
In the heart of the Finger Lakes region, Canandaigua is an idyllic stopover offering small-town charms and scenic attractions. Take a lunchtime cruise aboard the Canandaigua Lady, or tour Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park, a stunning Victorian home from the Gilded Age and sprawling 50-acre estate.
Once considered the tallest and longest railroad structure, a tornado in 2003 partially destroyed the bridge. See the 11 bridge towers blown down laying scattered, along with a glass floor which lets you see beneath the structure while standing 225 feet above the ground.
New York to Niagara Falls Day Trip FAQs
Yes, there are multiple day tours to Niagara Falls from New York City. You will travel to the falls in a comfortable coach, spend some quality time at the Niagara Falls and then head back to NYC in the evening.
While there aren’t any doorstep-pickup tours, you can board the buses at various conveniently located points across the city, including Times Square and the city center.
The journey from New York City to Niagara Falls is 400 miles long. If you're driving from NYC, then the drive will take 6.5-7 hours.
Unless you have your own car, traveling from New York to Niagara by public transport is quite the hassle. The public transport within Niagara is practically non-existent; hence getting from one place to the other via local taxis can cost you a lot. We recommended taking an organized tour from New York to Niagara for the optimal experience.
Headout offers exciting tours to Niagara Falls that stay overnight at the falls. You also get to visit other top attractions in the region like the Corning Glass Museum or cruise on the Niagara Jetboat!
You can experience the Maid of the Mist boat ride during the months of May-October. The cruise is also dependent on the weather conditions.
Our day tour lasts for a total of 19 hours, inclusive of travel to and from Niagara Falls.
The Niagara Falls Discovery Pass is an inclusive ticket that includes admission to Maid of the Mist, Observation Tower, Cave of the Winds, Niagara Adventure Theater, Discovery Center, Aquarium of Niagara and the Niagara Scenic Trolley, as well as additional savings at nearby attractions. Note, this pass is valid only from May until October.