On a 400 mile road trip between NYC & Niagara Falls, there is plenty to see and do, from the charming coppers town area to wildlife refuges and of course the finger lakes region which has shimmering lakes, 19 waterfalls and world renowned wine!
This road trip can be spread over multiple days we did it within 7 & really made the most of it! Of course the icing on the cake is the majestic Niagara Falls which offers over 42 million gallons of water per second, which plummet over the edge of its three gigantic waterfalls!
Niagara Falls consists of three waterfalls, two on the U.S side separated by Goat Island and one on the Canadian side (Horseshoe falls)
The Largest & most spectacular of Niagara Falls, is Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. So make sure you can you passport handy and/or necessary visa passes if traveling from another part of the world!
New York City to Niagara Falls Road Trip Map:
Dive into our Map below, to explore the best things to do/see while driving between New York City and Niagara Falls.
User Guide: Simply Click the +/- buttons to zoom in & out, Click on a favourite attraction, and click directions symbol to give you the driving or walking route directly there!
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How long is the drive from New York to Niagara Falls?
A direct drive heading north west from New York City to Niagara Falls is 410 miles (660km) long. It takes approximately 6-7 hours. Of course, this isn’t a race so we will be doing our road trip over 7 days.
New York to Niagara falls road trip Itinerary
1. New York City:
New York City is one of the most iconic cities in the world and as you might have guessed it has alot to offer! Here are a few tips on a day in NYC.
Drive/walk over Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic places in New York City. Either drive straight over or take the subway to Downtown Brooklyn then take a walk over.
The is the perfect place to capture some iconic New York City photos, great for instagram, facebook or just good old fashioned memories!
- Empire State Building
- Rooftop Cocktails at Pod 39 – a Great Empire State Alternative!
- Top of the Rock Viewpoint, Rockerfella Centre.
New Yorker Highlights:
- Central Park – Give you a real feel for New York City!
- Grand Central Terminal – A Vibrant place to visit.
- Time Square (Busy but FREE!)
- Ground Zero: 911 Museum – An Emotional Place
- Bryant Park – Watch the Ice Skaters during the winter.
- Queens (Flushing Area) – Great local foods/Cultural Hub.
- Bronx (Arthur Avenue) – Great Italian Food (Better than little Italy!)
Check out John Lennons Strawberry Fields at Central Park. This is where his ashes were scattered after his fatal assassination in New York City!
For more on NYC, check out:
2. Gilbertsville (Otsego County)
With a population of just 399 people, according to a 2010 census, Gilbertsville is a tiny village located in the scenic Butternut valley, just a short drive from Unadilla, NY.
The village of Gilbertsville was added to the National Register of Historic Places in May 1983, making it a unique district to visit. Be sure to check out:
The Major’s Inn, a medieval English Tudor & Gothic Building, which is open seasonally & hosts many special events.
Wagner Farm State Forest offers over 450 acres, with hunting & trapping allowed during appropriate seasons.
3. Milford (Otsego County)
Just nine miles south of Cooperstown and just a 20 minute drive from Oneonta, NY, you will find Milford. Attractions here include:
Cooperstown Brewing Company
Cooperstown Brewing Company is one of many great craft breweries in the Cooperstown area. Here you will find english ales such as Old Slugger, Nine Man Ale and Benchwarmer,
Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad
After a few drinks, you can hop on board the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad for a scenic train ride along the Susquehanna River Valley.
The Murdock & Murdock Gallery
Here you will find artwork from old legends to modern contemporaries. They also sell American, European paintings, bronze, marble and even Tiffany lamps!
Raspberry picking at Middlefield Orchard
Pick apples, apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries & sweet corn at Middlefield Orchard, just a short 10 miles north in Middlefield, NY.
4. Coopers town (Otsego County)
Cooperstown in Ostego County is a quaint village area which packs a big punch in New York state. Baseball fans will know the town as home of National Baseball Hall of Fame which celebrates the legendary players & managers from yesteryear.
Many choose to head down to Doubleday Field, to watch a ball game! Head along the charming main street to find plenty of quaint shops & great restaurants.
If your here during the winter time be sure to check out seasonal performances at The Glimmerglass Opera Festival
If you fancy heading outdoors then head to Glimmerglass State Park, a 593 acre which offers year round activities including swimming and camping on the wood lined shores.
Hyde Hall, is 50-room mansion which acts as a 19th century museum, of a bygone era when powerful english families had vast estates in their former colonies. The house is considered one of the finest examples of neoclassic country mansions anywhere in the United States.
5. Fly Creek (Ostego County)
Fly Creeks lies just 4 miles (6 min) drive north west of Coopers town. The town was founded by Dutch traders who harnessed the power of the fast moving creeks by building 8 mills in the 19th century.
Be sure to check out Fly Creek Cider Mill, which is 163 years old and still open to visitors today. There is also the Cooperstown Beverage Trail and variety of tasty restaurants.
Oneonta college town:
Afterwards you can even check out the college town of Oneonta, NY, nicknamed “City of the Hills“. This is a stand-alone eclectic community with alot to offer from arts to outdoor recreation.
