Two of New York states’ most popular travel destinations happen to be New York City, itself, and Niagara Falls… so, it comes as no surprise that, most people, who visit the Big Apple, would be eager to see both. Although the two sights are both located within the same US state (Niagara lying on the border between upstate New York and Canadian, Ontario), they are still a fair distance from one another – so, getting to Niagara Falls from New York City can still prove to be somewhat of a mission!!
On the plus side, there are a number of options available to you – dependant upon your budget, timescale and preferred travel experience…
Going it Alone
If, like me, you prefer to have the freedom of “going it alone” and having options as to how you spend your time, there are 4 different options available to you…
Recommended if there is more than one person and costs can be split!
There are plenty of car hire companies available at JFK airport should you need a car when you arrive in NYC – they are all in the same area (Federal Circle stop – from the AirTrain), making it easy for you to get quotes for whatever you want/need (one day and leave the car in Buffalo/the duration of your time upstate AND the return drive/anything in between/extra drivers etc.). Alternatively, you can book before your trip and, thus, hopefully get a cheaper deal.
The drive itself took us about 7-8hours (with a couple of food/coffee/toilet breaks)
Pros: Toilet/food/coffee breaks whenever you feel like it, freedom on location (should you wish to explore Buffalo/Toronto/Lake Ontario – as opposed to just the Falls themselves), easy to navigate along the Interstate the majority of the way (but more scenic/cultural routes available if you wish)
Cons: Tiring, Car hire costs (if applicable), Petrol costs, toll costs, time
Flying, to Buffalo (around 25miles from the falls), with a company such as JetBlue means you can fly out of JFK early in the morning and back the same evening – making a day trip to the falls a feasible, albeit ambitious, option!
The actual flight time is approximately one hour… however, once you add up; check-in time at the airport, luggage handling, getting to/from the airports at either end… you could be faced with a, more likely, 4-5hour commute. Still, this almost halves the time spent for any other form of transport…
Pros: Time, fairly relaxed journey, great views of Manhattan from the air!
Recommended if you like to sit back and relax.
Amtrak connects NYC to the US side of Niagara by rail – with journeys leaving three times per day, ranging between $65 – $155 or £43 – £103 (as at Nov 2015) per person, each way.
The journey takes approximately 9hours with a fairly short bus journey to the falls at the end (and a little bit of walking between each section). It’s fairly easy to check out the journey on Google Maps beforehand 😉
Pros: Fairly relaxed journey, toilet/food/coffee breaks whenever you feel like it, scenic Hudson River Valley views
Cons: Cost (if more than one person), Time, less freedom on location unless you hire a car
Recommended if you’re a budget traveller with plenty of time.
The Greyhound buses serve the area between NYC and Niagara, Ontario. The vehicles are equipped with an on-board restroom, as well as free wi-fi and individual power outlets.
The bus journey can take anything from 9-11hours and seems to be priced from around $47 or £30 (as at Nov 2015) upwards.
Pros: Toilet breaks, scenic views, cost (better if booked in advance), free wi-fi
Cons: Time, less freedom, Stock up with food/drink beforehand if you want a snack!
Recommended if you’re more limited by planning time than money!
If you prefer to have a ready made package, a tour could well be the best option for you. Many companies offer both single day, and multi day tours from NYC to Niagara Falls.
I prefer not to promote full travel packages if I haven’t used the company before myself, however, I have been on a month long tour booked through in Asia and thoroughly enjoyed the experience… otherwise, a simple Google search should do the trick for you! 🙂 Happy holidays!!
Have you ever travelled to Niagara Falls from New York City? Any pleasantries or horror stories to share from your experiences?? (Check mine out here!!) Please feel free to comment below! 🙂
Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