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A trip to see Niagara Falls is just one of many things to do this summer in the Niagara Region.
A trip to see Niagara Falls is just one of many things to do this summer in the Niagara Region.

Destination Niagara: What to do beyond the Falls in summer

Fri, Jun 28th 2024 11:00 am

Guest Editorial by Destination Niagara USA

Thanks to its picture-perfect weather and stunning natural beauty, Niagara Falls USA truly comes to life in the summer. Once you’ve checked the Falls off your bucket list, there’s so much more to see, do and taste! Here’s what to do around Niagara County this summer.

Hibbard's Original Frozen Custard


If you love the outdoors …

Take a hike. As the oldest state park in the United States, Niagara Falls State Park boasts a vast network of trails spread out across 400 acres of lush terrain. Choose from over 15 miles of challenging hiking trails and relish in stunning Niagara Falls summer scenery at every turn. The Niagara Region Park Interpretive Programs Office offers free guided hikes year-round, while companies like Niagara Hiking Co. and Niagara Outfitters offer out-and-back day hikes with a range of distance options and amenities.

Stop and smell the flowers. Whether you’re looking for wildflowers or a sculptured garden, beautiful blooms abound across Niagara County. At Kin Loch Farmstead in Lockport, eight varieties of French and English lavender stretch across a 30-acre plot. From June to August, u-pick events allow guests to harvest their own lavender and shop an assortment of lavender-infused products. From July 12-14, explore a selection of private yards and public parks throughout Lockport during Lockport In Bloom.

Hit the beach. The shores of Lake Ontario provide delightful waterside spots that beckon beach-lovers of all ages. A visit to the shoreside hamlet of Olcott feels like stepping back in time. Peruse the mix of eclectic boutiques housed on the boardwalk at Lakeview Village Shoppes, while the nearby Olcott Beach Carousel Park, offering rides at just 25 cents each, is a treasure for kids. And don’t miss a stop at the historic Bye’s Popcorn stand, which has been operating in Olcott since 1923.

If you love to eat …

Make a pitstop. A treasure trove of delicious roadside food stands pop up in Niagara County every summer. Enjoy seasonal staples like frozen custard at Hibbard’s Original Frozen Custard in Lewiston, or hamburgers and hot dogs at old-school drive-ins like Reid’s in Lockport or The New Sullivans in Niagara Falls. 

Enjoy a refreshing beverage. From local craft beers to expertly prepared cocktails (or mocktails), these Niagara County hot spots offer a delightful array of libations – plus, an outdoor patio! Sip your drink of choice among the gardens and bocce courts of Judas Tree in Niagara Falls, alongside the hustle and bustle of Center Street at Battle Flag Tavern in Lewiston, underneath the swanky string lights at Canal Club 62 in North Tonawanda, or while feeling the breeze from Lake Ontario at The Ontario House (aka Stone Jug) in Youngstown. 

Scoop it up. Nothing says summer quite like a towering ice cream cone. Get your fix at one of Niagara County’s famed shops, where flavors are locally inspired and cream is sourced from nearby farms. A few noteworthy favorites: De Dee’s Dairy in Niagara Falls, Hoover’s Restaurant & Dairy in Sanborn, Platter’s Chocolate Factory in North Tonawanda, Brownie’s Custard Stand in Wilson, and Lake Effect Ice Cream in Lockport.

Discover Niagara Shuttle map


If you love local culture …

Discover homegrown flavors. The region’s stunning countryside offers up a bounty of fresh produce. Snap up a bit of the local bounty by scheduling stops at the farmers’ markets that pop up throughout the week in Niagara Falls, Lewiston, North Tonawanda, Newfane, Lockport and Pendleton.

Get your fill of fun. Summertime in Niagara Falls USA is festival season. Whether your tastes lean toward live music, arts and crafts, food and drink, or history, there’s a summer event for every interest. Save the dates: Lockport Outdoor Arts & Crafts Festival (June 29-30), Olcott Pirate Festival (July 12-14), Canal Fest of the Tonawandas (July 14-21), Niagara Wine Trail Wine Festival (July 27-28), Lewiston Art Festival (Aug. 10-11), Lockport Food Fest (Aug. 11), and Northwest Jazz Festival (Aug. 23-24). 

Hop on the trolley. Experience Niagara’s iconic landscape, rich history and thriving communities from the comfort of the Discover Niagara Shuttle, which operates daily through Monday, Oct. 14. This free hop-on, hop-off service makes it easy to explore the very best of the region. Destination stops include the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, Niagara Power Project Power Vista, Old Fort Niagara, and Erie Canal Discovery Center, to name a few.

If you want to beat the heat …

Take to the water. There are plenty of ways to get your sea legs in Niagara County, whether that’s by cruising down the Erie Canal with Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises, taking a white-knuckle spin over the Niagara River rapids with Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours, or chartering a fishing captain.

Explore the great indoors. When the temperature goes up, head indoors to cool off in the A/C at places like the Aquarium of Niagara, Niagara Climbing Center, Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum and more.

Sarah McLachlan at Artpark (File photo)


If you love live music …

Attend a concert at Artpark. An iconic venue in Lewiston, Artpark boasts a massive outdoor amphitheater along the lower Niagara River, offering ample space and gorgeous views for its diverse entertainment lineup.

Jam out on Old Falls Street. Support the local music scene every Friday night from 5-10 p.m. on Old Falls Street this summer. See acts like Queen City, The Strictly Hip, and Letter to Elise while enjoying backyard board games and food trucks, just footsteps from the Falls. 

For more inspiration on things to do and events happening in Niagara Falls USA and Niagara County, visit www.NiagaraFallsUSA.com.

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