Day 3

Niagara Falls
Before crossing back over the border, spend the morning basking in the cool mist and soothing sounds of Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. Keep the kids happy with a visit to the Aquarium of Niagara or Niagara Amusement Park and Splash World.

Keep the fun rolling at Buffalo RiverWorks, a 60,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor event center filled with activities like axe throwing, ziplining and silo climbing. Take a tour of RiverWorks Brewing Co. (the world’s first silo brewery) or a ride on the Buffal-O Ferris Wheel. For a more serene experience, book a Buffalo Harbor Cruises boat ride or see the sights from atop Erie Basin Marina’s 76-foot observation tower.

History beckons at Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum in Western New York. Participate in guided tours, check out the extensive collection of maritime and military artifacts or take in the view from the working lighthouse’s observation deck. 

Erie, Pennsylvania, offers all of the amenities of a bustling downtown while maintaining its small-town charm. “The atmosphere is casual chic. We’re laid back, but we also have some really upscale attractions,” says Christine Temple, director of communications for VisitErie.

Among her favorite activities is taking her dog for a walk at Presque Isle State Park. “It’s connected to the mainland, but once you’re out there, you feel like you’re in a resort attraction destination. It’s so quiet with the beaches on one side and water surrounding you.”

Learn about the 3,200-acre isle’s history at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center before moving on to the Erie Maritime Museum. Here, two tall ships, including the U.S. Brig Niagara, act as floating museums and are available for daytime or sunset sails.

For those 12 and younger, the Experience Children’s Museum is unveiling exciting additions this spring. “Throughout the museum and its various exhibits are stories about Lake Erie that help educate children about the region’s rich history,” Temple says. “There’s also a replica of the U.S. Brig Niagara that kids can climb on and learn how to tie knots.”

Round out the afternoon browsing local treasures at Moose Head Pottery and Relish Studio and Gallery before setting your sights on Oliver’s Rooftop Bar and Restaurant, boasting floor-to-ceiling glass panels that set the scene for a sunset dinner straight from a fairytale. “The views of Lake Erie and Presque Isle are just incredible,” Temple says. “It’s a great new addition to our bayfront district.”

For a more casual peek into the city’s culinary scene, Flagship City Food Hall, home to nine diverse local food vendors and a full-service bar, is sure to please every palate.

Rest easy at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, which, by summer 2023, will be wrapping up a $7.5-million renovation with a nautical-themed design.