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Fall Road Trip Itinerary: Catskills to Niagara Falls

  Trip Ideas & Guides

February 23, 2021 Fall Road Trip Itinerary: Catskills to Niagara Falls

By Dawn S.

Fall is a great time to travel. It’s the shoulder season, which means fewer crowds, better rates, decent weather, and bonus – FALL LEAVES! You can do this itinerary through the Catskill Mountains to Niagara Falls by picking up your Escape campervan at their New York camper van rental site. Below is the itinerary my daughter and her husband (Sara and Steven) did for their anniversary road trip.

New York City skyline

Starting your road trip in NYC lets you see the sights and grab world-famous food.

The Big Apple

After flying from Florida to New York and dropping their bags at the hotel, Sara and Steven headed into the city for brunch and to check out the museums, sights, and city lights, a great start to their Anniversary vacation.

Meeting Rover, their Escape campervan

The next day, they arrived at the Escape Campervans depot at the scheduled appointment time to pick up Rover, their out-of-this-world space-themed camper van. They set out on their road trip adventure, heading towards Scranton Pennsylvania to stock up on groceries and supplies. A highlight of this leg of their trip was the unscheduled stop they made at Stoneyfield Orchard, in Belvidere, New Jersey. They enjoyed apple picking in the orchard and purchased fresh eggs, pears, cider, and strawberry-rhubarb jam at the farm store. They drove on, along the scenic Delaware River into farm country, leaving the city behind.

Watkins Glen State Park New York

Hiking at Watkins Glen State Park.

Watkins Glen State Park

Next, it was time to take a hike at Watkins Glen State Park. There are several short, easy hikes that take you around the rim, or down into the canyon past numerous waterfalls. Sara’s picks are the Gorge Trail and South Rim trail. The stony paths, steep rock walls, and rushing water felt like they were walking through a medieval movie set. This state park offers seasonal camping from late May to early October.

Letchworth State Park

Sara and Steven set up camp at Letchworth State Park. During their stay, they spotted deer, a raccoon, bunnies, black squirrels, and a red newt. Voted best state park in New York, Letchworth has miles and miles of trails to hike and three powerful waterfalls.

There are plenty of summer and winter activities to keep you busy, from hiking and biking to snow tubing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling. You can take a sunset hike to the footbridge at Lower Falls, Inspiration Point or to the Archery Field overlooks. Check out the sunrise from Hogs Back, Tea Table or Great Bend.

East trails are less crowded during the famous Arts and Craft show held over Columbus Day weekend. On the west side of the park, hike along the Gorge Trail to see the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls. Don’t miss a drive along the 17-mile scenic park road during your stay.

Niagara Falls

Sara had been once as a child and was eager to take Steven to witness firsthand the power of 75,000 gallons per second thundering over the falls, and to feel the mist on his face. Niagara Falls can be a romantic place, made famous by movies and songs, and history, and it’s just one of those “must do’s” if you are in the northeast. For an even closer view, they took a ride on the Maid of the Mist boat tour. You can also stand on the hurricane deck on the Cave of the Winds tour.

Bring your passport and take in the view from the Canadian side. They watched the sunset from the observation tower, then hung out to see the falls lit up at nighttime. There is plenty to do at the park and in the area, so plan to spend a day or two, if you can. Camping is available on the US side at the Niagara Falls / Grand Island KOA Holiday. A tent site is all you need.

Stony Brook State Park

Sara and Steven drove their campervan through endless fields of corn and windmills, with gorgeous scenery the entire way back and forth across New York State. They enjoyed having Stony Brook State Park all to themselves to cook yummy breakfast sandwiches after getting on the road early, to start the long drive back from Niagara Falls.

Escape Campervans New Jersey Depot

Returning our campervan to the Escape Depot.

They found plenty of opportunities to hike, horseback ride, picnic, and camp in the Catskill Mountains, Finger Lakes, and Niagara regions of New York. If you want to take a road trip from the Catskills to Niagara Falls, book your fall campervan escape soon! It’s a great way to celebrate life with the one you love.

Baggage Tip:

Dropped off your campervan, but want to rent a bike to ride over the Brooklyn Bridge or explore the city before you fly out of town? Try baggage storage, or a luggage pickup and delivery service. They will pick up your bags, so you are free to roam, then hand-deliver them back to you at the airport at a pre-arranged time!

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