The 16 Best Waterfalls for Families to Visit In & Near NYC

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The 16 Best Waterfalls for Families to Visit In & Near NYC

By Stacey Feintuch and Barbara Russo

Sure, Niagara Falls is a sight to be seen in upstate New York. You do have other options closer to home though. Both New Jersey and NYC boast numerous waterfalls, offering breathtaking views and a welcome respite from the city.

Most falls sit near hiking trails or in state parks, making them great spots for a fun excursion with the family. See below for our picks of the best places to see these magnificent works of nature.

Psst… Here are the Best Cat Cafes in New York City and on Long Island!

Waterfalls in Staten Island

Clove Lakes Park 

Forest Avenue, Victory Boulevard, bet. Clove Road and Brookside Avenue, Royal Oak Road

There’s a beautiful waterfall in this popular Staten Island park. Families can also take a walk through the park, see amazing wildlife and enjoy amenities including sports fields, dog-friendly areas, fishing and more.

Waterfalls in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Botanic Garden 

150 Eastern Pkwy.

Visit the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to experience a breathtaking scene. The garden features artificial hills contoured around a pond, a waterfall, an island, rocks and more.

Waterfalls in Manhattan

Central Park Waterfalls 

North 110 Street to Central Park South, and from Central Park West to Fifth Avenue

As if there isn’t enough beautiful nature to see in Central Park, there are several waterfalls here to check out. Actually, these waterfalls are man-made. Three of the falls are located in the Loch, situated in the Ravine, the stream valley section of the North Woods.

Morningside Park Waterfall 

W 110 Street to W 123 Street, Manhattan Avenue to Morningside Avenue

This uptown park features winding paths lined with flowers and trees that lead to a cascading waterfall. Families can also enjoy playgrounds, sports fields and more at this community park.

Greenacre Park 

217 E. 51 St.

This Manhattan park is composed of three levels and features an impressive 25-foot-high waterfall constructed from sculpted granite blocks with a mass of falling water. The area features trees, russet brick paving, sunny seating areas, an outdoor cafe and more to provide a tranquil space for all to enjoy.

National September 11 Memorial and Museum

180 Greenwich St.

This memorial honors those who were killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing on February 26, 1993.

The memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest man-made waterfalls in North America.

Waterfalls in the Bronx

Bronx River Waterfalls

Bronx River

The Bronx River Greenway features three beautiful waterfalls, each at a different location: River Park (enter at 180 Street and Boston Road); twin falls at Mitsubishi Walk in the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo; and in the New York Botanical Garden near the Stone Mill.

Waterfalls in Westchester

New Croton Dam

35 Yorktown Rd., Croton-On-Hudson, NY

Croton Gorge Park is located at the base of the Croton Dam. It offers amazing views of the dam and spillway.

Waterfalls in Rockland County

Buttermilk Falls State Park

199 South Greenbush Rd., West Nyack

Hike a trek leading to the park’s falls and stream. Once you arrive, enjoy the scenic views of nature. Animals you can find here include deer, opossum, rabbits, chipmunks, and lots of birds and snakes.

Waterfalls in New Jersey

Apshawa Preserve 

4 Northwood Dr., West Milford, NJ

This majestic 576-acre preserve located in northern New Jersey offers a diversity of habitats and beautiful vistas. This natural area has amazing waterfalls and is a great spot for hiking, bicycling and enjoying other recreational activities in nature.

Paterson Great Falls 

72 McBride Ave. Extension, Paterson, NJ

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park offers breathtaking views of scenic waterfalls.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Delaware Water Gap

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is located along the middle section of the Delaware River in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Waterfalls are plentiful here.

These natural wonders provide a great place for reflection and to marvel at the power of nature. When visiting the park, you might see lots of local wildlife, including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, many species of birds…even bears!

Boonton Falls

Grace Lord Park, Boonton

Many people don’t realize that Boonton is home to an amazing waterfall. (Years ago, the falls generated power and attracted industry that is now gone). The picturesque spot sits off Main Street in downtown Boonton.

You’ll find a small park, a river, and picnic benches as well as hiking trails along both sides of the river. You’ll encounter a large rock formation that’s fun to climb and offers a great view of the tumbling water.

Hacklebarney Falls

Hacklebarney State Park, 119 Hacklebarney Road, Long Valley

In the 19th century, this park was a mined iron ore site. Today, it’s a favorite spot for hikers, picnickers, and anglers—and you can see several waterfalls from the high trails. The park boasts rare and endangered plants, wildlife such as deer and fox, and more than 100 bird species.

Tillman Ravine

Tilman Road, Branchville

Tillman Ravine is a unique natural area that sits in Stokes State Forest.

Take in the beauty of the forest, whether you’re at the top of a mountain ridge (the crest of Sunrise Mountain is one of its most frequently visited sites) or exploring Tillman Ravine’s rushing stream and steep cliffs. Several trails are near the ravine, giving you views of various waterfalls.

Hemlock Falls

South Mountain Reservation, 510 Route 510, South Orange

South Mountain Reservation is 2,100 acres of public land that contains 50 miles of hiking trails. You’ll find hills, rivers, and woodlands, as well as the dramatic and scenic 25-foot Hemlock Falls.

Travel the stone steps to climb to the top of the waterfall and then sit on the benches as you enjoy the beauty. On a clear day, you can even see New York City from the park.

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