The city of North Tonawanda, New York, sits just 15 miles north of Buffalo, New York and 10 miles to the east of Niagara Falls. It has a storied history beginning in the middle of the 19th century when the Erie Canal was constructed to connect Lake Erie to the Hudson River in Albany. As the western terminus of the canal, it became the largest port on the Great Lakes and a major center of industry.
Today the city is less industrial and more tourism focused and has become a convenient jumping off point for vacations to Niagara Falls. Most visitors to the falls make a trip to Canada, as there are better views of the famed Horseshoe Falls from there. However, it can get crowded; a much more peaceful experience can be had on the American side.
Buses connect North Tonawanda to both Buffalo and Niagara Falls, with rides lasting an hour and an hour and a half, respectively. Leaving your North Tonawanda travel trailer rental at the park and taking public transportation to the falls is recommended as parking can be challenging.
Getting Outside near North Tonawanda
Enjoying the great outdoors with your North Tonawanda RV rental is easy, with two of the Great Lakes within easy driving distance and dozens of excellent parks to explore. Several of them dot the shores of the Niagara River and Tonawanda Creek including Gratwick Waterfront Park, Fisherman’s Park, Mayor’s Park, Ellicott Island Park, and the North Tonawanda Botanical Gardens. These are great places to go for a stroll, have a picnic, and if you’re bringing the dog along, Ellicott Island has a large off-leash area to enjoy with your four-legged friend.
Fort Niagara State Park, 20 miles to the north on the edge of Lake Ontario, offers a few hiking trails, swimming pool and waterslide, and a boat ramp for enjoying watersports on the lake. Next door to the park, the Fort Niagara Nature Center also has educational programs during the summer months.
Cyclists will really enjoy the Erie Canalway Trail, which stretches for 360 miles from Buffalo to Albany, with a section running straight through the middle of North Tonawanda; the trail’s surface fluctuates between pavement and crushed gravel.
RV Parks near North Tonawanda
The popularity of nearby Niagara Falls makes RV camping in North Tonawanda a cinch. The AA Royal Motel and Campground has full hookups for your North Tonawanda RV rental and is only a few miles from the Niagara River and downtown North Tonawanda. A couple of miles to the northwest on Route 62 is Niagara Falls Campground and Lodging, which is the closest campground to the falls, which are just six miles away. Sites there have electrical hookups and there’s also a pool, laundry facilities, and a playground for the little ones.
Niagara’s Lazy Lake Camping Resort, Niagara Woodland Campground, and Niagara Falls North/Lewiston KOA are all about a half an hour’s drive to the north near the shoreline of Lake Ontario. They could be good choices if you want to get off the well-worn tourist trail between Niagara Falls and Buffalo and stay in a quieter area. All of the campgrounds there have electrical hookups and dump stations.
There are a few grocery and retail stores around town, including a vegan grocery store where you can pick up all sorts of specialty items. You may want to fill up your North Tonawanda camper rental at the truck stop about a half an hour’s drive from the city on Interstate 90. The fuel bays are larger there and a dump station is on site if you need to unload your RV rental’s holding tank.
Exploring the City of North Tonawanda
When you book an RV in North Tonawanda you’ll almost certainly spend some time at Niagara Falls, but you won’t want to miss out on all the great things that are right here in town either. There’s no more whimsical place to explore North Tonawanda industrial past than at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum. It’s one of the city’s more popular attractions and showcases a selection of beautiful carousel mounts while also offering programs to teach woodcarving. The Historical Society of the Tonawandas is also worth visiting if you’re curious about this city’s past. It’s fairly small, but the artifacts related to the city’s bustling lumber industry in the late 19th century are quite interesting.
For a dose of culture when you rent an RV in North Tonawanda, check out the Carnegie Art Center, which puts on periodic shows featuring local artists. There’s also live theater at the Ghostlight – a community theater inside a purportedly haunted church. If you’re a sports fan, you’ll need to head into Buffalo, but you can catch some great football (Bills) or hockey games (Sabres) there.