Sometimes you need to just get away for the day. And Western New York offers plenty of cheap options for families looking for a day trip.

1. See the waterfalls of Letchworth State Park

Looking for something to do outside? Why not take a trip down to Letchworth State Park on the border of  Livingston and Wyoming counties. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” there are over 66 miles of hiking trails to discover. Here’s a trail map to help get you started (it’s a PDF).

Cost: $8 vehicle fee

Distance from…
Downtown Buffalo: 1 hour, 13 minutes
Downtown Niagara Falls: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Jamestown: 1 hour, 46 minutes

2. Go on a free tour of Buffalo City Hall

Wikipedia (Public Domain)

Wikipedia (Public Domain)

Yes, you’ve driven by it a million times. But have you ever gone up inside it? The tour only happens on select dates, so check before you go. The best part is the observation deck. On a clear day, you can see the mist rising from Niagara Falls.

Cost: Free (but donations accepted)

Distance from…
Downtown Buffalo: Right downtown!
Downtown Niagara Falls: 25 minutes
Jamestown: 1 hour, 24 minutes

3. Take hipster selfies at Griffis Sculpture Park

Just a little sculpture fun! @becky_lynne30 #roomies #summerfun #sculpturepark

A photo posted by @jenmia_roozel on

Nothing says cool like a giant iron sculpture behind you. The park now spreads across 400 acres of land and houses some 250 sculptures. This Cattaraugus County attraction is one of America’s oldest and largest sculpture parks and is open from May 1 to October 31.

Cost: $5 adults / $3 students and seniors / Free for children 12 and under

Distance from…
Downtown Buffalo: 49 minutes
Downtown Niagara Falls: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Jamestown: 57 minutes

4. Learn something new at Chautauqua

Chautauqua Institution's Hall of Philosophy in season. (WIkipedia/Public Domain)

Chautauqua Institution’s Hall of Philosophy in season. (Wikipedia/Public Domain)

Even if you’re not there during the season (which starts in June), you can still visit this amazing old community that seems stuck in time. Originally built as a camp to train Methodist Sunday school teachers. It sparked a movement of learning and every summer this Victorian village on Lake Chautauqua hosts lectures, symphonies, workshops and symposiums. Off season it’s just amazing to walk around with a picnic and good book.

Cost: Free during the off season, varies widely over the summer.

Distance from…
Downtown Buffalo: 1 hour, 22 minutes
Downton Niagara Falls: 1 hour, 44 minutes
Jamestown: 22 minutes

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