The Best Road Trip from Albany To Niagara Falls

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  • Albany to Syracuse
  • Syracuse to Niagara
  • Buffalo to Niagara
  • Niagara, day 2
  • Roadside assistance
  • Fastest route back
  • Scenic route back
  • Cheap car insurance
  • FAQs
A road trip from Albany to Niagara Falls stretches out a five-hour drive into a three-day excursion through upstate New York.
Although you might not be near New York City, there’s still tons to do in the Empire State. See amazing scenery, dig into some tasty food, and learn a bit of history as you wind through the northern reaches of the state.
To get you through the journey, car insurance and broker app Jerry offers an excellent roadside assistance program. From towing and lockout services to fuel delivery and tire changes, Jerry can get you back on the road quickly.
Ready to start your Albany to Niagara Falls road trip? Buckle up!
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Day one: Albany to Syracuse

Journey time: About 2 hours
State capital Albany is an emerging hub upstate, offering trendy food and a bit of a dive into history. Spend the morning there before setting off to Syracuse.
Buildings at the Albany Empire State Plaza reflect a pink glow from the sunset behind them.
Albany, New York


Fuel up at Iron Gate Cafe, a popular spot that offers a range of classic breakfast fare and affordable brunch cocktails. Try the broccoli and onion quiche!
For lunch, head to Rain Modern Chinese and try the pork belly bao—and store any leftovers at the hotel for a snack later.
A good option for dinner is Hollow Bar and Kitchen. Patrons can expect to hear live music and enjoy a craft beer alongside classic pub fare.


Take in Albany, strolling around New York’s capital. Tour the Capitol building, a late 19th century masterpiece, before diving into the state’s history through the New York State Museum.
If you’ve got time in the afternoon, have a stroll around Washington Park and catch some live music during the summer months. Drive to Syracuse after dinner.


Once you reach Syracuse, stay at Hotel Skyler. Built from a decrepit synagogue, it’s an eco-friendly, cool oasis among the chain lodgings that dominate the city.

Day two: Strolling around Syracuse—and then to Niagara

Drive time: 2 hours
Continue your exploration through the cities of upstate New York as you take in some of Syracuse’s sights. Prepare for some adventures in the outdoors!
A cloudy fall scene of the Hall of Languages at Syracuse University.
Syracuse, New York


Drop into Oh My Darling for breakfast. It’s cute and trendy inside, with a full coffee menu and brunch classics. The quinoa bowl makes for a healthy breakfast!
Grab lunch from Skytop Coffee, a classic java shop that offers big sandwiches alongside freshly made coffee—in case you need a little pick me up.
Syracuse is full of good restaurants, but look into Pastabilities for dinner, which specializes in homemade pasta and familiar Italian fare.


In the morning, drive over to Green Lakes State Park. It’s renowned for beautiful scenery and a well-regarded golf course. After lunch, take a boat tour around Skaneateles Lake, one of a series of picturesque lakes in the upstate New York area.
Pastabilities is a busy dinner spot, so grabbing an early dinner before driving to Niagara is a good way to go about things. If you time it right, you should reach Niagara in time for sunset!
Puffy clouds reflect in the dark blue water of Skaneateles Lake in New York.
Skaneateles Lake, New York


Bed in at The Giacomo, a luxury boutique hotel less than 10 minutes from Niagara Falls. It’s one of the closest hotels to the falls—and it’s comfy, too!
Pro Tip The Finger Lakes region is within an hour’s drive of Syracuse and has lots of great wineries that offer tastings, small bites, and beautiful views!

Day three: Buffalo and Niagara

Explore Niagara Falls for your first saunter around the national landmark. Make sure you bring good walking shoes and be prepared for changing weather.


Check out Paula’s Donuts in Buffalo for a yummy, sugary breakfast. They always have special offers, such as a free donut with an iced drink, making for ideal bulk orders.
For lunch, grab-and-go fresh sandwiches from Marco’s Italian Deli—you can take them on a hike!
Enjoy dinner at The Dapper Goose, a small, trendy spot that features a rotating menu. The Korean fried chicken is a highlight, though!


Get going early, and visit Niagara Falls for the first time. Walk the Robert Moses Recreational Trail (about 5.1 miles round trip), which offers panoramic views of the American side of the falls.
In the afternoon, go on the Maid of the Mist Tour, one of the best ways to learn about the history of Niagara—and its significance to the country.
Heavy mist rises from the impact of water tumbling down the Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls

Day four: Niagara, part 2

Niagara Falls simply can’t be done in a day. So, for your second day in the area, take another hike or cruise down the Erie Canal. And obviously take loads of pictures!
A colorful scene of a bridge over the Erie Canal. Trees with pink flowers grown and an American flag flies in the distance.
Erie Canal


Go for breakfast at Third Street Retreat, a cheap and cheerful diner with a great atmosphere. It’ll put off lunch for a while if you fancy a longer walk!
For lunch, look into Power City Eatery for specialty sandwiches. The cafe does a different special sandwich every day, so keep your eye on the menu!
There are loads of good places to cap off your trip. But the best is with dinner at The Griffon, a Niagara staple.


In the morning, hike Niagara Gorge, dropping down into Devil’s Hole State Park for an up-close view of the falls. Finish things off with a stroll into the famous cave of the winds—and be prepared to get wet!
Tourists walk on a pathway carved out from the moss-covered Niagara Gorge. Below, there is still green water.
Niagara Gorge

Why you need roadside assistance

Unfortunately, accidents happen. Whether you run out of gas, collide with another car, or pop a tire, it’s possible that you might need help to keep your road trip going.
For those situations, Jerry has a great roadside assistance package. It features up to 10 miles of towing plus jump starts, tire changes, fuel deliveries, and more—and will reach you no matter where you are!
The package also comes with some exclusive benefits, including car advice, key replacement, and Uber credits. And it only costs $6.99 for one car.
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The fast route back

The quickest way back is to effectively return the way you came. Head straight east for four hours, stopping off in Syracuse for a quick bite if you need to break things up.

The scenic route back

If you want to extend things by a few days and experience some more time outdoors, you can hit two more state parks.
First, head down into Allegany State Park. There are tons of great opportunities for hiking and watersports in the area. You can stay overnight there in any number of Airbnbs.
The next morning, cruise over on the pretty drive to the Catskills. The famous cluster of hills functions well for summer or winter fun, and the isolation of some properties is a good respite from city life.
After that, drive the remaining two hours back to Albany.

Finding cheap car insurance

Regardless of where you’re driving, you need the right car insurance. And the easiest way to get it is to use Jerry.
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Once you download Jerry, you’ll answer a handful of questions that will take you roughly 45 seconds to complete and you’ll immediately get car insurance quotes from up to 50 top providers. Jerry customers save an average of $897 per year when switching with Jerry—and did we mention that it’s totally free to use?
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What gear do I need to bring?

A trip to Niagara Falls requires a commitment to the outdoors. That means bring hiking gear and comfortable athletic clothing to walk in. A good backpack, reliable (and waterproof) shoes, and a refillable water bottle will go a long way!
Jerry also has a road trip essentials list that you can refer to.

What happens if I break down?

First of all, don’t panic! Breakdowns happen to everyone, it’s just important that you and your car are prepared. That means purchasing the best, most affordable insurance—and sign up for Jerry’s roadside assistance program so that you’re always covered!
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