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NYC to Niagara Falls: A Family Adventure Guide

Are you planning a weekend trip from New York City to Niagara Falls with the kids? Here’s a family adventure guide to help you start plotting a few destinations for your road trip to get you excited about your upcoming vacation.

Without traffic, the drive from NYC to Niagara Falls should take you about seven hours. However, while mapping out the drive with my husband, we decided that we would split the drive into two days and incorporate a few fun stops along the way for the kids.

NYC to Niagara Falls

With three children who aren’t used to road trips, a drive straight to Niagara would be a test. So, why not make the journey part of the vacation?

NYC to Niagara Falls: A Family Adventure Guide

If you are interested in making a few pit stops during your New York City to Niagara Falls road trip, here are some of my favorite destinations. Be sure to head over to your local Enterprise Rent-A-Car location to pick up a vehicle for your trip.

Whether it’s a minivan, an option with a third row, or an eco-friendly vehicle, Enterprise has you covered. Onto the top destinations that we narrowed down for a New York City to Niagara Falls road trip.

enterprise rent a car

Howe Caverns

Location: 255 Discovery Dr, Howes Cave, NY 12092

howe cavern

The Howe Caverns is a popular cave in Howes Cave, Schoharie County, NY. Many upstate New Yorkers frequent this location on a regular basis because you get to enjoy diving 156-feet below the earth’s surface without having to worry about advanced equipment or training.

Did I mention this cave is over six million years old? What a treat! If you are a New York City resident and want to take a day drive, heads up, Howe Caverns is about 170 miles away from the city.

Howe Caverns COVID-19 Updates: Please be sure to check the website for up-to-date information on policies:

  • Tours will be by prepaid, non-refundable reservation ONLY. NO walk-ins.
  • Tour capacity will be limited.
  • Tours will run Wednesday–Sunday, from 9:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M 
  • All guests (including children) are required to wear a mask. 

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Location: 246 W Willow St, Syracuse, NY 13202

dinosaur bbq

The original Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is located in Syracuse, NY. If you are on your way to Niagara Falls, you might as well make a pit stop for some hearty food. St. Louis-style ribs, smoked brisket, BBQ chicken, and more.

Make sure when you stop for lunch, you come hungry. To view this restaurant’s updated safety measures due to COVID-19, click here.

Jell-O Gallery Museum

Location: 23 E Main St, Le Roy, NY 14482

The Jello museum

For history buffs and dessert enthusiasts alike, the Jell-O museum is a perfect break to a long drive from NYC to Niagara Falls. Have you ever wanted to learn more about the story behind Jell-O? 

This dessert was created in 1897 and is still going strong! Make sure you keep enough time in your schedule for a sweet treat at the end. Please practice safe social distancing policies while visiting.

Watkins Glen State Park

Location: 1009 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891

Watkins Glen State Park 1

Get ready to enjoy a serene nature walk filled with 19 waterfalls and endless stone steps. This upstate park is known across the region as a multi-purpose location. Think picnics, hikes, swims, photography sessions, and more.

One of the great things about Watkins Glen State Park is that it’s open year-round and offers something different every season. So, make sure to return different times of the year if you can swing it.

Masks are required to enter and enjoy the grounds. New York State Park campsites, cabins, and cottages are options for reservations. For more information, click here

It’s a Wonderful Life Museum

Location: 32 Fall St, Seneca Falls, NY 13148 

Seneca Falls

The perfect way to honor one of my favorite movies! This museum is completely dedicated to the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” and is packed with memorabilia from the filming of the movie.

As a note, the movie was not filmed in this town but actually filmed in California. However, this town holds annual celebrations and truly keeps the spirit alive! Visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing to enter the location.

family road trip

I know this is a lot to pack into a two-day road trip – but trust me – it will be worth it! Then, once you get to Niagara Falls, you can enjoy all of that glory for another full day.

If you need the actual address to plug into your GPS for your final destination, it’s 332 Prospect St., Niagara Falls, NY 14303. Before you start plugging in all of these addresses, make sure you have enough snacks, chargers for your phones, clean camera cards, and a reservation with Enterprise.

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