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.
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 even more so if it only requires one day of your time in New York. Here is a summary of the best excursions so you can choose yours:
The most comfortable option to discover the stunning Falls in one day with all inclusive
Perfect if you are looking for the fastest, most comfortable and complete option to live the full experience of visiting the Falls at the most affordable price. Includes the Maid of the Mist cruise
This is the fastest way to visit Niagara Falls, as the tour takes you to and from downtown New York in one day. The trip is done by bus, so it will be a busy day but totally worth it. You will have to wake up early and return in the evening.
During the day you will visit Niagara Falls State Park, whose entrance fee is included in the price. In addition, you can take a boat ride over the Falls on the legendary Maid of the Mist boat, which for me was the highlight of the day. In addition, you will have enough time to discover the Niagara Gorge Trail, a route full of leafy trails that is worth the walk and you will also pass by Goat Island and Luna Island, two small islands located in the middle of the Falls that will allow you to have breathtaking views.
Why I like this option: in just one day you will visit all the essential points of the park, without leaving anything important to discover. The Maid of the Mist cruise will take your breath away, but the views you'll get from other points in the park are key. The expert guide will make sure you don't miss a thing and the price is very reasonable for all that is included.
Recommended if... you don't want to miss out on this unique natural site in the world without having to spend an excessive amount of time taking away from your New York minutes.
The same complete as the previous option, but arriving at the Falls at sunrise
If you don't mind getting up early, you will arrive in time to see the sunrise from the Falls, enjoying the rainbow that forms over the water every morning. Also included is the Maid of the Mist cruise
If you want to make your experience truly memorable, the "early bird" option of the Niagara Falls day tour will take you to see the sunrise over Niagara Falls and the rainbow over the mist at the Horseshoe Falls. You'll leave at 4 a.m. from New York, but you'll see something certainly mind-blowing.
This tour is identical to the previous tour and includes exactly the same stops and cruise on the Maid of the Mist, but with the advantage that, as the bus leaves earlier, you will arrive at your destination at sunrise. This will also allow you to avoid the crowds that can form in the park in the middle of the day. Of course, it is important that you do not have trouble getting up early (or at least that you are able to sleep on the bus) so that fatigue does not take its toll during the day.
Why I like this option: seeing Niagara Falls is, of course, an experience that I recommend to live at least once in a lifetime. But if we want to enjoy this visit to the fullest, contemplating the colors of the sunrise over the water makes it unforgettable.
Recommended if... you want to live a unique and exclusive experience at the Falls without having to spend a lot of time - or a big budget - on this excursion.
A two-day tour, more relaxed, to enjoy more of this natural park (with hotel included)
You will tour the entire Natural Park, with enough time to hike and see the waterfalls illuminated at night. On the way back, you will stop for shopping at an outlet store
If you have enough time, taking a two-day tour of Niagara Falls is a great option. This tour is very economical, as it also includes accommodation and will allow you to visit Watkins Glen State Park and its magical waterfalls, and see Niagara Falls at sunset, sunset and sunrise.
This tour will take you by bus to Niagara Falls, touring several waterfalls on the way: you will pass through the impressive Watkins Glen State Park, and visit She Qua Ga Falls, a famous waterfall in the village of Montour Falls.
You will arrive at Niagara Falls before sunset and tour Goat Island and Moon Island on the U.S. side as the sun sets over the falls. In the evening, you can watch the Falls light up, and the next morning enjoy the sunrise over the Falls and take the Maid of the Mist tour.
On the way back to New York, you will stop at the Crossings premium outlet, so if you were thinking of shopping for some American brands to bring home as souvenirs, this is the perfect place. If you are interested in going on a excursion to the outles:, here are the best options.
Why I like this tour: what I especially like is that it is so comprehensive and allows you to see Niagara Falls at three different times of the day. Most people who visit this amazing place usually do so for a few hours. In two days you will be able to connect much more with nature and the environment.
**Recommended if... you have enough time to savor the scenery and want a more authentic experience.
In summary, we compare the three options.
