Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls at night

Credit Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation

While the mention of “Niagara Falls” – a prime destination for intrepid world explorers, starry-eyed honeymooners and notorious daredevils, alike – invariably summons magnificent postcard images of thunderous cascades of millions of gallons of verdant green water eternally plummeting over the famous trio of ever-spectacular, rainbow-arced, mist shrouded falls, groups on a comprehensive Niagara Falls adventure-quest will also want to visit the quaint, nearby town of the same name as well as the surrounding history-and-landmark-rich region.

The iconic Falls were created by the Wisconsin glaciation more than 12,000 years ago – the same forces that shaped the legendary North American Great Lakes and the powerful Niagara River. All were carved from the Earth by a massive continental ice sheet that passed through the area, deepening some river channels to form huge lakes, and damming others with endless tons of debris; modern scientists argue that there is an old valley, buried by glacial drift, at the approximate location of Welland Canal. The enormous energy of Niagara Falls has long been recognized as a potential source of reliable, affordable power; the earliest known effort to harness the raging waters into useful submission was in 1759, when Daniel Joncaire built a small canal above the Falls to power his sawmill.

Rainbow Bridge, just downriver from the falls, affords eager visitors the closest view of the falls and is open to non-commercial vehicle traffic and pedestrians; Whirlpool Rapids Bridge lies one mile north of the Rainbow Bridge and is the oldest bridge over the Niagara River. A plethora of intriguing points of historical interest will ensure travelers on Upstate hiatus a gloriously enlightened getaway, while scores of fabulous area attractions including miles of scenic hiking and biking trails, a variety of exciting personalized tours by land, water and air, wet and wild white water adventures and leisurely cruises afford the adventurous explorers and history buffs as well as the dedicated hedonists in your group a perfectly personalized Niagara Falls stay-cation!

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Sample Itineraries

Niagara Falls 2 Day Trip

Your Niagara Falls 2 Day Tip is designed to give every participant an experience that combines many of Niagara's most popular attractions.

    •  Boat Tour
    •  4D Niagara Experience
    •  Niagara’s Aquarium


Old Fort Niagara

Student groups planning a quintessential Upstate getaway with their hearts set on exploration of the stunning Niagara Falls area in all its magnificent glory will want to dedicate a few hours of their itinerary to wandering the grounds and compounds of popular national historic landmark Fort Niagara, a 250 acre fortification opened in 1726 near Youngstown, New York, on the Eastern bank of the Niagara River. Fort Niagara, originally built to protect the interests of New France in North America, is the oldest continuously occupied military site in North America; visitors embark on a fascinating journey back in time to an era when powerful empires struggled for control of the wild territories we now know as the United States and Canada. Marvel at the sight of the Fort’s original War of 1812 flag, revel in breathtaking panoramic views and wonderful 18th century architecture, participate in exciting living history programs, view an award-winning orientation film and peruse introductory exhibits filled with original artifacts. Tour original buildings where Native American, French, British and American soldiers lived and worked from the 18th to the 20th centuries, experience thrilling musket and artillery firing demonstrations and witness skilled artisans at work-imagine the hardship of everyday life on the rugged 18th century Niagara Frontier. You’ll meet talented re-enactors who skillfully recreate the lives of past fort garrisons, carefully depicting the trials and tribulations of the day, providing groups on Niagara excursion a captivating cross section of the struggles that birthed our great Nation.

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Niagara Adventure Theatre

Niagara Falls Adventure Theater

Credit Niagara Falls Adventure Theater

Any group wishing a more comprehensive Niagara Falls history lesson than self-guided wandering might deliver will definitely want to include a stop at this popular educational attraction in Niagara Falls State Park in New York on their Upstate itinerary. Your fellow excursionists shouldn’t need too much convincing to take a well-deserved break from hours of serious hiking, sightseeing and exploring and step inside, where a truly exciting and absolutely immersive Niagara Falls experience awaits! From the air conditioned comfort of your choice of 314 stadium seats you are regaled with boatloads of fascinating Falls information, legend and lore that would take more than a lifetime of steadfast adventuring to amass! You’ll want to hold onto your hats as “Legends of Adventure” comes whooshing to life on a fabulous 45-foot screen while the thunderous and unmistakable roar of the iconic Niagara Falls is delivered through deafeningly realistic digital Dolby surround-sound. Experience for yourselves all the mist, myths and mysteries of one of the most magnificent and storied natural wonders of the world during this spectacular 30-minute presentation showing on the hour at the new Niagara Adventure Movie Theater located on the bottom floor of the Niagara Falls State Park Visitor Center. A stop by Niagara Adventure is an unforgettable piece of every group’s Upstate excursion; to date, more than fourteen million visitors have come away with an enhanced perception and knowledge of the region, a magical place of grand historic, scientific and geographic significance. Complimentary headsets for French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean and German languages and wheelchair accessible seating are available.

