Experience Niagara Falls State Park
Niagara Falls State Park is open 365 days a year, and it’s always free to walk into the Park and experience the Falls!
There’s so many things to do in Niagara Falls USA that it can be hard to get to it all! If you’re working on a limited timeline — a weekend getaway, for example — you’ll want to go for our narrowed-down list of things you absolutely have to do here. Get ready for a heady mix of history, culture and, of course, the spectacular nature the area is known for! Below are 7 must do activities and experiences in Niagara falls
1. NIAGARA FALLS STATE PARK
Did you know Niagara Falls State Park is the nation’s oldest state park? Not only are the Falls breathtaking, they’re also embedded in early state and U.S. history. Take in the drama and excitement of the Falls from the Observation Tower near Prospect Point, the only panoramic view of all three Falls. Take the elevator down from the tower to board the iconic Maid of the Mist.
2. MAID OF THE MIST BOAT TOUR
Once you’re on the Maid of the Mist, hold on for a boat ride like you’ve never experienced before! Operating since 1846 as a sightseeing tour, the Maid of the Mist can hold up to 600 visitors on each of its two double-decker boats. Famous visitors to the boat have included Princess Diana, President Jimmy Carter and Mikhail Gorbachev. You’ll go past the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls on the U.S. side, then past the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side before ending back at the U.S. side at Niagara Falls State Park.
3. OLD FORT NIAGARA
Originally established in the 1600s by the French, Old Fort Niagara played a role in the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the War of 1812. With some of the oldest buildings in the entire Great Lakes region, it’s Western New York’s most tangible link to the Revolutionary War period. Depending on when you visit, you might even experience one of the period re-enactments that take place at the fort throughout the year.
4. CAVE OF THE WINDS
How close is up close? Bring your waterproof camera, slip into the special yellow poncho, and follow a series of wooden walkways (built fresh each year!) to the famed Hurricane Deck of Cave of the Winds. There, you’ll find just feet away from the base of Bridal Veil Falls, so expect to get wet from the spray coming off the Falls itself and be awed! Please note, this is a timed-ticket experience.
5. LOCKPORT LOCKS & ERIE CANAL CRUISE
Take a cruise through history on the Erie Canal on this scenic cruise. You’ll go past five of the original 1800s locks, including the only double set (the boat will rise 50 feet due to the 3 million gallons of water it takes to fill the locks!). You’ll also pass the widest bridge in the U.S. (the Big Bridge) as well as rock cuts, lift bridges and the Upside Down Bridge.
6. NIAGARA GORGE HIKING TRAILS
For the serious hiker, getting off the beaten path and descending into the heart of the Niagara Gorge is a must (those who are less experienced will want to stay on the top trails). Just 3 miles from downtown, you’ll find Devil’s Hole State Park where you can access the signature route of miles of trails that take you down to the rapids of the Niagara Whirlpool, edged by rock formations and canyon walls for a breathtaking view of nature up close.
7. NIAGARA JET ADVENTURES & WHIRLPOOL JET BOAT TOURS
The Class V rapids of the Niagara River can be daunting to even seasoned mariners. However, when you add jet-powered boats to the equation, you get a white-knuckled ride that’ll test your vocal cords. Both Niagara Jet Adventures and Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours take guests on a guided, 45-60 minute tour through the Devil’s Hole Class V rapids of the Niagara River. Offering both a wet and dry experience, these high-speed boats will have you craving another adrenaline-packed adventure.
NIAGARA FALLS STATE PARK FAQs
Q: How do I get to the park?
A: For a complete list of directions to Niagara Falls State Park, visit the Niagara Falls State Park Maps and Directions page.
Q: Where can I park?
A: There are four parking lots within the park. The Niagara Falls State Park Parking page provides in-depth information about the parking lots and their locations.
Q: How much does parking cost?
A: Parking is $10 in all three park parking lots
Q. Can I get an Uber or Lyft at the Park?
A. Yes, ride sharing is available throughout all of Niagara Falls USA
Q: Where is the nearest airport?
A: The Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF) is approximately 30 miles from the park and is easily accessible from the New York State Thruway (I-90).
Q: Where can I find something to eat?
A: Niagara Falls State Park has a number of food service outlets ranging from grab-and-go snack bars and cafes to the spectacular Top of the Falls Restaurant, which provides visitors floor-to-ceiling views of the Falls from every table. Click for more information about Top of the Falls and In-Park Dining. Outside of the park, there are plenty of options as well. Please see our More To Do page for suggestions.
Q: Where can I walk and hike?
A: Niagara Falls State Park was designed with an emphasis on the appreciation of nature. There are numerous footpaths throughout the park, and a path that gives access to the Niagara Gorge. To learn more about some of the great hiking trails that Niagara has to offer, visit the Niagara Falls State Park Discovery Center and Hiking Trails page.
