Many families dream of a trip to Niagara Falls, so they go, see the famed attraction, and then leave shortly thereafter -- bypassing all the area has to offer. If you"re planning a vacation to Niagara Falls, don"t overlook these unique attractions, which we think would make some great day trips from Niagara Falls, located within a two-hour drive (or in most cases, less).

Written by Amanda Geronikos

Darien Lake - Darien, N.Y.

Darien Lake is another amusement park in the area. It also offers a mix of thrill rides, kids" rides and family rides, as well as a water park. There is lodging at Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, which offers pull-out sofas, mini-fridges and free Wi-Fi, and families also have the option to rent cabins and campsites. Niagara Falls, N.Y. is less than an hour away from Darien Lake.

Recommended Hotel: Darien Lake Theme Park Resort

Bristol Mountain - Canandaigua, N.Y.

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91 Family Reviews
You can"t go zip-lining over Niagara Falls (unless you"re Nik Wallenda), but you can glide through the air at Bristol Mountain, two hours away. It features two courses just for kids ages 4 to 7, added in 2015. Visit in the winter for skiing, snowboarding and tubing.

Recommended Hotel: The Inn On The Lake

Buffalo Zoo - Buffalo, N.Y.

Admission to the Buffalo Zoo is inexpensive -- under $15 for adults and even less for children -- and kids will especially enjoy the Rainforest and Barnyard. The zoo is small in size, making it a manageable attraction to check off on your list of day trips from Niagara Falls. The Buffalo Zoo is just 30 minutes from Niagara Falls.

Recommended Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites Buffalo

Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum - Jamestown, N.Y.

“Lucy! I"m home!” Lucille Ball"s hometown of Jamestown, New York commemorates her and her costar and husband at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum. The museum features the duo"s personal belongings, including costumes, photographs, awards, letters and scripts. It is located about two hours from Niagara Falls.

Recommended Hotel: BEST WESTERN PLUS Downtown Jamestown

Lewiston

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Just 15 minutes from Niagara Falls, New York, Lewiston offers a kitschy downtown area with adorable cafes, ice cream shops and boutiques. Down the hill from town, you can take a peaceful walk along the waterfront, or take a wild ride with Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours. Be sure to make a reservation at The Silo, which resembles a real silo and overlooks the Niagara River.

Recommended Hotel: Red Coach Inn

Old Fort Niagara - Youngstown, N.Y.

Old Fort Niagara is situated at the entrance to the Niagara River, and dates back to 1726, when it was occupied by the French, and then the British during the French and Indian War. Today, families can take guided tours of the old buildings; they can also see artillery-firing demonstrations and reenactments. Visit at night for a candlelit tour… and maybe even a ghost sighting.

Recommended Hotel: Niagara Falls North/Lewiston KOA

Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum - North Tonawanda, N.Y.

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2601 Family Reviews
In the early 1900"s, woodworkers used this building to create carousels. The factory is no longer in operation, but a museum offers families a chance to see the carousels of yesteryear -- including one that is more than 100 years old. There"s also a carousel you can ride, and kids love Kiddieland Testing Park, which includes four children"s rides and a picnic pavilion. Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is less than 30 minutes from Niagara Falls, so it's clear why this attraction makes our list of day trips from Niagara Falls.

Recommended Hotel: Sheraton at the Falls

Martin's Fantasy Island - Grand Island, N.Y.

Martin's Fantasy Island is an amusement park in Grand Island, New York. If you"ll be flying into Buffalo Niagara International Airport, you"ll likely pass it en route to Niagara Falls. The park runs the traditional gamut of rides, from bumper cars to roller coasters, plus water rides and a separate area just for youngsters. Visit a local Walgreen"s or Wegmans for coupons.

Recommended Hotel: Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls
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