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Cave & Underground Boat Ride

Plucky itinerants visiting Upstate New York wanting to see and do it all while touring the region will appreciate the fact this landmark attraction is just a 30 minute jaunt from magnificent world wonder Niagara Falls (via Route 31 East) in Lockport, New York. Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride ushers groups wanting to get to the heart of local landmark legend and lore on informative and exciting 70-minute guided tours through America’s industrial history. Guests will explore the famous Flight of Five Locks, visit notorious haunted ruins from an earlier industrial age and amble through an unbelievable 1600 foot tunnel blasted out of solid rock in the 1800s. America’s longest underground boat ride ushers you and your group through a dimly lit portion of the raceway that once supplied water to power three industries; you will study fascinating geological formations at all stages of development and marvel at intriguing artifacts left behind by men of iron constitution whos backbreaking labor built this magnificent passageway in the early days of the iconic Erie Canal. The fun and informational Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride is guided at a leisurely stop and go pace and is primarily a walking tour that includes stairs; it is not handicapped accessible and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Hourly tours start at the ticket office, located in downtown Lockport at 5 Gooding Street next to the Pine Street bridge overlooking the Erie Canal and Lockport Locks. Grab your group and prepare to experience history come to life along the Erie Canal on this popular expedition through time and spooky space!

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Locks & Erie Canal Cruises

Groups visiting the magnificent Niagara Falls intent on exploring the surrounding area – a region rich with historical interest – will not want to miss this relaxing and uniquely educational two – hour Erie Canal cruise which includes “locking through” and being raised the 49 foot elevation of the Niagara Escarpment (the same one that creates Niagara Falls) in the only double set of locks on the hand-dug, 363-mile Erie Canal. Originally, 83 stone locks overcame the 571-foot difference in the level between the rivers; enlarged in the early 1900′s, now just 35 locks allow larger vessels to travel across New York State. Pass under lift bridges, marvel at millions of gallons of water cascading over Lockport’s famous “Flight of Five” 1840′s locks, and travel right through the solid walls of the “rock cut” as your capable Captain narrates this interesting voyage, describing architecture and points of interest in excellent detail and even sharing bits of well-loved folklore along the way. Regularly scheduled cruises depart daily from May to October from Lockport’s unique Canalside – a versatile, elegant complex/special events venue located dockside along the banks of the Grand Old Erie, tendering visitors good eats year-round and a vast selection of Canal gifts and memorabilia. Travel is delightfully tranquil; passengers experience three fabulous seasons of Nature at its best – fruit trees abloom and fragrant in Spring, seas of gorgeous native wild flowers brushed into Summer’s landscape and all the fiery magnificence of Autumn in the Memorial Tree Garden in Lowertown as they drift back in time to the dulcet tones of period music on this famous old waterway that is, truly, an engineering wonder and local attraction not to be missed!

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Gorge Discovery Center

Groups heading to Upstate New York and interested in exploring the historic area around the Niagara Falls will want to reserve a little chunk of their jam-packed agenda to visit the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center located just north of the Rainbow Bridge. The Center showcases the natural and local history of the legendary Falls and the stunning Niagara Gorge. Visitors may examine the fascinating geology of the area, learn the history of the Great Gorge Route trolley line, immerse themselves in the excitement of engaging interactive displays and enjoy a 180° multi-screen theater presentation detailing how the mighty Niagara River carved the massive gorge and magnificent falls over the course of more than 12,000 years – a process that continues today! The Discovery Center is also home to the Niagara Gorge Trailhead Center, the gateway to some of the best and most breathtaking hiking and biking trails in the region; test your climbing skills on the Rock wall or hit the trail on one of a variety of options for a truly customized experience! The Great Gorge Scenic Overlook Hike begins at the Trailhead Building and takes about an hour, while the two-hour Upper Great Gorge Hike begins at the Trailhead Building and follows the Great Gorge Railway Trail; both are easy hikes with no age requirements. The Devil’s Hole Rapids and Giant Rock hike starts at Devil’s Hole State Park and is a moderate level 2.5-hour trek. The more challenging Whirlpool Rapids Adventure starts off at Whirlpool State Park and is a difficult, three-hour hike; expect to do a little boulder hopping! Both require participants to be at least 8 years of age.

