We moved to New York about a year and a half ago, and quickly fell in love with our beautiful and interesting surroundings. I immediately started a "must-see" list, based on recommendations from new friends, and from people who I randomly met and were eager to share their favorite spots. It's been so fun to work our way through the list, and we've discovered so many amazing places along the way. One of the biggest and most famous sites is Niagara Falls, which is truly stunning. No matter how many times we go there, its beauty and power never cease to take my breath away. We love it there, and it draws millions of visitors each year. But did you know that there are SO many other cool things to see and do close by? I'm sharing our own "must-see" list with you here, including two award-winning and nationally ranked parks. All of these sites are within two hours or less of Niagara Falls, and definitely worth the trip!
We've traveled to many of these places with young children, and most of them are perfect for families of all ages. The whole area is an awesome destination spot, so if you're headed this way, here are the Top 10 Places to Visit Near Niagara Falls!
As a side note, some of these places are right over the border into Canada. Make sure you check all the border requirements before traveling, to make sure you have what you need--i.e. passports, birth certificates, etc.
Whirlpool State Park is located just a few miles north of the falls on the American side, along the Niagara River, and it has two different levels. The Upper Gorge Rim has spectacular views of the river and rapids, and many scenic overlooks. You can also take the stone steps (more than 400 of them!) down to the lower rim, and hike along the river. You can not get in the water, but the trails are gorgeous.
Devil’s Hole State Park is right next to Whirlpool State Park, and some of the trails are connected, leading from one to the other. There are some of the best hiking trails in New York here! Some of the trails are kid-friendly, and others are not, but there is plenty of information available to help you figure that out. Our kids did just fine with all the steps (five of them were aged nine and under), and we carried the baby in a backpack. We only hiked about a mile in and a mile back, which was plenty for them, but we had a great time! (Here is more info on the trails.) Devil’s Hole Cave is also a cool thing to check out.