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:
The most comfortable option to discover the imposing 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 quickest option to visit Niagara Falls, as the tour gets you to and from downtown New York in one day. The trip to Niagara Falls from New York is done by bus, so it will be a busy day but totally worth it.
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 Niagara Falls on the legendary Maid of the Mist, which will be 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 well 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 the must-see spots of the park, leaving nothing pending on the list of things to see and do in Niagara Falls. 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 this unique natural site in the world without having to spend days in New York.
A two-day visit, more relaxed, to enjoy more of this natural park (hotel included).
You will tour the entire Natural Park, with plenty of time to hike and see the waterfalls illuminated at night. On the way back, you will make a stop for shopping at an outlet store.
If you have enough time, taking a two-day Niagara Falls tour instead of the one -day tour is a great option. This tour is very economical, as it also includes accommodation and allows 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 nature reserve and visit She Qua Ga Falls, a famous waterfall in the village of Montour Falls.
You will arrive before sunset and tour the U.S. side of Niagara Falls passing Goat Island and Luna Island 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 buying some American brands to bring home as souvenirs, this is the perfect place. If you are interested in going on a trip to the New York outlets, here are the best options.
Why I like this tour: it is very comprehensive and allows you to see Niagara Falls at three different times of the day: morning, afternoon and evening. 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 feel like a more authentic experience.
In summary, we compare the two 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 to discover. The Maid of the Mist cruise and the views from Luna Island and Goat Island will take your breath away.
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 through the National Park.
But really, is it worth going to Niagara Falls from New York?
Obviously, this is a very personal question, but I will try to answer you as honestly as possible, giving you the tips, pros and cons that I consider 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 plenty of time to consider the option of 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 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 and, for example, you are going to be in New York for 3 days or less, 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 for as long as possible, as there are many things to discover. In that case, it may not be worth leaving New York to embark on a full-day excursion, especially if, as mentioned above, you don't have much time in the city.
Will the round trip to Niagara Falls in one day be too much of a hassle?
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 it to drive so far to see the Falls in one day? The answer here for me is clear: yes.
The scenery you are going to see in Niagara Falls is spectacular (in fact I had already been to Iguazu Falls and I found the Niagara excursion equally spectacular). The road is not heavy, because you will be seeing a lot of 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 want to contrast your visit to the city with a natural site?
If you are one of those travelers who like to enjoy the outdoors on your vacation, discovering 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 noise 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 little ones will like the excursion, I'll solve the question right away: they will be amazed. The scenery, the sound of the water, the waterfalls, the boat ride.... If we adults are impressed, visiting Niagara Falls with children can literally be the adventure of a lifetime.
However, keep in mind that the bus ride is not short, so the decision will depend more on whether they tend to fall asleep during the trip, whether they get overwhelmed or get road sick, etc.
What to see in Niagara Falls
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 all there is to see in Niagara Falls:
Niagara Falls State Park
Niagara Falls State Park is a perfect location overlooking the three falls. From the overlook, you will be able to observe the Canadian side of the falls 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 you should definitely experience as it is the big attraction of Niagara Falls. One of the great advantages of the tours I recommend is that they all include tickets to the Maid of the Mist.
The boat leaves from the American side daily (with some exceptions), and will take you on a tour that departs near the Rainbow Bridge and takes you along 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 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, 1.8 km (one way) and easy to walk.
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 an environment of natural beauty. Goat Island is also home to Cave of the Winds, a popular attraction in Niagara Falls.
Cave of the Winds
After an elevator ride down, you'll practically be able to get inside 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 points that offers some of the best views of the waterfall and also one of the points from which you will get the most wet. You can buy tickets to go down to the Cave of the Winds once in the park, but there are also organized tours of the falls that include this stop.
The second of the little islands of Niagara Falls is located between the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls, and walking on its edge you will be just 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 Luna Island 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 tour from New York City
Visiting Niagara Falls is almost a must if you are a nature lover, because in addition to the impressive spectacle offered by the falls, you will find a perfect natural environment for a walk. 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 will 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 your sleeping and eating schedules, keep in mind that to get to Niagara Falls, you will take an early morning bus and it will take you around 10 hours to get there from New York, counting all the stops along the way.
The groups of the organized tours to Niagara Falls are usually about 50 people, and they include the entrance to the experience that you will want to live: the Maid of the Mist.
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.
Best day of the week to tour Niagara Falls from New York City
As with many other tourist attractions, you will find fewer people if you visit the Falls during the week. That said, I recommend that you check the fireworks calendar on the official Niagara Falls website to try to coincide your visit with a show that will add a very special touch to your excursion.
Best time of the year to tour Niagara Falls from New York City
The typical temperature around Niagara Falls changes greatly throughout the year. While if you go to Niagara Falls in the winter you may 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 in mid to late May and between September and October. It is certainly the best time to go to Niagara Falls, you will have better weather and you will also avoid most of the tourists, who come in summer.
If the weather doesn't help or doesn't suit you, we recommend you to do the Washington tour from New York or the Philadelphia tour from New York, where the weather will be less important to enjoy the tours.
- 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 food in Niagara Falls
If you are going to eat in Niagara Falls you should know that in its surroundings, 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 the park. One of my tips for visiting Niagara Falls, and this usually applies 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!).
- Flip Burger - If you're looking for something reasonably priced with a typical American flavor, Flip Burger has very good 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 prefer not to stray too far from the more touristy area of Niagara Falls.
What should I take with me to Niagara Falls?
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 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 they give you a poncho and some flip flops).
- 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 the fall, don't miss Niagara Falls Park- the colors of the leaves are beautiful!
- Don't worry about children as it is a very safe place.
- If you have enough budget, consider taking a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls; it will be short but intense and I assure you it will be worth it.
- And finally, one of the tips to keep in mind when visiting Niagara Falls from New York is that, to be honest, the Canadian side of the Falls is much more well kept and has a better look than the American 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 that you will remember for the rest of your life!
Frequently asked questions
Do I need a passport to visit Niagara Falls from New York?
You will be asked to provide a passport when returning to the U.S. from Niagara Falls, so it is mandatory that you bring it with you on your trip.
Is Niagara Falls really worth going to?
The answer is yes, absolutely. You will see a very unique natural landscape and the trip doesn't get too tiring. The best part of the experience, the tour on the Maid of the Mist ship.
How far is Niagara Falls from New York?
Niagara Falls is about 643 kilometers (400 miles) away from New York, which means it takes about 6-7 hours to get there. Most tours departing from New York to the famous falls leave very early in the morning (around 04:00).