Niagara Falls Day Trips from New York

Visiting the most popular waterfalls on the planet is a great way to get away from the lights and chaos of New York. Here's a list of the best organised tours and whether or not it's worth a visit.

Alex Grande

Alex Grande

10 min read

Niagara Falls Day Trips from New York

Panoramic view of Niagara Falls | ©Edward Koorey

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 stunning natural wonder at least once in a lifetime is totally worth it, and it's definitely one of the must-do activities during a trip to New York, even more so if it only requires a day or two of your time. Here are the best tours to visit Niagara Falls from New York:

  • Niagara Falls Day Trip From New York City
  • From AED 722
  • 19h
  • The most convenient way to discover Niagara Falls in one all-inclusive day.
  • Maid of the Mist boat cruise optional
  • No meals
  • Book now
  • Niagara Falls 2-Day Trip from New York City
  • From AED 1,492
  • 2 days
  • A more relaxed visit to enjoy this natural park in depth.
  • Maid of the Mist boat cruise included
  • With breakfast
  • Book now
  • Niagara Falls, Toronto and 1000 Islands 3-Day Tour from NYC
  • From AED 2,135
  • 3 days
  • A 3 day trip from New York with two nights accommodation
  • Maid of the Mist Boat Cruise included
  • With breakfast
  • Book now

But is it really worth going to Niagara Falls from New York?

View of Niagara Falls| ©Tim Gouw
View of Niagara Falls| ©Tim Gouw

Obviously, this is a very personal question, but I will try to answer as honestly as I can, giving you the tips, pros and cons that I think are important for you to make the decision that best suits your travel style.

Depending on the length of your trip

If you are going to be in New York for 5 days or more, you have enough time to consider taking one of the best tours from New York. Spending the day out of the chaos and lights of Manhattan and into a very unique natural setting will have you returning to New York with more energy to continue enjoying the city.

On the other hand, if you are short on time during your trip and, for example, you will be in New York for 3 days or less, subtracting a day from your trip might leave you without seeing or enjoying some of the must-see neighbourhoods or attractions. In that case it would not be worth visiting the Falls.

First time in New York?

If it's your first time in New York and you want to get the most out of the city, you'll probably want to stay in the Big Apple for as long as possible, as there's so much to discover. In that case, it might not be worth leaving New York to embark on a full-day trip, especially if, as I mentioned above, you don't have much time in the city.

Will it be too much of a hassle to make the round trip to the Falls in one day?

One of the big questions facing all of us who have been to New York and have considered the option of going to Niagara Falls from New York is this: Is it worth the long drive to see the Falls in just one day? The answer here for me is clear: yes.

The scenery you will see at Niagara Falls is spectacular (in fact I had already been to Iguazu Falls and I found the Niagara trip equally spectacular). The road doesn't get tiring, because you'll be seeing a lot of scenery along the way. Besides, in my case, jet lag worked its magic and I slept practically the whole way back, so I can say that I almost didn't even notice!

In any case, you can do the trip from New York to Niagara Falls during the day, leaving early in the morning and taking in the scenery along the way.

Fancy contrasting your visit to the city with a natural landscape?

If you're a traveller who likes to enjoy the great outdoors on your holiday, discovering unique natural sites that aren't built or designed by man, this is a great way to give your trip to New York the perfect counterpoint. After a few days wandering through the traffic, lights and noise of the city, spending a day in nature (and what a nature!) will be the perfect break from your holiday.

Is it worth going if I'm going with children?

If you doubt that the little ones might like the excursion, I'll answer the question straight away: they 'll be amazed. The scenery, the sound of the water, the waterfalls, the boat trip... If we adults are impressed, visiting Niagara Falls with children can literally be the adventure of a lifetime.

However, bear in mind that the bus ride is not a short one, so the decision will depend more on whether they tend to fall asleep on the way, get road sickness, etc.

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What not to miss on tours to Niagara Falls

Maid of the Mist Cruise| ©Chris Mcintosh
Maid of the Mist Cruise| ©Chris Mcintosh

On your visit to the Falls from New York, be sure to include the highlights of Niagara Falls on your route to make the most of the wonderful natural surroundings and not miss out on any of the Niagara Falls attractions:

  • Niagara Falls State Park: this is a perfect location overlooking the three falls. From the overlook, you can see the waterfall on the Canadian side from afar while walking very close to the Bridal Veil waterfall.
  • Maid of the Mist: on this iconic Niagara Falls boat tour you will enjoy the three falls from up close, and it is an experience that you should definitely experience as it is the main attraction of Niagara Falls.
  • Niagara Gorge Trail: Along the Niagara Gorge there are a number of paths and trails along which you can take a stroll to enjoy the breathtaking views. There are trails of varying lengths, and in terms of time, we recommend the Great Gorge Railway Trail, which is 1.8km (one way) and an easy walk.
  • Goat Island: This island in the middle of the Niagara River is home to the famous Terrapin Point lookout point and a statue dedicated to inventor Nikola Tesla in a setting of natural beauty. Goat Island is also home to Cave of the Winds, a popular attraction in Niagara Falls.
  • Cave of the Winds: After a lift ride down, you'll practically become part of the waterfall if you visit Cave of the Winds in Niagara Falls. This access to the lower part of the river is one of the spots that offers the best views of the waterfall and also one of the spots where you'll get the wettest.
  • Luna Island: the second of Niagara Falls' small islands is located between the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls, and walking along its edge you'll be just a few metres from the falls. The origin of its name is sure to give you an idea to try on your visit: it is said that on full moon nights, it is possible to see rainbows in the falls with the reflection of the moonlight.
  • Finally, don't miss the breathtaking views of the Horseshoe Falls from the Table Rock Welcome Center.

