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Niagara Falls: Day Trips and Tours from New York City

Book your Niagara Falls trips from New York City to wonder at one of the great natural treasures of the Americas. Some 400 miles north-west of the Big Apple, you'll find the mighty cataracts tumbling over gorges and cliffs on the US-Canada border.

Everything from jaw-dropping lookouts on Goat Island to rides on the famous Maid of the Mist await those who come…

How to get to the Niagara Falls from New York City?

By car

The car journey from NYC to the Niagara Falls crosses the heart of Upstate New York and eastern Pennsylvania. It's a truly beautiful drive, passing the wooded banks of the Delaware Gap and the forested hills of the Finger Lakes. The trip is around 6.5 hours from beginning to end. Use I-80, I-81, and the I-90.

By train

Amtrak offers routes from the Big Apple to Buffalo, the gateway city to the Niagara Falls. There are direct links between the Niagara Falls Station and Penn Station in Manhattan. Expect travel times in the region of 9 hours each way.

By airplane

Niagara Falls trips that take to the skies cut off the lengthy land journey across to the waterfalls. In fact, they'll whisk you from Midtown Manhattan to the airport in Buffalo in just a matter of hours. This remains the fastest way to reach the falls.

By tour

Choosing a Niagara Falls day trip package is one of the most popular ways to get back and forth to the wonder. It takes the stress out of sorting your own travel. What's more, many trips include pick-up and drop-off at your hotel in NYC, while others offer meeting points at main interchanges like Madison Square Gardens. Journeys on shared coaches or minibuses are usually in the region of 7-8 hours each way.

How much does the entrance ticket to the Niagara Falls cost?

You'll want to bag the right ticket for your Niagara Falls trip – just to make sure you don't miss out on any of the bucket-list attractions that await there. There are two main options:

Niagara Falls USA Discovery Pass

The Niagara Falls USA Discovery Pass is a ticket to all the headline draws. You get access to everything from the blustery Cave of the Winds to the Aquarium of Niagara, along with must-do excursions on the Maid of the Mist boat. And that's just a taster.

Discovery passes allow for one admission per attraction. There's no rush to use them in a single day, so you can spread attractions throughout the duration of your Niagara Falls trip. They are only valid for the high season in Niagara, which lasts from the spring thaw to mid-late October. Prices for the Niagara Falls USA Discovery Pass are:

  • Adult (12+) - US$46
  • Child (6-12) - US$35
  • Child (under 5) – free in all Niagara attractions

À la carte tickets

À la carte tickets let you pick and choose what activities you'd most like to do. You'll need to buy these individually at each attraction, which also means you'll need to queue at each attraction. Costs vary depending on what it is you want to see. There are often reductions for children under 12, while kids under 5 go free.

How to choose a Niagara Falls trip from New York City?

There are more Niagara Falls trips out there than you can shake a waterproof poncho at. From all-American gorge walks and aquarium excursions to multi-day adventures that take in the tree-fringed 1000 Islands of Canada and the beautiful Finger Lakes, you've got loads to choose from.

Before booking, you'll want to consider the length of time you have to spend, the sort of transport you want to take, and if you're eager to see other amazing places in the vicinity of Niagara. Check out the examples below for some inspiration…

1-day trips to Niagara Falls from New York City

Niagara Falls day trips by airplane

Day trips by airplane will whiz you in and out of the Big Apple. Cutting down the length of the journey leaves more time to explore Niagara itself. In just 14 hours, you'll fit in jaunts on the Maid of the Mist, lunch with views of the roaring water, and visions of the falls from both the US and Canadian sides.

Niagara Falls day trips by bus

Day trips by bus take a little longer – but they're also easier cheaper. They aim to check off the most quintessential experiences, like the Cave of the Winds Gorge Walk and the wild Maid of the Mist. Guests also get to explore the Niagara Falls State Park in the company of a dedicated guide.

2-day trips to Niagara Falls from New York City

Niagara Falls 2-day trips by bus

Adding an extra day to your Niagara Falls trip can really help ease up time on the itinerary to fit in more bucket-list adventures. Bus transfers don't need to be so hurried, which means you'll get to enjoy the trip through Upstate NY and the Finger Lakes, before feeling the water spray on the Maid of the Mist and standing on the awesome lookouts of the American Falls. On the return leg, there's even an opportunity to drop into Crossings Premium Outlets, for retail therapy in one of the US's largest outlet malls.

Niagara Falls 2-day trips by rail and air

Cruise on the rail lines up the bucolic Hudson River, through Upstate, and over to Niagara Falls. Then, it's onto the photo stops atop the Niagara Falls themselves before settling in for the night. Come morning, you can enjoy stunning panoramas of Canada and the US from the Niagara Falls Observation Tower, and ride on the Maid of the Mist. A full day's exploration ends with a speedy plane transfer back to the Big Apple.

Niagara Falls, Washington & Philadelphia 2-Day Trip by bus

Some Niagara Falls trips offer seriously enticing combos. Using a mixture of train and plane links, they'll whisk you from the White House in Washington DC to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. However, things start by trading Manhattan for the Maid of the Mist on a day that's dedicated to visions of crashing cataracts and the Niagara Gorge.