6. Cherry Valley (Otsego County)
During the late 1700s, the tiny village of cherry valley was the gateway to Americas Western Frontier. During the 1960s & 1970s cherry valley was an artists haven where artists such as Allen Ginsberg lived.
There days you can check out the historic builded such as the oldest bank west fo Albany and the Cherry Valley Museum , which documents the history of the area.
You can also experience fine dining, shopping, treasure hunts, and top accommodation in Cherry Valley. Other attractions include the Old Middlefield Schoolhouse Museum and outdoor adventures at Cherry Valley State Forest.
7. Richfield Springs (Otsego County)
As you drive out of Coopers town or cherry valley be sure to take the drive to Canadarago Lake which is just one mile south of the village, this is known as the second cleanest lake in NYS, and is 7 miles long/2 miles wide.
Insider Tip: Head to Deowongo Island in the center of the lake for a picnic & some exploring.
Annual events at Richfield Springs Village:
1. The Farmer’s Market in Spring Park
This farmers market features local vegetables, organic meats, herbs, flowers, honey and dairy. In addition, you can find a host of natural beauty products, arts, crafts and even live music.
Opening Hours: Thursdays: 4 PM-6 PM; Saturdays: 9 AM-1 PM.
2. The Summer Concert Series
The summer concert Series runs every Wednesday at Spring Park from the end of June to the last Wednesday of August. Here you will find a variety of local artists & mix of music genres.
Concerts start at 7pm, I recommended bringing your own chair to have a relaxing evening of music.
3. The Richfield Springs Food Co-op
The Richfield Springs Food Co op is at 140 West Main Street and open daily between 7AM-5PM. Here you will find local coffee, homemade sandwiches and baked goods.
Other Towns in Ostego County:
– Hartwick, NY
– Worcester, NY
Small town Worcester offers a indoor flea market, quilt zoo and quaint 1 screen theatre (Wieting Theater). Decatur State Forest spanning 582 acres and is the perfect place for hunting, bike rides and picnics.
8. Go wild at Seneca County
Drive west into New York’s Seneca County, and be sure to check out Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge an area which offers of 10,000 acres of swampland and has been a national landmark since 1973.
The area is largely untouched with a variety of migratory birds in the area. You have options to take the wildlife drive or park up and hit the hiking trails.
Be sure you have the correct Hiking gear, check out our reviews here: Hiking Gear
9. Finger Lakes
Take the short drive to the Finger Lakes Regions where I suggest you spend a few days.
Fun Fact: The name “Finger Lakes” comes from the finger shape of two lakes Seneca and Cayuga, which are some of the deepest in the US.
The area is also famed for its wine vineyards, with over 100 in the area! You will also find boat cruises, farmers markets and a variety of Museums.
If you need some driving inspiration head to Watkins Glen International racing circuit
10. Buffalo, NY
Drive up the shores of Lake Erie to arrive at Buffalo, New York. Some popular attractions here include:
- Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.
- The Buffalo Zoo.
- Burchfield Penney Art Center.
- Buffalo Museum of Science. …
- Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House.
- Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site.
- Albright-Knox Art Gallery – Works by Picasso & Warhol!
If your feeling hungry you have to try some of the spicy buffalo wings from Duffs. If your into spicy wings, this is the place. There medium is boiling, and they even have “death sauces” which are only for those which want a real spicy challenge.
11. Niagara Falls
We’ve finally made it to Niagara Falls, a raging wonder of the world! Fun facts about Niagara Falls:
- Niagara Falls is over 15,000 years old, formed just the last Ice age
- The Largest Fall (Horse shoe falls) is on the Canadian side 176 feet / 53.6 meters high.
- 600,000 U.S. gallons / 2,271,247 litres per second flow over Horse shoe falls.
- The first person to go over the Falls in a barrel and survive was a 63 year old female schoolteacher.
- 30 Million Visitors come to Niagara falls each Year
- 20% of the worlds freshwater lies in the Great Lakes and most flows over Niagara Falls.
- In 2012 Nik Wallenda was the first person to cross the Niagara Falls by tightrope in 116 years. (He even had to present his passport at the border despite being on a tightrope!)
Best time to visit Niagara falls:
Peak flow at Niagara falls is in the daytime during peak tourist season (June, July, and August). If you want less tourists you can head an alternative time of year.
Which is better New York side or Canada side of Niagara falls?
The Canada side (Ontario) of Niagara falls (Horseshoe falls) is the best. It is the largest of the three waterfalls and has the majority of hotels, restaurants & attractions in the town of Niagara. After Niagara you can carry on the journey and visit the incredible waterfalls of Hamilton . There are some great off the grid cabins in Ontario, CA.
Take a drive along the scenic Niagara Parkway.
Do I need a Visas/passport to cross over to Horseshoe Falls (Canada)?
U.S Citizens can travel visa free in Canada for up to 180 days. However, you must carry proof of identification & nationality at all times. So keep your passport, passport car or NEXUS card with you at all times.
For International visitors you will require a Visa or ESTA for the USA and an visa or ETA for Canada.
Where do I get the best Rental Car deal?
For the best rental car deal for your road trip be sure to check out:
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