Q: Can I use an electric scooter in the park?
A: Currently Niagara Falls State Park does not allow electric scooters or bicycles to be operated on any of the walking/pedestrian paths in Niagara Falls State Park. Therefore, any paths in Niagara Falls State Park that the general public cannot access by motor vehicle are designated as walking/pedestrian paths. Electric scooter and bicycles can be operated on the public roadways with a speed limit of less than 30mph. Standard traffic laws apply (stop signs, red lights, etc). Operators will be stopped and ticketed for operating electric scooters on the paths in Niagara Falls State Park. Those tickets carry a maximum fine of $250.00. Operators can be held civilly liable for injury to others or damage to property caused by a collision.
Q: Are there bike paths?
A: The footpaths and trails in Niagara Falls State Park are not intended for off-road bicycles. Bicycles are welcome on any roads where vehicle traffic is permitted.
Q: Is the Park accessible to the disabled?
A: Yes. All of our attractions and most footpaths are fully accessible, suitable for wheelchairs and excellent views of Niagara Falls.
Q: Are wheelchairs and strollers available?
A: Wheelchairs are available upon request, on a first-come first-serve basis, at the Park Visitor Center. They are free, but extremely limited. If you have one, then we recommend that you bring it along. Strollers are not available for rent or loan within the park. However, you could book the use of wheelchairs, mobility scooters, strollers and wagons through a private company, Sight See Rental (716) 345-5446. They are located at the corner of Old Falls and Prospect Streets, right outside the main entrance of Niagara Falls State Park. Calling ahead is advised.
Q: How long does the park stay open?
A: Niagara Falls State Park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year round. However, park attractions are seasonal and have their own schedules. To learn more about the different attractions that Niagara Falls has to offer, visit the Niagara Falls State Park Attractions & Tours page.
Q: Where can I find souvenirs?
A: There are four gift shops within Niagara Falls State Park that carry officially licensed park souvenirs and merchandise, conveniently located near major attractions. All in-park shops carry a full line of quality souvenirs, including apparel, glassware, gifts and books, as well as last-minute necessities, such as batteries, sunglasses and umbrellas.
Q: How long are Trolley tours?
A: The Niagara Scenic Trolley makes a complete circuit of the park approximately every 30 minutes. It’s time well spent to acquaint yourself with the park’s layout and history, courtesy of the tour guide. Your Scenic Trolley ticket is good all day, so you can get off at any stop to explore at your leisure, then re-board to continue on to the next destination.
Q: How long should I plan to stay?
A: To see everything in Niagara Falls State Park, plan to stay for at least a day. A longer visit, however, will allow you to fully experience the beauty of the park and the Falls, as well as visit the attractions in the surrounding area. Check out the Discover Niagara Shuttle to extend your stay beyond your time at Niagara Falls State Park!
Q: How do I secure permission to shoot a movie, TV show or other type of production in the park?
A: For more information about how to start the permit process, visit the Niagara Falls State Park Filming Permits page.
Q: Where can I get emergency assistance in the Park?
A: Emergency services can be found at New York State Park Police Headquarters near the Aquarium, or by calling (716) 278-1777.
Q: Can I bring my dog?
A: Yes, but all pets must be on a 6-foot leash. Please note that pets are not permitted in any buildings or attractions unless they are service animals. Learn more.
Q: Can I use a drone at Niagara Falls State Park?
A: No. In Niagara Falls State Park, (per FAA rule 14 CFR 93 Sub E), there is a flight restriction in the vicinity of Niagara Falls State Park that amounts to a No Fly Zone. All flights below 3,500 feet are restricted, Therefore, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) are prohibited in Niagara Falls State Park. No filming permit will be issued.
Expenses, Groups, and Events
Q: Can I tour the park with a large group?
A: Yes. Please call (716) 278-1794 for more information.
Q: Is there a program for educational groups?
A: Yes. Niagara Falls State Park has an interpretive office that organizes programs for school groups and organizations. Please call (716) 299-0822 for more information.
Q: Can I host a special event at the park?
A: Certainly! Niagara Falls State Park is great a setting for special events including weddings, reunions and banquets. Visit the Niagara Falls State Park Weddings & Events page for details and information.
Q: How can I get married in Niagara Falls State Park?
A: Please call (716) 278-1714 for information. Destination Niagara USA is also a great resource for more information on local wedding planning services.
Q: What special services are available for international visitors?
A: In the gift shops, many of the books and videos that detail the history of the Falls are available in Japanese, French, and German language versions. Listening aides for a wide variety of language translations are available for the excellent film in the Niagara Adventure Theater.
Q: Is there an ATM in the park?
A: There are no ATM machines within the park. Banking services can be found just outside Niagara Falls State Park, within walking distance in downtown Niagara Falls, USA.