We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

NYC - Niagara Falls - Hudson by car, in winter

Which Niagara Falls hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Queensland...
Level Contributor
78 posts
142 reviews
Save Topic
NYC - Niagara Falls - Hudson by car, in winter

Hi there,

I'm researching a trip that will take place in December 2014.

Would anyone be happy to give some advice to some Australians who are contemplating driving on snowy roads (something we're not experienced with) in a part of the world that we don't know! We're thinking of taking a few days to do a round trip from NYC to Niagara Falls then back to Hudson to stay for a few days before having a couple of weeks in NYC. So we want to make a safe, doable plan that would give us an overnight somewhere between NYC and Niagara Falls (American side), then an overnight somewhere between Niagara Falls and Hudson, in late December. Also, suggestions about where to stay overnight near the falls would be helpful.

Cheers and thank you in advance.

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
Level Contributor
71,752 posts
87 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: NYC - Niagara Falls - Hudson by car, in winter

Hi heggos;

Driving in the winter takes genuine experience. Without considerable winter driving experience I would NOT suggest starting to learn how to drive in winter conditions in an unfamiliar rental car, in an unfamiliar area.

Best Regards

Brooklyn, NY
Level Contributor
16,015 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: NYC - Niagara Falls - Hudson by car, in winter

100% on what RescueTeam said!

It is appr 7 hours from NYC to the Falls(one way.) I would also not suggest it. If you want to see the Falls....fly from NYC to Buffalo and go from there.....

New York
Level Contributor
930 posts
179 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: NYC - Niagara Falls - Hudson by car, in winter

Couldn't agree more.

Definitely fly if you're going to incorporate Niagara into your New York travel plans.

Dallas, Texas...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
21,087 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: NYC - Niagara Falls - Hudson by car, in winter

As someone who grew up in the region, with snow driving experience, I would not plan this trip. You would need to be willing to alter or cancel plans depending on weather, and weather around the Great Lakes region is snowy ("lake effect" weather).

It's also not a very nice time for scenery. It's rather bleak.

Doing it by air is an option, but again, your plans may be disrupted by weather.

There may be other good choices for non-city sightseeing where weather is not quite as risky. Coastal areas, for example, have a lower chance of snow and ice in late December (but there is still a chance), and would also entail shorter driving distances.

staten island
Level Contributor
1,920 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: NYC - Niagara Falls - Hudson by car, in winter

I drive up there a few times a year, but I won't do it over the winter. But, on the other hand, my mother was over there a couple of weeks ago and said the falls looked gorgeous all iced up and the hotel rates are extremely low. I would go, but fly there.

Menasha, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
115 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: NYC - Niagara Falls - Hudson by car, in winter

You could rent a vehicle and go if the whether is good, but if you book flights your taking a chance too. If you do rent get a jeep, I love mine. I put it in four wheel and have no problems getting around, just don't drive crazy. Sometimes I give it a little gas around corners to see if I can get it to slide. It barely slides at all, I have good tires that came on it. My husband just got good year tires for his jeep and it slides when he is taking off from a stop. If its slippery try it out and if you don't feel countable don't go the long distance, It can be vary difficult to drive on winter roads if you are new to it. Four wheel drives will cost more to rent but its worth it. We have driven jeeps on washed out jungle roads in Mexico too, not something we where countable with, it was slow and ruff. It was fun!! If there is any forecast of a snow storm you may want to rethink going. Have a fun trip : )

Edited: 04 February 2014, 08:39
West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
Level Contributor
71,752 posts
87 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: NYC - Niagara Falls - Hudson by car, in winter

>>"I put it in four wheel..."<<

Hi;

It is my opinion that operating a 4x4, without genuine winter driving experience, usually gets a driver into MORE trouble as a 4x4 provides a false sense of security, which causes the driver to become over confident.

4 wheel drives, even all wheel drives, will only help you when trying to get unstuck, which is a situation you want to avoid in the first place. Plus, SUVs / 4x4 are heavier than a car. The extra weight causes extra momentum, which makes them harder to stop !

Best Regards

Edited: 04 February 2014, 14:06
Warwick, New York
Level Contributor
13 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: NYC - Niagara Falls - Hudson by car, in winter

As someone who lives in Upstate New York and commutes every day to NYC, I second everyone who has advised against planning a trip by car during winter months in NY. While the roads are good when it doesn't snow, when it does snow it's just treacherous and even a short road trip can become a nightmare. It is impossible to predict now what the weather will be like for your trip almost a year from now, but in these past couple of years we had numerous significant snowstorms and blizzards that caused highway closures, school and business closures, bus service suspensions and flight cancelations. It can and does get pretty bad, and this winter seems to be especially generous for wicked weather. The snow is not even the worst part of it, it's sleet and freezing rain that can make a commute an impossible and a very dangerous one. I realize there must be a good reason why you are choosing your trip at that particular timeframe, but October here is so much better for travel and far more beautiful and scenic.

London, United...
Level Contributor
2,045 posts
656 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: NYC - Niagara Falls - Hudson by car, in winter

I drove from NYC to Niagara Falls but highways are well maintained unless there is a storm. If there is a storm, flights would be also cancelled... If you don't mind driving for long hours, it is feasible.

Queensland...
Level Contributor
78 posts
142 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: NYC - Niagara Falls - Hudson by car, in winter

Thank you to all who have taken the time to reply.

I appreciate your cautiousness and it is obviously a long way off so nothing is set in concrete yet, however, if we were to feel the conditions were right and wanted to try this trip, is there a stop en route to Buffalo, not far off a highway, that would make a good overnight stay? And then, similarly, a stop between Buffalo and Hudson that would be a good place to stop for a night? None of us were considering this as a road trip to the falls without some stops along the way, including overnight stops.

We will only have 3 weeks away (flying in and out of NYC) and we are going for xmas / new year. The first week is flexible, but we have decided to spend the second half of that week in Hudson. It's just a matter of where else would be feasible to go to Upstate. The second two weeks we will be based on Manhattan.