The most comfortable option to discover the Falls in one day with all-inclusive
In just one day, you will visit the must-see spots of the park, leaving nothing important undiscovered. The Maid of the Mist cruise and the views from Luna Island and Goat Island will take your breath away
Same as the previous option, but enjoying the rainbow over the Falls at sunrise
If you don't mind getting up early, you can enjoy the rainbow over the waters of the Falls. The itinerary is identical to the previous option, but you will arrive at your destination earlier
A more relaxed visit to enjoy in depth this natural park
It allows you to see Niagara Falls at different times of the day, illuminated at night and with the magical colors of the sunrise. You will also have more time to hike around the National Park
But really, is it worth going to Niagara Falls from New York?
Obviously, this is a very personal question, but I'm going to try to answer you 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 5 days or more, you have enough time to consider the option of taking an excursion outside the city. Spending the day out of the chaos and lights of Manhattan and into a very unique natural setting will bring you back to New York with more energy to continue enjoying the city.
On the other hand, if you are short on time during your trip, subtracting a day from New York might leave you without seeing or enjoying some of its neighborhoods or must-see attractions. In that case it would not be worth visiting the Falls.
Is this your first time in New York?
If it is your first time in New York and you want to enjoy the city to the fullest, you will probably prefer to stay in the Big Apple as long as possible, as it has a lot of things to discover. In that case, it may 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 the round trip to the Falls in one day be too much of a hassle?
One of the big doubts that all of us who have been to New York and have considered the option of going to the Falls face is this: Is it worth it to drive so far to see the Falls in just one day? The answer here for me is clear: yes.
The scenery you are going to see is spectacular (in fact in my case I had already been to Iguazu Falls and I found the Niagara excursion equally spectacular). The road is not heavy, because you are going to see many landscapes along the way. Besides, in my case the jet lag worked its magic and I slept almost all the way back, so I can say that I almost didn't even notice it!
Do you feel like contrasting your visit to the city with a natural landscape?
If you are one of those travelers who like to enjoy the outdoors on your vacation, discover unique natural places that are not built or designed by the hand of man, this is a great way to give your trip to New York the perfect counterpoint. After a few days strolling through the traffic, lights and noises of the city, spending a day in nature (and what a nature!) will be the perfect break in your vacation.
Is it worth going if I go with children?
If you doubt that the excursion will appeal to the little ones, I'll solve the question right away: they will be amazed. The scenery, the sound of the water, the waterfalls, the boat trip.... If we adults are impressed, the children will literally live the adventure of a lifetime.
However, keep in mind that the bus ride is not a short one, so the decision will depend more on whether they tend to fall asleep during the trip, if they get tired or dizzy on the road, etc.
What to see in Niagara Falls
On your visit to Niagara Falls from New York, be sure to include these highlights on your route to make the most of a wonderful natural setting:
Niagara Falls State Park
Niagara Falls State Park is a perfect location overlooking the three falls. From the lookout, you will be able to observe the waterfall on the Canadian side from afar while walking very close to the Bridal Veil waterfall.
Maid of the Mist
On this iconic boat tour you will enjoy the three waterfalls from up close, and it is an experience you should definitely experience as it is the main attraction of Niagara Falls. One of the great advantages of the tours I recommend is that they all include tickets for the Maid of the Mist.
The boat leaves from the U.S. side daily (with few exceptions), and will take you on a tour that departs near the Rainbow Bridge and takes you down the Niagara River to the American Falls, then to the Bridal Veil Falls and finally to the Horsehoe Falls, whose dense mist you may have seen in more than one photo.
Niagara Gorge Trail
Along the Niagara Gorge there are a number of roads and trails to take a stroll along for some breathtaking views. There are trails of varying lengths, and in the interest of time, we recommend the Great Gorge Railway Trail, an easy 1.8 km (1.8 km) one way.
On this island located in the middle of the Niagara River you will find the famous Terrapin Point lookout and a statue dedicated to the inventor Nikola Tesla, in a setting of natural beauty. Goat Island is also home to Cave of the Winds, a popular Niagara Falls attraction.
The second of the small islands of Niagara Falls is located between American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, and walking on its edge you will be only a few meters away 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.
Although you can do this tour on your own, my recommendation is to go on an organized tour because in addition to learning about what you are seeing, it will take away the stress of planning everything to the millimeter to make the itinerary you see above. And by the way, you won't have to worry about the round trip, as everything is included.
