9 Travel Ideas For An Exciting Trip From NYC To Niagara Falls

NYC To Niagara Falls Road Trip

Are you planning to visit Niagara Falls? We have plenty of great ideas for an exciting itinerary for you and any companions. Whether you’re taking a day trip or an extended vacation, you will find an array of sightseeing opportunities along the way.

Of course, the legendary Horseshoe Fall and American Fall will be the main attractions on the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls. However, we also have other unique ideas for a trip from New York to Niagara Falls.

Bear Mountain Bridge Over The Hudson River - Niagara Falls From New York Road Trip

1) Upstate New York

You can easily go from New York City to Niagara Falls via several reliable transportation methods. You can choose a bus charter or take the train from Penn Station in Manhattan. If you choose to drive to Niagara Falls, you can explore some of the Empire State’s scenic landscapes along the way. A drive from New York to Niagara Falls covers slightly more than 400 total miles in normal traffic conditions. You can stop at plenty of natural attractions, quaint towns, and historic cities en route to Niagara Falls.

A round trip might take more than a day, so you should plan your lodging and accommodations accordingly. Fortunately, downtown Niagara Falls in NY has plenty of hotels and other essential travel-related amenities. When you finally reach Niagara Falls, you’ll also find plenty of shops, restaurants, and other businesses for your travel needs. Here are some highlights for your road trip:

  • Mountains, rivers, and creeks of the scenic Hudson Valley region

  • Historic downtown Binghamton with riverfront districts

  • Downtown Syracuse museums, entertainment, and architecture

  • Rochester museums and parks

  • Erie Canal Trailway from Albany to Buffalo with original remains of channels and locks

  • Finger Lakes with waterfront parks and small towns

  • Buffalo metropolitan area with lots of urban attractions and riverfront parks

The Scenic Hudson Valley Region - Upstate New York

2) Finger Lakes Region

When driving from the NYC metro area to Niagara Falls, you should explore the beautiful Finger Lakes region. This area is situated roughly halfway between a New York to Niagara Falls trip.

You’ll find plenty of quaint towns and villages along the multiple lakes in this upstate region of the Empire State. Some of America’s deepest freshwater lakes are also found in this area. Below you will find a list of popular features of the Finger Lakes:

  • Watkins Glen State Park – Scenic park with waterfalls, nature trails, and creeks. Located on Glen Creek near the south shore of Seneca Lake

  • Cayuga Lake – Taughannock Falls State Park and historic Ithaca are located on this lake

  • Canandaigua Lake with marinas, parks, and beaches

  • Hundreds of wineries producing some of NY’s best wines

  • Keuka Lake, Cayuga Lake, and other natural lakes with waterfront parks and water activities

  • Skaneateles Lake featuring the Judge Ben dinner cruise on the Lake, the Sherwood Inn and Doug’s Fish Fry, among an array of town shops and restaurants.
Scenic Hiking Trails In Watkins Glen State Park, New York

3) Downtown Buffalo

As you almost complete a drive from NYC to Niagara Falls, you should stop in Buffalo. The Buffalo Metropolitan Transportation Center also has multiple bus services that go to Niagara Falls. This major city even has an Amtrak station for a Niagara Falls train. Besides having a historic downtown with stunning architecture, Buffalo is home to some of upstate New York’s other top attractions.

You can easily find urban lodging and accommodations in this city when visiting the Niagara Falls region. Before you finally finish your trip, be sure to check out the following Buffalo attractions:

  • Canalside district with historic features and modern riverfront promenades

  • Buffalo City Hall built in the Art Deco style featuring the observation deck atop the 28th floor.

  • McKinley Monument in the heart of downtown

  • Buffalo Zoo

  • Buffalo Museum of Science

  • Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Downtown Buffalo, New York , At Night

4) Niagara River

If you’re curious to see the source of Niagara Falls, you should simply follow some roads that run parallel to the Niagara River. You can enjoy a scenic drive from the Buffalo metro area to the heart of Niagara Falls. River Road follows the natural bend of the river for miles. The local routes will also lead you to the Niagara Gorge and other stunning geological features in the region.

