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Trip to Niagara Falls

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Hello

We are planning to do a road trip to niagara falls next weekend. We will be driving from Springfield, IL. Also I was thinking to go to NY city from Niagara falls and then drive back home. We have never been there before, so i have a few questions to ask.

1. How many days should we allocate for the trip including drive time? from google map I saw that drive time to niagara falls from springfield is about 11 hours. I can do that in a day.

2. Is next weekend a good time to go to niagara falls, or should we delay it further into the summer?

3. Any recommendations about a decent place to stay for both niagara and nyc? I am not looking for anything fancy or expensive, just a decent and safe place to stay. I dont want to spend more than I need to, to just sleep at night.

4. Any suggestions about a trip itinerary?

One more thing, I cannot go to canada, so we have to stay in the US part of niagara falls.

Thank you. Hoping to get some good suggestions.
And happy memorial day weekend everyone.

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