One of North America’s most majestic natural wonders, Niagara Falls is made up of three waterfalls—American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls—which plunge dramatically over the Niagara River. The falls straddle the border between Canada and the US with viewpoints and falls-themed attractions on both sides.
The best way to experience Niagara Falls is on a boat ride. From the New York side, Maid of the Mist boat tours run day and night, when you can see the falls illuminated.
You can also experience the falls from the vantage points at Niagara Falls State Park, Goat Island, and the Hurricane Deck at Cave of the Winds. For a bird’s-eye perspective, venture to the observation deck of the Niagara Falls Observation Tower, or go even higher during a plane or helicopter flight tour over the falls.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Maid of the Mist boat tours provide ponchos, though you may want to bring a waterproof cover to keep your phone dry.
- Some Niagara Falls tours from New York include free time at the falls.
- If you plan on visiting the Canadian side, be sure you bring all the required documentation for the border crossing and for re-entry.
- Maid of the Mist boats are fully wheelchair accessible, as is the Niagara Falls Observation Tower, Niagara Scenic Trolley, Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, and the Niagara Falls Visitor Center. The Cave of the Winds offers only limited accessibility.
How to Get There
Amtrak trains and buses operate between New York City and Niagara Falls, though the journey takes seven to 10 hours. The quickest way to get there from NYC is to fly to Buffalo Airport, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the falls, and take a taxi or shuttle bus from there. Bus tours offer round-trip transportation to the falls from Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and New York City.
When to Get There
Summer is the best time to visit Niagara Falls, with boat trips departing from late April/early May to late October/early November. On summer nights, witness the Niagara Falls fireworks displays.
Things to Do Nearby
If you’ve got some time, dust off your hiking boots for a jaunt along the scenic Niagara Gorge Trail. Stop by the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center for advice on trails to suit your fitness level and schedule. Other non-falls related attractions include the Niagara Aerospace Museum, the Niagara Wax Museum of History, and the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, where you can scour the stalls for bargain deals on brand-name goods.