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Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour

Whirlpool Jet Tour

Credit Whirlpool Jet

Waterdogs on Upstate excursion will not want to miss this sometimes terrifying, always exhilarating, wet and wild Whirlpool Jet Boat attraction on the churning Niagara River! Bring a full extra change of clothes, gather every ounce of courage (ladies, if you’re “making up” for the adventure, do be sure to wear extra-waterproof mascara!) -and prepare for the ride of a lifetime! The American jet boating check-in and River Shop are located just ten minutes from the Falls on the lower level of the Water Street Landing restaurant in the quaint village of Lewiston, New York. Friendly and courteous crew members welcome you on-site 45 minutes prior to departure time in order that you and your fellow river rats can fill out a participation agreement and attend the mandatory pre-trip safety orientation. Post-orientation, your faithful and conscientious trip leader will escort you down to the dockside changing rooms where you will don the appropriate gear – all provided – for your Jet Boat extravaganza. Just say “CHEESE”-group photos are snapped just before embarking on one of the most memorable and refreshing experiences of your visit to Niagara Falls! Once you’re sure you’ve survived a proper soaking and all the rip-roaring adrenaline rush of playing  in the mighty Devil’s Hole class 5 white water rapids and getting way too close to the life-threatening insanity of a voracious Class 6 whirlpool -all in the comfort and safety of your trusty vessel -  you’ll return dockside, change into dry duds and head back upstairs to the River Shop to check out and purchase awesome photos and an exciting HD video of your group’s jet boat adventure. No guts, no glory – and no more secrets revealed, other than you’re GONNA get really, really wet on your Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour!

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Cave of the Winds

The original, natural cave was discovered behind Bridal Veil Falls in 1834, and promptly dubbed Aeolus’ Cave, after the Greek god of winds. Guided tours officially began in 1841, and continued until a devastating rock fall in 1920 rendered passage unsafe for visitors; the world-renowned Cave tour reopened in 1924, routing daring guests to the front of the Bridal Veil instead of behind it. Today, intrepid itinerants on Upstate getaway exploring the myriad attractions in beautiful Niagara Falls State Park will not want to miss this thrilling walk on Niagara Falls’ other wild side! This ever-popular and invariably spectacular Cave of the Winds Tour ushers visitors into a blustery “mist zone”, where “soaking up the experience” takes on a whole new meaning! The incredible journey begins with an elevator ride deep into the Niagara Gorge; geared-up in a souvenir rain poncho and special footwear, guests carefully tread wooden walkways along the Niagara River to the precariously-perched Hurricane Deck, just a few exhilarating feet from the mad torrents of the magnificent Falls. Here, the Bridal Veil Falls generate amazing, tropical storm-like conditions, replete with buffeting winds of up to 68 mph that hammer you silly with heavy spray-laden blows as you view the extraordinary show, nearly dizzy with the deafening motion of the crazy, churning waters beneath the curtain. Nowhere on Earth gets you closer to the awesome fury of the legendary Falls. The tour may have changed way back in 1920, but the “modern experience” promises a breathtaking adventure like no other!

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Maid of the Mist Boat Tour

Through the mid-19th century, sturdy rowboats ferried intrepid passengers across the grand Niagara River below the legendary Falls . By 1846, however, entrepreneurs decided a bigger vessel could profit by hauling people, luggage, mail and cargo across the misty expanse of swirling waters – and the first Maid of the Mist steamboat, large enough to carry horses and a stagecoach, was christened. In 1848, construction of a suspension bridge slowed business to a standstill, and “Maid of the Mist” was successfully re-branded as a sightseeing adventure. Groups on Northeastern holiday will not want to miss a visit to the fabulous landmark Falls and popular Maid of the Mist Tours get you as “up close and personal” as you would ever hope to be! Throw on your blue keepsake poncho, tuck your phone, keys and camera inside something waterproof, slip on your “water shoes” or flip flops and prepare for the most wet-and-wonderful ride of your life as you board the 74’ Maid of the Mist VI or 80’ Maid of the Mist VII, swing away from the dock and Rainbow Bridge and head out across the churning river toward the Falls. You won’t believe your eyes – OR ears – as you draw nearer the thundering curtains of water. Thrill to the powerful roar of the Falls and wild sensation of the boat working and arcing against the river, moving through the chilly, magical rainbow mist and soaking spray to bring you a memorable “fish eye” view-and exhilarating photo ops – of the most famous natural wonders in the world!

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National Helicoptor

National Helicopters, Niagara’s premier heli-touring company invites invites adventurous groups on Upstate getaway to enjoy the stunning scenery from the best seat in the sky! Fantastic aerial tours treat guests wanting that little “something extra” to a breathtaking eagle’s eye perspective of the Falls and surrounding countryside, rich with historic landmarks and points of interest; tour the area’s renowned wine country or fly over Lake Ontario and the Falls at Sunset; see it all in a way unimaginable from the ground! A variety of magnificent tour options and a tempting schedule of special land/air packages-from casual fun to  perfectly posh-promise clients the most personal and comprehensive view of the very  best of iconic Niagara Falls; National’s capable, friendly staff and pilots ensure your group a safe, exciting and amazing, narrated voyage from start to finish. Fly somewhere-anywhere-over the misty rainbow on your National Helicopter Niagara Tour! Champagne, anyone?

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