New York is home to some of my favorite state parks. The most famous being Niagara Falls but just down the road are Whirlpool State Park and Devil’s Hole State Park. It’s definitely worth making a weekend trip to enjoy all three.
Niagara Falls State Park
Straddling the Canada and US border is arguable the most famous waterfall in the United States, Niagara Falls. Both Canada and the US offer views of the three falls. The US side has three observation points which pretty much have you standing above the falls, while the Canada side will offer better views since you can look directly at the falls from across the Niagara River. A few tips:
- Bring your own poncho or get a souvenir one. Even if you don’t do the special attractions, it’s easy to get wet when viewing the falls.
- Bring a dry bag, especially if doing the Cave of the Winds.
- Wear shoes like Tevas and leave the sneakers at home. They take too long to drive.
Niagara Falls State Park can get ridiculously busy, especially during summertime. I recommend starting on Goat Island and parking at Lot Number 3 in the back. Its furthest away from the main road and everyone will charge lot number 1 by the observation tower.
Maid of the Mist
If I could suggest one extra attraction to do, this would be it. The Maid of the Mist is a boat tour that will put you as close to the falls as you can safely get. You can feel the true power of Niagara Falls equipped with a poncho and lots of smiles.
Cave of the Winds
Still awesome but not as thrill-seeking, The Cave of the Winds will take you down an elevator down 175 feet into the Niagara Gorge with a tour guide. The tour guide will take you over the Hurricane Deck which gives you an up-close and personal experience with the falls.
If possible, I highly recommend going over to the Canadian side which is a walk across the bridge away. Unfortunately, this is being written during covid times which was not an option as I write this.
Whirlpool State Park
About ten minutes north of Niagara Falls State Park is a 109-acre state park called Whirlpool State Park. You can take a casual stroll at street level and have some picturesque views of the gorge, or turn your heart rate up and climb down the gorge and follow along the river. You know I recommend climbing down to the river but it’s a steep incline and will definitely give you a workout.
Follow the rushing currents around sharp bends that provide whirlpools along the trail. Nature will constantly be having you stop to appreciate the little things, especially the water feeling like it’s a Caribbean blue. Don’t forget to pack a lunch and enjoy the tranquil sounds of the currents and wind blowing through the trees.