3-day trips to Niagara Falls from New York City

3-Day Niagara Falls, Toronto and 1000 Islands

Cranking up the duration of your Niagara Falls trip to three days is a doozy if you're looking to adventure beyond the Maid of the Mist and the Cave of the Winds. Things get rolling with those bucket-list draws in Niagara on day one. But then you're onto the skyscrapers of Canada's financial capital. And you'll finish with scenic cruises where Lake Ontario meets the St Lawrence River – keep the eyes peeled for sightings of A-lister mansions on the stunning islands that rise from the waters there!

4-day trips to Niagara Falls from New York City

Niagara Falls trips with Toronto, the 1000 islands, Ottawa, and Montreal from NYC

Adding an extra day into the mix means you can expand those adventures north of the border. You'll get the usual Maid of the Mist ride and photo opportunities above the mighty Horseshoe Falls. But then you head off to hip and happening Toronto, to delve into Ripley's Aquarium and a soy-sizzling Chinatown district.

Next up is the Thousand Islands National Park, for cruises through fir-topped islets where millionaire mansions hide. The trip wraps up with visits to the Canadian capital and immersive Montreal, home to a cobblestone center laden with French pubs and bouillabaisse taverns.

Niagara Falls, Washington DC, Philadelphia 4-Day Tour from NYC

Four full days is enough to pack in some of the great treasures of north-eastern USA. Of course, the Niagara Falls themselves lead the way (think Maid of the Mist outings and trips to Goat Island). But you'll also get to see the stunning beauty of the Finger Lakes and the Glen State Park.

Heading south from there, shopping stops lead into the Garden State. That opens up sightings of the Liberty Bell in Philly, along with jaunts to traditional Amish Country. Things finish up in DC, for compulsory selfies outside the White House and walks through the National Mall.

What will you see and do at the Niagara Falls?

Niagara Falls trips are packed with fun and adventure. They take you to one of the most awesome corners of America, where tons of water crash through sheer-sided canyons and past islets on the Canada border. These days, there are oodles of attractions that help to make any jaunt to the waterfalls one to remember:

Maid of the Mist  

The legendary boat that takes you right under 600,000 gallons of gushing water! It's been going since 1846, and is one of the most iconic experiences to have on any Niagara Falls trip. Just be sure to pack the poncho! (The Maid of the Mist runs seasonally between May and October).

Cave of the Winds

Feel the full force of the roaring Bridal Veil Falls from the redwood decks that poke out from the Cave of the Winds. You'll descend a whopping 175 feet into the base of the Niagara Gorge to get there, where it is fingers crossed that the rain ponchos work!

Niagara Hiking Trails & Discovery Center

Curious minds can delve into thousands of years of geological history and explore the remains of the first hydroelectric power station here. Meanwhile, adventurers can hit marked walking paths that reveal the gurgling Devil's Hole Rapids and the Whirlpool Rapids.

Niagara Adventure Theater

A multimedia odyssey that unravels the history of the mighty waterfalls is on offer at the Niagara Adventure Theater. It's a great alternative to the Maid of the Mist on Niagara Falls trips during the winter, letting you experience the ferocity of the cataracts from the comfort of a 314-seater auditorium.

Aquarium of Niagara

Encounter fin-flapping Humboldt penguins, sawtooth sharks, and weird and wonderful jellyfish in the Aquarium of Niagara. It's a must on any Niagara Falls trip for folk interested in marine ecology and underwater life!

When are Niagara Falls open over the year?

Niagara Falls trips run the whole year. That's because the Niagara Falls State Park stays open 365 days. However, you should be aware that some attractions run seasonally, and some months are simply better suited to sightseeing and explorations.

For example, the bucket-list draw of the Maid of the Mist only runs from May to October. What's more, Niagara Falls USA Discovery Passes are typically only available from spring to fall. That means the summer months are generally considered the best time to visit.

That said, taking Niagara Falls trips in the winter can reveal a whole other side of the natural wonder. You could find the falls caked in ice and snow come December. And there are sure to be fewer crowds.

What are the opening times?

The Niagara Falls are a natural feature – the water never stops rolling over the bluffs! However, some of the attractions that are a main part of Niagara Falls trips do close. A few are also only open on a seasonal basis. You'll need to check ahead to ensure the attractions you're most excited about are open during the hours you're visiting.

Travel tips

  • Take a poncho! – rides on the Maid of the Mist and visits to the Cave of the Wind mean you'll get super close to the waterfalls.
  • Visit in spring, summer, or fall – From May to October is generally the best time to take a Niagara Falls trip. That's when the weather is usually at its best. And it's when you can make use of cheaper combo tickets for all the attractions.
  • Remember to check your cell phone plan won't charge you for roaming between the US and Canadian sides of the falls.
  • Consider bringing currency in Canadian dollars if you're taking a Niagara Falls multi-day trip that goes north of the border.
  • Savor the journey in from New York if you're driving. Places like the Delaware Gap and the Finger Lakes are beauties in their own right!
  • Make sure to check out the Visa requirements of Canada if you are crossing the border. Travelers from many countries do not require a travel visa, but only the passport. However, this rule is not valid for everybody.