Alex's Traveller Tip
Don't miss the breathtaking views of Horseshoe Falls from the Table Rock Welcome Center!
Plan your Niagara Falls excursion from New York City
Visiting Niagara Falls is almost a must if you are a nature lover, because in addition to the breathtaking spectacle that the falls offer, you will find a natural environment perfect for a hike. And if photography is your thing, I assure you that in few places will you have the opportunity to capture the water in motion as in Niagara Falls. And of course: you'll be able to take some stunning photos for your Instagram.
Niagara Falls with kids
If you visit Niagara Falls with kids, they'll have a blast: 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, keep in mind that to get to Niagara Falls, you will take an early morning bus and it will take about 10 hours to get there from New York, counting all the stops along the way.
The groups for the Niagara Falls tours are usually about 50 people, and include admission to the one experience you'll want to experience: the Maid of the Mist.
Meals are not included on these tours, so you'll have some free time to explore at your leisure. If you want some tips on where to eat in Niagara Falls, read a little more below.
Best day of the week to take a trip to Niagara Falls from New York City
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 to time your visit to coincide with a show that will add a very special touch to your excursion.
Best time of the year to take a trip to Niagara Falls from New York City
The typical temperature around Niagara Falls changes greatly throughout the year. While in the winter you can freeze, in the summer it is usually quite nice, with sunny and warm days. If you visit the Falls in the spring, it will most likely rain, and in the fall you can find very pleasant weather, as long as you go before November.
If you can, my recommendation is to visit Niagara Falls in mid to late May and between September and October. You will certainly have better weather and you will also avoid most of the tourists, who come in the summer.
- December - March
- Weather: Snow
- High 11ºC
- Minimum 0ºC
- March - June
- Climate: Temperate
- High 27ºC
- Low 2ºC
- June - August
- Climate: Hot and humid
- High 29ºC
- Minimum 18ºC
- September - November
- Climate: Temperate
- Maximum 25ºC
- Minimum 6ºC
Typical Niagara Falls food.
Around Niagara Falls, 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're not going to find spectacular food in Niagara Falls. My recommendation, and this usually applies to every excursion you go on that doesn't include food, is to take some food in your backpack (and a good bottle of water to refill!).
- Flip Burger - If you're looking for something reasonably priced with a typical American flavor, 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 getting away and walking, you can cross the Rainbow Bridge and try Smoke's Poutinerie's popular poutine.
- Savor - The best option if you'd rather not stray too far from the more touristy Niagara Falls area.
What should I take with me to Niagara Falls?
The best advice I can give you is to go in the most comfortable clothes you own. You will find that most people visiting the Falls do the same. If you visit in winter, it is best to wear several layers to adapt to the changing weather.
Regarding footwear, I recommend (highly) that you wear sneakers or waterproof footwear, as you will most certainly get wet at the Maid of the Mist. For the same reason, a rain jacket and a GoPro-type camera are good inclusions in your backpack (although you get a poncho and flip-flops).
- Very important! Don't forget to bring your passport, as you will be crossing the US-Canada border regularly.
- If you visit Niagara Falls in the fall, don't miss Niagara Falls Park - the colors of the leaves are beautiful!
- Don't worry about the kids as it is a very safe place.
- And lastly, truth be told the Canadian side of the Falls is much more manicured and better looking than the US side, so try to spend as much time as you can on the other side of Rainbow Bridge.
The Niagara Falls tour is a unique experience - you'll remember it for a lifetime!
Helpful advice from us and our travellers so you can enjoy your experience to the fullest.
Do I need a passport to visit Niagara Falls from NYC?
You will be asked to provide a passport when returning to the U.S. from the Niagara Falls, so its mandatory to bring it with you for the trip.
What is the best way to experience the Niagara Falls?
The best activities to experience the Niagara Falls are the Maid of the Mist tour, the Cave of the Winds visit and the Niagara Falls State Park visit.
How far away is Niagara Falls from New York?
Niagara Falls is located 400 miles away from New York, meaning you'll be in for a 6-7 hour drive before arriving at Niagara Falls, with most tours from New York leaving very early in the morning (4:00 or earlier)