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The Perfect Summer Family Vacation at Niagara Falls

Make memories that will last a lifetime with a Niagara Falls USA family vacation this summer. This five-day itinerary will help you along the way, from big adventures to quiet moments together you’ll never forget.

Planning a trip that will please everyone in the family can feel challenging, but luckily, Niagara Falls USA is a crowd pleaser, from the incredible scenery to the fantastic food. Find out how to spend each day of your five-day trip making the most of the beautiful nature and unique activities the region has to offer!

Day 1: Go Wild

Start big by visiting Niagara Falls State Park! Get acquainted with what the park has to offer on a scenic trolley ride where you’ll learn all about the individual attractions, the history of the park, and some fun facts to impress your friends back home. Head for Cave of the Winds to experience the mighty Bridal Veil Falls up close (within 20 feet) on the Hurricane Deck—with a special tour out through the series of wooden walkways. Finish off the day with a delicious dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, where the jungle theme extends all the way from Lava Nachos to animatronic animals and the evening is sure to please everyone.

Family hiking Niagara Gorge trail.

Day 2: Take a Hike

Head for the Niagara Gorge Trailhead Center at Niagara Falls State Park to pick the trail that’s right for your group’s abilities. If you’re more interested in the views than working up a major sweat, try the Great Gorge Scenic Overlook Hike. Don’t miss a stop into the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, where budding geologists can learn about the ancient rock layers in the area as well as about local minerals and fossils. Tonight, it’s classic barbecue on the patio of Brickyard Pub & BBQ, and then make time to catch the Falls after dark when they are illuminated by changing colored lights.

Family sitting at table and eating ice cream at Hibbard's Frozen Custard.

Day 3: A Taste of History

Go back in time at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum,where you can explore one of the last remaining facilities in the country that produced wooden carousels. The complex of seven buildings is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Explore antique carousels and the machinery that made them run, along with an outdoor playland for younger kids that uses the small amusement park rides the company produced in the 1950s. At Old Fort Niagara, little history buffs can go back in time and explore an 18th century castle, and witness artillery demonstrations and live reenactments. Keep the history theme going with a trip to Hibbard’s Frozen Custard, operating since 1939! Choose from flavors that rotate daily, or get the signature Black Raspberry. 

Day 4: An Electrifying Adventure

You’ve got a big day ahead of you so fuel up at Marketside Restaurant, a family-style place specializing in all things breakfast. Next, set sail on the iconic Maid of the Mist boat tour at Niagara Falls State Park. Cruise into the heart of the Horseshoe Falls on the all-new, fully electric, and emission-free vessels. After, hop on the complimentary Discover Niagara Shuttle (seasonal) and hop off at the Niagara Power Vista. Here, visitors can operate a power grid during a storm, or experience a high-tech virtual ride through the landscapes of New York State.

Children and parents interacting with aquarium exhibit at Aquarium of Niagara.

Day 5: Close Encounters, of the Animal Kind

Get hands on at the Aquarium of Niagara, where you can experience over 30 exhibits and over 120 aquatic animal species. But you’re really here for the daily sea lion shows and tidal pool feeds, right? But don’t miss the penguins at the new Penguin Coast Exhibit! The aquarium is also a rescue center, so younger fans can learn about the work done here. For the true animal fans in your group, arrange to meet a seal or penguin in a private encounter. Finish the trip on a high note by heading for Niagara Falls’ Little Italy neighborhood for a delicious southern Italian dinner at Fortuna’s.