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Plan your Niagara Falls tour from New York City

Around the Falls in autumn| ©Alexis Gethin
Around the Falls in autumn| ©Alexis Gethin

Photos

Visiting Niagara Falls is almost a must if you're a nature lover, as in addition to the breathtaking spectacle of the falls, you'll find the perfect natural setting for a hike. And if photography is your thing, I assure you that in few places will you have the opportunity to capture water in motion as in Niagara Falls. And of course: you'll be able to take some amazing photos for your Instagram.

Niagara Falls with kids

If you're visiting Niagara Falls with kids, they'll have a great time: the area is perfect to visit as a family and has plenty of attractions and places designed for the little ones. For their sleeping and eating schedules, bear in mind that to get to Niagara Falls, you'll be catching an early morning bus and it will take around 10 hours to get there from New York, including all the stops along the way.

Groups

Group tours to Niagara Falls are usually around 50 people and include admission to the one experience you'll want to experience - the Maid of the Mist.

Meals

Meals are not included on these tours, so you'll have some free time to explore at your leisure. For some tips on where to eat in Niagara Falls, read below.

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Best day of the week to tour Niagara Falls from New York City

Niagara Falls lit up at night| ©James Wheeler
Niagara Falls lit up at night| ©James Wheeler

As with many other tourist attractions, you'll find it less crowded if you visit the Falls on a weekday. That said, I recommend that you check the fireworks calendar on the official Niagara Falls website to try and coincide your visit with a show that will add a special touch to your trip.

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Best time of year to take a Niagara Falls tour from New York City

The Falls from the Maid of the Mist| ©Caitlin Louise
The Falls from the Maid of the Mist| ©Caitlin Louise

The typical temperature around Niagara Falls changes greatly throughout the year. While wintertime visits to Niagara Falls can be freezing, summertime is usually quite nice, with sunny and warm days. If you visit the Falls in spring, it is likely to rain, and in autumn you can expect pleasant weather, as long as you visit before November.

If you can, my recommendation is to visit in mid to late May and between September and October. It's certainly the best time to go to Niagara Falls, you'll have better weather and you'll avoid most of the tourists, who come in the summer.

If the weather doesn't help or doesn't suit you, we recommend you do the Washington tour from New York or the Philadelphia tour from New York, where the weather will be less of an issue when it comes to enjoying the tours.

  • Winter
  • December - March
  • Weather: Snow
  • High 11°C (52°F)
  • Minimum 0ºC
  • Spring
  • March - June
  • Climate: Temperate
  • Maximum 27ºC
  • Minimum 2ºC
  • Summer
  • June - August
  • Climate: Hot and humid
  • Maximum 29ºC
  • Minimum 18ºC
  • Autumn
  • September - November
  • Climate: Temperate
  • Maximum 25ºC
  • Minimum 6ºC

Typical food in Niagara Falls

Eating and drinking in Niagara Falls| ©HammyCri
Eating and drinking in Niagara Falls| ©HammyCri

If you are going to eat in Niagara Falls, you should know that in the surrounding area, you will find typical American food, but also Canadian food with a strong French influence. There are barbecue bars and restaurants for all tastes, where you can try the typical dishes: poutine (fried potatoes with cheese and gravy, a meat sauce) and Canadian bacon (pork steaks marinated in maple syrup sauce).

Although to be honest, you are not going to find spectacular food in the park. One of my tips for visiting Niagara Falls, and this tends to apply to every tour you go on that doesn't include food, is to pack some food in your backpack (and a good bottle of water to refill!).

Recommended restaurants:

  • Flip Burger - If you're looking for something reasonably priced with a typically American flavour, Flip Burger has great reviews and is also next to the Maid of the Mist tour departure point.
  • Mother Cluckers Inc - an interesting mix of Portuguese and American cuisine and is quite well located next to the visitor information point.
  • Smoke's Poutinerie - If you don't mind a bit of a walk, you can cross the Rainbow Bridge and try Smoke's Poutinerie's popular poutine.
  • Savor - The best option if you prefer not to stray too far from the more touristy Niagara Falls area.

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What should I take with me on a trip to Niagara Falls?

Rainbow view of Niagara Falls| ©Jason NG
Rainbow view of Niagara Falls| ©Jason NG

The best advice I can give you is to wear the most comfortable clothes you have. You will find that most people visiting the Falls do the same. If you visit in winter, it's best to wear several layers to adapt to the changing weather.

In terms of footwear, I highly recommend that you wear trainers or waterproof footwear, as you're bound to get wet at the Maid of the Mist. For the same reason, a rain jacket and a GoPro-type camera are good additions to your backpack (although a poncho and flip-flops are provided).

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Latest tips

View of Niagara Falls from an overlook| ©Cameron Venti
View of Niagara Falls from an overlook| ©Cameron Venti
  • Very important! Don't forget to bring the necessary documentation for Niagara Falls, as you will be crossing the border between the United States and Canada on a regular basis.
  • If you visit Niagara Falls in autumn, don't miss Niagara Falls Park- the colours of the leaves are beautiful!
  • Don't worry about children as it's a very safe place.
  • If you have the budget, consider taking a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls; it will be short but intense and I assure you it will be worth it.
  • Finally, one of the tips to keep in mind when visiting Niagara Falls from New York is that the Canadian side of the Falls is actually much more manicured and better looking than the American side, so try to spend as much time as you can on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

The Niagara Falls tour is a unique experience - you'll remember it for the rest of your life!

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