The Niagara Falls and Western New York region is an incredible place to explore the state’s wilderness without having to venture too far from the big city. Take a boat under one of the world’s most famous waterfalls, visit vineyards and sleepy towns, and watch a football game in a local stadium.
The mighty Niagara Falls serve as a reminder of the sheer power of Mother Nature. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water flow through the waterfall every second in the summer months. There are a few different ways to experience the falls: embark on a Maid of the Mist boat tour, fly above them by helicopter or try a Cave of the Winds tour, during which you trek through the Niagara Gorge.
The closest big city to the falls is the museum and restaurant-packed Buffalo. Visit Darwin Martin House, a prairie house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, marvel at beautiful canvases in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and have lunch at Broadway Market. Time your visit for June or August and join enchanting garden tours as part of the National Buffalo Garden Festival.
Get back to nature at Allegany State Park. Kayak on shimmering lakes, hike through dense woods and camp on hilltops overlooking lush green foliage. Go whitewater rafting in Letchworth State Park and, for a once-in-a-life-time thrill, take a hot-air balloon ride over dramatic cliffs.
The area around Chautauqua Lake is peppered with charming rural communities and fishing spots teeming with potential catches. Learn about the history of the Chautauqua Institution, visited by many U.S. presidents, including Gerald Ford and Ulysses S. Grant.
High season runs from May to September and most of the hotels, shops and restaurants in the area remain open during this period. Summers are warm and comfortable, though if it does get hot, just head to Niagara Falls to let the mist cool you down.
For a different perspective on Niagara Falls and Western New York, visit in the winter so you can zoom down the slopes at Holiday Valley Ski Resort and admire glittering snow-covered trees.