Darien Lake Resort is New York’s largest family-friendly destination, and is located about a short hour away on the scenic drive from Newfane and Olcott Beach. The park boasts an amusement park, performing arts center, and water park. Click on www.godarienlake.com for more information.
Just 90 minutes’ drive from Toronto, this well-preserved 19th-century village, with its charming inns, upscale restaurants and elegant architecture, is the heart of Ontario’s wine region. Home to the famed Shaw (theater) Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake provides a great base for daytrips to Niagara Falls. Drive or bike through the area, visiting wineries and Fort George National Historic Site. Ride along the Niagara escarpment on horseback or book a whitewater adventure at the nearby Niagara Falls.
Considered by many as the New York City of Canada, Toronto is a beautiful drive from Olcott Beach, and offers entertainment, culture and shopping. Catch a show while you’re there, or check out the historic architecture. Toronto offers fun for the whole family. Visit www.seetorontonow.com for details.
Erie Barge Canal and Lockport Locks-Lockport
Historic Erie Canal offers narrated cruises from May through October along the canal of the Grand Old Erie. Lockport also offers nature and bike trails, antique and specialty shops. Check out lockportlocks.com for more information.
This city has a small-town feel, with famous sites blending with charming neighborhoods and historic canal towns to create a mosaic of attractions to visit. Cruise, bike or hike, on the original Erie Canal path while visiting great restaurants, shops and quaint villages along the way. The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester blends the best features of both history museums (extensive collections) and children’s museums (high interactivity) and provides families, children, adults, students, teachers, scholars, collectors, and others a multitude of offerings. Click on visitrochester.com and museumofplay.org for more information.
Buffalo has long been known as the “City of Good Neighbors,” and you will find it lives up to its name. Downtown boasts unique shops and great dining and theatre, as well as exciting sporting events like hockey and baseball. Check out visitbuffaloniagara.com for details.
Whether you travel to the Canadian falls, or stay on the American side, there is lots of fun to be had in Niagara Falls. Take a trip under the falls on the Maid of the Mist or visit scenic Goat Island. Enjoy the Niagara Falls State Park at anytime of the year and experience over 400 acres of protected wildlife and lush landscape. Visit niagara-usa.com for more information.
Old Fort Niagara-Youngstown
Standing on a bluff above Lake Ontario not far from Niagara Falls, Old Fort Niagara has dominated the entrance to the Niagara River since 1726. The colorful history of the site began even earlier, and continues to the present day. The fort played an important role in the struggles of France, Great Britain, and the United States to control the Great Lakes region of North America, and also helped shape the destinies of the Iroquois (Six Nations) peoples and the nation of Canada.
Today Old Fort Niagara is a National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site that welcomes more than 100,000 visitors every year. It offers a unique collection of original military architecture and fortifications from the 18th Century and the 19th Century, as well as living history events and programs, historical exhibits and collections, archaeology, and education. The fort has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Niagara area, featuring the oldest buildings in the Great Lakes, spectacular scenery, and exciting special events.
Visit oldfortniagara.org for more information.
Lake Ontario Lighthouses
Take a drive and tour the area’s lighthouses. Lake Ontario alone boasts 20 lighthouses. Visit www.lighthousefriends.com/ontario.html for a map.
Golden Hill State Park
Golden Hill State Park boasts a rich history which can be enjoyed by visitors of the park, through the Friends of Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse. Golden Hill State Park offers camping, fishing, boating, shoreline hiking, picnicking, nature walks and walking tours of the lighthouse site. Summer events at the park are numerous. Winter activities are also available, including snowshoeing and five miles of snowmobile trails that run through the park.
The Alabama Swamps and Onondaga Nature Trail
This 10,000+ acre refuge was once entirely covered by Lake Tonawanda. Due to draining and filling of the lake since the last glacial period, the area now consists of swamps, marshlands, and wet meadows. There is much to see in this area, especially if you are a bird watcher. March and April are perfect times to see thousands of Canada geese and ducks as they stop in the area during their spring migration. Visit wnywildlife.com for details.
Located in Lewistong, Artpark promotes, produces and presents excellence in the performing and visual arts, and creates unique cultural experiences in a casual, natural setting. There is fun for the whole family here, from shows to special events. Artistic talent is nurtured and allowed to flourish in an atmosphere that is entertaining, educational and interactive for Artpark visitors. Please check out www.artpark.net for information.
Jet Boat Tours
At Niagara Falls, the free-falling water transforms into a mighty river, flowing through a majestic river canyon. Everyone ages 6-90 (current record holder is 94), will discover the world famous rapids, stone-walled canyon, and legendary Whirlpool. Accessible only by powerful jet boats, this hour of adventure will fascinate and exhilarate !
Since 1992, Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours has been entertaining locals and visitors alike on a unique, one of a kind jet boat tour. Experience the thrill of class five white-water in the rapids at Devil’s Hole, the head spinning “world famous” 360 degree Hamilton turn, the adrenaline rush of 1500 horsepower, and the amazing scenery in the Niagara Gorge along the Niagara River and Whirlpool. Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours offers fully guided tours that are great fun for the entire family, friends, and co-workers. Daily departures from May until October. Visit www.niagarafallslive.com/niagara_falls_whirlpool_jetboat_.htm for details.
Village of Lewiston
Lewiston is historically significant for many reasons, but primarily for its proximity to Niagara Falls, its role in the War of 1812, and its position as the last stop of the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves who were seeking freedom in Canada. Lewiston was the birthplace of the world famous Niagara Falls about 12,000 years ago, near the present location of Artpark. Since then, the power of Niagara Falls has eroded south through seven miles of solid rock. You can see the path the Falls has taken by following the Niagara Gorge which begins in Lewiston. Visit the unique shops along Main Street, or take a tour of this historic village. Check out visit www.historiclewiston.org for more information.
Hamlin Beach State Park
Hamlin Beach State Park's clear water, sandy beaches and 264 tent and trailer campsites bring thousands of visitors to the park each year. The Yanty Creek Marsh area at the east end of the park has a mile long self-guided nature trail. In addition, there are 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as snowmobile and cross-country skiing trails. Visitors can launch car-top boats, fish for salmon and trout and enjoy the picnic facilities. Visit nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/20/details.aspx.