You can watch private boats and commercial vessels navigate the river from some of the urban parks. Most of the waterfront parks also offer great views of the sunset. Here are some popular riverfront attractions that you should check out along the way:

  • Broderick Park in Buffalo

  • Historic Unity Island Park with remains of the Erie Canal

  • Riverside Park with sports facilities and other amenities

  • Niawanda Park in Tonawanda

  • Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island
  • Gratwick Waterfront Park

Niagara River, New York

5) Downtown Niagara Falls

The downtown area in Niagara Falls, NY has plenty of urban amenities for regional and international tourists. This particular district should be your final stop for a drive from New York to Niagara Falls. Casinos, chain hotels, and motels line the streets in the heart of this quaint community.

When planning an excursion you could consider alternative transportation methods. For example, the Niagara Falls Station and Customhouse Interpretive Center has stops for Niagara Falls train services and bus services. Although bus tickets and train tickets to Niagara Falls might be cheap, they won’t allow you to explore some attractions along the way.

Additionally, make sure to visit the Niagara Falls USA Official Visitor Center, which stands prominently on a roundabout along Rainbow Boulevard. Here are some major cultural attractions in Niagara Falls, NY:

  • Aquarium of Niagara

  • Historic Schoellkopf Power Station

  • Niagara Wax Museum of History

  • Niagara Falls Convention Center

  • Niagara Military Museum

  • Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

Downtown Niagara Falls, New York

6) Niagara Falls State Park

In addition to having plenty of urban features, the city of Niagara Falls is home to several stunning natural landmarks. Conveniently located near the downtown district of Niagara Falls, the lush Niagara Falls State Park is a must-visit destination for any tourist.

You can easily walk from most hotels in Niagara Falls to this waterfront state park. Here are some notable facts of Niagara Falls State Park:

  • Panoramic views of American Fall

  • One of the most visited state parks in the upstate region of NY

  • Hiking trails and benches overlooking waterfalls

  • Dining at Top of the Falls Restaurant

  • Prospect Point Observation Tower

  • Niagara Scenic Trolley

  • Stunning views of rainbows on sunny days

American Falls, New York State - Rainbows On Sunny Days - New York

7) Goat Island

If you’d like to get up close and personal to Niagara Falls, you will have great opportunities on Goat Island. Connected to the Niagara Falls State Park, the island offers amazing views of the Horseshoe Fall, Bridal Veil Fall, and American Fall. You can also drive between the state park and the famous island via multiple bridges. Several parking lots are open to the public on the island.

Offering direct views of the Horseshoe Falls, Terrapin Point is one of the most popular attractions on the island. If you’d like to get away from the crowds, you can follow the trails that lead to the isolated Three Sisters Island. You can comfortably watch the river rush towards the Niagara Gorge from this smaller island.

Niagara Falls, Goat Island, New York

8) Canadian Side Of Niagara Falls

You will find plenty of urban attractions and natural landmarks on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. The historic Rainbow Bridge directly connects the Canadian community with the American side. You can even walk along pedestrian-friendly paths on this popular bridge that overlooks Niagara Falls.

When driving from New York to Niagara Falls, you should also be prepared to clear customs at the border. In fact, the border agencies are conveniently located on Rainbow Bridge. Here are some highlights of Niagara Falls, Ontario:

  • Scenic Niagara Parkway

  • Table Rock Welcome Centre

  • Casinos, resorts, and high-rise hotels in downtown

  • Beautiful Queen Victoria Park with gardens
  • Skylon Tower with observation decks and rooftop dining
Skylon Tower Observation Deck - Canadian Side

9) Plan Your Road Trip To Niagara Falls

Are you looking to plan a fun trip from NYC to Niagara Falls? You will find plenty of wonderful attractions along the way. When you finally visit the city of Niagara Falls on the New York side, you can explore some of the United States’ most iconic waterfalls. There are also plenty of state parks and local parks in the greater Niagara Falls region.

