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.

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 composed of three stunning 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:

  • Niagara Falls Day Trip From New York City
  • From $197
  • 19h
  • The most comfortable option to discover Niagara Falls in one day with everything included
  • Maid of the Mist boat cruise optional
  • No meals
  • Book now
  • Niagara Falls 2-Day Trip from New York City
  • From $406.
  • 2 days
  • A more relaxed visit to enjoy in depth this natural park.
  • Maid of the Mist boat cruise included
  • With breakfast
  • Book now
  • Niagara Falls, Toronto and 1000 Islands 3-Day Tour from NYC
  • From $582
  • 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 you as honestly as possible, 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 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 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 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 practically all the way back, so I can say that I almost didn't even notice it!

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

Do you feel like contrasting your visit to the city with a natural landscape?

If you are a traveler who likes to enjoy the outdoors on your vacation, discovering unique natural sites that are not built or designed by man, this is a great way to give your trip to New York the perfect counterpoint. After a few days walking through the traffic, lights and noises of the city, spending a day in the middle of nature (and what 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, visiting Niagara Falls with children can literally be 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 overwhelmed or get road sick, etc.

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What not to miss on the Niagara Falls tours

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 all there is to see in Niagara Falls:

  • 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 to take a stroll along to enjoy the breathtaking views. There are routes of varying lengths, and in terms of time, we recommend the Great Gorge Railway Trail, 1.8 km (one way) and easy to walk.
  • Goat Island: 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 the best views of the waterfall and also one of the points from which you will get wetter.
  • Luna Island: the second of the small 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 from the falls. The origin of its name surely gives 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 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 are a nature lover, because in addition to the breathtaking spectacle offered by the falls, you will find a perfect natural environment 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 awesome 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, including all the stops along the way.

Groups

Group tours to Niagara Falls are usually about 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. If you want some tips on where to eat in Niagara Falls, read a little more below.

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

Niagara Falls illuminated at night| ©James Wheeler
Niagara Falls illuminated at night| ©James Wheeler

As with many other tourist attractions, you will find it less crowded 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 time your visit to coincide with a show that will add a very special touch to your tour.

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

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

The typical temperature around Niagara Falls changes greatly throughout the year. While if you go in winter to Niagara Falls you can freeze, in 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 nice weather, as long as you go before November.

If you can, my recommendation is to visit in mid to late May and September to 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 does not help or does not convince you, we recommend you to do the tour to Washington from New York or the tour to Philadelphia from New York, where the weather will be a less important aspect when it comes to enjoy the rides.

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

Typical Niagara Falls Food

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 excursion you're going on that doesn't include food, is to pack some food in your backpack (and a good bottle to keep refilling with water!).

Recommended restaurants:

  • 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 prefer not to stray too far from the more touristy area of Niagara Falls.

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What should I take with me on a Niagara Falls tour?

View of Niagara Falls with rainbows| ©Jason NG
View of Niagara Falls with rainbows| ©Jason NG

The best advice I can give you is to go with 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 do give you a poncho and flip-flops).

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Latest tips

View of Niagara Falls from an observation deck| ©Cameron Venti
View of Niagara Falls from an observation deck| ©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 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 - you will remember it for the rest of your life!

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