Old Fort Niagara: Everything You Need to Know

Old Fort Niagara offers you a chance to step back in time to an era when great empires struggled for control of North America.


Last summer, we went on an epic road trip that took us from Pittsburgh to Niagara Falls, New York to the Little League World Series. We really packed in a lot during our trip. We wanted to take advantage of seeing all of the sights. We even managed to sneak a little learning in there, too. 

While in Niagara Falls, New York, we took a short day trip up to Old Fort Niagara. 

Visiting Old Fort Niagara

Fort Niagara, or Old Fort Niagara, sits on the northwest side of Lake Ontario and directly across from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada in Youngstown, NY.

Admission includes entrance into the museum and to tour the 18th century buildings and artifacts from Native Americans, British and American soldiers, and French who occupied and worked at Fort Niagara from the 18th to the 20th century.

During the summer months, there are reenactments of musket and artillery firing demonstrations, guided tours, artisans at work, and you can learn about life on the Niagara Frontier during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

It wasn’t very crowded on the day we visited so the boys had a chance to really run around and explore the fort. It was the perfect “down” day on our road trip to just enjoy the nice weather and scenery and maybe learn a thing or two. 

Old Fort Niagara is a National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site opened to visitors year-round. It is only about 15 miles from Niagara Falls, so a car ride of less than an hour enables you to go back in time and learn about a fascinating part of American, French and British history. That includes the fort’s connection to ”The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.

Fun Fact about Old Fort Niagara

One of the things that stuck with us about Old Fort Niagara was the story of Fanny Doyle. I will admit the boys were originally drawn in by the name, it’s the really the bravery of Fanny Doyle that has remained with us.  After the giggles subsided, we read the plague located on the third floor of the “Castle” of Old Fort Niagara.

Fanny Doyle was a Heroine of the War of 1812 in Youngstown, New York. Fanny Doyle showed extreme fortitude and courage in carrying red hot shot to gunners manning a six pounder located on the old mess house.

About Old Fort Niagara

  • Cost: Adults, $13; Children (6-12), $9; Children (5 and under), FREE
  • Located in Youngstown, roughly 90 minutes / 100 miles from Rochester 
  • Old Fort Niagara is northernmost stop for the Discover Niagara Shuttle, the southernmost being Niagara Falls State Park.

The Fort is open year round with the exception of New Years Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

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