At Niagara Regional Tours, we offer exciting excursions for the entire family. You can explore the enormous Horseshoe Falls with the Maid of the Mist boat cruise. You can also take an organized tour of the Cave of the Winds, a natural landmark that’s located near the Bridal Veils Fall.

Book your Niagara Falls tour with us today!

Niagara Falls State Park, New York, United States


4 hours
Group Size
Up to 11

All-American, ALL Inclusive Wine Tour

Don’t waste time waiting on large tour groups during this Niagara County wine tour which lets you see beyond the famous falls. Visit more wineries in one day than you could alone and feel free to sample as much wine as you want because your transportation is taken care of. Plus, choose the day and start time that suits your schedule for added flexibility.

This activity has a minimum number of guests required for it to run. While unlikely, it is possible that it will not reach the minimum and you will be notified that it has been canceled.

2 hours
Group Size
Up to 30

Cave of the Winds Tour

Niagara Falls, NY is beautiful at every time of year, and on this fall/winter guided walking tour you’ll experience it at its best in the colder seasons. Fast-track access to the Cave of the Winds experience means you don’t have to line up in the cold. Learn about the history of the falls from your guide and enjoy many amazing views.

4 hours
Group Size
Up to 30

Maid of the Mist, Cave of the Winds Trolley Tour

An intimate and in-depth experience in the Niagara Falls State Park, including the Maid of the Mist boat ride, and Cave of the Winds Walkway. From here you are prepared and informed to enjoy a more complete experience at the State Park and surrounding areas. This is a unique and affordable experience for the entire family as the tickets are all-inclusive. You will be treated like family when you are with us, we will take pictures. Our guides will teach you more about the Falls than any other tour company, we will always put you and your family first that is our pledge.

2 hours
Group Size
Up to 30

Maid of the Mist Boat ride Tour with Guide

Venture into the heart of North America's most iconic waterfall. Enjoy close-up views of the roaring mist as you listen to tales of the falls and their historic adventurers. Tours include viewings of two informative on-site films and a peek at three of the waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, The Bridal Veil Falls, and American Falls.

4 hours
Group Size
Up to 30

All American Private Tour

This tour is a private tour. On this tour, you will see all aspects of Niagara on the US side, and have your own personal guide. you will not be with any other groups, many times Tour Companies like to get as many people on a bus to make as much money as possible, with this tour you will get your own guide, who will cater to you and only you. You will have no issues hearing the guide as you learn about Niagara Falls nor will you have to deal with that annoying person who doesn't follow directions too well. When you go on tour you should have a great time and we promise you we will deliver and you will not be disappointed. For the custom tour, you do pay a little more but we will make sure it is worth it!!

This activity has a minimum number of guests required for it to run. While unlikely, it is possible that it will not reach the minimum and you will be notified that it has been canceled.

4 hours
Group Size
Up to 11

All-American Tour

The All-American Niagara Falls Tour includes Maid of the Mist, Cave of the Winds, Trolley, and more!

No passport needed - Niagara's most celebrated 3 to 4-hour showcase.

This all-encompassing viewing experience at Niagara Falls includes our narrated tour, as well as entry to Cave of the Winds and Maid of the Mist. Your tour guide, a lifelong aficionado of Niagara Falls state park, will share interesting details about this renowned natural attraction with you throughout the course of the Tour. You observe the Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls from observation decks on this ADA-compliant, family-friendly trip. A trip to the renowned Maid of the Mist and admission to Cave of the Winds are also included. The Maid of the Mist, which first set sail in 1846, has welcomed Royalty, Leaders, famous people, and soon...YOU!

5 hours
Group Size
Up to 30

Winter Wonderland Tour

Experience the Majestic Niagara Falls as few ever get the opportunity to do. This Winter Wonderland tour covers the full extent of the American Side of Niagara Falls. Allow us to guide you through the icicle-filled landscape as you hear stories of the history, mystery, daredevils, and rescues of Niagara. We will take you to the best viewing areas in the Niagara Falls State Park, and Whirlpool State Park, enjoy the World Changed Here movie and exhibit, View the Robert Moses Power Plant, and Tour the Niagara Power Vista.