A Four-Season Guide to Buffalo Niagara Parks
The Buffalo Niagara Region is known for its ever-changing seasons. We have beautiful blossoms in the spring, nostalgic and breezy summer nights, awe-inspiring fall foliage, and crisp, sparkly winter snow. We have it all- and with that luxury comes the job of figuring out how to spend our time when the weather turns. What are our entertainment options in the area- preferably ones that won’t break the bank?
A Plethora of Parks
We decided to do some digging and we came up with an epic list of parks in the area. Visiting the various Buffalo Niagara parks is a great way to keep busy no matter the season- they’re budget-friendly, romantic, and family-friendly. They keep us healthy by providing us with a connection to nature, meditative pause and rest from the daily grind, and an outlet to have fun with active sports like hiking and kayaking. Whatever a person’s interest, whatever his or her unique style- it turns out that parks in the Buffalo Niagara Region will accommodate it! So, without further ado, here’s our Four-Seasons Guide to Buffalo Niagara Parks.
Olmsted Parks Conservancy
This City of Buffalo park system is comprised of six parks – Riverside Park, Delaware Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Front Park, Cazenovia Park, and South Park- along with seven circles, eight parkways, and several smaller spaces, such as the grounds of the NY Asylum for the Insane (Richardson Olmsted Complex).
- Winter – Ice skating on the pond. Albright Knox Art Gallery. Buffalo Museum of Science.
- Spring/Fall – Biking, tennis, golf, basketball, baseball, rugby, soccer. Visit the Japanese Garden and Rose Garden in Delaware Park. Visit the Buffalo Zoo.
- Summer – Martin Luther King Jr. Park Splash Pad. Playgrounds and picnic areas.
Headquarters located at 84 Parkside Avenue in Buffalo, NY. Visit www.bfloparks.org for more information.
Delaware Park is one of Olmsted’s parks in Buffalo
Niagara Falls State Park
What Buffalo Niagara parks list would be complete without Niagara Falls? Niagara Falls State Park offers breathtaking views, miles of hiking trails, and tons of adventure-packed attractions and entertainment options.
- Winter – Adventure Theatre, Aquarium, Observation Tower.
- Spring/Fall – Trolley Tours, Hiking, Illumination of the Falls.
- Summer – Cave of the Winds, Fireworks, Maid of the Mist.
The Visitor Center is located at 332 Prospect Street, Niagara Falls, NY. The park is open 365 days a year, although select attractions are seasonal and weather permitting. Visit www.niagarafallsstatepark.com for more information.
Niagara Falls State Park is a beautiful sight to see even in chilly temperatures
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Described as one of the best kept secrets of Western New York, this wildlife refuge accommodates 266 species of birds (including actively nesting bald eagles), 42 species of mammals, and a variety of reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects.
- Winter – ice fishing, cross-country skiing
- Spring/Summer/Fall – hiking, fishing, hunting, photography, wildlife observation, canoeing
The Visitor Center is located at 1101 Casey Road, Alabama, NY. The Visitor Center is open year-round Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the spring and fall, the center is also open weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Park access is restricted between March 1st and October 1st due to breeding season. Visit www.fws.gov/refuge/Iroquois for more information.
The serene beauty at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is something to behold
Beaver Island State Park
This popular destination features tons of family-friendly fun (the center of which is the half-mile beach off the boardwalk). The Boardwalk Bar and Grill sells finger foods and a large assortment of beers on tap.
- Winter – sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, waterfowl hunting
- Spring/Fall – golf, disc golf, fishing, biking, hiking, bird watching
- Summer – swimming, boating, playgrounds, picnicking
Located at 2136 Oakfield Rd, Grand Island. A vehicle fee of $6 is collected between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Visit www.parks.ny.gov/parks/56 for more information.
There’s plenty to do at Beaver Island State Park
Buckhorn Island State Park
This nature preserve is Beaver Island’s rustic sister park and features 895 acres of marsh, woods, and meadows teaming with migratory birds. An ongoing restoration plan is in place to continue making the park more wildlife-friendly.
- Winter – cross-country skiing, waterfowl hunting
- Spring/Fall – hiking, biking, birdwatching
- Summer – kayaking, canoeing, fishing
Located on East River Road in Grand Island. Please note that restrooms are unavailable. For more information, visit www.parks.ny.gov/parks/714.
Buckhorn Island State Park is a peaceful nature reserve perfect for walking on a nice day
Devil’s Hole State Park
This 42-acre park overlooks Devil’s Hole Rapids and features a 300-foot winding stone staircase that leads down into the Niagara River Gorge.
- Winter – cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, steelhead fishing
- Spring/Summer/Fall – hiking, picnicking, fishing
Located at Robert Moses Parkway in Niagara Falls, NY. Open year-round, with restrooms available from mid-April to late October. Free parking available near the entrance. Free admission. VIsit www.parks.ny.gov/parks/42 for more information.
Enjoy nature trails and hiking in Devil’s Hole State Park
Bond Lake Park
551 acres, 13 miles of cross-country tails, and five separate lakes make Bond Lake Park a scenic destination.
- Winter – sledding, ice skating, ice hockey
- Spring/fall – hiking, birdwatching, biking
- Summer – fishing, picnicking
Located at 2571 Lower Mountain Road in Ransomville, NY. Visit www.niagaracounty.com/parks/Bond-Lake-Park for more information.
Enjoy lakes for fishing and trails for hiking and biking and more at Bond Lake
Letchworth State Park, renowned as the “Grand Canyon of the East”
Letchworth State Park
Fondly known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” this gorgeous park is worth the drive. With 66 miles of hiking trails through lush countryside and breathtaking waterfalls as high as 600 feet, you’ll want to be sure to bring your camera along with you.
- Winter – snowmobiling, cross-country skiing
- Spring/Fall – horseback riding, hiking, craft shows, biking, picnicking
- Summer – whitewater rafting, kayaking, swimming, hot air ballooning, history and performance art programs
The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The camping season runs from May 5th until October 14th. The swimming season runs from June 23rd until September 3rd. Visit www.parks.ny.gov/parks/79 for more information.
Whether you need to get the kids out of the house for a change, you’re looking for that perfect spot to propose to your partner, or you just need some down time for yourself, consider visiting one of these blissful parks in your near future. We all could use some time outside every now and then. This season, make a point to get out and do something you love, or try something new. Your mind, body and loved ones will thank you for it!